About subnetwork

Jonathan Davis loves network engineering. He's been in IT for over 20 years. In that time, he has worked in almost every area of IT. Nothing holds his attention and imagination like building wireless networks for unique environments.

Cisco Live US 2014 – Engage Now!

Last year, I attended Cisco Live for the first time in my career. I went expecting to learn a lot, and I was not disappointed. You can read about my experiences here and here. If you haven’t read them, you should read them now. No, really, go read them. 

Now that you have read them, you know that you need to begin planning your social experience now. The scheduler will soon be available, and while you are considering the need of various classes, be certain that you create time slots to meet people. There is an incredible braintrust available in the social media hub. If you take the time to mingle and discuss you will be surprised at what you will learn.

I have long been a proponent of Twitter for IT professionals. If you and I have met over the last few years, and I haven’t asked about your social media interaction, I would question whether you actually met me and not a doppelgänger. If you have actually met me, I hope that my influence, no matter how small, pushed you to engage.

If you are new to social media and planning on hanging out in the Social Media Hub, let me offer a few suggestions.

  • Engage now. Don’t expect to show up to the social media hub without ever talking to any other engineer on twitter and expect to enjoy your experience. We like our jokes, our running discussions (arguments), and interacting. The social media hub is our opportunity to continue our online discussions in person. If you want a great list of engineers to follow, just check out who I follow.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We all come from a different background. Some of us are jack-of-all-trades, some of us specialize. We don’t expect anyone to be an expert in everything. We enjoy learning from each other. If you listen, and ask questions, you will learn.
  • Leave the oversized ego at home. Most of us have bigger personalities than egos. There are people in this group who know more than you. Trust me on this! If you show up with the goal of proving how smart you are, you’re going to have a bad time.
  • Don’t worship at the feet of your favorite author/personality. Yes, they will hang out with us and yes, they know an incredible amount about certain topics. Without exception though, they don’t want to be placed on a juvenile pedestal. They want to engage with other engineers. Story time:

Last year, I started a conversation with a well known author. We talked about our careers, about IT in general and the direction of technology. During these conversations, no less than 15 people approached to tell the author how great he was. The author was very happy to talk with them, and many times tried to draw the individual into our conversation. He would introduce me, mention the topic we were discussing at the moment, and made a genuine attempt to engage them in the discussion. Without fail, they thanked the author for his work, and then shyly withdrew. They were worshiping, not engaging.

  • Finally, register NOW! Register now to be certain you can attend the session that you want or need. This will also ensure that you can get an exam registered before all of the slots are filled. You can register here:

Cisco Live Registration

Geek Toys – Jabra Motion UC

Last week, I reviewed the Jabra Speak 450, which was provided by Jabra for a review.

Jabra Motion UC

Jabra Motion UC

This week, brings a review of the Jabra Motion UC. You will notice there is no disclaimer this week, as my Jabra Motion UC was supplied by my employer for testing, not by Jabra directly.

The obvious question is, why am I reviewing a product, when I have no obligation to do so? The answer is simple, because I REALLY like this bluetooth headset.

The model that I received included a dock/case, Jabra Link 360, and charging cable. The dock/case is quite ingenious, making it easy to store and travel with all of the accessories, while also providing a dock when at your desk. The case has traveled with me for a couple of trips, and has held up extremely well.

Battery Life

My average Tuesday is packed with meetings. I regularly have 8-10 meetings in a single day, all of them via phone, Lync, or Webex. With this schedule, the only time the headset goes into the charger is during lunch. The specs report 7 hours of talk time. While I have never tracked talk-time for a charge cycle, I have never found myself without battery.

Audio Quality

The loudness and clarity of the headset is very good. The noise rejection is also very good. The headset has two mics, which are back-to-back. With this setup, one mic is always used to pickup voice, the other is used for noise identification and isolation.

Comfort

The headset fits behind and over the ear. Its fit and weight make it very comfortable. Once I adjusted to the fact that it never felt tight on my ear, I was suprised by how well it held on. Short of head banging to an 80’s hairband, its going to stay with you.

Improvement Needed

There are two things that I would like to see improvement in. The first is the way the headset is switched from ear to ear. The process requires spinning the rubber earpiece on it’s mounting surface. This isn’t easy to describe, and it isn’t easy to do. The second issue has to do with the volume control. The touch control sometimes requires multiple swipes before it responds; other times, a simple bump is all that is required.

Wrap-Up

Despite the two areas that I would like to see improvement in, this is the best bluetooth headset that I have owned out of nearly a dozen units. It is comfortable, the battery last long enough for an entire day, and the range is exceptional. Ultimately, if I were to leave my current employer tomorrow, I would buy a Jabra Motion UC.

Geek Toys – Jabra Speak 450 for Cisco

Jabra Speak 450

Jabra Speak 450

First, a confession. This review is WAY overdue. I have been slammed at work recently, and that has carried well over into my evenings and weekends. The good thing about being busy with my company is that it usually involves travel. When trying to review a Bluetooth speakerphone, travel is exactly what you need.

I received the Speak 450 from Jabra to review in early August. Since that time, I have tested it in quiet environments, in loud noisy construction zones, and in a couple of airports. The device is branded Cisco, so there is no doubt which products it should work well with. However, I tested it with Cisco IP Communicator, Skype, and Microsoft Lync, and found all three to function similarly well.

The design screams “Cisco”. While the Speak 450 comes in two colors, I received a grey device that matches Cisco endpoints well. The angled speaker directs sounds towards the user, and the large buttons responded as expected. The unit I received included a Jabra Link 360 bluetooth adapter. I tested with the adapter, and with standard bluetooth connectivity. Test systems included two MacBook Pro’s (2010 and 2013), a Windows 7 laptop (with Link 360 adapter), an iPad and an iPhone.

Battery Life

One of the most important aspects of a battery powered speaker is runtime. The spec sheet list a 15 hour battery life. I found this to be closer to 12 hours from my use. While that is a considerable difference, I honestly had to work to keep from accidentally charging it before running it down. Also, a great feature of the device is the ability to plug into your computer via USB, working even on a dead (recharging) battery. With this ability, I don’t think it is possible to be caught in a situation where the Speak 450 cannot be used.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of this device is very good. The speaker puts out a good volume level without distorting excessively. Users always stated that they could hear me clearly.

The secret to the microphone quality is the location of the microphone. It is located low and center on the device. It is designed to pick up audio that is bouncing off a table, or other hard surface. The spec sheet list a 120 degree coverage area, which means it rejects most unwanted room noise. This was key when working in an office that was in the middle of construction. As long as I had the speaker between me and the construction noise, so that the mic was pointing away from the source of noise, users couldn’t hear the sander, hammer drill or air compressor. This great sound rejection comes at a cost however.

My only complaint about the Speak 450 is that it can only be used by a max of 3 people. The coverage area fits three people OK as long as they are sitting around a table, relatively close together. When a fourth person is added to the mix, they are going to feel frustrated. The speaker points away from them, making it harder to understand, and they will be asked to repeat themselves regularly. If you are looking for a conference room mic for a standard 6-8 seat room, this isn’t it.

Wrap-Up

The Speak 450 from Jabra is well built, able to handle travel in a backpack without issue, provides very good audio quality and noise rejection, and has excellent battery life. While not ideal for large meetings, it is capable of handling 3 active participants with very good results. Would I buy it? Yes.

***Disclaimer – I received a Speak 450 from Jabra to review for this article. Jabra has asked for my opinion only. This post is entirely my opinion, without inference or editing by Jabra.***

Geek Tools – OpenGear ACM5004 Console Servers

While I was at Cisco Live, I was invited to sit in on a Tech Field Day event with OpenGear. This was my first Tech Field Day, and hopefully not my last. You can see the full video here: http://techfieldday.com/event/clus13/

Additionally, you can see a great blog post, written by Bob McCouch,
about the event here:
http://herdingpackets.net/2013/07/13/openly-passionate/

and Blake Krone’s take on the event here:
http://blakekrone.com/2013/07/09/one-console-to-rule-them-all

In short, OpenGear did a awesome job presenting a new product, the IM7200. They asked us about use cases, answered all of our questions, and impressed quite a few of us in the room.

After the event, I ended up speaking with their team about a couple of ideas that I had for their product. Based on that conversation, they were nice enough to make a unit available for testing. I received it a couple of weeks after Cisco Live, set it up on my network, and began playing.

For the past three to four weeks, I have been using the console server on my network, and trying to figure out what I wanted to write about it. I’ve started this post at least three different times, and each time scrapped the post after an hour of work. Why was it so hard to write about you ask?

Because this is one loaded device! This thing has EVERYTHING you could want on your network.

WHAT IS GOOD?
-RJ45 ports for connecting to console ports. No special cables, no adapters in most cases, no rollover cables. Plug one end of a straight-through cable into the console sever, and the other end into the console port of a switch or router, and away you go.
-In addition to standard console ports, the ports can be configured in a number of various ways. This should allow for connection to almost any device in your network.
-SSH, Telnet, FTP, TFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, DHCP, NTP, SNMP, DNS Server/Relay, and the list goes on.
-Once you have devices connected, you can access them various ways. SSH, Telnet, no surprises, right? How about a web terminal? Yes, it is that awesome.
-I/0 ports. These ports can be sensed (door sensors, environmental monitoring, etc) or set (activate a relay to release a door.) Imagine with me working on a remote site, you ask the user on the phone to walk over to the door. You unlock the door for them, and see when the door is ajar. You ask them to complete your task, and then to close the door. Does the user close the door, or hang out and play in your IDF? Well, now you know.
-USB Port. The usb port can be used for flash storage, or it can be used to connect to devices which only support USB console devices.
-Easy to set firewall rules. Do you only want SSH allowable outside of the trusted network? No problem. Settings are made with a checkbox.

I could keep going. I could mention the IPSec, OpenVPN, and DDNS options…but I won’t.

WHAT COULD USE WORK?
My gripes are pretty small with this device.
-The documentation and product CD push additional software (SDT Connector) for creating connections. Really, I don’t see the purpose. Connections to the ports are easily made over SSH (or Telnet if you like living on the edge) by specifing the correct tcp port; 300X for SSH and 200X for telnet, where X is the console port number.
-Because this device has SO MANY OPTIONS, I think some default options would make setup faster and easier. If you could select a group of ports and assign a Cisco Console Profile to them, and choose another group and assign a APC Environmental Monitoring Profile to those, setup would go much easier.

Ultimately, what you need to know is that this device is a Linux server. It is capable of doing anything that a small Linux server can do. What makes this such a compelling product is that Opengear has packaged all of the daemons and services that can be used in a network into a single simple to use form-factor. Let’s face it, we spend our day configuring complex network services. Our network and device management shouldn’t be
difficult.

This isn’t the last that you will hear about my impressions with the Opengear ACM5004. I’m currently working on a use-case at work which I will write up in the near future. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

***Opengear provided an ACM5004 for this review. No other services or payment were received.***

Wireshark: Capture CDP and LLDP

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short piece about filtering CDP and LLDP packets using Wireshark. Since that time, I have simplified the way that I filter these packets, and based on feedback, and additional use of that information, I wanted to post an update. This will hopefully guide people to the best answer immediately. 

CDP

CDP sends all packets to the L2 multicast address of 01:00:0C:CC:CC:CC. Therefore, our filter can be:

ether host 01:00:0c:cc:cc:cc

However, VTP (VLAN Trunking Protocol) also sends packets to this address. Since the default timer for VTP is 300 seconds, and the default timer for CDP is 60 seconds, this shouldn’t be an issue. Additionally, since VTP packets are only sent out trunk ports, if you see VTP packets on a port that a user should be connected to, you may have just found your problem.

 LLDP

Link Layer Discovery Protocol, AKA 802.1AB, is an IEEE standard. While Cisco doesn’t support LLDP out of the box, it can be enabled on your Cisco gear. HP, Juniper, Dell, and everyone else that I have ever worked with supports LLDP by default. The L2 multicast address for LLDP is: 01:80:C2:00:00:0E. However, LLDP has the benefit of a unique EtherType. That type is: 0x88cc. Based on that information, we can filter with either:

ether host 01:80:C2:00:00:0E

OR

ether proto 0x88cc

The default timer for LLDP seems to vary across vendors, although 30 seconds is the default for Cisco and quite a few others.

Wireshark Portable

If you are the roving type that walks out to the users desk, Wireshark can be ran as a portable app from a USB device.

Cisco IP Phones

Cisco IP Phones will send out CDP packets onto the PC port. What good does this do? I don’t know. However, hit the webpage hosted on the phone and you can find the CDP and LLDP info on the Network Statistics >Network page.

Firewalls

Embarrassing story time. Like a lot of engineers, I regularly use Wireshark to look at packet captures from other devices. After doing this for months, I needed to use Wireshark on my local LAN port. I started by spending 20 minutes trying to figure out why I wasn’t seeing CDP packets. Of course, once I remembered that I had a local firewall to contend with, I quickly fixed the issue, and haven’t made that mistake since. Don’t make that mistake. Disable the local firewall.

Cisco Live 2013 Final Thoughts

Image of JD on his bike in West Virginia

Image by Klaus Jones

I spent the last 5 days on the seat of my motorcycle driving hundreds of miles through the mountains of West Virginia. I do some of the best thinking on my motorcycle. The sound and vibrations of my pipes, driving with my whole body, leaning in and out of curves, the awareness of everything on, in, or around the road. Somehow, with all of that going on, I think A LOT.

As I continued to process everything I learned at Cisco Live, there were some thoughts that stuck out. These have very little to do with the social aspect, as I have already written about that here.

 Cisco Live Itself

1)   Why isn’t there a “lessons learned” document or post from the team who setup the wireless network? That was an incredible undertaking. I heard no complaints. I want to know what the Cisco Live Team has done over the last few years to scale the wireless network. Maybe the article is out there, but I haven’t seen it. This article wouldn’t be theory or sales, this is open communication about a real-life incredibly complex environment.

2)   Ditto on the WAN connection.

3)   As a first time, late registering attendee, I didn’t fully understand the Meet the Engineer, or the Table Topics at lunch. Now that I understand both, I will take better advantage of them next year.

4)   There is a special program for Netvets. There is a special party for CCIE’s. Why isn’t there a session on Sunday or early Monday for first timers? Make it a welcome party, initiation, meet and greet, and Q&A. I would have felt overwhelmed if it wasn’t for the great group of engineers that I hung out with at the Social Media Hub.  It would have also answered #3 above.

World of Solutions

I was surprised by the number of engineers running through the WoS chasing cheap plastic swords and other bits of junk. I liked a few of the T-Shirts, and grabbed a few of those, I picked up some buttons from Solarwinds, who clearly understands geek humor, and I avoided the rest. I realized on my ride this week, that the attendees were following the design. Run from booth to booth conquering and claiming prizes. Vendors, can I make a few suggestions?

1)   If you plan to give away shirts, make it a good design. If I like the design, I will wear it. Other engineers will see it. Conversations will be started about your company. Isn’t that the goal? If the design is bad, it will end up in the “donate” pile, as the yard work t-shirt, or used to wash cars. None of those are good for brand recognition. Special points given to geek humor and high quality shirts. If you want to guarantee that it sees the office, make it a polo shirt.

2)   Stop trying to win customers with a 5-minute pitch thrown out at the speed of sound by a mouthpiece that can’t answer questions. Your audience is technical. Do you think the audience can’t tell when the speaker is reciting words that they don’t understand?

3)   Find a way to engage potential customers. Make it easy for them to talk with a technical person, who can answer technical questions, and provide technical solutions. (Noticing a theme?)

4)   Don’t scoff at me when I refuse to provide my information for your cheap junk.

5)   Most importantly, don’t scoff when I sit through your presentation, give you my information, and then refuse your cheap junk. I am the person you are trying to reach, someone who is genuinely interested in your product, and who could easily be convinced to become a customer. I’m not there for the cheap junk, I’m there for more information about your product. If you could only answer my technical questions…

Now is a great time to register for next year!

Experiencing Cisco Live for the First Time

I’ve been back from Cisco Live 2013 for 5 days. I’m still not caught up at work on email or task that were assigned while I was away. It will most likely take a couple of weeks of working extra hours each day to finally get back to the point where I am only drowning a little. With such morose statements, it probably seems like I’m not happy with my first trip to Cisco Live.

In-fact, you cannot be more wrong. Cisco Live is like Space Camp for adults. Once you have been there, coming back to normal life is difficult, but I’ll get to that later.

I understand that I had an unusual first experience but I’m not special. If 2014 will be your first Cisco Live; your trip could be just as good as mine, or even better. If you came away from Cisco Live 2013 unimpressed, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

From my time on Twitter (@subnetwork) and this blog, I knew a lot of other engineers via the Internet. The very first stop I made after checking in was The Social Media Hub. On Sunday there was a Twitter Meetup (tweet-up). This gave me chance to meet in-person engineers that I have been conversing with online for years.

The engineers who attend the Tweet-up are a special breed. They write blog post about network engineering. They post to twitter about network engineering. They think about network engineering a LOT. This was an opportunity to learn, teach, and otherwise geek out about network engineering without getting that look that says the other person checked out as soon as you mentioned LISP.

From there, Cisco took over their role, and managed to host an incredible event. I sat through classes, ate meals, walked the World of Solutions, went to the Customer Appreciation Event (CAE), and attended vendor parties each evening.

All of this falls into the standard experience. However, in my case, everywhere I went, there was someone from social media crowd. Lunches were discussions about problems at work, new technologies, classes we attended, difficulties in finding good coworkers, geek lore, and the list continues on.

From the Social Media Lounge, I was able to participate in various contests Cisco posted online. I scored a special pass to the CAE, which allowed me to meet the band Journey. Thanks to Twitter, I was invited to the CCIE event. While sitting in the lounge, between sessions, I was invited to participate in a Tech Field Day featuring Open Gear.

I met Journey, attended the CCIE party as a non-CCIE, and participated in a Tech Field Day. These aren’t part of the normal experience. None of this would have been part of my experience if I wasn’t active in social media and hadn’t sought out these great engineers who sleep, eat, and breathe networking.

Your task, if you choose to have an extraordinary experience next year is simple. Begin participating in the conversation now. Make virtual acquaintances now, then turn them into friends in San Francisco.

If you do it right, next year, you will have difficulty adjusting back to normal life. You will be overflowing with fresh knowledge, and will be looking for people to share it with. You will find yourself often wishing that you were back at Cisco Live so that you could share your excitement with someone else who LOVES what they do for a living as much as you do.

Now is a great time to register for next year!

Finding new coworkers

We have once again started the process of expanding our team at my workplace. We always bring new employees in as a contractor first, and if things work out, the contractor is usually offered a full time position.

Our interview process is fairly hard. First, all recruiters are provided with 10 questions, of which each candidate must answer 8 out of 10.These are all basic CCNA level questions.

Next, we schedule a phone screening, where we ask more specific questions that are broken up into different areas. Layer 2, Layer 3, OSPF, and QOS are all on tap for this portion of the interview process. If we feel that the person was able to answer enough questions correctly without frantically searching for answers to recite back to us on the internet, we move them onto the third phase.

In the third phase, the person comes into our offices, and we provide them with equipment and instructions. They have 2.5 hours to configure a router, switch, and an AP per our instructions and answer a few questions based on those configurations. Once they have completed the configuration, we move into a Q&A portion of the interview, where we ask off the wall questions, mixed with troubleshooting scenarios of increasing complexity.

Every person who has ever left an interview felt well abused. If they paid attention, they know their weaknesses, and could use it to start a personal improvement plan. We in-turn, have a solid read on each candidates abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and whether they would make a good addition to the team.

This process is long and arduous; the last time we went through this process, we started the interview process on almost 60 people before we found three we liked. 

I can’t knock our process though. In-fact, our team is so strong that I have turned down multiple offers at other positions, which payed more, simply because I like my teammates in my current role.

It seems that every time I consider taking a different role, I get pulled into interviewing more candidates, and am reminded what it is like out there in the rest of the world. Case-in-point, here is an email excerpt from a potential job candidate:

What did I say about scheduling issues earlier in one of your calls.  All day long not a single trouble call comes in.  5 minutes before the time for the phone interview I get a call and 3 tickets logged into our dell kace service desk.  Figured since I was finally done withe the remote assistance calls working from my terminal I would drop you a line while I am on the phone with one of the users that is having problems at the entire locationlocations that is having a problem that I am trying to get through to them it is sunding like a provider problem to let me let them go and get a hold of the provider.  Always love a network that uses back up internet connections that are all from the same cable provider(comcast) so come off the same pole and think that it is a gfood redundancy feature.  Not the one I am working with but we have one service center location that has all 3 retail branches of our company and instead of  getting an upgrade on the connection type with 3 static ips for the way they like to do things but really makes no sense what so ever they have 3 cable modems all coming off the same pole so that they can supposedly have a better more stable connection makes me have nightmares about wasted money and the stupidity of the outside consultants that engineered this network.  

After speaking to you prior to the interview time and you mentioning questions about switch configurations I will kinda admit you got me thinking it has been almost 10 years since I have programmed a true cisco switch do little netgear knock offs almost weekly and switches had always been my weak point give me a router or a pix device and I could make it sing but even on those I am rusty.  Put me in a lab environment and it would be just like riding a bicycle but just giving me verbal questions I would be stumbling all over myself.  Which looking at things makes me belive that this wouldn’t be the right position for me until I get back into the game and work away some of this rust.

If you don’t feel sick after reading that email, then a part of your soul is dead already.

Hey Apple, Help Us, Help You!

When the iPhone debuted on the AT&T network, AT&T was clearly not expecting the demand that was created. They were caught off-guard by the influx of customers, and more importantly they were surprised by the data consumption of users, who had purchased a device created to consume data. Problems were reported at a ridiculous rate, and rumors abounded everywhere within the Tech blogs that Apple was threatening to take their ball phone and go home to Verizon if AT&T didn’t do something fast.

In the mean time, Apple began working on ways of optimizing the iPhones use of the carriers network, and kept pushing AT&T for improvements. It took AT&T a couple years, and a LOT of money to build their network up. Some people will argue that if the iPhone had not been made available on other carriers that AT&T would still be having issues.

Apple studies, lives and dies by user experience. They knew that a poorly performing network would reflect on their device. It was not enough to simply blame the network. If the network wasn’t available, then features of their phone weren’t available either.

With that in mind… Apple DOES NOT provide developer access to wireless API’s in IOS. Troubleshooting WLAN issues for IOS devices can only be accomplished from the infrastructure side. Without jailbreaking an iPhone, there is no way to access RSSI, SNR, or other WLAN statistics.

Which device is best for troubleshooting iPad connectivity issues on a WLAN? If you answer anything other than “another iPad”, go directly to jail, do not pass go, and do not collect $200. This is an oversight decision that Apple needs to quickly reconsider.

Apple, we are the network. Without WLAN Engineers, iPads and iPhones won’t function correctly on corporate networks. Without the proper tools, WLAN engineers cannot support IOS devices when there are issues on the WLAN. Without tools, our network problems reflect on your devices. Help US, help YOU.

Supporting Apple devices on the WLAN

Since the iPad was released, it has received a mixed welcome within Enterprise environments. While a lot companies have at least some plan to move forward with iPads, these drivers are usually coming from the business side, instead of IT. In-fact, most IT shops are being dragged into IOS support with strong reluctance.

The broad questions which are causing resistance can be summed up in one word: SUPPORT. IT departments must figure out how to support the device in multiple areas. Information integrity and control, end-user support, and connectivity support all must be dealt with. Since this is a networking blog, I want to deal with the last one; and will do so in the next two articles.

Supporting iPads on the network is more complex than connecting them to an SSID and providing login credentials. If we look at the standard iPad user in most organizations, we see a highly mobile user, users who also have laptops. Most of these users requested an iPad after having a positive experience with their company issued iPhones. That translates to a user having three wireless devices at there desk at any given time: their laptop, their iPhone and their iPad.

To understand the problem this creates, let’s look at how we survey for a wireless network. There are two considerations: coverage and capacity.

Wireless Coverage
A survey can be  based on square footage, and provide a certain RSSI from wall-to-wall. This is a perfectly acceptable way to survey if everyone has their own office. However in Cube-ville, a single AP may cover 100 desk or more. If each desk has one wireless device, you now have a physical medium (the channel or airspace) that is incapable of supporting all of the connected clients.

Wireless Capacity
The other way to perform a wireless survey is based on capacity. In a high capacity environment, the wireless spectrum, not the AP is the bottleneck. More on this later…

In a capacity based scenario, a number of desk are chosen, lets say 25. For every 25 desk, there is an AP. Those AP’s are placed based on coverage area, and in to minimize channel overlap. For the same 100 desk in Cube-ville, you now have 4 AP’s. Since there will be channel overlap, the radios are turned way down, and in general, the physical medium is now capable of handling the number of clients.

Taking this environment to the next step, each desk gets an iPhone, and a few months later, 1 in 4 request an iPad. We can safely assume that complaints will begin coming into IT about the wireless network. The AP airspace that was previously servicing 25 clients now contends with 62 per AP. Time for another wireless survey and at least twice as many AP’s!

Now we can see the problem that many companies are facing. The i-devices are here, and businesses seem to love them. The network team must begin planning and building now. I would like to make a few suggestions which might keep network teams from finding themselves behind the eight  ball.

  • Budget to begin surveying your high density environments now.
  • Develop a plan for support, complete with timelines and cost. Present this to the highest management level you can reach, so that it can be considered as the business begins planning device deployments.
  • If your company has a charge-back system for devices, be certain a cost is associated with each IOS device to support the wireless network going forward.
  • Be certain to include a survey and additional equipment as a cost of any iPad rollout projects, make certain the business can see the total cost of deploying iPads and iPhones.
  • Finally, be first in line to get an iPad if you don’t already have one. You can’t support what you don’t understand; besides, it really is a great device.

I realize that there are other options out there other than the “i” devices. However, I haven’t heard of, or seen, a single enterprise level roll out. However, these rules apply to the world of Android and Windows too. More devices per square foot equals more demand on the wireless network.