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Signals on the High Seas

I heard a pretty good story recently from one of my favorite people in the WLAN industry, a very sharp guy who recently changed employers. As I’ve not procured approval to use his name, we’ll forego that for now, but it’s a great story nonetheless and is an example of the power of social networking in the professional environment.

The scenario takes place aboard a modern cruise ship on which my colleague and another person in question has installed a vast wireless LAN; a total of 1,000 access points will be in operation by the time you read this, which places it among the very largest of WLAN’s on the planet. Ships, airplanes and cars commonly feature numerous types of wireless connectivity, including AM, FM, satellite radio, GPS, Bluetooth, mobile cellular, and more. Amazing.

The challenge in this story was that deep into the mobility deployment install effort, they ran into a major code snag. Fairly common if you’ve done these, in particular as the deployment moves toward two critical phases, incorporation of clients and layering on the security elements.
After lighting up the WLAN for the first time, they discovered the code in the controllers simply wouldn’t perform the functions they needed. Hundreds of miles from shore, and deep inside the bowels of the ship, they were in a bit of a jam. My colleague who is probably the best social networking person I know, sent out a tweet asking if any other engineer had encountered his problem and how did they resolve it. The result was quite interesting; within seconds, dozens of engineers from around the world had sent tweets in response. A number of them included url’s with an optimal code solution located.

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