Sorry this is late, but I wanted to recount the highlight of the lonepanel discussion I was able to catch on my quick trip to Interop Las Vegas last week.Industry analyst Rob Enderle was hosting a rather dullsession on unified network management, with the four vendor presenterslargely touting their companies' approaches. The handfull of people inthe room were so unimpressed that no one asked a question as thepresentations eneded. So, not wanting to end quietly, Enderle asked thepanel what the worse thing they had ever seen a customer do in settingup a wireless system. And suddenly the session became veryanimated.

Roger Sands, director of mobilitysolutions at HP ProCurve, recalled an event where organizers had setfive access points in one room to the same channel, which impairsperformance and somewhat defeats the purpose of having more than oneAP. Raffi Tchakmakjian, director of product management at Trellia,which makes mobile policy management software, came across a carriertrying to switch a customer's teleworkers to 3G wireless broadband in aneighborhood that it thought had good wireless coverage. It should havesurveyed the workers' needs because because most of their home officeswere in basements, where 3G signals have a hard time reaching. BryanWargo, general manager of AirWave Wireless, recounted the “classic”tale of companies having wireless performance trouble deciding thesolution is to add more APs rather than looking into the cause of theproblem.

But the knee-slapper came from from Chris Kozup, CiscoSystems' senior manager for mobility solutions, who more than once hascome across customers trying to improve wireless performance bywrapping their access point antennas in aluminum foil.

You wouldn't do that, would you …..?

Maybeyou would. A quick Google search discovered all sorts of hacks,including one that involved gluing aluminun foil to the inside of a PCVpipe for a point-to-point connection. Let me know if aluminum foil isyour best friend.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com