Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Back in full swing

Back at work, and only on day 3 do I get around to updating my blog. It's also starting to feel like I've never been away.

After having a good break over Christmas, managing only very rarely to check my work emails, it took a little while to get back in full swing. That soon changed when the same old s**t started happening.

Day 1

My boss had only been in a few minutes when he started warning me that the 'Wireless Everywhere' project (it needs a better name) had the directors muttering why it hadn't been started yet (we were told originally it was to be completed Sept 2015 and before Christmas informed the deadline was now Sept 2014). After dealing with the usual issues when staff come back after a break (passwords, new iPads/iPhones/Macbooks, name changes, etc) I spent the morning setting up a new switch for the Students' Union. This involved putting a config on, addressing, setting up VLANs, trunk ports and so on.

While doing this my boss sent me an email he had received before Christmas asking for a wireless network to be set up. This was for a conference that required all the participants to connect via mobile and use various apps. This was starting at 8.45am the following morning!

[Rant 1:] I know why people do it. They plug wireless in at home or just press a button to turn it on and it all works, they don't have to think about it. However, in an enterprise environment things a bit different. I could rant on for pages here but very very briefly we have to think about channel selection, power levels, PoE switches, neighbours, building fabric and layout, hidden nodes, capacity, antenna type, coverage and leakage, security and so on... which means it is not and cannot be a five minute job. Just banging stuff in could very well make things worse.

Ooh, Vodafone have released android 4.3 update for my work mobile. Downloaded and installed.

After a few other telephone and wireless jobs and faults it was nearly time to go home, but not before two staff members turned up at the office requesting some network and equipment setups... for the following morning. FFS.

Day 2

We're definitely getting back to normal (two people turned up late).

Started much the same with office moves, equipment setups and dealing with emails that have been in since Christmas. I also installed a trial version of AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer from Fluke. I had been sent the trial licence and had been meaning to put it on for a while but just had no time.

Impressed with the amount of features and information, but I really need to find a manual or user guide to see how I'm going to use it every day.

Then we started getting a number of faults in saying that phones were not working in whole buildings. As usual this was the staff members exaggerating. Not only was it only a handful of numbers that were disconnected, they were disconnected because the department had asked for them to be moved.

[Rant 2] Most of these were traditional lines. In these cases we have to physically wire the numbers through to the sockets (as BT would), but because the line had been down for a few minutes while we do the work that they requested, they start filling in fault forms and bombarding the helpdesk with complaints.

Then the day just got better. After helping a guy out with a DNS issue and discussing his iPad. I popped in on another fault that had been reported, that was in someone else's job queue, but as I was nearby I thought it sensible to take a look. Big mistake.

[Rant 3] The guy was an absolute arse. He kept going on about how he had reported it "AGES AGO", which meant before Christmas when (1) The University is closed over the Christmas holiday so we couldn't come in and work even if we wanted to (2) The problem was on his laptop which should have been locked away or at home over Christmas (3) My colleague said he had tried to get in touch with him before Christmas but couldn't (4) This was only my second day back (5) We had three members of staff in and were required to get much more important and time sensitive things done (such as a 300 person conference, department moves, completion for handover of a £50million Engineering building and a £9.2million training centre for starters).

Biting my tongue I basically said that I was here now and let me take a look at your fault. To which he replied that it was working now. Well thanks.

Day 3

The usual phone changes and a quick update on here so far.

Plenty of wireless surveys to do and I notice I have been booked in to attend not one, but two meetings tomorrow. One might even be a meeting about a meeting.

Lucky me.

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