I’d rather warn you, this story is going to sound silly to seasoned geeks in
the audience. Please bear with me. All characters in this story are
As an intro, I like to think that there are two things in “IT” (for lack of
a better term) that no-one has managed to get right in four decades of mass-market
computing: printers and local networks.
In both cases, getting anything to just work, even more so in a
heterogeneous (read, Mac + Windows + Linux) network. Even a simple
print/scan/fax machine requires an absurd amount of setup.
My point is no to talk about lack of standardisation in
printing, but rather about what happens when you decide to put matters in
your own hands.
Birth of an office hero
So, we had a crappy Wifi setup in the office. BT brought the fiber in and
set a decent router up, and our office manager paid a wire-laying contractor
to plug in a few cheapo access points.
Of course, as soon as we went past a few tens of users (plus their assorted
array of devices), things went south, and only coffee deprivation makes a
startup more cranky than a bad internet connection.
Being a generally nice person, I stepped up, bought a few reliable
WAPs, configured them as a single SSID (one 5GHz, one
2.4GHz) to allow roaming, and found the best spots to place them at.
Finally, I ditched the old WAPs, and all was well.
My praises were sung, and I got so much fan mail I had to hire someone.
The harder they fall
That’s when I noticed a change. More often than not, a user having “internet
problems” would ask me for assistance. Soon enough, I found myself
utterring the inevitable turn-it-off-and-on- again incantation.