Wireless Misconceptions

When I read the Dilbert comic strip on Friday April 24 http://www.dilbert.com/strips/2010-04-24/ I could not help but wonder how many other folks, especially those approving projects think like the “pointy haired boss” who says in the final frame “It’s wireless. How hard could it be to not install wires?”

Unfortunately, wireless is NOT as simple as some of the marketing folks for the wireless companies would have us believe, though unfortunately the above sentiments may be a consequence of the zeal with which it is presented. Fortunately, we know that wireless is not simply put it there and it will work. Unfortunately, we the engineering community are the ones who must make these systems deliver all the promises expected by our management teams. Also fortunately, in the process of preparing the engineering packages and estimates on what is required in terms of infrastructure and support have the opportunity to educate the folks with the “pointy haired boss” mentality and happily, the majority of the uneducated are NOT “pointy haired bosses.”

Many of the economic benefits being attributed to wireless were also brought forth with fieldbus approximately 15 years ago – of course we now realise where the real benefits can be found. The same will hold true with wireless and I for one believe it will not be in having wireless do what could be done with wires, but rather in the opportunities that are simply not possible when constrained with wires as the connection.