The Network Professional Behind the Curtain
Certification Magazine|July 2020
The Network Professional Behind the Curtain
As if by magic, wireless network engineers keep everyone (and everything) connected
MARY KYLE

I come from a family of excellent communicators. Most of us talked before we could crawl. Whether telling family stories, passing news along the party line, or spinning yarns about growing up in the depression, someone in my Scots/Irish ancestry obviously kissed the Blarney stone more than once, as communication has never been an issue around our family campfire.

Never has the ability to communicate and stay connected been more important than in this historic year of unprecedented events. We’re barely six months into 2020 and the world is still adjusting to quarantines, school closures, supermarket shortages, and a mass exodus from the corner office to the home office (shared with a spouse) or the kitchen table (shared with homeschooling children).

Across the United States and around the globe, professionals are adjusting to new ways to work remotely while educators are learning how to teach in the virtual world. Parents are developing a deeper appreciation for teachers as they navigate through a forced migration to homeschooling. We are all learning new ways to effectively communicate.

In this new “normal,” we must frequently juggle the challenges of multiple people all competing to be connected to the internet. In my household, we’ve had, at times, five people all trying to remain connected to work, suppliers, vendors, teachers, friends, and family.

To an increasing degree, wireless technology makes all of this connectivity and communication possible and, so far, has kept the world working, talking, and communicating. Now, more than ever, we all have a dependence on wireless networks and the wireless network engineers — the topic for this article — who make it all possible.

Keeping the world connected

When I think about wireless networks, I’m reminded of that iconic line from The Wizard of Oz: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” When it comes to wireless networks, it’s easy to become complacent.

Whether at home or work, most of us simply take certain facts of life for granted — the sun will come up, traffic will be bad, and a steady, reliable wireless connection to the internet will magically occur when I boot up my computer. We pay no attention to that wireless network engineer (WNE) behind the curtain.

WNEs are seasoned professionals who possess a both a breadth and depth of knowledge across multiple disciplines. They are experts in network hardware, routing protocols, software, tools, industry standards, monitoring tools, protocols, best practices, LAN, WANS, SD-WANS, VPNs, radio frequencies (RFs) and much more.

You’ll find WNEs designing, installing, configuring, and maintaining wireless networks. They are well versed in maintaining and troubleshooting wireless systems after implementation. WNEs understand the impacts of industry standards (such as 802.11) and are able to recommend and implement best practices for the wireless networks they support.

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July 2020