Cost Of Perfection

When asked, pretty much ANYBODY in IT can tell you what ROI means.  It’s the return on your investment.  What you get for what you put in.  When talking money, it’s really easy to calculate and most people are on board with that.  I am too.

What I want to discuss is the same idea but on a more general, abstract scale.  Last week at #MFD3 I spent some time with some pretty smart Wi-Fi folks and the topic turned to antennas and feedline, Polyphasers (that term was never used by the way) and other assorted instruments used in the day to day use of outdoor radio gear.  Sorry to rain on your parade, but all of this stuff was in use long before 802.11 was even a thing so the topic was applicable to all outdoor gear that is connected to a radio; whether the radio is outside or not wasn’t point.  What this is used for is when the antenna is mounted outdoors.

Disclaimer – I only can think of one scenario where the radio might be mounted outside and the antenna mounted inside, and none of my Wi-Fi peeps should ever do it. It’s a bad idea for 802.11 that I won’t even mention.

We talked about outdoor specific AP’s, AP’s designated as a “P” version as opposed to just a regular “E” types and all the other nerdy stuff that came along with it.  It was during this conversation that it started to dawn on me that we were fulling the age old adage that if you put 10 Wi-Fi professionals in a room and ask for a solution you will get 12 answers, and they are all acceptable.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an evening well spent and I fully enjoyed it.

As the group broke up, it made me start to ponder.  As an evening event, it was time well spent.  Had this happened to me during the day when I actually have other things to get done, I might not have the same attitude about how my time was spent.

Wi-Fi is designed to work when things aren’t awesome, and in most cases, that is what most people end up using on a day to day basis, my customers included.  Every time I look at my system I see all the faults in it, things I want to change and wish I could fix.  Other devices that now have AP’s imbedded in them, things that used to never have them in the past that are now causing problems.  What I discovered was that in my pursuit of perfection, I was chasing a dream that I was never going to reach, and driving me insane in the process.

I think at times, as a wireless professional, we chase perfection without any concern about being able to accept the good.  We worry about 1 dB loss here and a 5 degree difference there, but at what cost?  Does that 1 dB really make that big of a difference?  It might, and in some cases it could be the difference in making a solution work, but is that the only time you chase that 1 dB?  It might be time to pay attention to the work you do to try and achieve that last 1 dB to get from MCS 8 to MCS 9 when in the end, the only thing the client really needs to operate is MCS 5.

Remember, Wi-Fi is designed to work when conditions aren’t optimum, and sometimes, good is all we need to get there.

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