Strix triumphs over VLAN nightmare at VON Fall

by Guy Kewney | posted on 20 October 2004

The Gods look down and see someone doing a demo. "Quick! break it!" they say. Yesterday, Matt Holdredge of Strix Systems had to sit on a Voice Over Wireless panel at VON Fall 2004 in front of an audience of 5,000 angry WiFi users, and admit that he was responsible for the WiFi - which wasn't working.

Guy Kewney

"It was awkward," said Holdredge. "I had about a minute during the panel to explain what went wrong."

What went wrong was, definitely, not the wireless Mesh which Strix Systems created for the Boston show. That was working fine! - but it was useless, because nobody could see through the wireless LAN to the Internet. Why not?

"It turned out that we'd told the conference centre organisers that we'd have virtual LANs, VLANS, for voice and data," said Holdredge. "They interpreted this as a request for them to provide VLAN switching. As a result, we found a complex situation which took considerable time to dismantle."

The complex switching setup was provided by another show attendee, not the normal infrastructure in the conference hall; and it took till midnight on the first night for the new setup to be created, tested, and put in place. "But it was worth it," said Holdredge the next day. "We now have it working, and in fact, I'm talking to you on a Cisco WiFi phone over our Mesh right now."

The voice quality was flawless.

That fine mesh you got us into? Fixed? - You can discuss this article on our discussion board.