802.11 and the human ShielD
Though I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in wireless networking, I’ve completed a number of projects that required the deployment of wireless access points, bridges, and repeaters. I’m familiar with the setup and deployment of universal repeaters and the use of custom firmware such as DD-WRT. I’ve witnessed the effects of environmental factors from building materials, RF interference, proximity and elevation relative to connecting devices and also misaligned directional antenna and
broken connections in the antenna array.
What I had not seen before was something so obvious, it had never occurred to me: The affect of human bodies on wireless signal propagation. You often hear about studies which attempt to prove or disprove the effect that radio has on living tissue – hold your cell phone at least one inch from your ear (yeah, right).
In the midst of an important presentation, where the presenter was to use the wi-fi to put a presentation wireless signal all but disappeared. I had a technical issue with microphone feedback the previous year, so I was really not looking forward to any technical glitches. The technical failure resulted in a poor presentation which reflected poorly on our vendor. Something seemingly so easy to manage created an immediate crisis when it failed. I did not anticipate the need for a hot spare any more than I had foreseen the environmental effect of human bodies on wi-fi access.
Makes you think about where all that radio energy is going. Needless to say, there will be some high gain antenna arrays (and spares) available for 2014.
Now I just need to find an AV guy…