WiFi network brought down by cordless phone

Wireless networking of offices is all the rage at the moment but when Auckland recycling company Paper Reclaim connected two sites with WiFi it encountered an unusual problem - portable phones interfered with the network.

Wireless networking of offices is all the rage at the moment but when Auckland recycling company Paper Reclaim connected two sites with WiFi it encountered an unusual problem - portable phones interfered with the network.

IT manager Peter Pinkham says it was something of a mystery as to why the network was experiencing drop outs.

"We have two sites with a repeater in between. At one of the sites we experienced these drop outs and nobody could work out why. The technician borrowed one of our portable phones and went up to have a look at the antenna and as a result when it went off it stopped the whole system."

The portable phones, which Paper Reclaim have been using for less than a year, work on a band close to that used by standard 802.11 WiFi and consequently cut across the WiFi signal.

"We use them in the workshop for the mechanics and engineers - we've only got the two of them."

Paper Reclaim uses Terminal Server over its WiFi network and when that goes down a large percentage of the office staff cannot continue working. Pinkham says the days of the manual process as back-up are long gone.

"Even the ones that you'd thought would never switch over to using a PC are totally reliant on it these days."

Pinkham is still working through the process to fix the issue - as an intermediate step the signal strength was boosted but that's only a short-term measure at best.

"It makes you wonder with all these wireless networks being promoted for office use - it sounds good but you've got to see if it works."

Auckland-based wireless communications specialists Chiliard is working with Paper Reclaim to solve the issue. No one from Chiliard was immediately available for comment.

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