The Things People Say During a Survey

The Things People Say During a Survey

By CWNP On 07/06/2011 - 29 Comments

I spent the better part of last week in the Southwest US with George “I eat Pad Thai every day” Stefanick (@wirelesssguru), doing a WLAN controller install, cutover, and validation. The good pleasure of post-install surveying belonged to me, and I had fun doing it. I got a bit of exercise and found myself often entertained—and occasionally frightened—by the office folk and their curious looks, comments, and questions.

Many onlookers scratched their head in complete confusion as to my purpose, while others were able to identify that I was up to the business of wireless, in one form or another. People say funny things at the office.

Confused Office Woman 1: What are you doing? M to the B: Checking for Wi-Fi coverage Confused Office Woman 1: Good. My cell phone hasn’t been working well lately.

Confused Office Woman 2: What are you doing? M to the B: Checking for Wi-Fi coverage Confused Office Woman 2: Oh, I don’t care about Wi-Fi. Can you fix the 3G coverage?

Clever Office Dude: Can you hear me now?

Curt Office Woman: What are you doing? M to the B: Checking for Wi-Fi coverage Curt Office Woman: The Wi-Fi is fine, but the Internet never works. You should focus on that.

Whispering Office Women: That guy looks dangerous…

Thinking out Loud: What are those things on your computer? Oh, USB… I see.

Paranoid Women: Are you a spy?

Paranoid and Suspicious Women: Are you spying on us? M to the B: Yes, I’m recording conversations around the office to discover unrest among the natives… (long pause) … I’m kidding.

Relieved: What are you doing? M to the B: Checking for Wi-Fi coverage Relieved: Am I covered? M to the B: Yes, it’s solid. Relieved: That’s great! Thanks!

Thinks He’s a Wireless Expert: What are you doing? M to the B: Checking for Wi-Fi coverage Thinks He’s a Wireless Expert: My computer shows low bars. M to the B: Oh really? Thinks He’s a Wireless Expert: Yeah. You’re walking around too fast. You should go slower. M to the B: I’ll take that into consideration. Cube Neighbor: Shut up, Thinks He’s a Wireless Expert! [To Me:]He’s an idiot, just ignore him.

And the grand prize winner… Giggling women: Are you scanning for elephants? M to the B: Yes.

My presence also stopped many guilty-looking whisper sessions between cube neighbors. Oh the things I would’ve heard, if only I tried. Many quizzical looks came my way, as if my USB adapters were microphones and my true intent was to uncover and report on salacious office scandals. I wish. Such a job would be much more fun than validating RF behavior.

I also narrowly escaped an office attack. For proper survey resolution, I had to enter some of the offices around the perimeter hall of the building. Being the courteous person that I am, I only entered empty offices, but one woman was standing nearby, poised to defend her territory. When I breached her office door, she made her way—with frightening haste—near. With a scowl that makes Bill Belichick look like a happy cherub, she sternly asked what I was doing. I prepared for an act of hostile removal and bludgeoning—as you might expect from a she-bear defending her young—but my explanation appeased her ferocity. This article is testament that I escaped unharmed.

After reporting my harrowing tales of office adventure to “I eat Pad Thai every day” Stefanick, we decided to standardize the survey response:

Office Person: What are you doing? Surveyor: Measuring radiation in the office … did you get the memo?

Tagged with: site survey, WLAN, humor

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Stuart White Says:
09/12/2011 at 05:19am
I calmly let them know I'm checking for asbestos, the soon leave the room and let me get on :)

Timothy Dennehy Says:
08/07/2011 at 18:20pm
I recall about 4 months ago, I was on a 10 foot ladder up in the ceiling doing an upgrade. Pulling out a Cisco 1230 and installing a new 3502, an office worker looked up and I could tell she was going to throw twenty questions at me.
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07/12/2011 at 09:39am
My personal favorite is to tell them I'm looking for extra terrestrial beings. Fun post!

07/06/2011 at 23:59pm
Other replies? "I'm fixing your Facebook, Twitter, Porn or you're doing".

07/06/2011 at 23:57pm
Brilliant! True Tales! It's also fun when surveying hospitals and the like. Especially when warning I will be surveying the Radiology and OB/GYN. Love the evil eye looks. With all the email and communication, it's surprising on those who still didn't get the memo.

07/06/2011 at 20:53pm
A little while back, an SE and I were in an a hotel together, and we wanted to know if Chanalyzer could identify a microwave oven. We went to the kitchen, and they were closing (it was midnight). We asked if we could heat up water in their microwave and take a look at it on our spectrum analyzer. The manager broke into song about how inappropriate it was for the water inspector to be there at midnight on a weekday, unannounced. It took us 10 minutes to calm him down enough to explain what a spectrum analyzer was, what we wanted, and why we wanted it. Oy.

07/06/2011 at 13:45pm
I used to do wireless installs in hotels. I remember the joys of trying to sight survey to make sure all the rooms were covered. If I did it early enough in the day most people were gone so I could just pop in and out real quick, but odds were I would run into at least one person who was simply ecstatic that I was putting wireless in and at least one who acted all paranoid and wouldn't let me in their room. And then there was the hotel room occupied by the individual who had been staying there for weeks and hadn't allowed housekeeping to come in to clean at all.

07/06/2011 at 13:24pm
That's a good laugh. Thanks Marcus. I'm sure many of us have been asked similar questions onsite, but scanning for elephants is hilarious....

Periola Ayodele Says:
07/06/2011 at 12:14pm
Yes, l am a total newbie to the WLAN network industry, i am intending to write the CWNA,l am just scared because everywhere l turn they say work experience, my big question is can achieving the CWNA give me a platform for having some work experience in this field which l love so much...

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