3 Myths About Wireless Careers
A lot of people think that wireless careers are pointless. Aren’t those jobs for network engineers? After all, up to this point, wireless networking has traditionally been the domain of network techs. That’s all changing, though. Wireless is becoming more complicated. On top of that, organizations are adopting new types of wireless technologies. Many businesses are integrating IoT devices, too.
These new wireless technologies and IoT devices require dedicated techs. This is a new knowledge domain for the IT industry. Wireless networking is no longer an extension of the networking domain. So, let’s clear this up.
1. 5G Is Only for Large Businesses
5G technologies are starting to make their way into businesses. We aren’t talking about your typical cell phone services either. 5G is much more than that.
There are a lot of different versions of 5G. The two versions that businesses are using are like Verizon’s Ultra Wideband and T-Mobile’s 5G service. However, there is a difference between the two.
T-Mobile’s 5G service runs at a lower frequency. This means that these types of 5G signals are great at penetrating buildings and other structures. On the other hand, Verizon’s Ultra Wideband 5G service runs on a very high frequency. This means this type of 5G service can carry a lot of data. Still, ultra-wide bands are easily blocked by any physical objects, including rain.
What does this mean for businesses?
5G technologies are becoming prominent in organizations with a large footprint, like factories or businesses that use many IoT devices.
Let’s look at a case example. Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest auto auctions in the United States. This enterprise is called Manheim Auto Auctions. Every week thousands of car dealerships flock here to replenish their used car inventory. As you can imagine, the Manheim Auto Auction covers a lot of ground.
How do you deploy wireless technologies at a business that has car lots the size of 30+ football fields? This is the perfect use case for 5G technologies. The Manheim Auto Auction can use low frequency and high frequency 5G technologies to track vehicles, provide frontline employees with data connectivity, power IoT devices, and more.
Other manufacturing businesses can use these technologies, too. For example, Pennsylvania is also home to one of the many New Holland farm equipment manufacturing plants. The New Holland plant has been upgrading the facility to streamline operations in recent years. This includes adding robots that can deliver equipment parts to various assembly line sections as needed.
The New Holland plant factory floor might be too noisy for traditional wireless networks like other manufacturing plants. For this use case, low-frequency 5G services are perfect for these conditions.
These are only two examples of where 5G services might be helpful in a business environment. There are many more, but it should be evident that wireless networking will be getting very exciting over the next decade.
2. Wireless Network Engineering Is Nothing But Math
Many people think that wireless networks involve more math than wired networking. Unfortunately, that can drive some potential wireless engineers away from a wireless career. Nothing could be further from the truth, though.
Wireless networking indeed includes a lot of numbers and math. Not only do you have traditional things like subnets, IP routing, etc.., but wireless engineers also need to worry about signal-to-noise ratio, signal strength, etc… Controlling that stuff is more of an art form than a science.
Here’s where wireless careers get fun.
For instance, though wireless networking integrates specialized security measures, like radius authentication, wireless networking can also include many traditional SecOps types of security. Here are some examples:
What if you don’t want someone to be able to grab the wireless signal inside your business? How do you handle that?
How do you connect two facilities across a large area of water wirelessly? What if there is a small island with a bunch of trees in the way? What if you need to maintain 1Gb per second bandwidth?
What if you have specialized machines that interfere with the 5Ghz wireless band?
How do you deploy an IoT device in the middle of a field where the closest power source is 2 miles away? How do you get data back to a facility that is equally as far, but you can’t use cell service?
Each of those issues has numerous valid solutions. This is where you get to stretch your IT creativity muscles.
Traditional wired networking is easy. Run your cables. Make sure they are less than 500ft long. Create your VLANs. Ensure your switch ports are up. And, you’re off to the races.
Wireless careers are full of weird edge cases like mentioned above, though. Each day is a fresh new problem to fix. Wireless careers never get boring.
3. Wireless Networking Jobs Are Disappearing
If someone tells you wireless careers are disappearing, immediately walk away. They are wrong. They are wrong. And, they are wrong!
Think about it. For the past two decades, the IT industry has progressed wireless technologies as fast as possible. We are getting new versions of WiFi 6 before the old ratifications are even finalized. As soon as 5G was a thing, businesses started using it. Board rooms even use wireless HDMI transmitters for their meetings.
My point is we are working as hard as possible in the IT industry to eliminate wires. Sure, there are still many cases where we need physical connections, but those use cases are slowly dwindling.
It’s not improbable that all of our edge connections will be completely wireless in the next twenty years. So, it makes sense to run cables externally to an internal network core and deploy network connections wirelessly to laptops and desktops where possible. There are so many positives to this kind of network architecture. Soon, wireless connectivity will be reliable and fast enough to make it possible, too.
Wireless careers are not going anywhere.
If you made it to this point of the article, there’s a good chance that you might be interested in a wireless career. Either that or you are really bored. Either way, you might be interested in some wireless online training courses – especially if you are bored.
For instance, if you are new to wireless networking, it might be a good time to learn how to build a wireless network for a business. There’s nothing better for the legs than a good site survey! They save on gym memberships, too.
Maybe InfoSec is more your style? Learn how to pentest online. Wireless pen testing is fun! Also, I miss the days of wardriving.
If you are more of a tinkerer, you will probably find IoT online classes the bee’s knees. IoT is a world of tinkering, imagination, and fun. IoT is a large domain, though. Online IoT classes are definitely a must for a wireless career.