“Ding!”

“Ding!”

It was my mobile phone, signaling that I either had a new email, text or voice mail message. As I grabbed the device out of my waist holster, riding the elevator up to the 7th floor, it rang.

“Ring-a-Ding!”

I pressed the green telephone icon on one of the many buttons on the device.

“Hello?”

After a brief moment of silence, I tried again. “Hello?”

A strange sexless voice said, “Try Hhsowk jpoitu – crackle – can you – crackle.” Then, the call failed. I took this opportunity to check the email, or text, or voice mail message alert. I pressed the menu button and it asks for my enterprise password. Let’s see, eight digits, alpha numeric, with at one capital letter and one number. I fiddled with the small Blackberry keyboard and right when I’m about to input the last numeric digit, the phone rang again. I pressed the green telephone icon.

“Ding!”

As the elevator doors opened to what I believed to be the 7th Floor, I absentmindedly walked out into the elevator lobby as I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I looked around and notice it’s not the 7th Floor. “Damn it!”

“Excuse me?” It was a familiar voice.

“Sorry, I got out at the wrong floor. Hang on.”

I turned and headed back into the elevator, but the doors have closed.  I pressed the up button on the wall, and raised the phone to my ear again, and said “What can I do for you?”

The man on the other end of the line clears his throat and in a monotone voice said, “I’ve received a Workstation Security Failure Report, again. Can you please take care of that, and then submit a new report confirming your compliance?”

I sighed. “What’s wrong with having my screensaver wait 20 minutes, instead of 10 minutes before asking for a password?”

“We’ve had this discussion before. 20 minutes is beyond the mandatory 10 minute limit for the proper security configuration of your laptop. This is to protect of the sensitive data that resides on it.”

“Ding!”

The elevator returned, and as the doors open, I rushed in.

“It’s stupid.” I said, flatly.

“It’s procedure and your opinion doesn’t matter.”
I sighed, again. “Gotcha.” I hung up the phone by pressing the red disconnect button.

“Ding!” A new text message icon appears.

In my attempt to retrieve it, the “smartphone” asked me for my password again.

Eight digits, alpha numeric, with at one capital letter and one number. I fiddled with the small Blackberry keyboard again, and right when I’m about to input the last numeric digit, the phone rang again. I pressed the green telephone icon.

“Ding!” The elevator stopped at my floor. The doors opened as I rose the phone to my ear. “Hello?”

“Hey – didn’t you get my text message?” It’s Roger. “We have a problem with a wireless camera that needs troubleshooting.”

I swiped my badge to enter the office, but it failed. I swiped it two more times before I hear the door lock release.

“Which one?” I ask, as I walk into the office.

“It’s Zone 6 again.”

I dropped my backpack at my cubicle and setup my laptop.

“I’ll check it out. Give me a minute.” I said, as the laptop boots up, I press the power button of the workstation and it hums to life.

“Okay. Let me know what you find.” I ended the call.

“Beep!”

My laptop asked for a hard drive password. I typed it in, but I mistype it. It asked again.

“Ding!” Another text message. I ignore it.

I retyped the laptop hard drive password, more carefully this time and it accepted it. The laptop then asked for a password to the second hard drive. I typed it in slowly.

It accepts it and continued the boot process, presenting a data encryption screen, asking for another password. I typed it in, slowly.

“Beep!”
Microsoft Windows began to finally boot up.

“Ding!” Another text message, but I ignore it.

Windows login screen appeared on my laptop, and at the same time the Windows login screen appeared on my desktop workstation.

I entered the password to login to my laptop, and the following message appears:

Your password will expire in 7 days. Would you like to change it now? Your new password must be different from any of the last six passwords you have used, contain at least one capital and one numeric value. Please enter a new password, or press OK to continue.

“Ding!” Another text message, but I ignore it.

I pressed OK to continue. I entered the password into the field for my desktop workstation and sit and watch as both machines launched Windows.

“Ring-a-Ding!” Another phone call, but I ignore it.

Once Windows completed launching on my desktop workstation, I launched the VPN client and enter the ID and password. I then launched the VMS software, in order to begin the process of troubleshooting, and enter the ID and password. Once the VMS software is loaded, I search for the cameras in Zone 6.

“Ding!” Another text message, but I ignore it.

All the cameras are down. I launched the Wireless Network Management Software (WNMS) and entered yet another ID and password. It failed. It took three times to guess the right combination.

“Bah-Beep!” It’s the “Low Battery” warning from my phone.

The WNMS presented all the meshes, and I dug through them to find Zone 6.

“Ring-a-Ding!” Another phone call, but I ignore it.

The WNMS presented Zone 6 as connected and healthy. I checked the RSSI from the portal to the two primary hops. The statistics show a -79 and a -81.

Something is off.

“Ding!” Another text message, but I ignore it.

I changed the frequency of the connections, moving to the other end of the spectrum, and after a moment of being offline, they reconnected. The new statistics showed -54 and -59. A bandwidth test presented a healthy 20Mbps transmitting and receiving.

“Ring-a-Ding!” Another phone call. It’s Roger. I connected the call and put him on speaker so I could continue to use both hands.

“Hey, Roger, hang on.” I minimized the WNMS and check the VMS. The cameras were back up and live.

“What did you find?” He asked. There is crackling on the line, but I’ve learned to understand “crackle.”

“It’s impossible to speculate at this time, without a thorough investigation, but if you want me to guess, I’d guess interference.” I stated.

“Interference? Interference from what?” He asked.

“It’s interference from other devices in the area using an overlapping frequency.” I sighed.

At that moment, my phone battery died and dropped the call. I looked at the black phone screen.

“Ah, yes…technology. Gotta love it.”

Welcome to the 21st Century.