Saturday, March 18, 2006

VPNs, VoIP, Wireless - exciting times

Honeymoon in progress
It's the end of my first week of what I affectionately call my "honeymoon", the two weeks before my surgery that my oncologists predicted would be a time when I felt good. They were right. All the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy have dissipated and I feel absolutely fantastic. It's a good thing too because these final two weeks before I go on medical leave are extremely busy and exciting for IT and Pano Cap.

Wireless Upgrades
We have a number of IT projects underway that are progressing at a good pace. As of Friday, we have installed the wireless access points and antennas required for our wireless warehouse project. Before I left for the weekend, I was able to detect the wireless access points from my notebook computer. Next week, we'll complete our data network upgrades, installation of new routers and switches.

Exchange synchronizing
We don't have a lot of wireless computing devices in place yet, but there are a few notebook computers and Windows mobile devices. Once the wireless is ready, we'll be able to add a utility service to the Exchange server so that our wireless computing devices can synchronize their Outlook data anywhere in the facility. It might not sound like a big deal, but it means management of projects and their associated task lists, email, meeting arrangements, etc - all this can be coordinated and updated from anywhere those with mobile devices happen to be in the building.

In April, when I'm down and out, the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) project will be underway. I should be able to return to VoIP phones on desktops and testing almost complete. I'm not thrilled about telephony now being another IT management responsibility, but it will rationalize our resources and make phones just another managed service. All features of our phone system will then be available from an browser interface, making adding, removing, moving phones, redirecting calls and other assorted telephony tasks much simpler.

We've had a virtual private network tunnel set up for quite a while now with one of our major customers. Unfortunately, the connections keep getting dropped. This next week, we'll be spending considerable energy and time ensuring those dropped connections are diagnosed and fixed...crossing my fingers.

All in all, another good week with lots of good things to look forward to in IT!

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