But $1,500 for 'misc network equipment'? Approved!

It's a couple years ago, and this IT pilot fish is getting set for a road trip. The purpose: Visit his company's 30 remote offices for a major networking upgrade.

"We were moving away from a T1-based MPLS network to a hardware-based VPN connection back to the corporate data center with actual direct Internet access," says fish. "I was replacing the network hardware at each location.

"And as long as I was going to be at each site, I thought it would be a good idea to install an inexpensive Wi-Fi access point for guests to get online, or enable our employees with iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices to access the Internet."

Fish's plan is to connect the access points to their own ports on the firewall, so security won't be a problem. And because the Internet connections are pretty fast, he figures they can easily spare the bandwidth to support mobile devices.

It sounds great -- until he brings it up to the CFO for approval.

I don't think it's worth spending $50 per office to put in Wi-Fi, he tells fish. Why would we even need that?

Fish admits he doesn't know for sure how the Wi-Fi would be used. But a year or two down the road, who knows what it may be needed for? And as long as fish is already going to be onsite, wouldn't it make sense to do this?

Nope, the CFO says -- we don't want to spend the money.

Reports fish, "Since then we have provided iPads -- the kind without cellular access -- to all our sales reps, and have installed an electronic logging system for our truck drivers that uses an Android tablet that needs a Wi-Fi Internet connection to report back to the service provider. We're also using the iPads for video meetings on a weekly basis.

"Good thing I snuck the Wi-Fi access points in anyhow..."

Sharky's always looking ahead -- mainly for true tales of IT life. So send me your stories at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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