If it ain't broke, we'll be there right away!

This pilot fish is the one-man IT department for a small communications distributor whose specialty is wireless broadband. And his company eats its own dog food: Its link to the Internet is a 6Mbit/sec. wireless connection.

"It costs less than most folks would pay for a T1 line," fish says. "Great speed, high reliability and economy, and it lends credibility to us as we use the equipment we sell.

"Since we use the equipment, we can also answer customer questions about the best ways to use and set this stuff up. Our customers provide Internet access, VoIP, even cable TV over wireless equipment we sell to much of the rural U.S."

Flash forward a few years: Fish's company is bought by a bigger competitor that wants to get deeper into wireless broadband. VPNs are set up and the companies' networks are integrated. For 18 months, everything is fine: The VPNs are never down and everyone is happy with the speed between the networks.

Then one day fish gets a call from IT at the main office. Fish knows this guy is sharp when it comes to networking -- but he's got no clue when it comes to either wireless or saving money.

"There will be a tech coming to install a T1 for you," main office guy tells fish.

Why? asks fish. I don't need or want a T1.

"It's an upgrade," main office says cheerfully.

How? fish asks.

"Well, it's a T1," main office says. "You'll have a full 1.5Mbit/sec. in bandwidth!"

As opposed to the 6Mbit/sec. I have now for a lot less than that T1 will cost? asks fish.


"Epilogue: I now have one T1 installed and terminated over 100 feet from the server room, doing nothing but costing money as I have not received the equipment to interface it to our network yet," sighs fish.

"That isn't fast enough, so a second is scheduled to be installed. Yes, you read that right: The T1 that is not connected to anything is not fast enough so a second T1 has been ordered. I wonder if that will make things any faster?

"We are going to be allowed to keep the wireless connection for credibility's sake and as a backup to the T1.

"And they wonder why I'm going gray and grouchy."

Help keep Sharky from going gray too. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. I'll send you a smile-inducing Shark shirt if I use it.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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