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iPhone Unfairly Blamed For Network Hiccups

Along with Investor's Business Daily, the Associated Press, and several dozen other journalists, I got suckered late last week by reports that the Wi-Fi network at Duke University had been overwhelmed by iPhones automatically seeking an Internet connection. Turns out that the problem lay not in the iPhone but
July 23, 2007
Along with Investor's Business Daily, the Associated Press, and several dozen other journalists, I got suckered late last week by reports that the Wi-Fi network at Duke University had been overwhelmed by iPhones automatically seeking an Internet connection. Turns out that the problem lay not in the iPhone but in the network itself. Late on Friday (after our print edition had shipped), Duke posted a statement on its Web site saying that "A particular set of conditions made the Duke wireless network experience some minor and temporary disruptions in service."Oops. The problem (which, it must be said, wasn't that huge to begin with) apparently specifically had to do with Duke's deployment of a "very large" network based on Cisco infrastructure. "Cisco has provided a fix that has been applied to Duke's network and the problem has not occurred since," the networking company said in a written statement.

What's interesting here (assuming that my editor doesn't fire me for reporting this as fact, which would be really interesting) is that the story spread so quickly and got so much attention, considering it was essentially a series of minor network outages. The reason? It was the iPhone, of course, and anything iPhone-related -- particularly related in a potentially negative way -- is big news in the tech-business world.

My larger point -- that IT managers should be prepared for the iPhone phenomena and should make the appropriate adjustments to their wireless networks and to their mobile-device deployments -- still stands. I just wish I'd found an example that was actually true.