In a typical IT organization, the service desk takes incoming user support calls and determines whether the problem is an individual user or device issue or a broader network issue that might affect multiple users. The service desk itself is usually handles the individual user problems and escalates broader network issues to the network engineering or network operations team.

With wireless networks, most user complaints boil down to one of three observable problems:

‘‘I cannot connect to the wireless network.’’
‘‘The wireless network is slow.’’
‘‘My connection keeps dropping.’’

There are dozens of different potential root causes for any of these three symptoms. Many, if not most, of these problems are related to client device settings or authentication issues — issues that the service desk should be able to resolve quickly over the phone. Problems, such as issues with wireless controllers or APs or issues in wired infrastructure, require direct involvement from various teams within network engineering. Unfortunately, when the service desk does not have the tools and diagnostic capabilities to perform a first-level triage, most issues are escalated directly to network engineering. No one likes the result. Users are unhappy because their problems are not resolved quickly. The service desk staff becomes frustrated because they cannot do their jobs. Network engineers suffer because they are swamped with calls related to the wireless LAN (WLAN).

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