Case Studies

One-day Training for an Internet Service Provider

In 2012, a national Internet Service Provider (ISP) was expanding their Wi-Fi footprint.  The ISP had begun offering Wi-Fi service in public areas as both a value-add for existing customers and as a sign of good will to potential customers.  

As part of the ISP's Wi-Fi initiative, employees from a variety of departments needed to become familiar with Wi-Fi.  The enterprise Wi-Fi vendor responsible for deploying Wi-Fi access points (APs) and other Wi-Fi infrastructure equipment was tasked with educating the ISP's employees on Wi-Fi.

I contracted with the enterprise Wi-Fi vendor to create a one-day training curriculum for the ISP's employees who needed to be educated about Wi-Fi.

We began by creating an outline for the one-day Wi-Fi training session.  We focused our outline on information about Wi-Fi technology and standards because we knew that the ISPs employees were receiving training related to the Wi-Fi vendor's product in a separate session.  Our outline included three sections: WLAN fundamentals, security and troubleshooting (later changed to "monitoring").  I created an outline for approval by the Wi-Fi vendor, which is available for download.  (The report has been genericized to protect the privacy of the ISP and the Wi-Fi vendor.

Once the training outline was approved, I provided the Wi-Fi vendor with two options.  The quicker, less expensive option of creating a Powerpoint-based curriculum, or the more in-depth option of creating a more traditional book.  Time was of the essence for the ISP, so the Powerpoint-based option was decided upon.

The training curriculum was created with the idea of focusing on basic, relatable Wi-Fi concepts first, then sprinkling in technical information throughout the middle of the course.  

The latter sections of the training were lighter on technical information.  This was due to my experience teaching.  I have found that learning fatigue can set in, and that students often have difficulty retaining technical information that is taught in the latter hours of a training day.

A forty-seven slide training document was submitted to the Wi-Fi vendor for approval, and it is available for download.

The Powerpoint document followed an outline that was slightly different from the approved outline, as is often the case.  Both my project partner at the Wi-Fi vendor and I believe that "flow" matters when creating training material, and "flow" is something that can only be fully assessed once the final product is seem.  I included details about where the final product differed from the outline in an email to my partner at the Wi-Fi vendor.  

With the training curriculum approved, I traveled to the ISP's office to train employees who were working on the ISP's Wi-Fi initiative.  

Due to the size of the project, the ISP's employees were split into two groups.  I trained one group each day.  A representative of the Wi-Fi vendor sat in on each session in order to answer any vendor-related questions that came up.

I added a number of hands-on activities during the training sessions.  Employees of the ISP were led through the Wi-Fi settings and options on their personal Wi-Fi devices, which included cell phones and portable computers (laptops, tablets and touchbooks).  Some employees downloaded Wi-Fi apps to their devices, and the class went through an exercise of using smartphone-based apps to identify potential Wi-Fi congestion issues.  

In addition to hands-on activities, I also did brief demonstrations of enterprise-class Wi-Fi applications.  I used NetScout's suite of Wi-Fi applications, including AirMagnet Wi-Fi Analyzer and AirMagnet Spectrum XT.

According to my partner at the Wi-Fi vendor, the training sessions were a success.  The employees of the ISP enjoyed the training, and the ISP was able to cull information from the curriculum I created to improve the Wi-Fi knowledge of others, from project managers to field technicians and support.  

Today, the ISP's Wi-Fi service continues to use the same vendor that I contracted with five years ago.  Hundreds of thousands of the Wi-Fi vendor's APs have been deployed as part of the ISP's Wi-Fi network.  


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