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Developing "Deploying License-Free Wireless Wide-Area Networks"

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Follow the path that led Jack Unger to write "Deploying License-Free Wireless Wide-Area Networks." Here, the author outlines the circumstances that inspired his book.
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Why I Wrote the Book

It was easy to make the decision to write Deploying License-Free Wireless Wide-Area Networks. I’ve been intrigued by wireless technology (wireless really is magic, you know) since I was 10 or 11 years old. As a child, my hobby - amateur radio - provided me with many opportunities to build and use wireless equipment. It also gave me an opportunity to "pick the brains" of the many other ham radio operators that I've met over the years.

You've probably heard people say that when life hands you a bunch of lemons, the best thing to do is to make a batch of lemonade. Many years after my first exposure to wireless, I was handed a bunch of "lemons" when, in 1993, I was laid off after working for 14 years in the telecommunications industry. I decided to "make a batch of lemonade," using the opportunity to start Wireless InfoNet – a license-free broadband wireless networking company. It was the best "lemonade" that I've ever tasted. Since 1993, I’ve been working with wireless for up to 15 hours a day but, for me, it really doesn’t feel like work because I’m doing something that I enjoy.

From 1993 until 1999, I designed, installed, and supported wireless WANs and then, one day, I realized several things.

  1. Every day, more and more people were becoming interested in designing and deploying their own outdoor, license-free wireless WANs. Some vendor marketing material was available but there was absolutely no hands-on, vendor-neutral book available to help people design, deploy, and maintain their wireless WANs.

  2. Most people entering the wireless field did not have a wireless background so they would need an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use book that explained the wireless principles behind the wireless WAN technology.

  3. People entering the wireless field did not have any hands-on wireless deployment experience so they would need chapter-by-chapter, how-to explanations about network architecture, site surveys, antenna systems, equipment selection, noise reduction, and so on.

  4. My technical writing experience was fairly substantial because during 7 of my 14 years in the telecommunications industry, I had worked full-time planning and writing hardware, software, and troubleshooting manuals. In addition, as a part-time contract technical writer in 2000 and 2001, I had written close to 100 Cisco IOS Release Notes for the various Cisco router product lines.

Suddenly, with a brilliant flash of insight and with remarkably little humility, I realized that I would be the very best person to write a vendor-neutral WAN deployment handbook for the broadband wireless industry. I quickly sat down and fired off an e-mail to Cisco Press asking for information about writing for them. After my initial Cisco Press e-mail inquiry I received a telephone call from Cisco Press asking if I would be interested in writing a wireless WAN book for them. After thinking about this idea for several milliseconds, I knew the answer was "Yes." In the two years following that telephone call I invested about 2000 hours planning, reviewing, writing, reviewing, revising, reviewing, reviewing, and reviewing my book until it was finally published in March 2003.

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