How Wi-Fi Question of The Day Got Started with Lee Badman

by | Jun 11, 2018 | Blog

Lee Badman started the “Wi-Fi Question of the Day” as his way of giving back to the wireless LAN community. It’s been a great resource. In this interview, we’ll find out how it all started.


Keith Parsons:
Well, welcome to Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast and today I’m with Lee Badman. Lee, how are you doing?

Lee Badman:
I’m doing good Keith!

Keith Parsons:
One of the segments in our Wireless LAN Professionals Podcast we wanted to add was with you talking about Wi-Fi Question of the Day. It’s been very successful, so I thought I’d interview you and find out about where it came from? What is it doing and what are your plans for it in the future?

Lee Badman:
Wow, that’s a lot of questions. So, let me take it in order from what I can hear.

Keith Parsons:
So, I will ask you in short order as I was just kind of setting it up. First, who are you and where do you work? What do you do?

Lee Badman:
Well, I’m Lee Badman – a wireless network architect for Syracuse University and I’m a private consultant with my own little company. I’m a busy blogger, writer and an adjunct faculty at the University. I’m a dad and a husband and all of that, like you I try to stay busy. I was gonna say the spare time kind of all just blends into the other stuff and that’s okay, so I like it.

Keith Parsons:
Well, I’m impressed! You’ve done a lot. Your ham operators and your work visit to the city or a village, what you have back there?

Lee Badman:
I used to be the deputy mayor of our small village.

Keith Parsons:
Very successful and all of those I’m impressed. What was the impetus to start the Wi-Fi question?

Lee Badman:
Well, I want from being a Twitter skeptic to being a Twitter believer and that’s its own story. But once I got converted, I realized that there’s a lot of not so much social going on in this social network with Wireless people and I thought it would be nice to get people talking about it.

I think what I’m trying to say there is that I’m fumbling with people talking in a non-threatening way. Sharing opinions and all of that on one topic a day like a little mini networking thing. I kind of threw it out there and a couple of days in a row it’s stuck and people actually seem to like it and that was the impetus of it.

Keith Parsons:
What’s been extremely successful with hundreds and hundreds of responses? So, when do you do this Wi-Fi question?

Lee Badman:
I do it every day in the morning before I go to work, and even if I don’t go to work on the days off. I’m committed to it and I usually do it in Eastern Time somewhere around six o’clock in the morning.

Keith Parsons:
Yeah, that’s why I’m always so late. You’re like two hours ahead and I get up two hours after that but when I’m traveling internationally I get a chance to be one of the first who responds. So, 6 am is good.

Lee Badman:
It is kind of neat, I’m glad you brought the International thing up. It’s nice to see the answers roll across the planet because a lot of times, the European people are among the first who answers. If it’s a good question and they’re interested, then you kind of watch it rolls across the time zones as people wake up in the U.S. all the way through the day.

So, if it’s a good question and you get a lot of answers and a lot of people get involved, you really do get a sense for the time zone thing going on right before your eyes.

Keith Parsons:
What’s kind of a fun thing to watch? Is anyone curating this group and saving it somehow?

Lee Badman:
I know a couple of people have done different things with it because they showed me my stats and all of that on some documentation and some data gathering and I am very very methodical. On this, I know it’s going to sound bad but I just really haven’t cared so much other than knowing that a lot of people like it and that’s good enough for me. What I have seen from the statistics, it’s pretty fascinating.

I can’t say off the top of my head where those stats are being gathered and all of that but I know a couple of different people for whatever reason are tracking it. When they play it back to me it is utterly fascinating.

But I have absolutely no doubt that there’s been certainly hundreds of people… involved and just thousands and thousands of direct answers. Then, there are sub-conversations that have spun off, which is great.

So,  sometimes I go back to the comments when I have free time. If I ever get on them, I’ll take more interest and see just how far it’s gone. But I have absolutely no doubt that there’s been certainly hundreds of people for two years that have been involved and just thousands and thousands of direct answers. Then, there are sub-conversations that have spun off, which is great. So, it’s not a concrete answer but it’s the best I’ve got for that.

Keith Parsons:
So, what’s your process of coming up with all of these questions?

Lee Badman:
Well, that’s a great question in itself. I’m in different slack groups and every now and then on Twitter itself, I’ll remind people. I could use some help with this if you’ve got something you want to ask, I’ll be more than happy to channel it out there to the masses. So, I get some good input some weeks four out of five questions.

I ask actually from other people and I just have the challenge of shaping them, so they will be fit and make them a little better formatted than they came to me. It’s great when people send those my way because I have to think less about it. Other times, if I’ve got just a brain full I’ll schedule out a week or two in advance. I’ll cheat a little bit so they auto-post every morning and sometimes I just have a drought and it’s just the last minute that something will hit me while I’m getting ready to put my dogs outside in the morning and shower.

So it’s a combination of what did I see the day before that, that I can turn into a question. Or if I hear a lively conversation on some channel, I’ll shape it into my own question and play it out there to the world or take questions from other people.

Keith Parsons:
So, what’s your recommended way to contact you if someone has a question that they’d like to be added to the queue?

Lee Badman:
Well, for those who I share Slack groups and all of that, the relationships tend to be really informal and they’ll just say that would make a good Wi-Fi question. I’ll make note of it and try to work on it.

For people who don’t know me that well and I don’t cross paths within. On Twitter, I would say DM me and if you can’t because I don’t follow just say ‘hey follow me you knucklehead” so I can DM you and I’ll be more than happy to email. A lot of people know my email address is just basically any way that you know of to get to me with Twitter always as the last resort.

Keith Parsons:
And on Twitter you’re @wirednot?

Lee Badman:
@wirednot is the only handle I have.

Keith Parsons:
Very good! So, looking forward, what are your future plans for Wi-Fi Question?

Lee Badman:
Well, nothing formal kind of roll up. Nothing formally changing, no need to reinvent what’s working. Probably I’ll go until I’m exhausted from doing it, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Then when I finally get to that point maybe I’ll either retire it and go on on top as they say or see if somebody else wants a hand in doing it or more retool when the time comes.

But for right now as far as I can see, I just keep on doing it till the community loses its interest. It’s for the community. I won’t say I don’t get anything out of it but it’s as much for other people as it is for me and when the interest dries up, I’ll reevaluate.

I just keep on doing it till the community loses its interest. It’s for the community. I won’t say I don’t get anything out of it but it’s as much for other people as it is for me and when the interest dries up, I’ll reevaluate.

Keith Parsons:
Well, from my standpoint it’s one of those things I actually look forward to every morning. So, we’d like to see here moving forward on the podcast is to have a little subsection just a couple of minutes to have you go through.

When you come across a popular or controversial or highly interactive question to just record a little podcast, a little blurb about what the question was and what the answers were, can you do that for us?

Lee Badman:
Absolutely! Some are definitely more involved and better received than others because some of them kind of fall flat. But thankfully that’s not very often. So there’s no shortage of really active questions to talk about.

Keith Parsons:
And some of them I want to answer and some of them I don’t want to, but I guess that makes it a great question.

Lee Badman:
Yeah, I follow it.

Keith Parsons:
For a variety of reasons. Well, just a final question here –  if you could change anything in 802 11 protocol what would you change?

Lee Badman:
I would absolutely change the top of my list right this second. I would say it’s the way our SSI is shown across different clients instead of manufacturers having the freedom to write it any way they want.

So, I have two Vars and you have four but underneath it’s the same potentially the same signal. I think that’s pretty goofy and kind of creates a bunch of problems both for people who get Wireless and for people who don’t.

Keith Parsons:
I think that’s a very good answer. My first thought was why does the Wi-Fi Alliance didn’t lock things down a little more especially on the client side? I can understand why IEEE has so many options.

Last week, I was in DC with Wi-Fi NOW and the president CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance was presenting and during the Q&A, I asked a very simple question like when are you gonna test client roaming? And his answer was you’ll love this real soon now. But what I mean is in months, not in years. So it’s been about 15 years we haven’t had any client roaming testing so hopefully, within months we might get some.

Lee Badman:
It would be a good thing when it comes.

Keith Parsons:
We would like that. Well, Lee thank you for your time today and we’ll get this up and then we’re glad to be sharing more of your Wi-Fi queue little blurbs in the future. I appreciate your time.

Lee Badman:
My pleasure and thanks for having me.

Listen to the podcast episode on this link.


Lee BadmanLee Badman(@wirednot) is a network engineer and wireless technical lead for Syracuse University since 1998. He also teaches classes on networking, wireless network administration, and wireless security. He served for 10 years in the United States Air Force and is an Extra Class amateur radio operator