We got a lot of positive feedback from the community when we first published this blog. One of our good friends Nicolas Beucher, a veteran in the robotics space and lead on one of the most popular telepresence robot deployments, shared another common issue he has worked through and we wanted to make sure we passed it along!
Not Getting Network firewall permissions
When accessing commercial networks, IT firewalls can pose a serious barrier to a good connection. Nicolas shared that on some of the bigger robotics deployments he has done, the biggest challenge in connectivity is enabling wifi networks to correctly allow robot data through firewalls. Commonly IT departments won’t have the necessary ports open for the sake of security and often critical services can get blocked by a firewall. Nicolas did a lot of coordinating directly with IT departments and found that most of the time they are more than happy to help, you just have to speak their language. The principal concern with most IT departments is security which means they default to keeping all doors shut and only open them when they know precisely why they are needed and have clear direction on exactly what to open. Nicolas has had great success working with a myriad of different IT departments by developing a standard document to give to them that clearly communicates his exact needs. In his experience IT managers don’t read lots of text so he kept the format simple with the bottom line up front, bullet points and a clear layout.
Be like Nicolas! Get all your ducks in a row before talking to IT and make their job as easy as possible for them, use minimal text and highlight requirements in a bulleted format. Here is a list of the information that Nicolas would communicate to IT departments in his documentation:
- Router / Firewall configuration requirements and port forwarding
- Local Area Network Internet Protocol addressing requirements
- Inbound Traffic (Network Address Translation and Port Forwarding)
- List TCP ports and usage
- Outbound Traffic
- List client, TCP ports and usage
- Needed signal strength
- Signal to Noise ratio requirements
- Bandwidth needed
- Latency requirements