Tom Barratt is one of our best Radio Communications Engineers and a vital part of the team. While working on his PhD, he also wrote the software to interface the first radio used at Blu Wireless, and since joining us full-time in 2017, he has continued to work closely with the radios. From testing wireless link and network performance to train connectivity deployments out in the field, Tom continues to successfully develop technology that thrives in the real world.
What are your core responsibilities?
Tom: A large portion of my work is around the overall network performance. The physical world can have a large impact on the radio performance which then impacts the link performance. For example, an object in the field can create reflections that interfere with wireless signals, so my job is to understand the environments in which our wireless links are deployed, the propagation effects on wireless links and how that then affects how the radio link adapts.
At Blu Wireless, there is no typical day in the office. I’ve done things from channel sounding to testing out the radios and kit, all the way to deploying test networks with our hardware for wireless backhaul. This means building the network, getting the kit running, seeing how everything performs and getting more radios working while being out in the field. We are now moving onto the next stage, which is building a bigger network, so more exciting challenges are to come!
What is it about your role that you enjoy the most?
Tom: At Blu Wireless, you get to do many different projects and work on a variety of tasks. I’ve been working on projects from channel measurement, hands-on field testing and site visits to then returning to the office and working out how to apply the knowledge I’ve gained out in the field. I really enjoy how quickly the job changes and you get to build up experience – the team has a vast amount of knowledge.
How has your career progressed at Blu Wireless? Have you experienced any changes of role?
Tom: Blu Wireless has been my first full time job since the PhD. My career has progressed by gaining knowledge in a variety of new areas, developing hobbies at home and using that knowledge to create test networks and really improving on my expertise in wireless and networking. Being a small company, you don’t do just one role and stick to it, you do many roles and get to become the company expert in that area. You take the skills you’ve got and apply them in slightly different areas.
How did you start out your career? What made you decide to join Blu Wireless?
Tom: I worked with Blu Wireless as part of the project I did for my PhD in Wireless Communications. The goal was to measure real world scenarios using an existing wireless antenna array; Blu Wireless had one of the these, so a project was created! The first challenge which was mutually beneficial was to bring the first radio up. My job was to write the software for it and get it communicating and working. That was my first project at Blu Wireless, then I moved on to channel measurements.
If you had to describe Blu Wireless in three words, what would these be?
Tom: Variety, Community, Innovation.
What do you like about working with the rest of the Blu Wireless team?
Tom: I like the opportunity to boost my skillset through hands-on experience and interacting with many different teams. It’s great to become the go-to guy in an area in the company and help everyone as a big team with a central goal. You really do get an opportunity to improve in various areas within the company.
What benefits do employees at Blu Wireless have?
Tom: We get fruit, cakes and snacks throughout the week. We also have a beer fridge for celebrations. You can play sports such as football, badminton and squash with the team. As we are working in Desklodge space, we get access to all the perks including great socials, quirky meeting rooms and fun events.
If you’re interested in joining us and find out more about what it’s like to work at Blu Wireless click here: https://bluwireless.co.uk/careers/