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Wireless Networking Networking

Old-school Wi-Fi Is Slowing Down Networks, Cisco Says 254

alphadogg writes "The early Wi-Fi standards that opened the world's eyes to wire-free networking are now holding back the newer, faster protocols that followed in their wake, Cisco Systems said. The IEEE 802.11 standard, now available in numerous versions with speeds up to 6.9Gbps and growing, still requires devices and access points to be compatible with technologies that date to the late 1990s. But those older standards — the once-popular 802.11b and an even slower spec from 1997 — aren't nearly as efficient as most Wi-Fi being sold today. As a result, Cisco thinks the 802.11 Working Group and the Wi-Fi Alliance should find a way to let some wireless gear leave those versions behind. Two Cisco engineers proposed that idea last week in a presentation at the working group's meeting in Los Angeles. The plan is aimed at making the best use of the 2.4GHz band, the smaller of two unlicensed frequency blocks where Wi-Fi operates."
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Old-school Wi-Fi Is Slowing Down Networks, Cisco Says

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  • by Kz ( 4332 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @05:46PM (#46094823) Homepage

    not only older houses, but also every solid house on places where the earth keeps moving.

  • by knarf ( 34928 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @06:08PM (#46095035) Homepage

    For everything that doesn't move, it should be wired anyway.

    Strange as it may sound to you there are actually reasons to have stationary things connect to the network through a wireless adapter. One good reason would be the simple fact that some of us live in areas where lightning plays havoc on infrastructure, especially telephone lines. If you connect to the 'net through ADSL you'll start seeing the wisdom of having as few wired connections between your modem and your network. While it is more or less impossible to protect the modem from a direct strike and usually inconvenient to protect the router, all other equipment should preferably be connected wirelessly or suffer the wrath of Thor.

    This is no idle talk, I have personally lost three modems, two routers, three Thinkpad T23 network adapters, one Intel SS4200 server network interface and one HP Jetdirect card to lightning strikes. The damage always came from the telephone line and was carried through the wired network to the victims. Nothing ever happened to any wireless device, ever.

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @07:23PM (#46095725)

    If I have a 802.11b print server on my network, it might work fine. However, when I get home with my new 802.11n laptop & want to get on the web at 50mbit, that obsolete device can slow down my Netflix streaming because it hogs the channel for longer while someone prints to it.

    More to the point, a single user in a public Wifi area (stadium, coffee house, etc) with 802.11b would cause EVERYONE to have a slower connection. Their device is now obsolete and should not be permitted on the network.

    Except, you fail to realize one point.

    802.11 devices on the same channel are all affected. Even if they are on separate networks.

    It doesn't matter that your 802.11n network is fast. If your neighbour has an 802.11b device on the same channel on their network/strong, your network slows down.

    802.11 has channel signalling that applies to everyone on the channel, regardless of the network. Everyone obeys it as cooperation gets you better throughput than interference.

    So even if your network is 802.11ac compliant, as long as someone within range is on the same frequency, your network will slow down to accommodate their network.

    It's also why early "G-only" networks were doomed - just because your network only allows G clients in, someone on the same frequency using B forces G to downgrade.

    Just because two users are on two different networks, doesn't mean they can't influence each other. It's a shared medium.

    So your neighbour who's very happy with their 802.11b printer will still force your fast 802.11ac or 802.11n network to slow down until you change the channel, or helpfully upgrade their equipment.

  • by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:02PM (#46096697)
    I returned my last Netgear and LinkSys units. It was the cheap Monoprice one that worked right out of the box. I have no bad experiences with *any* of their stuff. In general I find that the name brands are so furiously writing crap front ends and bloated install utilities so that complete morons can use them, they forgot to make the even slightly advanced features (i.e. gateway only mode) work properly. I prefer unbranded goods that dont need a DVD full of garbage to install them ("Uncheck this box if you *dont* want to link your router to your Facebook account, submit traffic reports to Netgear, and receive our twice daily newsletter").

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev