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Time To Cut the Ethernet Cable?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the restructuring-the-edge dept.

Networking 496

coondoggie writes in with a Network World piece that begins "A range of companies with wireless LANs are discovering that 50% to 90% or more of Ethernet ports now go unused, because Wi-Fi has become so prevalent. They look at racks of unused switches, ports, Ethernet wall jacks, the cabling that connects them all, the yearly maintenance charges for unused switches, electrical charges, and cooling costs. So why not formally drop what many end users have already discarded — the Ethernet cable? 'There's definitely a right-sizing going on,' says Michael King, research director, mobile and wireless, for Gartner. 'By 2011, 70% of all net new ports will be wireless. People are saying, "we don't need to be spending so much on a wired infrastructure if no one is using it."' ... There is debate over whether WLANs, including the high-throughput 802.11n networks, will be able to deliver enough bandwidth." Cisco, which makes both wireless and wired gear, has a spokesman quoted calling this idea of right-sizing a "shortsighted message from a wireless-only provider. It's penny-wise and pound-foolish."

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I can think of a few (4, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786907)

- security
- bandwidth
- interference/reliability ... etc.

Re:I can think of a few (1, Redundant)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786969)

    Dammit, you beat me to the first post.

    At least we said the same thing. You said it in a few words. I said it in an essay. :)

Re:I can think of a few (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787225)

Screw you, imbecile, nobody cares that you had a formatted answer to an obviously shallow question.

Why don't you hang yourself with your ethernet cable instead of polluting us, grown-ups?

Your Ma told me how annoying you were while I was banging her (in the ass, only moron would find themselves in a position to transmit her genes). She especially complained about your dick (not Cheney, that is).

Please die *and* shut up (i.e. no testament, just peace and no more from your babbling).

Re:I can think of a few (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787273)

Holy crap dude!

Somehow, in your case, "don't feed the trolls" just doesn't say it...

Re:I can think of a few (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787401)

Umm, hello? Businesses downsizing their ethernet equipment requirements is a good thing. Means the market's going to get flooded with good, cheap gear that we're all going to buy because we're the kind of people who can be bothered to run cable all over our houses.

Re:I can think of a few (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787467)

WTF are you talking about? Your post is
a) Totally unrelated to the post that you are replying to and
b) Retarded.

Please get off my internet.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Interesting)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787035)


Because of security concerns my employer does not and will never have (that I can see) wireless access to the network.

It's just too large of a security risk when you have any sort of sensitive information floating around.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787175)

Wireless is great for end users and other "last yard" applications, but I don't see WiFi ever overtaking wired networks for anything else. Cables will always be faster (I'm comparing *tomorrow's* cables, with *tomorrow's* wired networks, so sit down and put your trousers back on) than WiFi, and far more reliable due to greater resilience against interference and other environmental factors. It also has a smaller attack surface area, so for security sensitive applications, the additional physical constraints may be a benefit.

Yes, I think that office floors and other last-hop from switch to user applications could become completely wireless, but let's not get carried away. Anyone who says "we don't need wired ethernet any more" is short sighted and simply trying to attract attention. Wired ethernet will always have a place trunking the WiFi hotspots and carrying bulk data.

Re:I can think of a few (1, Insightful)

pyite (140350) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787177)

Sure, if you know nothing about security. Why does everyone think wired is so secure? I would say well implemented wireless networks are more secure than the average wired network. This is because well implemented wireless networks have strong authentication (e.g. client side certificates) and encryption whereas most wired networks do not have these things.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787363)

Seriously? More Secure?

If you want to break in at a "physical" level between two wireless connections you just have to be sitting in radio range. Which may, or may not, even be in the same building. To break into a wired connection at the same level you'll have to attach some vampire clamps or whatever somewhere which means a physical break, physical access to the network.

as for client side certs there is nothing preventing wired from having this, and in fact a lot of secure installations do. Just because Wireless has some fancy WPA stuff that most people should enable doesn't make it more secure, if anything it's a nice warm blanket for people to have.

A Hardened Wireless connection will always be less secure then a Hardened Wired connection. One sends signals throughout the air one through a small cable.

Whew managed to do that without mentioning OSI once

Re:I can think of a few (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787489)

Whew managed to do that without mentioning OSI once

Well, almost...

Re:I can think of a few (4, Interesting)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787443)

Why does everyone think wired is so secure?

Because I can hook onto your wireless network from the car park.

Re:I can think of a few (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787525)

true but it's allot easier for me to prevent/notice/stop the guy in the wiring closet than the guy with a pringels can in his car in another parking lot.

Re:I can think of a few (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787331)

It is certainly possible(and easy) to implement wireless security wrong or not at all; but the notion that "wireless=fundamentally insecure" seems dubious at best.

After all, we generally trust encryption, in the form of SSL, VPNs, and the like to safely carry data across the public internet, a known cesspool of hostility and attackers. It isn't clear why it would be any less safe when dealing with the pool of possible attackers that exists within(assuming good antennas) a few kilometers of your site. Plus, since wireless is known to be vulnerable, people generally try to secure it. Unless your physical security is tight, I'll almost certainly have a much easier time sneaking in and plugging in than I will trying to break WPA or better. WEP absolutely blew, but the bad old days are (mostly) over.

Re:I can think of a few (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787057)

Yup. Where I work, we deal with a considerable amount of very sensitive information. There are, of course, ways to deal with that via encryption, but then again, I've got a few miles of network cable, so why would I go that much trouble?

Re:I can think of a few (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787069)


But if I'm on wireless, I can just turn my screen closer to me so those evil hackers can't see my credit card password! If I have a cable, I can't move! Therefore, wireless is far more secure.


What are you geeks talking about? I can get my emails and download the internets perfectly fine while I watch the teevee!


Oh yeah? What about cats? If my cat chews through the cable, then I'm out for a week while I wait for the cable guy to come fix it! That doesn't sound very reliable to me! Cats can't chew through the wireless!

And I thought you nerds were supposed to be smart!

Re:I can think of a few (1)

Seta (934439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787231)

I don't think they make sarcasm tags big enough for your post.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787243)

    You've just made a serious breech of Slashdot protocol. You shouldn't post AC, when your comment would be modded funny..

    As I'm sitting here, I'm getting comments from the peanut gallery.

    On the wireless Internets, there are no tubes, so there are no tubes to get clogged. Therefore wireless is muchly superior.

    Ahh, how I still love Senator Stevens and his amazing insight into the functionality of that there interwebtubenets.

Re:I can think of a few (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787115)


We tried ditching ethernet a couple years back, and boy, lemme tell ya - ever try transferring a 300 meg CADD render over Smoke Signal? It's not pretty.

Why should security be a reason? (1)

Browzer (17971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787337)

Bandwidth and interference/reliability are good enough reasons for me not to use WIFI when I don't have to.

But, just because "security" is not (or weakly) configured out of the box, and a lot of users don't bother to read and learn how to configure their wifi device, why should security be a one of those reason (assuming WPA and higher) not to use wifi? Is there a new flaw with WPA (and higher? Yes I know about the TKIP weakness.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Interesting)

lowen (10529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787349)


As CIO at a radio astronomical observatory with instruments receiving in the 2.3GHz band, I can say that we prohibit WiFi here completely. We went as far as running shielded Cat5e and Cat6, and building the data center into a screened room to reduce the RFI. Ferrite beads on all cabling going into and out of the data center are installed as well.

Wired Ethernet is the only thing working here.

Re:I can think of a few (3, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787483)

Let me be the first to say that you have a really cool job.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787387)

Just updated to Ubuntu 9.04 on the laptop. First thing that went wrong was the wireless card. Drivers gone and no connection. Wired ethernet on the other hand, worked flawlessly. No driver issues, no compatibility errors, nothing. It worked likely a keyboard. There's a lot to be said for the maturity of ethernet cables.

There's also a lot to be said for the reliability of cable, or rather, the unreliability of wireless. Yes, it is convienient to give devices wireless connections, but signal quality is a huge issue with location, time and simple randomness all coming into play in ways cable simply does not have trouble with. For me, a typical ping over wireless goes something like this (below numbers are made up from memory)

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=62 time=4.35 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=62 time=3.67 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=62 time=3.56 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=62 time=4.45 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=62 time=1500 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=62 time=3.02 ms

Whereas the equivilent wired ping times, for a device in the same room would be

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=62 time=1.35 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=62 time=1.37 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=62 time=1.56 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=62 time=1.05 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=62 time=1.41 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=62 time=1.02 ms

A wireless connection is a tradeoff of human convenience for machine efficiency. When it comes to web browsing, email and even watching youtube videos, it's more or less worthwhile for most users. However, when you get to things like voip, bittorrent and online games, wireless connections begin to sag under the weight of your demands.

Re:I can think of a few (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787449)

Why would you to post your IP addresses on Slashdot?!?! Everyone is going to hack into your network now!

Re:I can think of a few (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787537)

It's not even his IP address! It's mine!

Re:I can think of a few (3, Interesting)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787429)

A company I worked for tried cutting the cord and replacing everything with dumb terminal-like laptops, only to discover that the infrastructure couldn't handle so many simultaneous connections. It was a complete failure because the wireless density and capacity just could not support everyone going wireless.

Besides, what they forget to address is this thing called sunk cost. You've purchased that hardware and infrastructure. You're not going to get any $$$ by replacing everything with wireless anyway.

Re:I can think of a few more (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787491)

You forgot capacity.

Obviously cube farms can never go wireless due to density. There is no way, no how, you can simultaneously run hundreds of personnel at densities approaching one per square meter. Way too much interference.

So, just wire in more lower powered access points.

You will never run wireless faster than the copper line to its access point. The staggering labor cost of slowing down the LAN cannot be adsorbed. So, the obvious solution is to buy something like micro-access points that only have a range of perhaps 7 feet, you know, like a patch cable, and then install one in every single cube. Then the users can be wireless. Of course it takes exactly the same amount of CAT5 in the walls to run all those APs. And of course once the bean counters figure out you've replaced a $1.50 1000M patch cord with a $150 10 meg access point that only works when its not being interfered with, you'll be unemployed. But, have fun while it lasts!

wireless only? (5, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786913)

    What a pile of marketing crap.

    A network is tailored to the site and needs of the customer. Where they say 50% to 90% of a client's network ports are unused, does that mean that they've had users migrating from wired to wireless, or did they overpurchase on projected growth?

    Using this logic, oh my gosh, even my company must be going wireless. We have a few hundred unused 10baseT connections on our Catalyst 5500. Know why? Because we original projected them to be used for VoIP. When they finally settled on the VoIP provider, they insisted that we use their switches. We simply haven't pulled the extra cards, because we don't have blanks to fill the holes, and we can't find anyone in the office who would prefer to be on an 10Mb/s line, rather than a 100Mb/s line.

    WiFi is great and all. I'm on it right now as I write this. But, that doesn't mean it's the end all of networking. When I want true reliable speeds, I go to where there's a network jack, and plug in.

    At work, every desk is wired. There are AP's, but people use the wired jacks. Why? Because they appreciate the reliability. There's no random interference. No cell phone, microwave over, or transient event on another floor is going to disturb their connection. I appreciate that they use the wired connections. At any given point, I may have 4 or 5 users on wireless, and a few hundred devices on wired. I can wonder "are those wireless connections legitimate?" If a user has a problem, I'm looking at physical facts (is their cable plugged in. Did they damage the cable) rather than random environmental facts (Is there a thunderstorm? Did someone fire up a new yet not well shielded microwave two floors down?). I had to trace a wireless problem once, and it turned out to be a small portable radio in the corner of someone's office. It was turned off, but it was effectively blocking all RF for about 10 feet. Once I found it, I unplugged it, and the wireless problems there went away.

    Right now, I'm sitting at home, away from the office. There are a number of devices that are connected wirelessly. Why? Because I haven't run wires to the places that we may use it. The back porch, where I'm sitting right now, smoking and writing, doesn't have an ethernet drop. The PS3 doesn't have a drop, so it gets it's updates wirelessly. But every machine I depend on for work has an ethernet cable going to a Cisco Catalyst switch. Ask me why a connection goes weird on a wired port, and I can find the problem (it happens rarely, but ...) Ask me why my connection drops on the back porch and it's a little harder to find the answer.

    We had a problem on the back porch a while back. As it turned out, a neighbor just got DSL, and their AP was on the same channel as ours. Since I was closer to theirs, it interfered with the signal. I spend 20 minutes listening to channels to find the least used spectrum, and changed over. What happens when someone else comes up on that channel? I'll run out of channels eventually. But hey, it's ok, I can set up more AP's with more power, and drown them out. Then it's their problem, right?

Re:wireless only? (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787085)

No shit.

Upside of Wireless: no wire.

Downsides of Wireless:
- It is slower than Wired, unless you've somehow got an old 10-Mbit connection through the wall and an 802.11g AP in 30 feet of your location..
- It is inevitably more finicky than wired.
- It is inevitably more power-consumptive than wired.
- It is much more vulnerable to interference - and JUST ABOUT EVERY HOUSEHOLD DEVICE puts out interference. I get a lousier wireless signal (yeah, I have an 802.11g station in my house because I have a laptop and Wii to hook through it) whenever someone turns on the washer or dryer, or the microwave. In both spectra that 802.11 specs use, there are "cordless phones" and cell phones interfering as well. And like parent poster said, if someone else sets up an AP on the same channel you use, even more problems can result.

I ran a 100ft length of Cat6 from my gigabit switch upstairs, through the ductwork and into my living room, for a reason. Between the Xbox360, PS3, and my home DVR box, I'm not about to try to leave things to the unreliability of "wireless."

Re:wireless only? (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787123)

I'm not sure what companies he's been to but the ones I've seen use the crap out of wired networking.

I mean, my god, how big of a mess would it be to manage a 500 person company with 300 wireless users? I hard enough tracking down wired network gremlins...

No, I think those companies that he's talking about exist in the fantasy world inside his head.

Re:wireless only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787377)

You hard enough English.

Re:wireless only? (2, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787431)

The entire article can be summarized as follows:

"Buy wireless equipment now! Everyone else is doing it!"

Not time yet (5, Insightful)

Maclir (33773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786935)

Until I can get 1G bps that cannot be easily hacked into - wire has a future.

Re:Not time yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787103)

"Easily hacked into" is only true of WEP. Anything post-WPA with a long, random key is as secure as anything (since the sun will burn out before a brute force attack finds the key). But yeah, if you're copying large files around the network, even 802.11n is a poor substitute for gigabit ethernet.

Re:Not time yet (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787245)

That's not entirely the case. In a large operation you'll have to keep that key safe over tens or hundreds of users, many who will have devices they want to connect (illegally or not). How do you know the key hasn't leaked? You are of course right about the brute force attack, but there are other things to consider.

Re:Not time yet (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787403)

You'd be nuts to use pre-shared keys with more than a few users and devices. Any serious setup with use RADIUS or something, typically tied to the same LDAP backend that handles centralized login authentication and/or to smartcard certificates. That's a gigantic pile of complexity, and (sometimes vendor specific/proprietary) wrinkles and other horrors, which is why ordinary routers mean "WPA-PSK" when they say "WPA"; but it does address the "people writing the key on post-its and handing it out to visitors" problem.

Re:Not time yet (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787297)

We're not sure about that yet. WPA-AES is designed to be bulletproof, but WPA-TKIP is only a really good band-aid on a really bungled protocol. There have been only minor cracks in WPA-TKIP so far, but it's far from certain that it will stand up forever...

Re:Not time yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787549)

Remember: WEP means Wireless Equivalent.

Wire itself is not so sure everyone believes...
Think of some "cleaning personnel" or friend of a worker putting some computer/wireless device/whatever into an unused port one day (and removing it at end of shift/next day/...).
Or - more menacing - putting some small device that logs everything into the cable to the server or the companie's CEO computer (working as a bridge).

Sure, that's more easy to detect than a sniffer 3 blocks away, but who looks everyday that all ports that should be unused *are* and no "additional bridge" is in the network?

For really secure wire you'd need to encrypt all that goes over it, e.g. with SSL. Do you?

If you're paranoid or having a large installation you should use RADIUS anyway and then you can use VPN runnels if you really want for the wireless users :D

Re:Not time yet (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787497)

What the heck are using 1Gps for?! You can't be watching high def content on that wire! You can't be moving multi-GB files in a few minutes, not hours! Luddite!

Ethernet has a long, bright future ahead of it until wireless becomes more secure, less latent, and packs higher throughput. I ran CAT6 copper throughout my house just to do all the above things. Wireless? Just for the Internet connectivity for the lappy.

WTF is right-sizing? (4, Funny)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786943)

'There's definitely a right-sizing going on,' says Michael King, research director, mobile and wireless, for Gartner.

Unfortunately, his idiotic terminology renders his words inaudible to me. :-/

Re:WTF is right-sizing? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787427)

Right-sizing is usually the evolution of the word down-sizing on the euphemism treadmill: []

I guess the guy is just using it wrong.

What a bunch of Drivel.... (5, Insightful)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786951)

Wireless has it's pros, I have 3 laptops at home so all I use is 802.11n. But I can think of many reasons Ethernet will prevail.
  • Speed, I have yet to see wireless reliably hit 100mbps in any configuration. Sure some of the standards out there quote that speed but they must be in a clean room with no other radio interference or walls between them or their access point. Let's just forget about 1gbps+ speeds for now with Wireless
  • Security, even with the best security wireless has to offer, you're just a smidge more vulnerable than with Wired access. It may not be that much, but I've done work with the U.S. Millitary and I never recall seeing a WAP at a sensitive location...
  • Reliability, less noise on a wired line than a wireless connection, any time someone uses the wrong wireless phone and zap, your connection is zero....try that with a wire. For the love of god don't even think of putting a server on wireless...

That's what I've got now and I'm sure more is coming...

Re:What a bunch of Drivel.... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787135)

Wireless 802.11 is great when you have less than a handful of machines around the house within 50-100 ft of the access point. And less than a handful of access points around you. Wireless 802.11 is a really bad joke when you have tens of machines and tens of access points. Wireless is also a total joke speed-wise when you try to transfer large files between two wireless machines.

In a business, or a corporate environment, wired is the way to go with a few access points for the whiny upper-managements types and their laptops/notebooks/netbooks.

Re:What a bunch of Drivel.... (2, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787411)

> For the love of god don't even think of putting a server on wireless...

    Oddly enough, when 802.11g came out, we entertained the thought of adding new servers wirelessly. We were serious for the first ... umm ... 30 seconds. It would have been neat, and reduced cabling, but where we actually wanted them to work well, it wasn't an acceptable solution.

    I have put AP's in a rack before, but it was so I could fire up my laptop, and be assigned an IP. Sitting 6' from the rack, with clear line of sight, it wasn't really a good option, so we strung a cable from the closest switch to the workbench. Oh my gosh, like 20' of wire (to keep it out of the way). :)

Re:What a bunch of Drivel.... (2, Informative)

Fross (83754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787499)

I'll contest the security thing. Disclaimer: I work for a government agency and we're not allowed any wireless access either, for the same reason, but I'm not sure I agree.

Wireless networks automatically have an extra level of protection over wired networks, their authentication. Wired networks do not require authentication just to receive a connection in the same way. So this is a toss up between physical access and security. A wireless connection may be vulnerable to attack from someone on the floor below with a tin of pringles and lax enough sysadmins to not notice someone unusual in, but a wired attack is more vulnerable to someone socially engineering their entrance. Get connected to a port, and it's like you broke the access point already.

Suffice to say, both approaches have distinct vulnerabilities, and I'd not be comfortable to say one is definitely worse than the other. I think the security concerns around wifi are anecdotal, and the policies in place mostly due to the relevant organisations being monolithic and resistant to change.

What? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786959)

Yes, I'll give them that wifi is a great convenience, especially if you have multiple teenagers living in the house with their assorted laptops. It's perfect for web browsing and browsing the iTunes music store, but anyone who plays a lot of online games, or is simply a power user can tell you, nothing beats a wired connection to the matrix in terms of latency and data throughput. 802.11g (that's 90% of the market right) is still spotty with most consumer grade hardware beyond 20 feet. My netbook may never use it's eithernet port, but you can be damn sure my desktop is going to stay wired for the foreseeable future.

Re:What? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787037)

The big thing in new construction was "media rooms". Soon it will be home networking.

The current recession wont last forever and when it ends you will have homebuilders
building new houses again and trying to come up with low cost easy to add extras that
will pad their margins.

Home networking is PERFECT for that. You even see this already in some of the less
generic builders. You can get all sorts of crazy stuff and not just cat5/cat6.

Re:What? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787347)

Cat 5 is super easy to install. Most people I know who have lived in their homes for more than 5 years (and continue to plan living in them) have already wired their homes for cat5e in at least all of the bedrooms + kitchen, living room and home office. Most of the new homes in my area (Dallas) are usually sold with it installed already. Surround sound wiring at build time is still hard to find in the $350,000 range.

I develop wireless networks for a living (5, Insightful)

stevedcc (1000313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786961)

And as they say, people who know radio use wires.

Re:I develop wireless networks for a living (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787153)

Interesting quote.

Our company has got wireless laptop as standar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27786971)

And you know what ? Even if the wireless is availbale everywhere nobody use it as a standard. Firstly because you can't work 8h with a laptop without recharging it, so all coworker have a docking station. And instead of overusing the wireless, everybody from their docking station use a LAN port. Seeing how the room are open floor with 8 to 12 people, and wireless is a shared bandwidth it would also not be a good trade off. But if you are going to a meeting then it is OK for 1h or 2h. Even with desktop since that bandwidth is shared it would make no sense to go wireless only, especially if you already have the infrastructure and a FIX desktop. Just run a cable : not much cost.

Too much interference (2, Interesting)

A5un (586681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786977)

My own anecdote, everytime I'm doing heavy transfer with 802.11, my wireless keyboard and mouse get wonky. Mind you, this is with my HTPC and the keyboard and mouse(pad) is a bit far away, but they both work flawlessly as soon as I throw in good ol' ethernet cable to the HTPC. So yeah, wired ethernet will be here for a while.

No wire = big headache (5, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786983)

Ever seen a $150 brick before?

Try doing a firmware update on your router over wifi and you'll see why this proposal is a bad idea.

Re:No wire = big headache (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786997)

Heh, I learned that one the hard way :-)

Re:No wire = big headache (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787395)

You also need the backhaul capacity, setting up wireless-only repeaters really raises the congestion. I also find that if I want a wireless network device, often the best way to do it is to hook it up to a wired network that has a wireless access point.

Speed (4, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786991)

I'm guessing the bandwidth of wired connections will always be one step ahead of wireless. Since I regularly have to transfer multi-gigabyte files from network storage, I'll be sticking with whatever makes this process as fast as possible, thanks, even if that does disagree with the prognosis of these moronic "future trend" people.

Re:Speed (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787551)

I regularly have to transfer multi-gigabyte files from network storage

That's some fancy words for talking about watching porn on your TV.

Ethernet cabling at home (1)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | more than 5 years ago | (#27786999)

At home, I have 2 desktop computers. I have a wireless router that came with my ISP, but I shut the wireless functionality down, and connect directly to the ethernet ports.

If I had a laptop, I might want to sit on the couch and compute, but I wonder what the bandwidth difference between wireless and cabled? I've used wireless and it seems zippy, but I've never done any serious downloading with it.

Also, I'm on the fence about whether it's better security wise to close off your wireless router entirely as I have done, or open it up entirely so that any activity traceable to your ISP account will be attributable to anybody who happened to warjam the signal. I don't do anything much that's illegal, but if I did, I'd definately want plausable deniability. Would have to get a laptop and warjam my own signal, or better yet someone elses.

Re:Ethernet cabling at home (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787151)

If I had a laptop, I might want to sit on the couch and compute, but I wonder what the bandwidth difference between wireless and cabled? I've used wireless and it seems zippy, but I've never done any serious downloading with it.

downloading something to or from from another PC on the lan? massive differences.
downloading something to or from the internet? virtually no difference, the internet is the bottleneck.

Re:Ethernet cabling at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787285)

Just keep it locked down until you plan on doing something illegal. It's not like the ISP or the police keep listings of who maintains an open AP. As long as you have an open AP when they come knocking (with a cleared-out log), nobody will be the wiser. (Not that the plausible deniability is going to be that much of a defence when they've confiscated all your computer equipment.

Re:Ethernet cabling at home (2, Informative)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787315)

If I had a laptop, I might want to sit on the couch and compute, but I wonder what the bandwidth difference between wireless and cabled? I've used wireless and it seems zippy, but I've never done any serious downloading with it.

In my experience transferring large files over the network, wired transfers at about 10 MB/sec (100 Mbit connection), vs about 2.5-3 MB/sec using the 802.11g wireless connection. My rule of thumb at home is if I'm doing light browsing on my laptop and want to be mobile, I just wifi it. If I need to do some serious data transferring it's wired all the way.

practical limits? (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787007)

802.11N is awesome. It's faster than 100Mb ethernet even in real world tests. But does it scale well even in dense office buildings? In a cube-farm scenario, where there are computers every five meters in every direction in 3D space, is it really possible to get 100Mb speed?

Security isn't there yet, either. Someone in the parking lot could still put up an access point which advertises itself as being part of your company network, and your users will connect to it. Doing it right is possible in theory (configure computers such that they will only connect to APs which have certificates issued by your company's PKI) but Windows doesn't allow you to lock down wireless in such a way.

Re:practical limits? (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787277)

And while you can have hundreds of parallel Gbit/sec cables running through the same building, each running at maximum speed, you can not have hundreds of parallel 802.11n-accesspoint each reaching maximum throughput at the same time.

Power consumption: wired vs wifi (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787017)

I may be mistaken, but doesn't a system use less power on a wired network than on a wifi? That could make a good argument for keeping the wired networks around (along with the usual of course).

Re:Power consumption: wired vs wifi (1)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787063)

It would be nice if laptops could power down the wifi port after a period of non-use.

Re:Power consumption: wired vs wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787195)

I have a Windows XP laptop that does power down the wireless port every minute. Even when it's fully in use. 10 seconds after each shutdown there is a friendly balloon in the bottom right corner informing me that a new wireless device has been found. This is all with 5/5 signal strength. I the end I pulled some more cat5.

Not a bloody chance (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787027)

As has already been said: Security, Bandwidth, and of course the obvious advantages of CSMS/CD over CSMA/CA.

Re:Not a bloody chance (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787075)

Dammit. I hate this keyboard. It should have been "CSMA/CD" But you all already knew that.

What a great idea! (4, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787039)

I've already.#¼#éÃdj $Ã{sdNO CARRIER

Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787041)

Even if you have an unbreakable wireless network, I could still kill it by disrupting it. Wouldn't take much either.

I can't wait to throw the wires out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787043)

and replace them all with a mesh point-to-point selfguiding laser network.

I'll go first! (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787053)

I agree, i'm cutting mine n

More Advertising (0, Offtopic)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787067)

'There's definitely a right-sizing going on,' says Michael King, research director, mobile and wireless, for Gartner.

Why must we endure advertising on here ?
There are so many reasons for Wireless to be a "Convenience" over a
practical default it boggles the mind. I miss the good old days before the hype
got the better or preogress....

VoIP (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787073)

I work for a company that has a fully integrated VoIP infrastructure, providing PoE enabled phones that jump to the desktop. We have no wireless to speak of either with no plans for a widespread implementation. I know you can go wireless with your phones, but do I really want to worry about a bunch of cordless phones?

Wireless definitely has a future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787083)

One of the best uses of a wireless router is to have it set up without a password in such a way that 1) it doesn't have actual internet access, and 2) every URL that's loaded via all possible domains leads to an offensive image hosted on your old box that was about to go to the dumpster.

Other than that, I'm not really sure what other people are using it for.

Can I have your switches, then? (1)

jpedlow (1154099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787087)

Ok, when some vendor has a wireless router that can give each one of my workstations 1Gb/s, then we'll talk. But there's something to be said about having an INDIVIDUAL connection to each workstation, so we dont have to divide the total available bandwidth among our workstations. Also, even if we divided our workstations into the available wireless channels, we'd still have problems with bandwidth and interference. Oh, and interference? Turns out, the workplace I manage has cordless phones, microwaves, steel walls, concrete walls. I'd be really stoked to see a router that could reliably get through all of that for enterprise use.

Hassle Free WiFi! (1)

supernatendo (1523947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787133)

Sure! Get rid of Ethernet already and good riddance! Also don't waste money on any infrastructure that does anything more than WEP. Anything above WEP is just an over-priced feature. Especially since all of your employee's with laptops know the WPA2 Password anyways, and they are GREAT at keeping secrets! Oh and your controller simply relies on the registration of the MAC address and only people with no life know how to spoof those...

Once you are totally wireless your network will be more advanced than the Pentagon! They are so old-school that they are still using physical cabling! Fiber optics yes but that is so 2005! Plus it is still such a hassle to have to plug in every single time! They wasted all of that tax-payer money when they couldve stuck with ethernet or just went WPA2 Wireless... Instead they keep muttering something about ethernet EMF emmissions or some such nonesense. Maybe they will finally become technologically savvy and switch to wireless too now that the stupid redneck Bush is out of office!

50-90% of hubs were probably unused pre Wifi (2, Insightful)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787137)

Think about it, most people tend to build large when building their networks to start. Or "Let's see we have a 4 port router for $x or an 8 port router for $x + $50, why don't we just buy the 8 port router and not have to come back later for another one as my network has only been growing?" I don't think WiFi changed this to any large extend as WiFi really has only liberated the laptops which never used many network jacks in the pre-wifi days to begin with...

In conclusion I don't think that the advent of WiFi has anything to do with the loss of Network Jacks. If the jacks are looking emptier than before I'd think along the lines of:

  • You can do more with fewer servers these days, fewer network plugs in new organizations due to fewer servers
  • Employees tend to work at home more often now, eliminating the need for as many workstations
  • Your Employees may tend to have laptops, which even in the pre wifi Days weren't plugged in much to the network anyways (Modems or Floppy disks were the norm)

And besides, who really cares how many jacks are open in your network....maybe you can disconnect a router or 2 and consolidate, save a watt or 2 of power at best.

Or use all the 'empty' jacks to get rid of phone (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787481)

My company got rid of their old analog phone system, and all the physical plant that required, by switching to Cisco IP phones. The network uses power-over-ethernet tech to power the phones, and the cisco switches and routers they use provide Quality of Service that makes sure the phone audio quality is superb. You can do phones over WiFi, but, cell phones are a better solution most of the time, so why bother?

Plus, IP phones often offer a lot of features/services that aren't available (or are more expensive) with analog phone systems (like, for example, on our Cisco phones, I can lookup the phone number of anyone in the company by doing a name search in our Active Directory, right from the phone, then can have the phone dial the number automatically by selecting the name from the list on the LCD). Even if you have a separate digital network for phones, why bother having it separate (ok, well, if you already paid for it, it probably doesn't make sense to rip it out and buy IP phones, but I don't think it probably makes sense, nowadays, to have separate phone and data networks, if you are doing new installs)?

WHAT? (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787139)

I know that a bunch of people are going to say "WTF" and all that, and I have to add my $.02 worth.

What a CROCK of shit. While wireless is great for "casual" surfing and such, I sure wouldn't want it for anything other than that. And from experience, Wireless starts to really drop functionality as the number of users on the WAP goes up. More than about 5 or 10 devices being used on a WAP is just about useless (depending on usage). You might as well be on dialup at that point.

I run into this kind of thinking all the time, and it drives me nuts. We have a guy throwing all sorts of wireless out on our campuses, and it sits mostly unused. And the wireless that IS used is almost useless because so many people are trying to use it at once it is slower old 10base hubs.

Don't get me wrong, wireless has its place. My house is wireless, and I also have wired connections. I just wired my in-laws house (two computer household) because wireless was too slow for them and their needs. They now have gig wire network AND wireless in their house.

Don't get me wrong, wireless has its place, as does wired lans. One has to know the needs, and design and engineer a system that suits the needs of those that are using it.

Shared, not Switched (4, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787141)

Wireless only runs in half duplex. That's reason enough to use wired.

Re:Shared, not Switched (3, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787407)

Not only half duplex, but as you say in your post title (not the text), the resources are shared between all users within a physical area. Aggregate throughput drops quickly as the number of users on a WLAN increases.

If we replaced our copper connections with WLAN at my company, the network would become effectively useless. Too many users.

Another way to think of it is: For a typical user, even a 100Base-T wire to a switch will match even the latest and greatest MIMO high speed implementations (advertised 270-300, but in reality you'll be lucky to see 100 Mbps real world in a single direction).

Once you go above 2-3 users, the switch connections win hands-down.

Add gigabit into the mix (cheap nowadays) and wired wins by an even greater margin.

Re:Shared, not Switched (0)

Ximok (650049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787541)

Not only does it run in half duplex, but it can ONLY run in half duplex. No two hosts can transmit at once on the same frequency. EVER. The only way potentially get around this would be to use multiple non-overlapping frequencies, one for transmit and one for receive for each host. When I say the same frequency, it doesn't matter if you are using frequency hopping (shell game), you can't be using the same frequency as someone else transmitting at the same time.

Wireless is a technology of convenience, not a replacement for wired networks.

And yes, I am a Ham.

You funny Dr Jones (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787145)

If you're an apartment dweller such as myself, you can forget about WiFi. The airspace is too crowded on all channels (1-11) which leaves me with dropped packets and a short range. Oh, and I have periods of total disconnect when my neighbor decides to use his/her circa 1980s microwave.

Solution? I just run CAT5 along the floor baseboard from the router to my PC and PS3.

One word: (2, Insightful)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787167)


Re:One word: (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787299)

All the hotels I was visiting recently had Wireless.

At home, I'll stick with wires (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787185)

I had just bought all the materials I need to wire my house up with cat6 and a gigabit switch, because I'm tired of getting kicked off of xboxlive when my wife decides to stream music over our shared wireless connection...

99% of the railroad tracks are unoccupied! (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787221)

It is like the brand spanking new Harvard MBA starting to work for a railroad discovering, to his utter horror, that all the rolling stock in the railroad adds up to just 1/100 th of the track owned by the company. He smartly addresses the over inventory problem by tearing up and selling for scrap all the excess track!

Wireless electronics is like pipeless plumbing (1)

MpVpRb (1423381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787237)

It works OK, and sometimes a little less than OK.

If you REALLY need wireless, you put up with the limitations.

But wired is always better.

I see absolutely no reason for wireless where a computer sits on one desk all day. In that case, wired is better. If it is constantly on the move, wireless is necessary.

Gartner (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787351)

It's from Gartner, so it's not true.

I don't know if it's always the case, but the score is becoming increasingly worse. That maybe because I just see the "interesting" media releases from Gartner.

But basically if I ever meet someone from Gartner that says I have to move right, you'll probably see me go straight, because I don't even trust them enough to predict I have to change direction.

Until they (1)

kannibul (534777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787365)

Until they figure out how to implement Wireless PoE for VoIP Phone Systems...I don't see why anyone could say that wireless will replace copper.

gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787381)

wired gaming = 90ms ping
wireless gaming 400ms ping

wireless has some work to do just yet.

Wireless is only fine for casual use. PERIOD! (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787383)

This guy is a moron who's merely attempting to shill his crap.

As others have already said.

Wireless fails in a comparison of throughput.
Wireless fails in a comparison of security.
Wireless fails in a comparison of susceptibility to interference.

If you're just sending e-mail and browsing por^H^H^the web, wireless is fine.

If you're trying to maintain a sustained connection for things like database traffic, or a VPN connection, and being kicked in the balls by someone with electrified spiked boots is preferable.

I am on a wifi-only network, and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27787389)

... I keep on pushing the powers that be to give me a cable, dammit. High packetloss, low availability is not my idea of a good uplink. And I'm not even in a developing country!

where's the bandwidth going to come from (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787423)

"A range of companies with wireless LANs are discovering that 50% to 90% or more of Ethernet ports now go unused, because Wi-Fi has become so prevalent"

What happens when everyone moves to Wi-Fi and we end up with spectrum congestion []

When wireless becomes standard on desktop PCs (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787445)

This will only make sense when wireless becomes a standard throw-in option on Desktop PCs, the kind corporations order by the hundred from Dell or HP.

Right now you're getting the on-board ethernet jack for (practically) nothing, and it's got one nice standard interface means plug-and-play is as easy as it gets. Compare DHCP to the wild and unpredictable mix of channels, SSIDs, WPA codes, and connection managers that wireless networking require and you'll see why corporate IT departments just don't want the headache associated with supporting wireless.

If you know what GINA.DLL is and why Netgear sucks, then you'll appreciate why Ethernet will be around for a long time to come.

Not entirely thought through (1)

zigfreed (1441541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787469)

I question whether author buys batteries. One cable is typically cheaper than 8 AA batteries.

I agree with Cisco, this is marketing trash talk (1)

ljaszcza (741803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787473)

In our business, wired predominates, we use gigabit ethernet for a bunch of reasons. 1) Reliability: We are in a old building, lots of steel and concrete. WiFi is a lot less reliable and a lot slower. I do use WiFi in places where we have mobile carts or where wire is hard to pull but WiFi remains a hassle. I see occasional dropouts, I have to put in and maintain multiple APs to cover poor signal regions. 2)Speed: We send many large files (medical images) during the work day. Gigabit wire handles these well, WiFi tends to choke. 3. Cost: Gigabit ethernet is built into every system/mobo, wireless is not. The concept of installing/maintaining all these APs and wireless cards is daunting in terms of my time and budget. Anyhow, this is just marketing spew from a marketing guy as far as I see. WiFi is complementary to our wired network, certainly not a replacement. I don't really see this changing in the next 2 years (2011) as quoted. Unless an outrageous new wireless tech comes out and is build into all business mobos/systems, in 2011 we will probably continue running predominantly wired ethernet.

Not sure how reliable wireless will be (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787509)

Once the solar cycle hits it's next phase.

People make their decisions based on what they see today and over the last few years.

Cycles longer than 20 years tend to blind side them.

Right now activity is so low that radio is breaking down (nothing to bounce off of).
But in the future, activity will be much higher and interfere in the other direction.

Really? (2, Interesting)

beaststwo (806402) | more than 5 years ago | (#27787573)

WiFi is a great way to invite people into your systems that you wouldn't let in your front (or back) door! I prefer to use at least as much access control to my network as I do to my home...
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