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Has 2.4 GHz Reached Maximum Capacity?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the could-be-on-the-news-like-pollen-count dept.

Wireless Networking 250

An anonymous reader writes "There's been a lot of talk lately about the concept of Personal Area Networks. At CES Intel and Connectify both released software that turns Windows laptops into Access Points for file transfers, wirelessly syncing pictures from cameras, and Internet sharing. This is good, maybe great, if you're a road warrior, but what about the rest of us holed up in apartment buildings and small neighborhoods? We already have to deal with the wireless chatter of the 50 or so other Linksys routers in the vicinity. What will happen when every laptop also acts as a software router? To add fuel to the fire, Intel and Netgear also announced the Push2TV device that allows you to stream your display, including Netflix videos straight to your television. Isn't this going to kill lower powered 2.4 GHz devices, like Bluetooth mice and headsets? When does the 2.4 GHz band collapse completely? Why can't we push all this short range, high bandwidth stuff onto 5 GHz?"

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Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924626)

Becuase your touch yourself at night.

Re:Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924914)

I'd rather touch yo mama. She's into fisting, both anal and vaginal. On the plus side, she's so loose i last a long time fucking her. Yo mama's a slut. And macs are for fags, thats why they have to post another stupid rumor about a goddamned tablet that nobody wants every 4 hours on slashdot.

your router is yelling and you dont even know it! (3, Interesting)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924712)

Pretty much every manufacturer sets the default power output levels to FUCKING LOUD. This means that I can get a clean signal from your router 100m away. Worse yet, most channels have overlapping frequencies with one or two of their neighbours on either side.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (0)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924850)

...sets the default power output levels to FUCKING LOUD.

I think some lady in the UK got in trouble for that [yahoo.com] .

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (2, Funny)

Shabazz Rabbinowitz (103670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925000)

Router? I never ever met 'er.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (3, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924856)

God help you if you want to use your microwave. You'll kill the connection to every device in your house.

Obligatory (5, Informative)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925072)

Boom! Headshot. [xkcd.com]

Re:Obligatory (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925176)

Damn! There's an xkcd for everything, isn't there?

Re:Obligatory (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925708)

XKCD reminds me of the old joke about the prisoners who all know each others jokes they only refer to them by number. I mean.... Well my favorite is #340

Re:Obligatory (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926146)

Negative five!

Re:Obligatory (4, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925382)

The Alt text is perfect as well
'Cheater!' 'Hey, gaming on wifi? You have only yourself to blame.'

Re:Obligatory (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926466)

And that got modded Informative? Haha. Only on slashdot...

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (2, Informative)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925274)

It is fun to watch a spectrum analyzer when someone fires up a microwave. Old cordless phones are entertaining too. One is a multi-megaton nuke, the other a tac-nuke.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925946)

Wifi Troubleshooting with an analyzer tool.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eOByjhx2oY [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG48woHjzko [youtube.com]

The first is 6 minutes introducing the app. The second shows some waveform stuff.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926260)

Is that really true? I have two access points (CH 1 & 6) and I don't seem to have an issue with microwaves, cordless phones, or anything.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (4, Insightful)

default luser (529332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925004)

Yup, none of the access points are actually smart enough to switch channels and optimize frequency/power usage. So you end-up with the problem I encountered this December, when a neighbor across the way got a wireless router, and suddenly my internet stopped working. You couldn't even *see* my access point anymore, it was just overpowered.

My access point configuration was set to "Auto," but this just meant it kept trying to use channel 1 like an idiot. So I forced it to use channel 6, and the problem was solved.

But this isn't how things should be. The devices and the protocol should be smart enough to optimize spectrum, both by analyzing the noise at various frequencies and choosing the band with the least automatically, and by playing nice with other devices and dialing-down the power to that needed by the connected device furthest from the access point.

Too bad the above is just a pipe dream. I can't imagine how bad it is living in dense residential/apartments, where these users still don't know how to configure things, but there are 2 dozen within range instead of 5.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925168)

Yup, none of the access points are actually smart enough to switch channels and optimize frequency/power usage. So you end-up with the problem I encountered this December, when a neighbor across the way got a wireless router, and suddenly my internet stopped working. You couldn't even *see* my access point anymore, it was just overpowered.

My access point configuration was set to "Auto," but this just meant it kept trying to use channel 1 like an idiot. So I forced it to use channel 6, and the problem was solved.

But this isn't how things should be. The devices and the protocol should be smart enough to optimize spectrum, both by analyzing the noise at various frequencies and choosing the band with the least automatically, and by playing nice with other devices and dialing-down the power to that needed by the connected device furthest from the access point.

Too bad the above is just a pipe dream. I can't imagine how bad it is living in dense residential/apartments, where these users still don't know how to configure things, but there are 2 dozen within range instead of 5.

That all works in my favor. Nearly everyone in my complex has their router set to channel 6 or something. I set mine to channel 1 and I've got all the reception I could ask for!
-Taylor

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (4, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925580)

The devices and the protocol should be smart enough to optimize spectrum, both by analyzing the noise at various frequencies and choosing the band with the least automatically[...]

You'll be comforted to know that ZigBee devices, and other devices that conform to the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, do this today, and have done so since 2003.

The second part of your wish, that devices dial-down their power to the minimum needed, is certainly possible, but requires that the receiving device send an RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) or, better, an RQI (Received Quality Indication) value back to the transmitting device (perhaps as part of the ACK), and that the transmitting device be capable of lowering its transmit power in the first place (it's an extra expense). I don't know of any protocol that does this (other than CDMA protocols, for a different reason), although I expect newer protocols will -- but to save power (extend battery life), not to reduce spectral pollution.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926294)

The second part of your wish, that devices dial-down their power to the minimum needed, is certainly possible, ...

The issue being, of course, if your currently connected "closest device" is in the living room near the router and you want to connect from your bedroom. You'll have to enter the SSID and channel manually because your bedroom device won't hear any broadcasts.

And, of course, when you connect from your bedroom the power will go up and may start interfering with your neighbor.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926468)

Yep. Problems like this are what created the FCC and licensed spectrum in the first place.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925988)

Pretty much every manufacturer sets the default power output levels to FUCKING LOUD.

Well, not quite all of them. One of the main benefits with tinkering with DD-WRT on Linksys b/g hardware is being able to boost the output from the rather puny(but effective for most) factory 28mW to well over 200mW. Makes for some pretty expansive WDS setups, and a HELL of a lot cheaper than the higher end commercial hardware...

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (2, Interesting)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926424)

Well, not quite all of them. One of the main benefits with tinkering with DD-WRT on Linksys b/g hardware is being able to boost the output from the rather puny(but effective for most) factory 28mW to well over 200mW. Makes for some pretty expansive WDS setups, and a HELL of a lot cheaper than the higher end commercial hardware.../i.

DD-WRT's power settings are great. For setting the power level lower...

Don't use them to set the power levels higher than the chipset's specs. The signal to noise ratio drops. You're just sending out the same data, louder, but with a correspondingly increased amount of background noise. You're not improving your connection, and damaging everybody elses'.

Re:your router is yelling and you dont even know i (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926572)

So what you're saying is DD-WRT goes to 11?

I don't see how that helps solve the 'loudness' problem for anyone but yourself, which really doesn't solve the problem at all.

Because I have no idea what's going on Marvin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924796)

I love myself I want you to love me
When I feel down I want you above me
I search myself I want you to find me
I forget myself I want you to remind me

I don't want anybody else
When I think about you I touch myself
Ooh I don't want anybody else Oh no, oh no, oh no

You're the one who makes me come running
You're the sun who makes me shine
When you're around I'm always laughing
I want to make you mine

I close my eyes And see you before me
Think I would die If you were to ignore me
A fool could see Just how much I adore you
I get down on my knees I do anything for you

I don't want anybody else
When I think about you I touch myself
Ooh I don't want anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no

I love myslef I want you to love me
When i feel down I want you above me
I search myself I want you to find me
I forget myself I want you to remind me

I don't want anybody else
And when I think about you I touch myself
I don't want anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no

*spoken*
I want you
I don't want anybody else
and when i think about you I touch myself
OO OO OO-OO Ahhhhh

I don't want anybody else
When i think about you I touch myself
I don't want anybody else
When i think about you I touch myself
I touch myself

I don't anybody else
When i think about you I touch myself

Apartment Wifi (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924802)

Wow, yea. That's a huge frustration of mine. I'm in an apartment building and our only internet option is Verizon FiOs and they give you a Wifi Router that you use with your service... So EVERYONE is using the same device using the same frequencies. I've had worse experiences with Wifi before, but it is really frustrating at times. When I browse nearby access points the list is out of control.

Hard wiring is not really an option here either. Oh well. At least I got my Xbox plugged in.

Re:Apartment Wifi (2, Interesting)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924864)

Tip: Verizon also defaults their routers to using WEP. I would really consider not paying for internet if I were you... Think of it this way, it will be one less AP being used which makes it more pleasant for everyone involved.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924898)

Haha, and at a 10mbps minimum speed that should be plenty!

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925282)

And if you wanted to be honest about it, you could probably work out a deal with one of your neighbors.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

GoochOwnsYou (1343661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925496)

I actually did when I recently moved, I chipped in for their bill and connected to their AP until my line was ready (which took 6 weeks thanks to some dodgy cabeling in my area)

Re:Apartment Wifi (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925972)

Take a small linux box, add 4 wireless adapters to it, and wire all your other computers to it.
Map all the wifi hotspots in your building and crack the keys. Divide that into 4 lists.
Assign each adapter to a list of available routers, so if one goes down it will swap to the next in the list.

Load balance across the 4 adapters and leech more bandwidth than you'd ever need.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925438)

Sadly I'm a VZ DSL customer and have been for years... when I called them to inquire about a more modern wireless router with WPA they stated mine was still the most recent model and that they only "support" WEP. I explained how asinine this was, they could not have cared less.

So recently I did an update to the newest firmware and buried way down under a ton of menu screens and advanced warnings, it is possible to turn on WPA. But it doesn't do WPA2 or anything useful, so I just stick to WEP HEX.

Fucking ridiculous.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925846)

You should still use WPA, it is significantly more secure than WEP. WEP any kid with wifi card can crack in a few minutes but the only effective way to crack WPA is to bruteforce the password. Orders of magnitude more security.

When I got verizon dsl, I told them to just send me a regular router, not an AP/router combo. I just use my own that I bought.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926530)

Yeah, I'm aware (I'm actually a network administrator) but I am a bit lucky in that I live in a very rural area so there is essentially zero chance of anyone even being in range. In a few mile radius, I have a total of 4 neighbors (all older people, no kids). Security through desolation.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926746)

I've done some wardriving while in the middle of nowhere (had roadsigns that said Canada and just had an arrow, no city, no province, just Canada and an arrow) just to see what was out there. I was surprised to see as much wifi activity as I did up there.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924906)

Just log into the admin panel of the router and tweak the settings to make it unique. If you Google the router model number you can find the factory default password. I bet dollars to donuts your router (and all your neighbors') is using the default password.

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924978)

I have changed my settings but right now the default is to Auto for the channels. So when I look to find which is "least used" it doesn't even matter. There are too many on every channel.

Also, knowing the Admin password for the router isn't going to do me any good without knowing the WEP key. Also, the FiOS guy walked me through the changing of the Admin password just to make sure that everyone changes theirs. Pretty smart by them I guess.

I don't really have an issue with Internet but I should be able to stream a DVD quality movie from my iMac (Wifi) to my PS3 (Wifi) over UPNP without it being choppy even if it is just 802.11G. It goes fine from my iMac to my Xbox on Ethernet. My guesses right now is that's all because of interference.

Re:Apartment Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925540)

Cracking WEP takes under 5 minutes, though.

Re:Apartment Wifi (4, Informative)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925954)

The theoretical max for wireless G is 27.4 Mbps. Reading a DVD at 1X is 10.5 Mbps. As I understand it, when you are transmitting from one wireless device to another, you are talking to the AP which then retransmits to the other device, effectively doubling your data.

So, starting with 10.5Mbps then doubling the data and adding overhead, you are dangerously close to the theoretical 27.4Mbps max.

Re:Apartment Wifi (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926290)

Anyone can get your WEP key with just a handful of minutes and a tiny bit of know-how. If someone knows enought to try changing its settings to make it better suit their needs, you can be sure they can crack your WEP key. Cracking WEP networks is particularly easy, and useful if you live next to the network in question.

Seriously people, stop using WEP unless you actually understand the consequences and can make an informed decision to ignore them.

Also, ethernet and wifi are significantly different beasts (though DVD quality probably shouldn't be an issue.)

Re:Apartment Wifi (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926432)

Switching to WPA has been on my list of things to do for a while. I'm pretty sure all my devices are compliant too. Maybe I'll do that this week.

In other words, I have been choosing to ignore the consequences. :) Not that WPA can't be cracked, but it takes longer than the 5 minutes some tools can crack a WEP connection.

aircrack (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925214)

Use aircrack to crack _all_ the WEP keys.

Share with the cool people (who will all cancel service).

Instant spectrum decongestion.

If that is not enough simply post the list of access points/keys in a public place.

It doesn't matter if people cancel service because they realize they can get it for free or because they've been hacked and become paranoid.

BTW ATT's 2wire modems have the WEP key printed on the bottom (and IIRC the key can't be changed).

If you see a 2wire* network available you have free internet.

I need a booster antenna, but I'm on acreage.

Re:aircrack (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926120)

If you see a 2wire* network available you have free internet.

Not always. My network is called 2WIRE*, but it isn't really one. If you assume my hex key is 0-9 only, you'll never crack it. If you do crack it, you'll find other problems getting access or even sniffing traffic. But yes, normal 2WIRE* routers are fairly insecure.

Re:aircrack (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926516)

You sneaky sum-bitch!

I like the way you think. If only everyone in my apartment didn't know we all had the same router, haha.

The problem (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924816)

The problem is each technology is developed without consideration for large numbers of concurrent devices using the same spectrum. Between encryption, poor handshaking, EMI from non-compliant devices, and attempts by manufacturers to overpower their devices with turbo this or ultra that, the end result is that in high device density areas, the technology becomes nearly useless. This is actually the FCC's fault -- they haven't allocated a large chunk of bandwidth exclusively for consumer-based hardware that provided packet-based network services that requires licensing and certification to use. The 2.4GHz band is like CB Radio -- sure, it's illegal to use a 500 watt transmitter on your mobile rig, but since everybody else and their dog uses it, you should too.

Manufacturers need to come up with protocols that allow the use of strong encryption AND still allow traffic management and QoS. In other words, stop setting up a bazillion different networks: There is one network per channel. Encryption is enabled by default, and that key determines whether which packets can be decrypted. That way, all the header information and link-level stuff that's essential for management is still available, but a reasonable level of privacy is still possible.

Re:The problem (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925330)

All of this density wouldn't have been nearly as much of a problem if people had used WiFi in the intended way.

People saw WiFi and went "ooooh! Now I can get rid of all those unseemly wires!" and started loading wireless cards into desktops and servers. The purpose of wireless was to eliminate wires for portable equipment. Fixed equipment can used fixed wires with no problem. If the ugliness of a mess of wires and switches is your problem, there are better answers than going wireless.

In that respect, only people with laptops would need wireless routers, and the number of connected access points and connected clients would be less.

Even so, you're right in that the number of networks is excessive; but that's hardly the fault of the FCC, it's the fault of ISPs who can't think of any better business model than to sell individual all-you-can-eat hardwired Internet connections.

Re:The problem (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926266)

In the apartment complexes I've lived in, nearly no one owned desktops, and everyone had at least a laptop. So, yea, every apartment would still need a WiFi router. Come on into the digital age man! Laptops are becoming vastly more common than desktops in the typical apartment.

Re:The problem (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926326)

The problem is that even though they are fixed assets, most people aren't really keen on punching holes in all the walls to run ethernet cables to their kids' rooms. It's not about the ugliness of wires. It's about the expense of installation. Most households with kids that have a computer have more than one computer.

WRONG (2, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926192)

Besides the FCC specs that WiFi devices meet (which are really a fairly bare minimum to avoid really crappy interference), manufacturers take some time to make sure their devices behave. You can be certain Cisco pays attention, and other well-regarded makers, because they intend for their enterprise clients to deploy these in a mesh and will definitely suffer if they are out of spec.

Now, there are plenty of shady outfits, but since everyone pretty much uses the same few radio chipsets, the makers of those chips do their work and produce decent product. No one wants to take back a few thousand routers because they suck so bad they can't live with anything. Besides, does anyone buy D-Link routers any more after their NNTP fiasco? Well, actually, we have short memories, and there is fresh meat being minted every day.

Claiming this is a technical failure by the manufacturers is bogus. More likely, the WiFi spec doesn't really accomodate an infestation of routers. There just aren't enough channel spacing options to solve this in WiFi, and I doubt there is a fix beyond a new spec.

Hey, that's it, call IEEE! We need a new 5GHz or higher spec, dudes. We can wait 4 or 5 years. get on it, ok?

Not that going to higher bandwidth will solve range problems. It's a morass of options and expectations.

Re:The problem (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926314)

BTW, where I live I get new neighbors every few months, and some of them get new WiFi routers and set them up on my channel. I changed my channel a few times before I gave up, the local ISPs took to choosing 1, 6, or 11 randomly. Most of the time I can log into their router and change the channel :) Sometimes I just hammer it until their ISP comes and 'fixes' it. One tech came over on a Saturday morning, banged on my door as I wasleaving for the gym, and announced to me that I was interfering with his customer's service and had to change some settings, which he was happy to do for me, how nice Cable Guy. I explained how I lived there for 3 years already, his customer had moved in a week ago, and it was 'his problem to work out' as my service was working fine. Oh, he HAD to change my router, cause changing channels made his customer's router nonstandard and would cause trouble for other techs. I asked him to have his supervisor tell me this, hopefully with a straight face. Never heard another word, but the tech comes back pretty regular to undo people's tragic attempts to steal cable, and he won't look me in the eye. If he does, I will bite him.

Dial-up Please (1)

G2GAlone (1600001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924822)

Soon it will be so hammered that we'll all be back to dial-up speeds anyways. That's what we all wanted, isn't it?

Please stay on 2.4 GHz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30924830)

The more devices will be on 2.4 GHz, the longer I will be alone on my frequency (5.2 GHz) for my appartment's wifi network. 5 GHz hardware is already there. Good for me if most people still choose 2.4 GHz only hardware.

Why can't we push all this short range... (1)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924926)

Why can't we push all this short range, high bandwidth stuff onto 5 GHz?

pretty simple really, because people are tight-arses and wont pay extra for the licencing to use non-ism spectrum

Re:Why can't we push all this short range... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925078)

5 GHz is unlicensed.

Re:Why can't we push all this short range... (2, Informative)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925476)

Doesn't 802.11n come with the option of being in 5GHz

Re:Why can't we push all this short range... (2, Informative)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926068)

Um. Yes it does.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11n-2009 [wikipedia.org]

Coupling MIMO architecture with wider bandwidth channels offers increased physical transfer rate over 802.11a (5 GHz) and 802.11g (2.4 GHz).

Re:Why can't we push all this short range... (1)

BlindSpot (512363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926568)

Here's the problem though: My router is draft-N and it does both, but the default setting is 2.4GHz "for maximum compatibility". It has to be manually set to 5Mhz, and of course that setting is buried in the router config pages. Being a good geek I went through all the settings and made this change right away (since it doubles the maximum speed) but most users aren't going to know that they can change it. I expect the same would apply for most other routers designed for the masses.

Stick to 2.4! (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926390)

Yes, 802.11n can operate in 2.4, 5.8, or both.

Parenthetically, I recently purchase a Bullet M and outdoor antenna from Ubiquiti, and wanting to avoid the whole 2.4GHz zoo, I bought the 5GHz version. This was serendipitous, I thought, when I recently had my internet suspended (bad Telus). Not fearing, I got up on the roof with my 802.11n laptop to search for signals from charitable neighbours. Enabling just 2.4GHz mode on the laptop I could pick up around 10 APs. Switching to 5GHz-only mode, not a single one! So yeah, 5GHz appears to be really good for avoiding competition, not so good if you were hoping to easedrop :(

All the more... (0)

SirBigSpur (1677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924928)

To AutoPwn!

Channel 14 (4, Informative)

Ungulate (146381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30924984)

If you're in a place with too much WiFi noise, try using the Japanese-only channel 14 - it doesn't overlap with any other channels, and you're pretty much guaranteed to be the only person using it. DD-WRT and other alternative firmwares will broadcast on 14, and Windows just requires a simple registry hack to receive on 14. Macs, I believe, can connect without hassle. It's technically illegal, but the likelihood of being caught is pretty much nil. I've still never found an explanation for what this frequency is used for in the US, if anything.

Re:Channel 14 (3, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925066)

If you're in a place with too much WiFi noise, try using the Japanese-only channel 14 - it doesn't overlap with any other channels, and you're pretty much guaranteed to be the only person using it.

And then use Google Translate to convert to English. Perfect.

(I know someone who didn't buy a Japanese radio back in the 70's because they were worried that they wouldn't hear any American music.)

--

The world would be a much better place if every single person tried to be just a little tiny bit more tolerant of my bigotry.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925212)

If you're in a place with too much WiFi noise, try using the Japanese-only channel 14 - it doesn't overlap with any other channels, and you're pretty much guaranteed to be the only person using it. DD-WRT and other alternative firmwares will broadcast on 14, and Windows just requires a simple registry hack to receive on 14. Macs, I believe, can connect without hassle. It's technically illegal, but the likelihood of being caught is pretty much nil. I've still never found an explanation for what this frequency is used for in the US, if anything.

I've always considered doing that, but having to do a registry edit every time a guest wants to use my wireless is just not acceptable. I'm the resident techy and my housemates would hate me.
-Taylor

Re:Channel 14 (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925548)

Put the regkey on the thumbstick, if your guests have a problem they don't get wireless.
 
It may help your case if you tweak the setting in the router so for a month everyone gets terrible internet; then come to the rescue with this fix.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925832)

Put the regkey on the thumbstick, if your guests have a problem they don't get wireless.

It may help your case if you tweak the setting in the router so for a month everyone gets terrible internet; then come to the rescue with this fix.

Hah, true.
Also, doesn't help on closed devices like phones.

Either way, everyone in our complex seems to use the same default channel, so I changed ours and its pretty good.
-Taylor

Re:Channel 14 (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925910)

I've always considered doing that, but having to do a registry edit every time a guest wants to use my wireless is just not acceptable. I'm the resident techy and my housemates would hate me.

You use your "special" wifi channel. Your house guests use your neighbors wifi. No problemo!

Re:Channel 14 (1, Troll)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925422)

Illegal means ILLEGAL. The U.S. has yet to grant its citizens the privilege to pick and choose which laws they wish to abide by without consequence.

Re:Channel 14 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925546)

Screw you!

Re:Channel 14 (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925564)

The U.S. has yet to grant its citizens the privilege to pick and choose which laws they wish to abide by without consequence.

Unless those citizens get elected. Who knows, GP poster might be Dick Cheney.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Zcar (756484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925920)

Or Richard Daley.

Re:Channel 14 (2, Insightful)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925586)

And what are the likely consequences if someone breaks the law and uses channel 14 in the USA? That they'll have an uncluttered wifi channel. Yeah, that'll learn 'em.

Re:Channel 14 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925600)

I love slashdot. The post promoting the illegal activity gets a +4 informative while the post saying "be a good citizen! Obey the law!" gets a 2.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925706)

Unless you're a congressman or President. Then you're possibly exempt, and often are explicitly exempt from the stupid laws you create.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925834)

No, illegal in the U.S. means "not adhering to rules of power and money grubbing scum, who are stealing, murdering, abusing power and warmongering to further their self-interests".

I you want to cram your tongue up to your neck up the ass of such, go right ahead, but some of us find the air cleaner and the taste better far outside.

Re:Channel 14 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925888)

Damn, you're a moron. If there is no just cause that is easy for any run of the mill citizen to research and/or know about, then "illegal" is pretty stupid, don't you think?

"It's illegal to use this wireless channel to route data around in your house. We won't make it easy to find out why, but just know it is."

Re:Channel 14 (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925468)

That's used by the Gundam. You're about to get your ass kicked by a giant robot.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Algan (20532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925606)

You'd still have a lot of overlap with people running on channel 11

Re:Channel 14 (2, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925650)

The Atheros wifi card in my Acer One can cover 2.1-2.8GHz, in 58 channels with a simple config. But I won't do it, because all kinds of things in the sky use slices of those frequencies.

Re:Channel 14 (2, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925716)

Re:Channel 14 (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925726)

Yeah I've been using it for years and so far the authorities haven't ...

NO CARRIER

Re:Channel 14 (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925854)

I've still never found an explanation for what this frequency is used for in the US, if anything.

Short summary, nothing important, just other unlicensed ISM stuff.

ISM is supposed to be for bulk raw stuff like industrial heating, cooking, diathermy, NMR/MRI basically the kind of stuff where the specs need be no tighter than "a couple gigs and a zillion watts". But wouldn't it be funny to try to use the same band for communications stuff? Thus Wifi. A stupid idea from a frequency coordination standpoint, but it was the best solution to a bad situation etc etc.

Channel 14 is going to cover 2.473-2.495 GHz. The 2.4G ISM band is 2.4 to 2.5 GHz, so superficially, channel 14 is all good.

However, the FCC thought it would be fun to regulate the unlicensed ISM spectrum into segments, probably to avoid chaos like pre-rebanded 800 MHz Nextel interference. Theoretically, it should be possible for wifi and 2.4G wireless mikes and other 2.4G stuff to coexist. Theoretically. And channel 14 just happens to live outside the proper band segment, so its not going to cooperate. The idea is a joke because "Industrial" users like microwave ovens tend to crap all over the entire band, so any interference to a subband is generally blamed on the high power industrial stuff rather than a "mistuned" piece of communications gear.

So, you won't be knocking out military radar or interfering with satellites, but you will be interfering with other unlicensed ISM users. Are there any local communications users other than phones and WiFi? Frankly, probably not. And the industrial ISM guys are not going to care.

Wikipedia has links to the CFRs. Good Luck with reading those.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISM_band [wikipedia.org]

Re:Channel 14 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925948)

It's probably used by FEMA/DHS to take over all digital communications equipment during an "emergency."

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Raptor851 (1557585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925978)

I believe channels 12-14 are reserved due to them being adjacent to satellite communications frequencies, and can potentially interfere. 14 is illegal to use (it actually overlaps with satellite frequencies) but 12 and 13 actually aren't, they're merely disabled for being too close that they could POTENTIALLY interfere. As long as you're running at fairly low power (no external antenna with linear amplifier), those channels are legal to use and should be near 100% clear of traffic.

I would recommend using 12 , it's legal and nobody else will be on them due to only DD-WRT and other modded firmwares being able to set them :)

Re:Channel 14 (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926616)

hmmm.. You do realize that the frequency band of wifi gear is actually very loose. In commercial installations, only the channels 1,6,11 are used because they are the only non-overlapping channels. A wifi signal steps all over channels 2-3 on either side of itself.

Thus, channel 11 pretty much squishes channel 12 and 13 (but much less so on 14).

In Japan, they use generally use 4 non-overlapping channels rather than 3 as in the US). Those often being 1,5,10,14.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926164)

If you're in a place with too much WiFi noise, try using the Japanese-only channel 14 - it doesn't overlap with any other channels, and you're pretty much guaranteed to be the only person using it.

Well, besides all the Japanophiles nearby you torrenting anime 24/7, trying their darndest to saturate the spectrum on "the most Japanese wifi channel in the world!! ^_^". I'm certain there won't be any problems with interference there.

Re:Channel 14 (1)

ViViDboarder (1473973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926602)

How about with a PS3, iPhone, or Blackberry? I'm assuming it's doable on a Linux desktop :D

But I am on 5 GHz (2, Insightful)

greed (112493) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925002)

Since I _don't_ deal with a lot of Windows PCs, I _am_ running everything on 5.0 GHz. Well, OK, there's a "guest WiFi" at 2.4 GHz for friends, but I don't care if that's broken.

Most PCs I've seen with 802.11n only have the 2.4GHz support, and same with a lot of add-on cards and access points. The dual-band stuff is starting to be a little easier to get, though still a bit of a price-premium. Of course, since my machines are either Macs on Wi-Fi or Linux on gigabit copper, I'm already used to a price premium.

However, there's a good side effect of this: a certain eggy on-line store had a whole bunch of refurbished Netgear 5.0 GHz _only_ access points/bridges on for less than $40. So the couple of devices I have that don't do WAP and/or don't do 5.0 GHz are now using those things. Similarly, I set up a friend's office to use one so his Macs aren't drowned out by all the 2.4 GHz chatter in the area. (Downtown, right beside a condo and hotel, across the road from an office building... and almost everyone on channel 1, too.)

Heck, $40 is less than the price of a USB 802.11n adapter. So I bought a couple extra just in case.

So, if everyone else would just _stay off_ 5.0 GHz, I'll be very happy.

Re:But I am on 5 GHz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926420)

Fuck 5 Ghz, frankly.
Specifically got a 5 Ghz setup, after noticing 4 other wifi networks at 2.4 around here, so set up my own 2.4 as backup for older laptops, and got a new 5Ghz for everything that came after.
Well, a single wall, any wall, (or ceiling) is enough to ruin any connectivity. Seriously, 5 Ghz is okay in an open plan office, but in homes it's utterly useless. Got Gbit LAN going to every floor now, to cover at least some rooms with a bit of decent bandwidth...

How Could You Miss This Important Fact (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925008)

2.4Ghz raises the temperature of dihydrogen monoxide molecules, so it's also contributing to global warming!

Re:How Could You Miss This Important Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925260)

Your mama raises the temperature of my pecker

You can't beat a wire for what it does (3, Funny)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925030)

Ah yes, the quaint wire: Your own personal air domain, a veritable Ether network. Copper's getting scarce and we'll never run out of glass, but optical transceivers are still thousands of dollars. It's getting cramped on this little planet!

this is goa)tsex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925114)

Interest in having seesion and join in morning. Now I have

2.4 is relatively unregulated. (1)

ZippySquirrel (1713078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925126)

the reason so many things like 802.11b/g/n, bluetooth, cordless phones, etc are all on the 2.4ghz band is by comparison to other bandwidths, it's largely unregulated, meaning they can do what they want (within reason). Going to 5.8 or 6.0 would be nice, but there are stricter regs on there, and so they can't make / sell features like "extended range" or hi powered antennas, because they're illegal. Until someone manages to invent Wifi over subspace, we're probably screwed.

Re:2.4 is relatively unregulated. (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926652)

Uhm. 5.2ghz is unregulated, just like 2.4ghz.

Fail

Impeach Obama (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30925166)

Please report some NEWS, not DRIVEL

Yours In Vladivostok,
K. Trout

Antennas and Rx/Tx architectures (4, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925590)

The problem is dumb receivers, not lack of spectrum.

Channel capacity is determined by the MIMO form [wikipedia.org] of Shannon's Theorem [wikipedia.org] . Add more antennas and smarter processing in the receivers, and the capacity in a channel with lots of multipath (eg. in an apartment) increases approximately linearly.

The problem is that most hardware is a decade (or more) behind state of the art, and that people aren't prepared to pay for a more complex, and costly receiver.

Re:Antennas and Rx/Tx architectures (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926502)

You are missing the fact that inherently there can only be one transmitter on at a time within a given physical space.

You might be able to expand the physical space beyond the transmitter's range and call that having two transmitters in the same space - but that isn't the point.

There are some tricks with polarization that can be used, but these are not currently being done and are basically incompatible with the omnidirectional nature of most uses of the 2.4Ghz frequency.

Anything beyond one transmitter at a time is just a collision and nobody gets their message through. Current 2.4Ghz uses account for this and accomodate it - by retransmitting. Sooner or later you are going to run into the situation where there are enough "talkers" there are no more open time slots for a new transmitter to move into. Once this happens you get higher and higher percentages of collisions

Re:Antennas and Rx/Tx architectures (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926672)

Why would you think adding antennas would help? They will both be broadcasting into the same spectrum. And if they're not, you're just making a "bigger spectrum". The problem is lack of spectrum.

Ad Hoc Networks (1)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30925900)

How do these "personal area networks" differ from ad hoc networks?

Re:Ad Hoc Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30926404)

"ad hoc" refers to the network topology, whereby there is no central access point (cf. star, ring, ...) . PAN refers to the range of a network, typically a couple of metres, enough to reach all parts of a person's body (cf. LAN, MAN, WAN). They refer to different things, so you can't really compare them. For example, some PANs are ad hoc, others aren't. Similarly, there are ad hoc networks which aren't PANs.

Whoa 1980's flashback!!! (1)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926676)

Reminds me of a certain Vice President of Hayes ranting how 9600 baud was the ABSOLUTE LIMIT of copper and how US Robotics pushing 14.4 was not stable or reliable because it was violating the physics of the copper medium.

Please don't! (3, Funny)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926736)

"Why can't we push all this short range, high bandwidth stuff onto 5GHz?"

I really wish you wouldn't. I prefer to keep the 5GHz band wide-open for the unimpeded use of my own 5GHz devices. I bought them specifically to avoid 2.4GHz clutter!

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