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Making Wireless, Not Ethernet, the Heart of the Network

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the telepathy's-the-next-step dept.

Businesses 346

GMGruman writes "As mobile devices enter the workplace and latch on to Wi-Fi networks — along with devices such as HVAC sensors and videoconferencing that most people don't even realize use Wi-Fi — the typical wireless LAN is unable to cope. What needs to happen, argues Aberdeen Group's Andrew Borg, is a rethink of the wireless LAN not as a casual adjunct to the wired LAN (the typical mentality when they were first set up) but as the corporate LAN itself."

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The number of devices is not most relevant (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062366)

[...]as mobile devices gain strong adoption in businesses, it's not unusual for there to be as many -- or more -- devices connecting to your network via Wi-Fi as are plugged into an Ethernet jack.

So what? What is relevant is what those devices are doing. Anyone who needs to pull boatloads of data needs to sit the hell down, and at that point, you can serve them with a wire.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062418)

So what? What is relevant is what those devices are doing. Anyone who needs to pull boatloads of data needs to sit the hell down, and at that point, you can serve them with a wire.

And where, exactly, do you suggest I plug in my iPad? The MacBook Air requires a separately purchased dongle to connect to a wired LAN.

Your solution assumes that a majority of devices continue to be developed with an ethernet port. As we move towards thinner, lighter laptops, I doubt Apple will stand alone in manufacturing devices that no longer have an easy way to connect to a wired network.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062496)

I can tell you where to shove your iPad

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (5, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062518)

You are using an iPad on a corporate LAN and accessing "boatloads of data"? Haha.

Some people have real work to do.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063146)

wow...this is not trolling.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (2)

Comen (321331) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063308)

I do not think it was trolling, if you are doing some serious work, get off your iPad.
I have a iPad myself, and like many have stated before, its a device used to watch media and browse, you can stream video just fine at WIFI speeds, not sure what else you want to do here, if you really want a good connection plug a wire in.
Wireless will never top a wired connection, you have to much interference, and retransmissions just at layer 1, its nice and all, but if you can plug in... do!
I had a buddy recently buy a PC from Best Buy and paid the Geek Squad to hook his new PC up witha new wireless router, the router sat only a few feet on his desk, and still they hooked his PC up using the wireless connection, I changed that for him right way, why would you do that?
Is the original poster asking for us to make wireless as good as wired? because thats not going to happen.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063370)

Hate to break it to you, but there are plenty of legitimate business uses for the iPad. Just because you have a myopic view of them does not negate their use on the enterprise.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063452)

we are all smartasses....we've met each other....he was a smartass...not a troll

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063304)

Yea seriously, you're not going to do any serious work with an Ipad. If you think you are, then you haven't done any serious work.

This is *not* a troll, just cold hard reality. Sorry you don't like it.

- Dan.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (2)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063436)

I look around at the Fortune 100 company where I work, and I note that every single executive is carrying an iPad. I regularly see them pulling down enormous PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, and watching Netflix.

This is the first wave, of course - soon, VPs will need one to feel important - then Directors, then Sr. Managers, and on down. The iPad is on the path to finally cracking the corporate market for Apple.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (5, Insightful)

hawkbat05 (1952326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062532)

Perhaps then it's time to refine the overly large rj45 plug into something that will accommodate smaller form factors. Call it Ethernet micro. Most of the connector is wasted plastic anyway.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063054)

I've seen a solution to this, they've fit an ethernet port on an NIC card, WITHOUT having to make the card wider. http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/x/xjack.htm
The only downside is, I'd imagine it to be easy to break that, so the simple solution, would be to have the part that sticks out, be easily replacable.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063278)

I hate those. We use them on a laptop that we use to connect to the flight data record for troubleshooting/downloads/updates.

They do not hold up well and are constantly ordering more of the cards as they only last for about 20-30 uses before they fall apart.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063170)

Unlike most kinds of wires (e.g. USB), it's very common for people to want to make their own Ethernet cables. Part of the reason people are often staying with CAT 5e instead of CAT 6 is that it's easier to deal with. Any change would have to keep them easy to pull and crimp. Plus, if you make a new system, you're going to have to replace all the tools associated with it. Every IT pro is going to need to buy new crimpers and testers.

All that to fix a system that ain't broken.

Now I wouldn't mind seeing a new cable that's better, but I'm afraid in this case it might be impractical.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063340)

If you have a good crimper all you need is a new die. If your crimper does not have swappable dies, buy a better one.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Informative)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063378)

The only thing that leaves me inclined to go wireless is not having to pull butt loads of cable through ceilings and attics. Then things like security, PCI DSS and HIPAA are brought into the mix and reality sets in, as I head back into the attic. One of the places I worked at was trying to use an apple airport for a firewall. We were scanned for PCI DSS compliance and gave us a report of every single device on our network. I yanked that in my first 30 days there. Don't even get started on the wireless encryption bit. Really

- Dan.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062534)

And where, exactly, do you suggest I plug in my iPad? The MacBook Air requires a separately purchased dongle to connect to a wired LAN.

Your company shouldn't have any issues buying you an adapter. Unless, of course, they didn't provide the device for you, at which point, any good MIS/IT department would say "What are you doing using your personally-owned equipment on the corporate network?

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062792)

To which you reply "My job. Now do YOUR job and make it work for me."

The point of IT isn't to run a nice little network, it's to provide service for the rest of us so we can do our jobs. Learn your function and perform it, or we'll get someone else who will. Same goes for everyone else in the company - it isn't the job of a janitor to have a sparkling floor, just one clean enough that the rest of us can work. If keeping the floor clean means that we can't walk on it, then you're not performing your function. Likewise with networks.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062864)

Sure, just sign this document accepting complete liability for anything that happens to our network as a result of you connecting up your latest penis extension de jour to it.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062892)

Precisely, which is why you'd get that response. If the company wanted you to use an iPad for your job they would either provide it or provide resources with which IT would support it. It's really clear that under typical circumstances that they won't provide the support unless they provide the equipment.

Plus, self entitled assholes like you make it a lot more difficult for the rest of us to get our work done.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063088)

if you want something done and not wait at the institution you have to rogue. My team has 3 formal complains against it. Complain 1 and 2 : architect are not suppose to code, complain 3 : architects are not supposed to install a projector (a projector that was bought by the employer).

1 and 2 are caused by some brain dead syndicalist that ask too much but do not see the real advantage the the union brings us and 3 was provoked by the 6 weeks administrative delay to install the damn projector. Result : my boss received a sternly worded letter but we were more productive since we now had the projector install in our reunion room and the code that the tech were not able to write was done.

The web team has gone ahead and bought some iPhones androids and pads, they got a formal complain from net-sec but nobody cared because net-sec is supposed to be the everyone bitches. To every IT department: you are everyone bitches, we do not care about your concerns shut up and make it work.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063180)

To every IT department: you are everyone bitches, we do not care about your concerns shut up and make it work.

YES. THIS. Give me the tools I need to pay your fucking salary and get out of my way.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063292)

Everybody wants to tell people in other fields how to do their job. It doesn't make you smart, unique, or hip. It just makes you an asshole.

How about either letting me do my job (which is what allows you to have a job IRL) or applying for an IT position, jackass?

When your brilliance enables you to succeed wildly you can buy the company and fire me and lose all the important data to scriptkiddies, but for today I run this network and all the tantrums in the world won't achieve a thing. Fucktard.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063414)

haha. I pay your salary and it makes you mad.

Fact remains. Wherever it is that you work....ppl like me pay your salary....and you hates it. Making widers work is easy....making money is hard.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063346)

I work in IT security at my company. If an end user acted the they way you are acting I'd report it and you'd probably be pretty severely reprimanded for your attitude and if you failed to change it afterward you'd be fired. Yes IT does need to *make it work* if its actually *work*, the fact that'd you would *like* to use your iWhatever may or may not be work. If you have a good reason come talk to us, most security departments would try to find a solution.

Expecting IT (Security especially) to just get out of the way or have a no request is to unreasonable attitude is just wrong, and I think you will find your UPPER management realizes that. Maybe you are not at a public company that might change things a bit too, but trust me someone will care when they have to put in the notes to the financial statement that something happened.

Management would be very unhappy if they were forced to report that, our trade secrets relating to the manufacturing we do may have been leaked, that our competitors know our cost structure, that we lost customer data, etc etc. The last on is embarrassing and might cost some current business, the first two could seriously harm the competitiveness of the company going forward. IT Security IS IMPORTANT we are not just your BITCH. We play a role just like every other department. We need you to be able to do what you do so we have job, you need us to make sure you are able to keep doing what you do, so you have job. That is why its called a (corp)oration, we are supposed to be cooperating.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063488)

You would never have a security case. I almost want to email you. Every single PC I've ever had there was ONE virus. I know what I'm doing. Get out of the way is what I said.

And management wouldn't fire me, I am goddamned good at what I do.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063384)

And when your know nothing solutions break, who do you expect to fix it?

Getting that sort of support is easy, sign this form stating any damage done will come out of your budget.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063254)

It's not being a self entitled asshole to ask that IT do their job so that I can do mine. My job brings money into the company, and that is what keeps us all in business. We don't make money by having a little walled garden network which isn't any good - we make money by selling our products to other people. The asshole is the person who wants to rule his own little kingdom and in doing so inhibits the core function of the business - to make money.

You've lost an understanding of what your job is: You job is to help ME bring in money. So do that. Not make a pretty network that no-one can use, but provide the services that help me bring in money. Otherwise you're not worth having.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063350)

It's not being a self entitled asshole to ask that IT do their job so that I can do mine. My job brings money into the company, and that is what keeps us all in business.

Your sense of entitlement is quite apparent to everyone but you. IRL you don't make money without IT. IT doesn't make money without you. It's by nature a marriage of equals, but you sound like an abusive spouse. Get real.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063394)

Also, would you please change the toner on the fucking LJ4 in accounting?

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063470)

It's not so much a pretty little network, but a network that has to be useable by everyone else in the office trying to make money also. Perhaps every salesman should be responsible for buying and paying for their own internet access at their desk? Perhaps they should rent their own cubicle. Coins on the bathroom stalls ( Yes we are often building maint too). We can send you a bill for our repair services and have that added to your office rent. What's that you say? You need some storage space or want that conference room or the afternoon? Credit card please? And since we are everyone's bitches, why not just slide that down my a** crack.. There ya go. I will make sure the fee shows up as a strip club so your wife can trip out when she looks over the monthly statements. But then again, judging by your previous statements, you probably have to pay her too.

By the way, I read your email.

- Dan.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063064)

Just because you claim that you need YOUR personally-owned equipment on the network to do your job doesn't mean that everyone should bend over for you. That is crap mentality.

If you think it will boost your productivity, start talking about it, with your boss and those responsible for the IT-infrastructure, and don't just claim "I am doing my job, do yours!". If you should come to me with that attitude I would slap you silly. The support staff isn't your personal man-servant. They are there to make it work for everyone, so drop your primadonna attitude and start thinking of the bigger picture. You said it yourself, "The point of IT isn't to run a nice little network, it's to provide service for the rest of us so we can do our jobs." Note the emphasis. Not "my job" but "our jobs".

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063120)

Great bit of insight, you've got there. Remind me not to give any of my personal data to your company, I don't need to have my SSN lost again because some asshole decided he didn't need to worry about the implications of what he does with business technology.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063214)

If IT can't secure data beyond someone connecting to the wireless network with an iPad, you'd better not give any data to that company.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063122)

If keeping the floor clean means that we can't walk on it, then you're not performing your function.

Bad analogy. You wanting to use crazy hardware at work is closer to you wanting to drive your Harley over the Janitor's clean floor.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Comen (321331) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063418)

Wireless will never be as good as a wire, get over it! you sound like a baby, IT departments do not create the standards for WIFI, and WIFI is good enough right now for you to use your iPad on it, if you want to get serious put down the pad and grab a wired desktop like anyone else serious enough about their job.
The "make some bullshit work that a dream up, or ill cry you are not doing your job" more than annoying, no wonder you posted as a coward troll.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (2)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062888)

What are you doing using your personally-owned equipment on the corporate network?

See, that attitude (which as an administrator I agree with) goes completely against the concept of wireless.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063352)

I just have a home wireless network, and even dumb old I know enough to set up a MAC address whitelist on the router.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062538)

I guess you are starting to figure out why grown-up men don't use Macs on real business.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062940)

Devices that require regular fast data transfers will continue to need wired access, yes. This isn't really optional. Wired networks are just faster by a very wide margin. Not only that, but they're switched so you're not necessarily sharing bandwidth with the person sitting next to you. You can't just say "Oh, lets make wireless the center of our infrastructure," and BAM, faster wireless. It doesn't work like that. Even 802.11n can't hold a candle to GigE. On paper it looks like they are comparable (300Mbps vs 1000Mbps), but in practice the difference is huge. I'd take even a 100Mbps wired connection over a typical 802.11n link if I had to do any significant file transfers.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063264)

An iPad is not a real device, it's a toy. Besides exactly how much "data" do you need to send it?......... oh wait you are talking about watching movies/video at work not actually doing "work" because anything else doesn't actually take up that much bandwidth for more than a minute or two.

The only thing thin devices like iPads may be usefull for someday is running remotely software on a hardwired server or a desktop and then streaming it to it.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062420)

[...]as mobile devices gain strong adoption in businesses, it's not unusual for there to be as many -- or more -- devices connecting to your network via Wi-Fi as are plugged into an Ethernet jack.

So what? What is relevant is what those devices are doing. Anyone who needs to pull boatloads of data needs to sit the hell down, and at that point, you can serve them with a wire.

Bingo.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062454)

Aha, but corollary: if they're in a line of business that doesn't involve boatloads of data, then a slow network can only be caused by employee misbehaviour! Ergo, productivity. (Long live the PHB twist theory: anything annoying can be twisted around into a means of enforcing a certain style of working.)

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063528)

if they're in a line of business that doesn't involve boatloads of data,

Why are you bringing an Ipad to flip burgers at McDonalds?

- Dan.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (2)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062478)

Anyone who needs to pull boatloads of data needs to sit the hell down

Sure, in May 2011. The idea is that, moving forward, let's not have to sit down. Let's be able to pull, process and use that boatloads of data on the go.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063176)

Well, as long as we can work within the confines of physics, yes, let's move forward.

If you are proposing to break the laws of physics so that the PHB can get his request through... well... No.

There are some places so saturated by wi-fi networks that you cannot get good throughput. Unless technology makes a amazing leap, we are stuck with the fact that the airwaves are limited.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (4, Interesting)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063220)

People are apparently having trouble understanding that there is a finite amount of spectrum allocated to wireless and you have to share it between all the devices in range. At some point all the bandwidth is used up, and if you want more, you need wires.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063476)

... or more spectrum, or more efficient use of the spectrum to already have ...

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (3, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063430)

:) I can give you 1,000mbit connection all to yourself over a wire which you can plug into your desktop/laptop.

Or I can give you a 300mbit wirelss connection that you have to share with every office drone within 300ft who is watchin youtube on their portable and non-portable devices.

Even with a thousand fold improvement in wireless bandwidth the unwashed masses will still be bringing the network to its knees while the wired network won't even break a sweat with 10 times the traffic.

Maybe what they really need is a very short distance wireless router that covers the distance of say a room or four cubicals or maybe not much beyond your own cubical/office. You'd get the benefit of being wirelss without the downside of sharing.

Of course the bean counters will just say plug your damn device in instead of having to spend an extra 100-200$ per employee so they can be lazy.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062490)

[...]as mobile devices gain strong adoption in businesses, it's not unusual for there to be as many -- or more -- devices connecting to your network via Wi-Fi as are plugged into an Ethernet jack.

So what? What is relevant is what those devices are doing. Anyone who needs to pull boatloads of data needs to sit the hell down, and at that point, you can serve them with a wire.

Why is it that we in IT have people that are so resistant to change instead of being the change advocates we need to be? As users start using the technology we support differently, it's up to us to find a solution, not to force the user to use the technology differently. To think that users will not change how they use technology is naive, at best.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062590)

Because of the laws of physics: shared collision medium, higher latency, etc.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062924)

Why is it that we in IT have people that are so resistant to change instead of being the change advocates we need to be?

Because of the laws of physics: shared collision medium, higher latency, etc.

Don't forget security! You know, that magickal thing nearly all users take for granted, assuming it's just automagically built-in to networking or perhaps there's just an app we all use that handles all security issues. People who rage against IT because they can't have their way are usually (not always) frakking morons who need to be locked down for their own and everyone elses' safety.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063288)

This is the very reason Apple does well, and hardware companies run by engineering types fail. Technology should work for people (or users) and not the other way around. If you can't figure out how to make wireless (or any IT) work well for your customers (everyone who needs WiFi) then you are not very good at your job.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063428)

Or maybe we don't have the budget for testing iOS devices, and all the employees who own them are lusers who can't help with testing because they don't know memory from storage, plus have a chip on their shoulder so no-one wants to help them beyond what the job description requires. Ever think of that, genius? No, of course not. Just "me me me, I want I want!!!!". So typical... Doesn't it ever occur to you attitude wielding fartknockers that maybe you get shitty service out of IT because IT doesn't like being treated like shit? You're probably the type that pisses off food servers and hotel maids, too. Not very smart.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062644)

Why is it that we in IT have people that are so resistant to change instead of being the change advocates we need to be? As users start using the technology we support differently, it's up to us to find a solution, not to force the user to use the technology differently. To think that users will not change how they use technology is naive, at best.

I see what you did there, but I don't see why, because you didn't log in, and usually people say this kind of thing for the cheap up-mods from people who want to think they are erudite and are willing to moderate, so that they can get more karma. But what you are saying is ignorant at best since if a mobile user needs to apprehend a lot of data, you put access to it in a remote application and grant them access to that. Then their device only needs to work with their apprehension of the data, and not the full data set. The only time it makes more sense to store all the data on a limited device in the first place is that you have no network connection, and you require the full data set. Basically we're talking about making changes to the corporate network that make no sense. We already went backwards in the sense that we have all these PCs on desktops and our organizations' processing power tends to be distributed throughout our organization where it sits idle most of the time.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063496)

Basically we're talking about making changes to the corporate network that make no sense. We already went backwards in the sense that we have all these PCs on desktops and our organizations' processing power tends to be distributed throughout our organization where it sits idle most of the time.

Translation: you used to like being the dude wearing the white coat in the computer lab and having a half-door that regular employees could make requests for printed reports at. It all started going downhill when they let them have those Lear-Siegler ADM3A dumb terminals! And it's only gotten worse!

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062910)

RF based WLAN is shared media, there's no way around that. Unlicensed spectrum is always subject to interference, so can't be considered reliable. So, there's limited, unreliable bandwidth to share with multiple devices. It makes zero sense to use all wireless clients, just as it makes zero sense to deploy Ethernet hubs. That is, unless you don't really care about performance or reliability.

Re:The number of devices is not most relevant (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063156)

No. I don't think that is the reason that a user who needs lots of data should also need to sit down, but I do think you are somewhat right.

Two reasons both of which stem from the fact that on Wires the signal is cast down a narrow path with only a limited number of recipients. Yes there are some wireless technologies that also are narrow path but these behave in practice much the same way as wires do, chiefly that they are stationary.

First is security. It is more difficult to tap a wire and easier to protect a wire. The area you need to protect for a wire is much smaller than that for a broad-cast wireless signal.

Second is overlap of signal. You can add more wires to an area but the number of channels over the airwaves that you can use is limited.

Too bad it won't work (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062372)

High latency, low throughput, and a shared collision domain.
What's not to like?

Re:Too bad it won't work (2)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063450)

You also missed interference. If there's something you don't want is a clown with a jammer bringing all your network down (in addition to having probably a security leak if they patiently listen to your high-demanded service - which brings the topic of extreme overhead in packet transmissions for security reasons).

Not to say that wireless is good and useful. But wired is and always been more reliable since people use switches instead of hubs. But perhaps what this guy is proposing is creating a "wireless switch" that avoids such collisions and interference from the outside world.

Don't grasp it (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062378)

I don't get it.
If the problem is internal bandwith, the latest and greatest wireless standards should suffice.
If it is the actual LAN part, then everything is still behind a router so it is the same regardless.
If its the noise, frankly there are already solutions to that, like using a light instead of waves.

Re:Don't grasp it (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062934)

Indeed, this sounds dangerously like changing the OSI model as it applies to wireless. I suspect that they could find away of doing that without changing the model, but one of the reasons for a lot of the network design decisions surrounding WiFi was to allow for the same protocol to be used for as much of the process as possible.

I'm sure that there are all sorts of neat things that we could do if we chuck it in the waste bin, but we'd also have to upgrade a substantial amount of infrastructure to do it. I suspect that there's a way of avoiding most of that, but it's not a particularly easy fix. Especially when things like HVAC and such shouldn't be operated wirelessly anyways.

No, can't be done. (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062452)

Ye cannae change the laws of physics!

Seriously, though... wireless has serious inherent disadvantages. Susceptibility to interference, a single collision domain, much lower bandwidth in the analog sense. It's good for mobility, but if you try to run a whole site-LAN on wireless it just wouldn't work - even if you utilised the 800MHz, 2.4GHZ and 5.0GHz bands all at once. Maybe if you put little 60GHz nodes in every room, but it'd be far too expensive.

Re:No, can't be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062830)

Reminds me of those designers that keep winning awards for designing products that awesome, except for the small detail that they rely on technology that does not (and in some cases can not) exist.

wireless networks in critical infrastructure (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062488)

One of the advantages of a wired network is that the data only leaves the premises at well defined locations that you control. With wireless networks it floats over the aether in all directions. And before you can say "encryption will protect me", think about how easy it would be to build a transmitter running on the same frequencies as the wireless network and sit that just outside the company and pointed inwards - instant denial of service attack with zero traceability.

Re:wireless networks in critical infrastructure (2, Interesting)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062610)

One of the advantages of a wired network is that the data only leaves the premises at well defined locations that you control.

Well defined locations you control, or well defined locations you *think* you control? It is very well possible to do port security at the access layer of your network, but how many networks have that? There's always some outlet somewhere for a printer that nobody uses... Somebody sneaks his way into the building, hooks up an accesspoint to that port, sits in his van outside, and can hack away at your network. Really, wired is not always as safe as people think.

In fact, i remember a customer with a voip network, and had a sip intercom at the front door... I got sniggered at when i suggested that anybody could screw off the intercom, and had free access to the network. Went into my report anyway.

And before you can say "encryption will protect me", think about how easy it would be to build a transmitter running on the same frequencies as the wireless network and sit that just outside the company and pointed inwards - instant denial of service attack with zero traceability.

Zero traceability? Get an Aruba wireless network controller with sufficient accesspoints, put a map of your building in the controller, and it will tell you where rogue transmitters are, including those outside of the building (if you left enough white space around the building map when uploading). Cisco has similar solutions, and i'm sure there are many more.

Re:wireless networks in critical infrastructure (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063164)

There's always some outlet somewhere for a printer that nobody uses... Somebody sneaks his way into the building, hooks up an accesspoint to that port, sits in his van outside, and can hack away at your network

Doesn't even need to be that. If the cable is exposed anywhere, you can splice it easily. There are cheap off-the-shelf devices that you can buy that will plug in between a computer and a LAN and record everything that's transmitted, and even do active probes or MITM attacks. Would your IT department notice a workstation dropping off the network for the 20 seconds it takes to install one?

The physical network - wired or wireless - should always be treated as hostile. If you're relying on the integrity of the wire, then you're doing it wrong.

Re:wireless networks in critical infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063286)

"Would your IT department notice a workstation dropping off the network for the 20 seconds it takes to install one?"

Well, where I worked previously the IT department got a log message as soon as someone unplugged an ethernetcable and the link went down.

The great-grandparent post might be a bit off, but still you NEED physical access to hook up a access point, install a sniffer or splice the cable. And if it is a switched network, you don't get much information other than that travelling down that individual cable. On an wi-fi-only network you can record everything without anyone knowing and you hear everything they are sending. Encryption might make it (very?) hard for the eavesdroppers to get information, but encryption aren't limited to wi-fi.

Re:wireless networks in critical infrastructure (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063216)

Somebody sneaks his way into the building, hooks up an accesspoint to that port, sits in his van outside, and can hack away at your network. Really, wired is not always as safe as people think.

Which requires physical access to the building. Which leaves traces, risk of discovery, and possibly appearing on security tapes. Far easier then finding that parked car a block away where the attacker never had to enter the premises at all.

Just because a security item is not perfect, does not mean that it's not worth implementing. It raises the bar a little bit, requiring the attacker to jump through additional hoops before they can break in.

An opportunistic attacker will go elsewhere. (The old adage applies, if you're being specifically targeted, you're screwed no matter what.)

Re:wireless networks in critical infrastructure (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062936)

Not only that, but encryption adds additional overhead to an already slower technology. I can't even live with wifi in my home as the primary connection. Interference from my neighbors pet projects can kill the signal. If I can't maintain two computers connected at a reasonable speed, how can an entire office run on it?

Why are these things using WiFi? (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062546)

Printers? Video surveillance? HVAC? Electric meters? Why are these things using WiFi, when they rarely move and are always plugged into an external power source?

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062602)

Ever try to get the facilities, network, and trade union people - together - to meet - agree on a plan - agree on the cost - agree on the placement - agree on a schedule -etc. *thats* why we use wifi

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062614)

Printers? Haven't seen any but one or two low-end consumer models. All professional installs I've seen use good old Ethernet.
Video surveillance? Sane deal. Heck, most of these just use composite over coax.
HVAC? Low bandwidth at best, and I haven't seen an in-use system that actually uses WiFi.
Electric meters? Really low bandwidth, and the better systems I've seen send /very/ low speed data back up the power lines.

So, no, WiFi isn't everywhere. It's just a good add-on for portable devices and stuff that doesn't care about high latency.

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062640)

Because there's never a Cat5 outlet where you need it.

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062772)

Let me guess, you take your breaks in a cupboard, with a laptop?

Come on, where you need it should be at your desk and the company already has been providing CAT5 to people's desks for years.

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062804)

That's no excuse.

I work in schools (i.e. limited budget). It's just not sensible or practical to have ANY of that stuff running Wifi, especially in solid-build buildings, near residential areas, or anywhere you need something to STAY connected.

We have HVAC controls - on a Cat5 outlet that we put in specially. The electrician ran it in with the electrical outlets and the AC engineers run it with their cabling happily too - for the price of the cable / box and a little extra labour.

We have a printer in every room. Usually wired to the same Cat5 outlet as the main computer outlet.

We have door-controls - same thing. All over Cat5/IP, even down to the individual door activators and swipe-card sensors.

We have VoIP - same thing. If there isn't a socket where we need it, Cat5 goes in for no more than a phone line of the same length / distance.

We have CCTV - all wired to Cat5 sockets rather than with Coax back to a central point because that would mean more unnecessary cabling when the Cat5 does the job and STILL supplies Gigabit Ethernet to several other devices on the same point.

And then eventually you realise - after a while, in any large building, you still always have a Cat5 point within 100m (usually within 10m) and from there you can do everything you need to split it / put a switch in and join even more stuff to the normal network.

Cat5 is a universal deployment that virtually everything can use once plugged in and can be extended to ridiculous means (i.e. Gigabit to every outlet, so you CAN stream multiple CCTV channels from the other end of the building without having to worry about the wireless bandwidth / interference in between and/or knocking out other systems).

Whereas our wireless deployments? In the middle of a residential area, we can't get more than 8 machines into a room reliably using Wifi - even with flooding 3 channels full from school AP's - ( and where reliability means "can login via LDAP without having to constantly retry") because of the interference and up/down-ness of it all - training days we only use switches and hard cables now.

What we do expose to Wifi can be picked up miles away if you want to but can't be used reliably on the other side of the room. Wireless CCTV interferes like hell and knocks out both itself and the Wifi and other 2.4GHz gadgets.

Yet with wired cabling we can cover the entire building with the minimum of fuss. Diagnosis is simple (green light on switch = working). Things don't change over time. We can have redundant and even circular links. We don't drown out our neighbours.

It costs LESS than the Wifi crap - hell a run of Cat5 to the maximum run (with installation costs and sockets) costs less than a single access point (without installation costs) if you have decent contractors that aren't conning you. If you have in-house staff, you also save the "profit" that you would have given the contractor.

Copper cabling saves you so much more hassle and time and money and effort and extraneous costs, if you're being charged sensible prices, and stays that way pretty much forever - use your brain and install Cat6a now and you're save until each outlet needs more than 10Gb/s. Install wifi now and for MORE cost, you get LESS service, LESS reliability and in before you even get to 200MB/s you're going to be replacing them ALL.

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062876)

They're not artefacts of an ancient civilization; if there's no Ethernet port where you need it, get one installed.

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063282)

run a cable nigger....

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062998)

Same reason people now buy TVs with WiFi

Re:Why are these things using WiFi? (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063070)

In the one instance I've seen of WiFI printers, it was a mobile field-office set-up that ran off one of those celluar WiFi cards that AT&T or Verizon produce. The individual in question traveled a lot and apparently felt the need to be able to print wherever he wanted. I can't speak for the other devices however.

Revolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062666)

The wireless LAN will be the future! What a great idea. It is so great that I wonder why nobody has thought about it already. Oh wait. My University-LAN works that way. And when I move from Kiel to Berlin and enter campus I am back in my Office-Network. So this is bleeding edge? No. Whole Estonia has such a WI-FI-network.

However, wired networking will stay with us for a long time. Why is that? Because it is faster as it does not need to cope that much with its environment. It has its ether free of most disturbances.

So nothing new here. It has more the quality of a sack of rice.

Security, Availability, Expandibility. (4, Insightful)

Bilby Baggins (1107981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062736)

These are the three things that WiFi still can't compete in against a wired network.

Even the most secure wireless is still much more susceptible to attack then a wired network. Even with the most modern access control and protection methods (which are neither cheap nor convenient) the sheer massive avenue of attack WiFi presents creates a problem for many large corporations. Ask JPMorgan Chase how much WiFi connectivity they have. Or pretty much any US Government building.

Even if you do as the article suggests and call in an expensive contractor to map out the best locations for access points, you have to find out if it's even feasible to run network and power to that location. Even with the best-possible placement you are going to have dead zones, and the size and location of dead zones will vary depending on the devices used. My Toshiba laptop got service in places a virtually identical Macbook did not- let alone the poor wireless reception most mobile phones and devices provide. So you have to deal with irate users, and try to find places to install additional access points to cover the dropped zones.

When I worked for a small non-profit K-12 school, during teacher inservice days I always had to install 2 additional access points in the gym so that the teachers could all connect on their laptops, as the single AP currently serving the gym was not sufficient. Even then, transferring any large file from the server or online either brought the network to a standstill or required tethering each machine to an ethernet cord to do the transfer. Most high-tech oriented conferences, the wireless is all but useless if it's available publicly, due to the hundreds of devices all connecting within a limited frequency space and bandwidth. There is just not enough bandwidth in a small space available to deal with more then a handful of data-rich connections. Spread across multiple spheres of AP reception the problem is reduced, but not eliminated! My bedroom is WiFi-connected only due to wiring constraints and connecting from my laptop to my server via VNC or to copy files is very... very... slow. And really, try having a LAN party over wireless- I can run hundreds or thousands of network cables through a small room and connect everything I need for nearly any project or task inexpensively, and know that the network will be robust. Working with WiFi in anything other then a solo arrangement is a lesson in frustration.

TL;DR - Until security protocol and access control methods are more robust and available; until tools to design, implement, and test wireless networks are more plentiful and robust; and until bandwidth availability is not on par with but exceeds that of standard CAT5- wireless is but an adjunct, a convenient add-on to the main structure of a wired network in a business. ... err, not that I'm impassioned about it, or anything.

Re:Security, Availability, Expandibility. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063038)

Doing a LAN party using a Ad-hoc wireless network works great (if all the nodes are in line of sight). I never found a game that lagged due to WiFi.

Is not reliable enough (1)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062766)

I agree with the sentiments here that wireless is not appropriate for a large portion of traffic. Especially as we move to all kinds of media traveling over our IP networks, do we really want all of that to be steamed over wireless when it does not need to be?

I consume all of my media at home over IP, and because of my house's design and the location of my wireless router, it is very difficult to run a wire to where our big screen is, so I use wifi. When it works it is fine, but I have to reset the connection every time I finish watching anything. There is something wrong with the protocols. And I have very new equipment. And I have tried several brands of router, and the problem manifests with both my AppleTV and Roku - and with our laptops (Macs) as well.

I find that wifi is not reliable enough to rely on. It is great when it works, but it is very flaky. If we want to deploy it for everything then we need to make it work first.

Re:Is not reliable enough (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062894)

That is true if we stick with the 'fat' client concept we have today, pushing gigs of data to the end point directly..

If everything is moved to a RDP/VDI sort of environment, then it might become more feasible ( and secure ).

Re:Is not reliable enough (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062900)

There's nothing wrong with the protocols, you just have bad equipment.

Re:Is not reliable enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062974)

No, he doesn't. Many things can interfere with wifi signal. I have trouble streaming to my tv with the wifi router in the next room sometimes. Add an idiot neighbor playing with tesla coils and you're done.

This isn't an old timer likes wires problem. This is a technology that doesn't always work the way it should and some people don't get it problem. I don't think you need to put a wifi router in every room to get a damn signal. Hell I had to use to wireless routers to cover an APARTMENT. When everyone on your block has wifi, it causes a lot of interference regardless of what channel you're on.

You farm folk don't get what it's like to have neighbors.

Re:Is not reliable enough (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063082)

I was referring to the need to 'reset the connection'. Sure, interference can lower the throughput, or make it impossible to stream at a sufficient rate, but if anything can be fixed by resetting, it indicates a bad implementation.

Never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062780)

OK, I rethought it just now, and it's still a bad idea. Say I'm using 11n everywhere in it's best incarnation. That still gives me only 450Mbit/s for all of my users to share. Except when you factor in overhead, it's more like 200Mbit/s.

Gigabit Ethernet is cheap, and every workstation gets it's own collision domain. It is possible, also, to get utilization in the real world of 90-95%. Plus wireless is inherently less secure, it takes an awful lot of equipment and planning for an attacker to spoof an ethernet network. At the very least, it'd require breaking in to a secure wiring closet.

Oh, and PoE is a lifesaver for anyone who has ever deployed IP phones.

After having lived with a wireless infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062932)

... for my work for the last three or four years, I'll be glad when I can change back to wired again soon. If I have to plug in for power anyway, a second cable doesn't hurt, and the extra responsiveness of the network is a huge bonus.

Uhm, Wireless (Wi-Fi) is Ethernet. (1)

funnyguy (28876) | more than 3 years ago | (#36062958)

Wired and Wireless Ethernet are both Ethernet.

Re:Uhm, Wireless (Wi-Fi) is Ethernet. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063506)

Wired and Wireless Ethernet are both Ethernet.

Some places, mostly traveler oriented, but also some public K-12 schools, try to provide only www service over their wifi. Often via whitelists. Filtering at layer 7.

Also lots of places only allow ipv4 traffic over their fully ethernet capable wifi. Filtering at layer 2.

For a couple years in the 00s (was it the late 90s?) my wifi at home was bridged onto my wired network. Don't even remember why, I think it was for old fashioned lan parties or it was back when IPX was still viable, or something like that. Confused the heck out of some people. (Oh, heres your problem, your wifi and wired have the same subnet address, thats not possible, etc)

You'd be surprised how many non-networking people think wifi is a ip only protocol or even web-traffic only protocol.

Controlling the language is just a wedge to shove more filtering in.

Really people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36062964)

OK, lets start with the basics:

Wireless is ludicrously insecure, to the point where any busyness today should be shot for even giving a 100% corporate wireless network more than 10 seconds worth of thought, unless they live in a sealed lead bunker. If you don't agree, please go work for a competitor.

Wired is more secure, and several people have mentioned people walking up and plugging in wireless access points to open switch ports or using the bridge on the ports to make it look like everything is still situation normal, going back outside, and getting to the hacking. If you are a Network Engineer or System Administrator at any busyness and you are not using switch port security, even basic security, especially if you utilize a Voice over Internet Protocol solution, please, go work for a competitor.

The basic problem with the iPad and Tablet revolution is that they are mobile, and that means insecure. Period. Between captures and replays, its too easy to break into wireless networks and obtain the information that is traveling over the wireless network. Now, if that information happens to be my credit card information, no thank you, I will pay in cash please. If that information happens to be my personal information, my medical information, my drivers license and car registration? (I'm looking at you, New Jersey, they actually do this shit already) Whats stopping some asshole from parking nearby and using any number of wireless capture devices from obtaining my information? Sure, he might have to wait 5 years for WPA4Plus+SuperAES+BlowFish+BloodTransfusionBiometrics with advanced hardware RNG (Theoretical future example) to be cracked, but the clever start stealing identities early. I would not be surprised if there weren't already people sitting outside buildings capturing encrypted packets knowing that it is always JUST A MATTER OF TIME before he can have that information, and your mothers maiden name never changes.

I'm not going to say we should all wear our tinfoil hats, but when it comes to the handling of other people's personal information, we should probably exercise a little bit more caution than to even CONSIDER wireless as a real solution. Look at Sony getting their ass handed to them, can you imagine if that happened to say, a YMCA? Do you guys realize how much information about people YMCAs have? What about other Gyms? Schools? Who wants this information on a wireless network? Not me. Encryption isn't good enough. You need physical control in addition to logical control, and wired ethernet gives you that today.

What needs to change (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063030)

As many people have pointed out the wired network isn't going away as the wireless network will always be far behind the wired network in terms of throughput. What I think really needs to change is the transition between wired and wireless networks for those devices that do both. You really should be able to move a machine between wired and wireless networks without causing any open TCP connections to be broken.

Maybe IPv6 is going to fix that, but I am not convinced the proper solution is actually at the IP layer. It could be implemented at a lower layer of the stack. If it was implemented at the Ethernet layer it would work for both IPV4, IPv6, and anything else you were running on the network. However doing it at the Ethernet layer does limit its scope to a single Ethernet segment, so wouldn't work for those places that implement wired and wifi as separate segments. Hence an implementation at a higher level would be useful as well, and in case IPv6 becomes widespread enough it could render an implementation at a lower level redundant.

Imagine starting a large download while on wifi, when you notice it is going too slow plug in the Ethernet cable and see the speed increase as TCP notice more bandwidth is available. And if you are on the wired network and the cable for some reason gets pulled out nothing would break, it would just cause a drop in speed until you plug it in again.

wifi 'core' (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063056)

Wifi can be handy as a 'core' network if you live in an apartment and don't want to (or can't) drill holes to run copper throughout. An extended 802.11n 5GHz-dedicated works well enough to feed 1080p from my upstairs NAS to my downstairs home theater. Still, if I owned, or had an apartment with ethernet wall plates, I'd take advantage of that..

better routers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063136)

The protocols could use some updating for better media throughput and handling, but the larger concern is the horrible routers we buy. there is no processing power. it is absurd when we have things like the $25 computer reported on earlier this week.

Wi-fi != wired (1)

max (79752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063492)

Since I am not an InfoWorld subscriber I could not read the report by Andrew Borg of the Aberdeen Group that Galen Gruman wrote about (nice plug about your own article BTW). Thus I have a hard time to see what Borg really meant and what got lost in the filtering of TFA.

But of course we will have to think of wired and wireless networks as two separate entities. Not that we cannot think about them at the same time and how they should work together, but because of their different characteristics.

For an end-user the experience should be roughly the same, but from an engineering point-of-view, you have to take all factors into account when designing your network. The limitations, security concerns, cost, etc of each medium is important to acknowledge.

So even if I might agree on that we shouldn't view wi-fi as the "neglected stepchild", we cannot dismiss the differences. Doing so would be plain stupid.

Quantum Teleportation (1)

HyTeK3000 (1951192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063502)

This would be the only way I see as being able to beat physical mediums for data transportation. Granted there are many hurdles to overcome, and it is still not fully understood, but it would be far superior to any wireless [and wired] based system when [if] mastered.

How much of this is wireless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36063504)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20030328-52.html

seems to me that with adequate hardware, you can overcome the 'limits' that everyone here keeps putting forward.

Borg (4, Funny)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36063524)

What needs to happen, argues Aberdeen Group's Andrew Borg

So a Borg is giving suggestions as to how Earth's networks are to be set up?

Careful now, people.

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