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IT Shops Coping With Overloaded 2.4GHz WiFi Band

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the crowding-the-ethertubes dept.

Wireless Networking 165

alphadogg writes "Of the 470,000 Wi-Fi connections made on a recent day at Abilene Christian University, fully 94% used the 2.4GHz band, representing an extreme example of how today's surging number of Wi-Fi clients is crowding the band least able to accommodate them. At ACU, this is not considered a problem, at least not yet. In part, that's because of careful wireless LAN design and capacity planning. And partly because a goodly percentage of mobile devices that can run on the alternative 5GHz band, do so: on that same day, 47% of the school's laptops and desktops, and two-thirds of its iPads cruised on 5GHz, via either 802.11a or 802.11n. Yet relatively few of today's Wi-Fi clients support 5GHz."

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165 comments

wrong title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821838)

this title should read "IT shops unable to cope with overloaded 2.4GHz WiFi band" IMHO

Re:wrong title (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821892)

Considering TFA is about an IT shop that is coping with the overloaded 2.4GHz band, in my honest opinion, your honest opinion is fucking stupid.

Re:wrong title (1)

MichaelKristopeit423 (2018892) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822124)

if you have a problem with the title, wait until you get to the summary where 94% is labeled as "fully" without a relative qualifier.

slashdot = fully stagnated

Fully 94% ? (0)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821840)

fully 94% used the 2.4GHz band

100% of 94% ? Or 94% used the band fully?

Re:Fully 94% ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821874)

94% of the devices making a connection used the 2.4GHz band to do so.

Re:Fully 94% ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821956)

No less than 94%

Re:Fully 94% ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822498)

Sex Panther - 69% of the time it works all the time.

Re:Fully 94% ? (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822714)

*golf clap*

WTF?? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821856)

94% used the 2.4GHz band


47% ... cruised on 5GHz,

Re:WTF?? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822096)

Doesn't 802.11n use both?

Re:WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822486)

It *can* use both. In practice most routers use one or the other.

Re:WTF?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822098)

94% of everything on 2.4GHz. 47% of laptops and desktops on 5 Ghz. 66% of iPads on 5 GHz. 100% reader failure.

Re:WTF?? (2, Informative)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822108)

At least RTFS - 94% of all connections used 2.4GHz, while 47% of iPads used 5GHz. Most devices are either G only or 2.4GHz N. People generally avoid 802.11a and dual-band 802.11n often isn't turned on. So those numbers are not surprising.

Re:WTF?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822688)

Did you even read the summary?

"on that same day, 47% of the school's laptops and desktops, and two-thirds of its iPads cruised on 5GHz, via either 802.11a or 802.11n."

Are you assuming that all of the school's laptops and desktops are composed of iPads? At least try to make sense when you post and read the summary yourself before accusing people of not doing it.

Re:WTF?? (0)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822118)

94% of the 2.4Ghz bandwidth was used, not 94% of the people were using 2.4Ghz.

Re:WTF?? (1)

MichaelKristopeit423 (2018892) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823090)

you're an idiot, not a genius.

moron.

Re:WTF?? (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822194)

It was before they performed carefully planned emergency :) upgrade of infrastructure to add n/a support.

Re:WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822248)

94% of total devices (an umbrella including laptops, desktops, phones, tablets, etc.). 47% of the laptops and desktops, 33% of iPads. Which means that over half the laptops and desktops and 77% of the iPads were included in that 94% 2.4GHz number.

Reading comprehension for the win.

Re:WTF?? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822960)

Except you read it wrong too. 47% of laptops and desktops (somehow desktops got called "mobile devices") and 2/3 (i.e. 66%) of iPads were on 5 GHz. Which suggests that the biggest class of devices on their network is smart phones, even assuming none of them were making 5 GHz connections.

Re:WTF?? (2)

MichaelKristopeit421 (2018882) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823156)

94% of all devices used 2.4 GHz...

47% of the school's laptops and desktops used 5 GHz...

which simply means most of the connections to the school's network are made by devices that the school doesn't own.

you're an idiot... you've been labeled "Insightful" by the other idiots that moderate this internet website chat room message board.

slashdot = stagnated

5 GHz sucks (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821882)

At least on my home network. Much slower and shorter range.

Re:5 GHz sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821916)

You must be doing it wrong...

Re:5 GHz sucks (3, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821990)

No, hes not doing it wrong. 5 GHz is shit for anything but open-air.

Re:5 GHz sucks (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823258)

The main problem is that 802.11A/N is totally the wrong kind of protocol for crowded environments where you have lots of individual users who need reliable and robust connectivity that doesn't necessarily have to be individually fast. 802.11N in particular was optimized for the questionable use case of making your neighbors hate you so you can avoid running cat5 between your living room and den, instead of enabling lots of adjacent users to peacefully coexist. Hand-offs are still kludgy, and it's rare to find someone who doesn't do wireless networking for a living who can literally walk from the back yard down to the basement and upstairs, then out to the front yard without having his connectivity break (and break *hard*) at some point along the trip.

What do I propose? "802.11u" (as in, "UMTS"), running on unlicensed 5.8GHz. Stick private picocells in every room, hallway, and area. Multiple ones, in large areas. Wire them together with ethernet, or optionally create a peer to peer mesh network for the backhaul (5.8GHz where good links are possible, 2.4GHz for links between floors or "difficult" walls). Then take more or less canonical UMTS, and implement it as micro cell sites in devices with the approximate form factor of a smoke detector.

The nice thing about UMTS is that it's CDMA, just like 1xRTT (and ironically, unlike EVDO). You don't have to do local spectrum planning. If an area has poor throughput, just buy and add more femtocells or picocells to the congested area, let the devices negotiate lower power levels, and watch CDMA work its magic. By linking the PicoFemto/cells together, they'll magically work the same way a real cellular network does (sharing their bitstreams, and allowing them to reinforce each other and cancel out local/directional noise).

5.8GHz private UMTS wouldn't be fast (it would probably max out around 2.5mbit/sec at the cheap end, and max out around 10 or 20mbit/sec for a high-end corporate network where cost was no object), but it would be perfect for places like college campuses, offices, etc. where you have lots of people who need mainly internet access, but no single user necessarily needs GIGANTIC amounts of individual bandwidth. In other words, the exact places that are a total clusterfuck mess today, because you have hundreds or thousands of users stomping all over each other trying to use a wireless protocol optimized for streaming HD media from a point source to a single hungry consumer.

It might even be possible to make a cheaper "home" version that ran with uplink & downlink sprayed across the entire existing 2.4GHz wifi band -- the idea being that if Qualcomm has a chip designed to do 1900 & 2150MHz uplink/downlink UMTS, extending it to add ~2.4-2.5GHz would probably just be a straightforward next-gen upgrade that would be easy to add to any Android phone (or iPhone) that already had UMTS capabilities.

I have no idea whether this could possibly be cheap enough to justify doing at home, but I suspect the costs would be fairly competitive to what businesses, colleges, and hotels spend kludging around with high-end enterprise WiFi *anyway* today.

It shouldn't be slower. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821954)

The shorter range means that you won't have as many other access points conflicting with yours.

The only problem I've seen with 5GHz is that fewer end-user devices are supporting it.

Re:It shouldn't be slower. (1)

Alamais (4180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822200)

Yeah, I'm a little annoyed that my Nook doesn't support 5 GHz. It's basically the only reason I still keep a 2.4 GHz network running at home.

Re:It shouldn't be slower. (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822256)

The only problem I've seen with 5GHz is that fewer end-user devices are supporting it.

...even the ones that have 5GHz radios -- they will choose a 2.5 signal over a 5 even if they can get full speed over the 5, even if the 5 offers dual band 11n and the 2.5 does not. They will ride that crowded band into the ground when there is a perfectly usable 5 band right there for the using. The drivers don't seem to be able to distinguish correctly between a crowded band with a string signal and an uncrowded band with a weaker, but still fully capable signal.

So tip to geeks -- if you want speed, turn off your 2.5G radios when you are in range of a 5G AP. Even in cases where you can't get a 54Mbps signal, as long as you aren't down in the 1-4mbps range, you'll be one of like three people using the band so it will be faster for you.

Re:It shouldn't be slower. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822646)

So tip to geeks -- if you want speed, turn off your 2.5G radios when you are in range of a 5G AP. Even in cases where you can't get a 54Mbps signal, as long as you aren't down in the 1-4mbps range, you'll be one of like three people using the band so it will be faster for you.

I split my SSID's across frequencies - I advertise one 802.11b/g SSID at 2.4Ghz and a different 802.11a SSID at 5Ghz, so I connect to the 5Ghz SSID with devices that can take advantage of it, and let the devices that can only handle 2.4Ghz use the other SSID. I regularly experience network drops at 2.4Ghz, but no problems at at all on 5Ghz. I can see about 30 - 40 AP's on 2.4Ghz from my apartment.

About the only thing I use Wireless for is to connect to the internet, so 802.11a works fine for me, I don't need the extra speed 802.11n would provide.

Re:It shouldn't be slower. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822882)

You won't have any conflicting access points regardless, as the 5 GHz band has many, many more non-overlapping channels than the 2.4 GHz band's whopping 3 (or 1, if you're trying to use a 40 MHz WiFi-n channel).

Re:5 GHz sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822230)

Shorter range is a benefit. That's why you don't see 50 fucking 5GHz networks in an NYC apt building. The range on consumer 2.4GHz routers is excessive. 5GHz distance is perfect in most cases -- probably not even visible from the neighboring street -- and if not, that's what WiFi repeaters are fucking made for.

Re:5 GHz sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822494)

I've always heard - and with my RF knowledge would have figured myself - that 5GHz has less range, but for some reason my house chooses to be the exception to the rule. I've always had trouble getting 2.4GHz to reach to certain portions of the house, but when I added 5GHz (Apple Airport Extreme) I can now easily get a signal from anywhere in the house and even outside.

In my neighborhood, I definitely do much better on 5GHz, I can see 5-6 (check that, right now it's 9!) neighbors' APs on 2.4GHz, but so far I'm the only one on 5. I see slow-downs or at least "hiccups" periodically on 2.4, smooth sailing on 5.

Re:5 GHz sucks (2)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822656)

...but for some reason my house chooses to be the exception to the rule. I've always had trouble getting 2.4GHz to reach to certain portions of the house, but when I added 5GHz (Apple Airport Extreme) I can now easily get a signal from anywhere in the house and even outside...

There's the phenomenon...

...I can see 5-6 (check that, right now it's 9!) neighbors' APs on 2.4GHz, but so far I'm the only one on 5...

...and there, I'd say, is your explanation for it.

Proper LAN Design (2)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821906)

I attend a state funded technical college in Kentucky. We just had a technology audit/overhaul done over the summer break. Before summer, I could always connect to the wireless without a hitch. Sure it was a little slow, but it worked. After we cane back from the summer, I can't even get my wifi to associate with the router. Turns out, they redid the subnet ting and only allow 255 ip addresses to be leased at a time. 255 ip addresses. On a school network. Where everyone has a laptop and a smartphone. What the hell? I talked to the it guys and they said they're waiting to hear from the ISP so the can raise the number of leased up addresses. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Someone explain that one to me?

Re:Proper LAN Design (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821932)

Parent here. Sorry for the typos and lack of structure. iPhone's don't make for friendly slashdot commenting companions.

Re:Proper LAN Design (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822014)

Parent here. Sorry for the typos and lack of structure. iPhone's don't make for friendly slashdot commenting companions.

It's not your fault. And for once it's not even Steve's fault.
Slashdot doesn't make for friendly Slashdot commenting.

Re:Proper LAN Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821976)

Sounds like they moved from NAT to global addresses. while NAT is a hack, it does have valid uses, public wifi being one of them...

Re:Proper LAN Design (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37821996)

I attend a state funded technical college in Kentucky. We just had a technology audit/overhaul done over the summer break. Before summer, I could always connect to the wireless without a hitch. Sure it was a little slow, but it worked. After we cane back from the summer, I can't even get my wifi to associate with the router. Turns out, they redid the subnet ting and only allow 255 ip addresses to be leased at a time. 255 ip addresses. On a school network. Where everyone has a laptop and a smartphone. What the hell? I talked to the it guys and they said they're waiting to hear from the ISP so the can raise the number of leased up addresses. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Someone explain that one to me?

If they need to talk to their ISP to up the leased address space, that would seem to imply they are using public space vs private space. That is just stupid and irresponsible. If they are using public space, they generally can only get issued a class C at a time if they have a large network requirement. What they should be using is the 10.0.0.0 space and NAT at the edge..

Re:Proper LAN Design (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822052)

WTF were they thinking? They could use a class A or B for more IPs or go so far as to use VLSM if they want a classless headache.

Re:Proper LAN Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822056)

Sounds like they budget cut their competent network admin, brought in the lowest bid consultant, and the lowest bid consultant made sure to leave a mess that would require a second visit.

Re:Proper LAN Design (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822136)

Either they have a small global address allocation to start with (and are trying to disable NAT), in which case they have to get more from the ISP or apply for more as an institution, or they decided to "outsource" their WiFi so that it is run as a turnkey system by an ISP, and that ISP did not allocate enough addresses for the need.

I could also see them wanting to segment WiFi if they for some reason decided not to turn off broadcast forwarding entirely (the saner thing to do if you have no mission-relevant installed application base that needs broadcast/multicast.) However, in that case the ISP wouldn't be getting involved, so it is likely one of the above two scenarios.

Re:Proper LAN Design (2)

dasherjan (1485895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822418)

There isn't enough info for us to know for sure. Assuming the parent poster is living in dorms. The deal with the ISP probably has the AP's VLAN'ing the SSID's back to their controller, and the university is probably just allowing the ISP to run their cabling on the uni's property. This is becoming a common setup for cash strapped organizations like colleges and hospitals since it cuts down on net admin costs. Well...in the short term anyway.

Re:Proper LAN Design (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822280)

Go on, name names. http://www.kctcs.edu/Colleges_and_Campuses.aspx [kctcs.edu]

Re:Proper LAN Design (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822684)

Didn't wanna finger point but eh, alright. It's the cooper campus located in Lexington

wi-fi needs an evolutionary upgrade (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821962)

It's one of the ubiquitous technologies which always seems to have something crippling it. Interference, noise, hardware compatibility, exploits, proprietary protocols. The 2.4Ghz problems will evolve the same way on the 5Ghz band. The only reason it's not a problem now is the reason stated in the article. Not that many devices are in the 5Ghz band.

Re:wi-fi needs an evolutionary upgrade (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822368)

The 2.4Ghz problems will evolve the same way on the 5Ghz band

Not really. 2.4G has 3 bands. 5G has, depending on the country has 4 to 8 times as many. Make that 2 to 4 when you turn on dual channel bonding, and then you are talking worst case 6 channels. That means that you can tesslate the 5G band much closer together, without APs that are on the same channel getting as close to each other (and no, dropping Tx power isn't a perfect solution to that problem on the 2.5G band.)

So it's much easier to microcell on the 5G frequencies, in fact AP density can be cranked up absurdly high.

Re:wi-fi needs an evolutionary upgrade (1)

dayton967 (647640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822670)

First thing, because of the nature of the beast wifi is basically like going back to the old Ethernet Hubs, with the added benefit of it being Collision Avoidance, and not Collision Detection, but because it operates like a hub, you are only as fast as your slowest user.

There are big differences in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, first 2.4Ghz has only channels 1, 6, and 11 (in North America, elsewhere there is also 14) that can handle 20Mhz frequencies without interference, at 40Mhz there is 1 or 2, depending on location. The 5Ghz range has about 20 channels that have full 20Mhz ranges available (some countries have more, some less). This leads to a lot less crowding.

Secondly 2.4Ghz has a lot of other devices on this range causing interferences, such as cordless phones, leaky microwaves, video senders (and some of these use frequency hopping, with high power, but using 10Mhz), bluetooth, cordless keyboard and mice, and car alarms are ones off the top of my head, and I think there are some baby monitors in the range as well. 5.0Ghz does have anything in the range as far as I recall, with the exception of radar (in the US), but those ranges are not usable in the US.

The biggest issue with the 5.0Ghz is the penetration power, it may not pass through concrete walls or water, as well as 2.4Ghz. But I really don't plan to use an ipad while I am underwater in a pool.

WiFi was *never* intended for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822938)

...very large scale, concentrated deployments. The limited amount of RF spectrum available, combined with CSMA/CA means that WiFi was only ever intended for small, localized, sparse and isolated deployments, for network communication "convenience" and augmenting a primary wired network for a small number of portable devices... not for being the primary method of business network connectivity itself. Anything else is a losing battle against a very unforgiving conglomeration of compromises and tradeoffs.

Wireless N doesn't imply 5GHz (2)

watermark (913726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821970)

I find it largely annoying that "Wireless N" doesn't imply support for 5GHz. Many "Wireless N" devices only support 2.4GHz and most are bad at labeling whether they support 5GHz or not. It makes it difficult if you're looking for devices that support 5GHz "Wireless N".

From a cost perspective, I understand why they might only support 2.4GHz. I just wish they called it something else, like "Wireless NS" or something.

NS or N5? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822006)

"NS" for 2.4 GHz-only would just be confusing. It'd look like "N5", which one might assume means 5 GHz.

Re:Wireless N doesn't imply 5GHz (1)

Alamais (4180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822242)

Never happen. Who wants to label their device as lacking a feature?

Re:Wireless N doesn't imply 5GHz (1)

watermark (913726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822282)

You're right in that you can't expect the vendors to do it themselves. It's going to have to be baked into the spec (ie. they can't call it wireless N unless it supports the following features). Obviously too late for Wireless N, but a point for future specs.

Re:Wireless N doesn't imply 5GHz (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822364)

"most are bad at labeling whether they support 5GHz or not."

In my experience, it's the "not" that's the problem. If a device supports 5 GHz, it will almost always say so (usually labeled "dual band"), because it's a marketable feature. If they don't support that band, they say nothing.

Re:Wireless N doesn't imply 5GHz (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822610)

But even then, some require manual configuration to pick a band, others can switch on-the-fly, and others can use both 2.4 and 5 at the same time. So even among devices which do support 5 GHz, there's a range of support.

Re:Wireless N doesn't imply 5GHz (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822412)

...which is why you look for products labeled "abgn" since you'd probably be hard pressed to find a product that supported both a and n but didn't support n on the 5G radio.

802.11a (3, Insightful)

xororand (860319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823050)

Look for 802.11a support. It requires the 5 GHz band.

And it is getting worse (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37821992)

Look at the number of smartphones, e-readers, laptops and Android tablets out there that don't support 5 GHz. With the premium price of some of these gadgets I'm surprised vendors are trying to shave expenses by getting 2.4 GHz-only 802.11n chipsets.

If you get an opportunity, let the vendor or salesman know you one of the features you look for is 5 GHz capability. Make a point of it.

Re:And it is getting worse (1)

Alamais (4180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822358)

I know, I've been pondering a tablet, but it's hard to tell what even supports 5 GHz. Do any of the current 10"-class tablets?

Re:And it is getting worse (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822474)

Motorola Xoom is the only one, I believe.

Re:And it is getting worse (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822790)

I know, I've been pondering a tablet, but it's hard to tell what even supports 5 GHz. Do any of the current 10"-class tablets?

The iPad does. My wife's iPad can connect to either our 802.11b/g 2.4GHz network or our 802.11n 5GHz network.

I'd like to kill off the 2.4GHz network, but we've got too many devices that still need it - including my new-ish Android phone.

Re:And it is getting worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822674)

Cheap devices suffer the worst. Roku 2 & Kindle Fire don't support 5GHz for example. Both companies make efforts to hide this information.

Re:And it is getting worse (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823244)

Then on the next couple of years we get congestion at the 5GHz band

It's not about band, it's about intelligently using the resources. Unfortunately, 802.11g is very bad at this, 802.11n is better, still, I think there's a long way to go still...

Okay that is so odd. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822000)

There are only around 5.000 students at ACU based on their website. Even if their 5000 faculty and employees you are averaging 47 logins per person.
Does half the town of Abilene use the university as a hot spot or what. Even with an average of two devices per person that seems like a lot of users.
of course you could always throttle which ever band gets say more than 70% of the traffic.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822068)

Many smartphones are set to autoconnect to the nearest open WiFi network. Perhaps people driving by the school are within distance of the signal?

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822110)

Only if they are open. If so then that maybe an a solution in part. Password protect the WAPs that cover the road way.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822286)

Keep in mind that Abilene has 117k residents of all ages (2010 census). That sounds like a whole lot of connections for my former home town. Plus they are on the NE side of town, not near most of the shopping or traffic, which is on the south side, so incidental traffic can't the be cause. If you discount infants and old timers, you are left with a total possible universe of 60k-80k people that would be in the right ages to even USE the internet, half which likely don't, with 95% of the population never getting close enough to ACU to get a connect, and...well, you can see where this is going.

I can see 470,000 http requests, but 470k actual wifi connects (devices connected for X minutes) seems impossible for that location. If there really was 470k connects, even on an open network, something is very, very wrong. Time for someone to pour through the logs.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822318)

It was a very poorly written article. But the 470,000 connections on the single day probably means instances of connection. If I turn on my laptop (1 connection), put it to sleep, turn it back on (2 connections), move to a different AP (3 connections)....etc. Think of how many people have their computers set to go to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity. And smartphones, some only turn on the WiFi when screen is on or there's something actively going on. In a single day, I probably turn on and check my smartphone (20 - 30 times a day), that's 20 to 30 instances of connections.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

jdkramar (803337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822448)

I think it's there were 470,000 connections to the wifi network, so everytime a device disconnected from one wireless router and connected to the next router gets counted. So each time all the students with their iPhones on walk across campus they probably get counted 5-10 times.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

egamma (572162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822520)

There are only around 5.000 students at ACU based on their website. Even if their 5000 faculty and employees you are averaging 47 logins per person. Does half the town of Abilene use the university as a hot spot or what. Even with an average of two devices per person that seems like a lot of users. of course you could always throttle which ever band gets say more than 70% of the traffic.

It says 470,000 connections PER DAY, divided by 5000, is 94. So if you go from your dorm room (1) to the business building (2) to the bible building (3) to the library (4) to chapel in the coliseum (5) to english (6) and back to your dorm room (7), your one device just made 7 connections. If you went back to your dorm room in between each of those events, it would be 20. Now, consider that there are multiple floors and multiple access points per building, and it adds up very quickly. Imagine if someone went jogging with their iphone wireless enabled--you could make a new connection every 10 seconds.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

jdkramar (803337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822554)

He got 47 per user by assuming there are 5000 faculty and staff members also connecting to the network. 5000 students + 5000 faculty/staff

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

egamma (572162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822676)

He got 47 per user by assuming there are 5000 faculty and staff members also connecting to the network. 5000 students + 5000 faculty/staff

That's not what I was disputing--there's about 1000 faculty/staff, by the way--my main point was that LWATCDR confused "connections" and "devices" in his counting.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822540)

Likely one of two things here:
1) they are (defensibly) counting all roams from one AP to the next as their own connection or
2) they aren't exclusively running WPA (e.g. they are doing open +IPSEC) so every jerk who drives by the campus with his gadgets turned on is ending up in their connection table, even if they cannot use the connection. Which is also defensible, because all those negotiations do use the band and also the infrastructure resources.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

jdkramar (803337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822584)

In response to #2, it is an open network. But that alone wouldn't be enough to get that number, so it is likely a combination of 1 and 2.

Re:Okay that is so odd. (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823206)

When I first got to this place we had an open SSID. We had 8 times as many "connections" present on the controllers at any given time back then. Since most of those were short-lived drive-bys I could easily see us reaching that number. We have about the same size population, but then, we are in a slightly more urban setting.

I'm not sure what's new here (1)

sdavid (556770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822072)

I'm always surprised how often this is described as a 'new' problem. I have a home network in a very highly populated area, I can see over fifty networks from my apartment, and I switched to a dual-band router as soon as they came on the market. I would have thought that planning a university network to work on both bands would have been on the radar for a number of years.

Re:I'm not sure what's new here (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822434)

I had the same problem in my apartment, there are between 30-50 networks (both residential and business) in range at all times crowding bandwidth, and to make matters even worse, it seems like a lot of them have that "smart switching" technology where they automatically go looking for the least crowded channel. The problem is that there are so many of those routers here that it's like they chase each other up and down the band all day long. I had no idea how bad the problem was until I downloaded a wifi app for my phone and watched it happening in real time; blocks of networks moving together because they all see the same "clean" channel...which they then immediately saturate so they all move to the next "clean" channel, totally unaware that the other networks are moving right along with them. It's maddening...

Going 5GHz 802.11N only was not a viable solution because so many of our devices require the 2.4 GHz band so I had to go out and buy 100' long cat6 cables and hard line every desktop in my apartment. It's hideous and I can't stand having cables run up walls and across the ceiling but it was either that, spend every waking moment of my day stuck in my living room, or not have internet.

There's got to be a better way.

Anybody got a suggested reference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822080)

Anybody got a good, concise reference recommendation for how to set up and administer a wireless network? I'm not as up on this side of networking as I should be, but I have no idea where to start reading.

Thanks in advance.

i know where not to look... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822172)

not that school

Channel 14 (3, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822210)

Anyone knowledgeable about the conflict is 2.5GHZ that led the US FCC to limit wifi from using channel 14 (2.484 GHz)?

According to the FCC spectrum chart [doc.gov] the top of the 2.4 wifi band abuts the "Standard Frequency and Time Signal" Band at 2.5 GHz. What is that used for?

Re:Channel 14 (1, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822332)

Radio controlled watches and clocks use that to set the time. My watch checks that signal every day at 2am and adjusts itself to the correct time.

Re:Channel 14 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822648)

But how does it know that it's 2am unless it already knows the correct time?

Re:Channel 14 (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822662)

It does it when it thinks it is 2am

Re:Channel 14 (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823104)

The signal is always transmitted, but it would be a huge drain on the battery to keep it synched at all times, so most watches sync every night, so even if the watch is off by hours, it'll sync.

Re:Channel 14 not really (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823190)

Me thinks your off by 3 orders of magnitude WWV @2.5 MHz megaHertz does not abut channel 14 @ 2.5 Ghz gigaHertz

Re:Channel 14 (1)

egamma (572162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822560)

Anyone knowledgeable about the conflict is 2.5GHZ that led the US FCC to limit wifi from using channel 14 (2.484 GHz)?

According to the FCC spectrum chart [doc.gov] the top of the 2.4 wifi band abuts the "Standard Frequency and Time Signal" Band at 2.5 GHz. What is that used for?

Let me Google that for you [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Channel 14 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822654)

Actually, I think you were looking at the wrong part of the chart. There is no "Standard Frequency and Time Signal" band at 2.5GHz, but there is one at 2.5MHz.
Clocks and watches set themselves to WWVB at 60kHz and WWV and WWVH are both on shortwave on 2.5MHz, 5MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz, and 20MHz (only WWVH uses 20MHz); none of which are near 2.5GHz (2,500MHz).

Re:Channel 14 (1)

snsh (968808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823160)

Right, I was looking at MHz not GHz.

So it looks like there's some sort of radio-satellite and mobile-satellite communication going on at 2.85GHz. What's that used for?

The underlying question is, if everyone starts transmitting low power wifi over channel 14, what's it going to break? If it means somebody's satellite phone stops working, then I don't really care because I highly doubt my neighbors are walking around the neighborhood chatting on satellite phones.

Re:Channel 14 (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823032)

Anyone knowledgeable about the conflict is 2.5GHZ that led the US FCC to limit wifi from using channel 14 (2.484 GHz)?

According to the FCC spectrum chart [doc.gov] the top of the 2.4 wifi band abuts the "Standard Frequency and Time Signal" Band at 2.5 GHz. What is that used for?

You're a factor of 1000 too high for WWV.

The problem with channel 14 is if it were used it would pretty much wipe out the BRS/MMDS service right above the wifi band.

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

MMDS never really went anywhere, which is a shame. For at least 30 years some areas have had some MMDS gear; my local school district linked the schools together in the 80s. Back when a decent pro-grade VCR cost $2500 a $1000 MMDS link between schools to share the VCR sounds like a good idea.

You'd be crazy to set up a MMDS system now, with the wifi wanna be hackers trying to use channel 14 to get away from the noise and some microwave oven interference. So that chunk of bandwidth is kind of a wasteland that no one can use, more or less.

Advanced AV stuff like that was kind of the "ipad of the 80s" where merely spending dough on silicon would magically make the kids smarter, or something.

http://www.xirrus.com/ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822216)

http://www.xirrus.com/

PR:

Compared to conventional thin APs and controllers, our Arrays integrate 4 to 16 radios, high-grain directional antennas, a multi-gigabit switch, controller, firewall, and threat sensor into a single access device. This architecture provides 4X the coverage and up to 8X the bandwidth and capacity. That means you use less Arrays, cabling, switching and general infrastructure expenditure during implementation. All while delivering flawless and secure wireless access under the most demanding circumstances.

  Improved device and user density and throughput with 4 to 16 radios per Array
  Greater coverage with high-gain directional antennas
  Distributed intelligence in each Array with no central controller
  Modular platform for simplified capacity expansion and field upgrades
  Easier installation and network integration with on-board switch, firewall and management
  Increased RF security with a dedicated threat sensor in each Array

Controller-based Wifi Network (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822220)

This might be troublesome to places that run stand-alone AP's, but anyone who runs a controller-based wifi network knows this isn't an issue at all, considering how easy it would be to create a new SSID on a 5Ghz band and push it out to all APs simultaneously. We run 5508 Cisco controllers, where I work, that support between 500 and 1000 devices connecting at any given time (only about 200 APs between the two controllers). For us to put out a new 5Ghz 802.11a or 802.11n-based SSID would take all of 5 minutes from creation to people using it live. The problem is, as the article suggest, the lack of devices that support 5Ghz. He were going to turn on WPA2 and 802.11n @ 5Ghz at the beginning of this year, until we found out all the phones and laptops everyone uses where we work (several thousand people) don't support WPA2 or 5Ghz. Have to wait until the end of the refresh to turn on all that. I have a feeling this is the case for a lot of other companies too, especially those tied to state and local government IT refresh cycles.

iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment in this regard. (1)

qubex (206736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822326)

I for one was hugely disappointed that Apple’s latest iPhone refresh (iPhone 4S) did not address 5GHz WiFi connectivity. The iPhone 4 has supported 802.11n since it was released last year, but, unlike the iPad, it does not support the 5GHz band, constraining use to the already oversubscribed 2.4 GHz band.

The end-result is silly: for example, I’m running a 5GHz 802.11n network for all my devices at home, but I’m broadcasting an extra 2.4GHz signal for the sole benefit of my iPhone 4. I hoped Apple would address this obvious shortcoming but obviously they didn’t. Sad.

Re:iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment in this rega (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822394)

The iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment in several other regards too.

Re:iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment in this rega (1)

qubex (206736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822558)

Granted.

The greatest disappointment of all? That they somehow engineered a desire for it into me.

Re:iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment in this rega (1)

johnmat (650076) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822642)

Smartphone designers struggle with the number of antennas required; and 5 GHz implies an additional antenna. They already have antennas for the cellular network, GPS, increasingly NFC, sometimes FM, WiFi and Bluetooth. The latter two are sometimes combined, but still, that is a lot to fit in a package that is very space constrained.

Dangerous. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822532)

These radio radiation signals are not good for us. Sure ethernet isn't as convenient - but isn't it more convenient than getting cancer or having changes of mood and though processes? I don't have a link handy but they have proven that high levels of EMF radiation can cause such problems with people. We are not designed for such high levels. They are dangerous.

Re:Dangerous. (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823222)

Tinfoil hats solve that problem.

Christian "University"?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822548)

That's like saying "Solid Lead rubber boat". It's either a university. Or it's Christian. it can't be both as they are polar opposites.

Re:Christian "University"?? (1, Informative)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822630)

yeah you're an idiot

Re:Christian "University"?? (1)

jdkramar (803337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822894)

If I had mod points, I'd mod you up for this.

Band Steering (1)

sigipickl (595932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822822)

I don't know if apple fixed their wireless driver in IOS 5, but I have found that the iPad running IOS 4 does not 'steer' to 5GHz when presented with the same SSID on 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This has been a consistent experience using Cisco, HP (E-series), and Ruckus wireless networks. With some of my customers, we have had to create different SSIDs for the bands to get their fleets of iPads off 2.4GHz.

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