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What the FCC's Wi-Fi Expansion Means For You

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the new-haircuts-all-around dept.

Wireless Networking 132

alphadogg writes "Mobile devices like the iPhone 5 are embracing the 5GHz band, and that trend will expand as 802.11ac radios become prevalent even on smartphones starting in 2013. The FCC announced a New Year's Wi-Fi gift during the International CES show earlier this month: a proposal to dramatically expand the unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz frequency band for use by Wi-Fi devices. The announcement comes as a growing number of vendors are announcing products that will support the "Gigabit Wi-Fi" 802.11ac standard in 2013. To find out the implications of the FCC's plan, Network World talked with Matthew Gast, director of product management for Aerohive Networks (author of "802.11n: A Survival Guide"). Gast blogged enthusiastically after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the spectrum move, even admitting he had an 'engineer-crush' on the chairman as a result."

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Nothing... for several years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682079)

It will take years for this change to make it into both wireless devices and wireless APs. Perhaps your home will support it early, but probably not out in public or at work, at least until 2016.

Re:Nothing... for several years (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682187)

Wrong, it is something that should start shipping to end users within the end of this year. I should know, I am writing software that will ship this to the first bunch of OEMs around Feb. After that hopefully, in a couple of months, some APs should arrive in the market. And I am talking about enterprise, not just personal usage. 11ac is wanted desperately by the industry.

Re:Nothing... for several years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682287)

802.11ac doesn't include [arstechnica.com] the just announced frequency expansion.

Re:Nothing... for several years (1)

Thorodin (1999352) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682519)

(speaking from a small ent.) We're running "N" right now. If it can be rolled out in a firmware update, we may push for it. But, if worst case, we had to swap out all the AP's and possibly the controllers, then we'll have to wait a while. That wouldn't be cheap.

Re:Nothing... for several years (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682851)

(speaking from a small ent.) We're running "N" right now. If it can be rolled out in a firmware update, we may push for it. But, if worst case, we had to swap out all the AP's and possibly the controllers, then we'll have to wait a while. That wouldn't be cheap.

It sounds to me like you guys are what I'd describe as "late adopters" of n. I would expect the same group who were early adopters of N to adopt ac, or whatever this frequency expansion becomes to be the early adopters of ac/newband.

Re:Nothing... for several years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683497)

FYI. The Nexus 4 supports 802.11ac chip..... Yes, All APQ8064 will have it!

same as before, use Cat5 (5, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682157)

in NYC so many people have wifi that i get better performance with cat5. i got tired of my xbox disconnecting from Live and started using Cat5 instead.

i have something like 20 hot spots around me. 5GHz will be nice for a few years until everyone gets on it as well.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (5, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682285)

Cat5 (or Cat6e if you want futureproofing) is just better for any device that doesn't move.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682375)

This, 100 times this. If you have a device that is not being moved, run a wire. It is not hard to do nor is it expensive if you need to pay someone.

In the vast majority if not all states, even renters can do this provided the seal the holes back up when they leave. No matter what the contract states. Check your local laws before doing this of course.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Jeffrey_Walsh VA (1335967) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682741)

Where running cables behind walls is impractical, flush-mount raceway is an option. I used this in my old condo. After caulk and paint it was hardly noticable. In 2004 when my new house was built I put at least 1 run of 5e in each room. I whish I spent the $ on cat 6.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (4, Insightful)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683019)

If you're going to wire, wire with the best available. It's just crazy to cheap out on the wire, when the installation is the major cost/hassle.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683437)

+1 here... and doing post-build install of catX gets cumbersome and costly > 4:1 labor:materials costs. Doing it as part of an initial build is way less (effectively).

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (2)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683615)

And regardless of whether you cheap out or not, always pull a piece of twine along with the cables so that you can pull new ones later.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683773)

So, you install nothing but Cat 7a cables, then?

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684043)

Scratch that.. If you are going to wire, put in 3/4" conduit to boxes next to every receptacle that dump into some accessible void like an attic, basement or central closet. Make sure you can easily get from any box to any other. That way you can pull whatever wire or cable they come up with when ever you like at minimum of cost.

I knew a guy who built his house with a double gang box every 8' connected by 3/4" conduit into the attic or basement with a number of 2" runs from the attic to his basement back in the 10Base-2 day. He can easily replace any low voltage signal cables he wants without having to tear up his house with nothing more than a fish tape and screw driver. Now, when they come out with Cat-5000 in 100 years, his kids can put it in..

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683703)

You should have run conduit.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (3, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682761)

Seal holes? Pay people? I just pull wires from one room to another, as a bonus it makes your house look cyberpunk as all hell.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683149)

I did this in one spot, between my bedroom and the adjacent living room. The cables run under my closet door, and through the wall into the coat closet where they meet up with the AP and the PoE injector for the WISP's hardware. From there they go through the wall behind some furniture into the living room where the television is. You can't actually see any of it though.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

cawpin (875453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683533)

If you have a device that is not being moved, run a wire. It is not hard to do

You obviously haven't been in my attic. If it was that easy I'd have my whole house wired. It isn't.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683667)

If you only have one story, run in through the basement or crawl space instead. Besides being easier to work in (if your crawl space isn't dirt, anyway), you won't have as far to fish.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683763)

Many places I lived in the US, especially in the north where there are decent crawl spaces or nearly finished basements, running a wire would only take a few minutes. You would spend more time trying to install the junction box on the wall and making it look nice. However, a few of the places I live and have family at, like in Florida, where there were no basements or crawlspaces under the house, and only partial attic access to the house, you could easily spend the whole weekend pulling a wire or two.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684831)

Often you can find plumbing or heating/cooling plenums to run the cable through; just make sure the cable meets local codes for where you're running it. Plenum cables abound. Crimp tools are cheap. And you won't trip over the cables or have them chewed by a neurotic dog.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (2)

cawpin (875453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684081)

I would but crawling through a solid concrete slab is very difficult.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682383)

Cat6 (there is no e) does nothing to help you futureproof, you need cat6a to do 10Gb as cat6 never made it into any spec (there was a draft version of 10GBaseT that allowed cat6 to 55m without AXT or 37m with AXT but it was not ratified)

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682485)

Cat5 (or Cat6e if you want futureproofing) is just better for any device that doesn't move.

If cost is no object, I'd use fiber myself. It is unlikely you will *ever* out grow the wiring if you pull fiber... Eventually, even Cat6e is going to be obsolete, but fiber will never really go away.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682623)

yea, Cause you can get easily grab a fiber xbox adapter. Not.

Wires FTW.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682747)

Not?

Garth called, says he wants his Aerosmith shirt back.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683693)

And his NE2000 card.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (3, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683453)

yea, Cause you can get easily grab a fiber xbox adapter. Not.

Actually you can easily get media converters for about $100 US each and use a short patch cable to wire it directly to your XBox 360 network port...

If I was you, I'd be more concerned about getting the fiber pulled and terminated. Putting on fiber connections is something that takes a bit of equipment and a bit of skill that can be somewhat costly to obtain. But, remember, I said if cost was no object...

Personally, I'm pulling Cat5e in my house, but that's mainly because it is easy to access the walls from the attic of my single story home and cost *IS* an object of concern for me...

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (3, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684257)

For INSIDE a house, fiber really is gross overkill. Most DATACENTERS don't even go all the way and use fiber for connections between devices in the same room. If you end up having to plug the fiber at both ends into an adapter box to turn it into gigabit wired ethernet, what have you *really* accomplished besides ego-masturbation and slightly increased latency due to two more conversion steps?

It's like Toslink... everyone thinks it's the ultimate L33t way to run SPDIF signals between your player and amp, and both Monster Cable and Toshiba have done their best to reinforce that notion... except actually, it's not. If you look at real-world performance, Toslink positively BUTCHERS the signal, and turns it into metaphorical mush that Solomon-Reed error correction can *barely* keep up with and fix. Toslink falls over and dies with relatively short lengths where a video-grade RCA cable works flawlessly. Optical interconnects for signals running less than a hundred feet, or within a single room, are almost ALWAYS counterproductive. Toslink, like passive fiber interconnects in general, is one of those things that sounds really cool in theory, but ends up sucking in real life because you're taking something straightforward and making it 200 times more complicated than it has to be.

Remember, 10-gigabit ethernet over copper ALREADY exists. It's not suitable for direct use, but with anticipated improvements to DSP technology, I think it's safe to say that when the day comes that you need to casually shovel 10gbps around your house, if push came to shove you'd be able to buy a pair of 10-gigE switches so you could multiplex the traffic of up to 10 gigabit devices into a single cat6 cable for up to a few hundred feet... at worst, using the same basic technology used to make VDSL work (just more wires operating in parallel to spread the work around).

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682709)

Copper will never go away either. It's the devices on either end of the wire (whether metal or optic) that go away, and it's those devices that dictate the usefulness of the wire you've strung between them. Devices that use copper will be plentiful throughout our lifetimes, and they already support speeds fast enough to justify their use in 99% of short-run applications.

Where fiber really shines is in long-run applications, since light attenuates so much slower than electrical signals do over copper.

At the end of the day, electrical signals travel over copper at the speed of light (minus minimal overhead) the same as light does through fiber, so the only differences in short-run applications are how fast the devices at either end can tap out their send signals over the line.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

gv250 (897841) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683131)

At the end of the day, electrical signals travel over copper at the speed of light (minus minimal overhead) the same as light does through fiber

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] disagrees with you: “In copper wire, the speed s generally ranges from .59c to .77c”

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683417)

What's the refractive index of the core of fibers? I wouldn't be surprised if it was 1.3 or above, making the upper range of the speed in copper higher than the speed in fiber.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683505)

In fairness, fiber optic transmissions aren't light speed either... any resistance will slow things down. That said, it really doesn't matter *THAT* much to use one that's much more expensive over the other.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (2)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683741)

Not that running at .59c vs. .99c matters in the least when your entire cable run is 50m. In this case, copper will be faster anyway because converting from copper to optical and back takes time, and nobody has a pure-optical machine yet.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42684055)

Even still, the speed of the packet in transit only affects latency, which at .59c in a short run is negligible for most applications. The throughput is still mostly dependent on how fast the devices on either side of the cable can flap their gums at each other, with the cable between them having almost nothing to do with that over short runs.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683883)

I'm not sure I'm ready to claim that Cat-5e or Cat-6 cabling is going to be staying forever. There are limits to the speed of each of these cable types and I think that we will continue to see a need for increased bandwidths as time progresses. Eventually, the necessary speeds will exceed the available bandwidth on the cable and you will end up replacing it.

The real issue is how long will it take? I remember back when commercial grade networks ran on Coax and you got 1 Megbit/second or less. This was only 20 years ago and nobody is installing this kind of network equipment and wiring anymore, at least in the industrialized world. Only recently did the required bandwidth for most applications exceed the capacity on this equipment so you would not have been forced to upgrade for nearly 15 years.

I suspect that you are likely going to be very safe with Cat-6 for a few decades, but I suspect that the state of the art will push us beyond 4 twisted pair on copper within a few short years. To continue the bandwidth increase, Physics demands that we add pairs or make some structural changes to Cat-6 at some point. This means that eventually, even Cat-6 will be obsolete.

One could argue that it won't happen in your lifetime, so why worry? But I'll be willing to wager Cat-5e won't outlive me.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683691)

If cost is no object, I'd use fiber myself. It is unlikely you will *ever* out grow the wiring if you pull fiber... Eventually, even Cat6e is going to be obsolete, but fiber will never really go away.

Two problems with that: Are you going single mode or multi mode? And how do you do power over fiber?

By all means, pull a few pairs of fiber while you're at it, but do not skimp on the copper.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683945)

Two problems with that: Are you going single mode or multi mode? And how do you do power over fiber?

1. I though this was settled years ago, single mode for everything.

2. Power over fiber is possible and has been demonstrated. It is intended for sensors in hazardous areas but not yet standarized or commercially available.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (5, Insightful)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682297)

Range on 5GHz tends to be limited by walls etc. so you should get less interference / overlapping with 5GHz inside your own house / apartment.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

radish (98371) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682369)

You ALWAYS get better performance with a wired connection. Even if you have superfast wifi that can max out your downstream connection the stability and reliability is never as good as wired. And if you need to run multiple streams of data around the house, forget it.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682509)

Shouldn't 60 GHz make most wireless problems disappear? Beamforming would make the signal stronge,more reliable and doesn't go through walls so you get a lot of speed. Of course you'll probably have to put in more APs,but if you really want wireless you can pay for it.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682867)

If you're not going room to room, why not use wires for a fixed install like an xbox?

And to answer my own question, because my fiance likes to rearrange the furniture on a monthly basis. Our wifi-connected xbox is literally 10 feet from the AP, for now.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683755)

I've planned to compromise. I use laptops and tablets in the house, so I currently have two old Motorola 54G boxes in a wireless bridge. The bridge halves the speed, plus G is too slow now anyway. In addition, due to signal attenuation I can't have them as far apart as I'd like, so I'm going to run one Cat 5e cable in the crawlspace/basement to link two new N access points. That will give me full speed over most of the house. One cable and two low-voltage utility boxes aren't hard to do.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684045)

I use 10BASE2 you insensative clod!

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682441)

Fiber is futureproof.
Cat 7 is a little better than Cat 5 for new cabling.
$20 [newegg.com] buys 100 feet.
It will do 100 Gigabit [zdnet.com] .

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682737)

Fiber does not connect directly into any consumer grade equipment, it will require expensive media converters or regular switches with fiber SFPs at each end.
For internal cabling in a house / apartment fiber makes NO sense.

Fiber only makes sense for distances > 100m or environments with very heavy levels of EM noise.

Run cat6a in some kind of conduct, then if for some reason you should ever need more than 10Gbps, you could just pull the Cat6a and replace it with fiber.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682967)

Fiber is good for speeds in the 10GB range, even if it is in the same rack. I know, we are deploying 10G now for backbone, MAN connected replication sites and SAN/ISCSI connections to our Blade Chassis'. All done with fiber.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683389)

We're talking about cables for internal network in a house / an apartment.
As I pointed out, fiber doesn't make sense in that setting; as no consumer grade equipment can connect directly to it.

Cat6a vs fiber inside the server room is an entirely different discussion.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683951)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833316187 [newegg.com]

Has GBIC slot for Fiber. Still need SFP GBIC and fiber ... but that is in the realm of "consumer grade" IMHO. I'd buy one if I had fiber to the house and needed it for connection.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684139)

Definitely in the realm of consumer grade, didn't know anything like that existed. But you'd need one on each end; and then connect whatever you need network run to into a RJ45 port anyway. That'll cost you something like $200 + cable for every point you run fiber to (+ $$$ for the main switch with support for more than one SFP).

I'm not arguing against running fiber to the house (if you can), but against using it internally in a home setup. Cat6a (or even cat5e) makes much more sense for a home network.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683831)

Fiber does not connect directly into any consumer grade equipment

I'll be pedantic and point to the fiber connection present on at least one electronic device in almost everybody's home: TOSLINK.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683897)

Hmmm. Ethernet over toslink, that would be the mother of all Xbox mods.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42684349)

Fiber does not connect directly into any consumer grade equipment, it will require expensive media converters or regular switches with fiber SFPs at each end.

For some people's definition of consumer grade equipment, neither does copper. Copper requires "expensive" media converters (APs).

I'm not saying fiber is the most practical choice for short runs, but I don't think having the fiber only go to a switch or AP, rather than all the way to the device itself, is a deal-killer. You probably only have one jack in the wall over by the XBox anyway, but the XBox is just one of the three or four devices you need to plug in, so there's a switch or hub there anyway. Thus, you don't really care if it's copper or fiber that comes out f the wall

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682759)

The fiber itself doesn't do anything - it's the devices at either end of the wire that matter. The only advantage light has over electrical signals for short-run applications is that light isn't prone to electrical interference. Other than that it's the devices connected to the wire that matter, not the wire itself.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682783)

This wouldn't work in NYC, but I've gotten away with powerline networking in my house for most systems. It has the benefit of not needing to run wire yet still works better than wifi provided one does not use CFL bulbs. They cause interference.. LEDs are ok.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683483)

Run cable if you can. If you can't, and speaking from experience (5GHz is already available commercially in Canada), 5GHz stuff runs significantly better than 2.4GHz, and not just because the spectrum is less crowded. There's 120 channels to choose from instead of just 11, and frequency-hopping is built into the specification, so if you start to have noise on your channel it'll just switch frequencies. And that's with the stuff you can get today. With even more spectrum allocated to it, it'll only get better.

To put it another way... remember how much better 5.8GHz phones are than 2.4GHz phones? It'll be the same.

Re:same as before, use Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683711)

Um, anyone anywhere would get better performance with Cat 5. You do know that even 100 Mbps switched ethernet is much faster than any kind of wireless right?

802.11n: A Survival Guide (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682229)

Surely this must be the world's most useless book?

Re:802.11n: A Survival Guide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682569)

First world problems.

But (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682271)

Will it have more range?

Re:But (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682433)

Unlikely this will have better range than 2.4Ghz. 5Ghz is attenuated a lot more than 2.4Ghz by walls, plants and such.

The good news though will be that with an expanded available spectrum, speeds will go up. Higher attenuation and lower usable distances will help with crowded environments. But I don't think the available range will be greater than 2.4Ghz equipment.

Re:But (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683485)

In really crowded areas you might see more usable distance with 5ghz than 2.4ghz simply by virtue the speed on 2.4ghz being so unusable at any distance that the 5ghz stuff works better at any distance.

Re:But (1)

GNious (953874) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683837)

This is a selling-point - less range => less RF polution :D

5 GHz is shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682305)

It barely gets through walls anymore. The areas where you can actually use it as nearly as limited as those where you can use direct IR connections.

Cabled > wireless. Always.

Re:5 GHz is shit! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682401)

That is half the point. We have so many wifi access points now that limiting how far it propagates is a feature not a bug.

If you are not moving a device it should get a wire.

Re:5 GHz is shit! (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682595)

I agree on the wifi range. I have literally no need for my wireless to extend more than 10' from walls of my house, yet I am picking up networks at approximately -70 to -80dBm which must be from neighbors at least 40-50' from my router.

However, I often cannot run wires to the locations where I keep some PCs due to odd architectural issues. First, I rent a house, so drilling holes isn't an easy option. (I can patch the walls, but I'd rather avoid the labor) Second, the house is on a slab, so going through the basement/crawlspace isn't an option.

Right now, wireless works VERY well for me in getting an internet connection to a PC housed in the kitchen cabinets for running music/looking up recipes while cooking. There isn't anything I need to do on that PC which requires anything more than 1-2 Mbps. For a HTPC, opting for the tricker wired installation is usually better, but wired isn't always better for every stationary situation.

Re:5 GHz is shit! (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682677)

Yea, when I was using 2.4ghz in my Apt building I would get shit speeds, I'd have like 30+ networks in range.
I then moved over to the 5ghz and I got two, including my own network.

5cm Ham Band (2)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682395)

Looks like they are adding more channels in the 5cm ham band. Good for getting access to cheap equipment that can be modded for amateur radio use. Bad because of the added interference.

Re:5cm Ham Band (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682805)

Very bad since the entire 5650-5925 MHz amateur radio allocation is included in the WiFi announcement.

Bad for experiment and hobbyist that uses the band. Bad for the industry because the proposal will meet opposition.

Also there is a lot of hand waving on the "Dynamic Frequency Selection" channels and how they will enforce minimal interference to weather radar.

Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

Megor1 (621918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682431)

I just got a Asus 802.11AC (RT-N66U) router and their AC66 PCIE adapter last night. The performance through one wall about 20 feet from the router is a claimed 1.3GBIT however transfer rates so far are 8 megabytes a second. I know it's still in draft blah blah but it's quite sad how slow it is in the real world.

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682655)

I just got a Asus 802.11AC (RT-N66U) router and their AC66 PCIE adapter last night.

The performance through one wall about 20 feet from the router is a claimed 1.3GBIT however transfer rates so far are 8 megabytes a second. I know it's still in draft blah blah but it's quite sad how slow it is in the real world.

The Asus RT-N66U has a max wireless speed of 450Mbps for 2.4Ghz and 450Mbps for 5.0Ghz (N speeds). Combined total throughput (with both radios in use) is supposed to be 900Mbps (aggregate). Asus's website has the "RT-AC66U" listed as their 802.11ac wifi router (offering speeds up to 1300Mbps).

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

Megor1 (621918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682711)

Whoops sorry listed the wrong router model, I did get the AC model you listed. It's also fun how they list 1.75Gbit on the box, but it's really 1.3gbit if you use 5ghz and 450mbit if you use 2.4ghz.

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683069)

It's also fun how they list 1.75Gbit on the box, but it's really 1.3gbit if you use 5ghz and 450mbit if you use 2.4ghz.

Do their drivers support simultaneous multi-radio use and channel bonding? That wouldn't be a terrible idea (though I doubt it's implemented). Linux could do the bonding even if the drivers can't natively if both radios could be simultaneously addressed.

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682827)

You're really lucky to get that kind of speed. I have a a/b/g/n wireless adapter, I get a connection rate that claims to be 54 mbps, and data transfers at 3MB/sec. Any of the other b/g/n wireless adapters won't connect any faster than 54 mbps either.

I was getting better speed when I was using a linksys WRT54GL than a wireless AC draft router. Really not impressed by the N standard.

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683179)

I'm using an N router and I'm getting about 10 Mbps. I was doing just as well with my WRT54G, and I will probably go back to it now that I have removed the GigE client from my living room.

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683601)

Yeah, the problem with wireless is that all the speeds they give are theoretical maximum speeds where the actual speed is quite often way below the theoretical maximum. This is especially true once you start to move far away from the access point, and there walls between the router and the wireless card. Whereas with wires, you almost always get the advertised speed unless there's something wrong with your cable, or your computer isn't fast enough to keep up with the connection (if the data being sent is on a USB 2 drive, it won't be able to send at 1 gbps, max of USB2 is 480 mbps)

Re:Not so great once you go through a wall (1)

adri (173121) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683793)

You won't get significant throughput with the first generation kit if you deviate from the ideal behaviour.

Going through a wall counts as that.

Look at the encoding for 11ac MCS8 and MCS9. It's an insantly high QAM (256) up there. The slightest distortion from the ideal is going to mess up that constellation and it'll drop back down to 11n style encoding.

Stepping backwards? (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682457)

I thought that 802.11A was already in the 5Ghz band, and "everyone" went to 2.4Ghz (B/G) because it performs better inside due to the shorter waves penetrating walls better.

I could RTFA but that would be against the true spirit of /. so I will just ask. Is there something about the new 802.11ac standard that makes it better for use inside buildings and other structurally dense environments?

Re:Stepping backwards? (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682529)

It adds good, compatible MIMO to the spec. Nicer routers will actually dynamically point a more directional beam at devices that are having signal to noise problems to allow for a better connection. Not much, but that extra 3-5dB or so can really make a big difference in connection quality.

Re:Stepping backwards? (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682547)

I thought that 802.11A was already in the 5Ghz band, and "everyone" went to 2.4Ghz (B/G) because it performs better inside due to the shorter waves penetrating walls better.

I could RTFA but that would be against the true spirit of /. so I will just ask. Is there something about the new 802.11ac standard that makes it better for use inside buildings and other structurally dense environments?

Forgot to add that it's the longer waves (lower frequency = longer wavelength) that penetrates walls and objects better.

Re:Stepping backwards? (4, Informative)

Moses48 (1849872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682555)

Not to be pedantic, but I think I should clarify that 2.4Ghz has a longer wavelength. The longer wavelength penetrates walls better.

Re:Stepping backwards? (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683353)

You are right. Thank you.

Re:Stepping backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42682591)

Because the 15 other tards in your apartment building won't have routers that can interfere with yours anymore because they cant go through walls. And all real customers to Cisco and the like can spend a few hundred extra for more APs to cover the areas they care about.

On that note I would like a law that says that people in one and two room apartments that use the 2.4ghz band instead of 5ghz and ruining the airwaves for everyone around them should be shot.

Re:Stepping backwards? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682603)

I could RTFA but that would be against the true spirit of /. so I will just ask. Is there something about the new 802.11ac standard that makes it better for use inside buildings and other structurally dense environments?

Well, I could quote what Cisco's whitepaper [cisco.com] has to say about it:

802.11ac, the emerging standard from the IEEE, is like the movie The Godfather Part II. It takes something great and makes it even better.

The whitepaper doesn't say anything about walls though.

5 ghz also cost more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683039)

A decade ago, 2.4 ghz power amplifiers were significantly cheaper than 5 ghz power amplifiers. I think that 5 ghz power amplifiers are now much cheaper.

Re:Stepping backwards? (1)

JonBoy47 (2813759) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683315)

802.11a has been at 5GHz for a decade. Unfortunately, none of the early 802.11a equipment was backward compatible with the (at the time) more widely deployed 802.11b. 802.11a/b solutions eventually became available, but by then the 802.11g ship had sailed. 802.11g provided a-level speed combined with backward compatibility to b-level and at a much lower cost.

Re:Stepping backwards? (1)

adri (173121) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683813)

So:

* 2ghz goes further through objects
* 5ghz is cleaner, there's more of it out there, but it gets attenuated strongly by walls and such.

For home deployments (ie, one AP, lots of rooms) then you likely want 2GHz.

For deployments where you have money (ie one AP per room then you want 5GHz, but with the power cranked down on each AP.

How about some adapters with Linux drivers? (1)

blackiner (2787381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683351)

I recently turned an old computer into a router/wireless AP, and made sure I picked up a proper wireless card beforehand. Currently the only company that has any serious wireless driver support in Linux is Atheros, and the ath9k driver has become quite good, worked right out of the box with hostapd.

However the only 802.11ac adapter listed on newegg seems to be a Broadcom chip, so you can't really do a damn thing with it. Oh well.

Re:How about some adapters with Linux drivers? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684417)

Big tip for anybody who's trying to roll his own access point: stick to PCI or PCI-express (1x is fine) interfaces (maybe... MAYBE Cardbus or Expresscard, as long as you make sure it's not "USB-over-Expresscard"), and forget about USB.

To say that "AP mode" via USB (even Atheros) is "bleeding-edge experimental" would be a gross oversimplification of just how hard it is to get something that even pretends to briefly work over USB. AFAIK, Atheros is the only chipset that can even halfway work in AP mode over USB... and even Atheros is a major reach.

The problem is that a proper AP mode implementation imposes very tight timing constraints that don't apply to other modes... and some of those constraints are just too tight to reliably work over USB. You can semi force it by abusing the way USB is supposed to work, and USB3 might have better results but I've NEVER seen it work well with anything that resembles a USB interface, a laptop, and the USB ports on that laptop. In contrast, AP mode over PCI(-express) is totally painless. Stick in the card, run hostapd, and you're good to go.

Still the Junk Frequencies? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683357)

We have 2.4GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed because nobody else wanted to use them because they're inherently poor choices for radio propagation. I'll think the FCC actually cares about individual radio users when it lets us use something in the VHF range, and a big chunk of it at that. The useful frequencies are still for the wealthy individuals and corporations.

Re:Still the Junk Frequencies? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683553)

We have 2.4GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed because nobody else wanted to use them because they're inherently poor choices for radio propagation.

Which is exactly what you want for a home wireless system, so it won't interfere too badly with your neighbours.

Re:Still the Junk Frequencies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42683869)

You're not going to get 50+Mbps on the VHF range unless they gave you the whole range. And are you asking because you are trying to get from one room of your house to another, or because you are trying to broadcast your access point out to the horizon? If you are trying to broadcast things over long distances, there are other bands you can use, but you need a license so as to not crap on everyone else doing it too.

Re:Still the Junk Frequencies? (1)

satsuke (263225) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683997)

Problem is, there are not any significant bands in the VHF range that are unallocated or easily reallocated. Certainly not in the 60-100mhz quantity that would be required for a useable deployment of wi-fi style connections.

Look at the allocation listings for LF-VHF .. it looks like somebody took a blender to frequency listings and put names on the pieces.

Another problem is inherent distance characteristics. Even at the milliwatt range of home wifi, you'd still get a useable signal at several hundred feet with basic omnidirectional antennas .. to say nothing of the longer antenna requirements.

Such a system would be inherently clashing with your neighbors.

Re:Still the Junk Frequencies? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684035)

Actually, 2.4GHz ended up as an ISM band because microwave ovens rendered it commercially useless (remember, microwave ovens are basically thousand-watt 2.4GHz radio transmitters that cook by rapidly altering the polarity of the signal to make water molecules rock back and forth... all the faraday cage around a microwave oven's cavity does is diffuse the signal & scramble its polarity so it won't cause water molecules in your eyeball to start rocking back and forth, too. The 2.4GHz RF signal itself radiates from the room like an arc light.

Forget 5.8GHz wifi... I want 802.11y!!! (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684005)

Why is there seemingly not a SINGLE product available for consumers to buy -- access point, interface, or otherwise -- for 802.11y?

OK, sure... you have to fork out a whopping hundred bucks for a 10-year license, but Jesus H. Christ, you get to run with sufficiently high power to achieve 5km range, and better yet... you get to have the EXCLUSIVE local usage rights to your licensed chunk of spectrum. I'd pay a hundred bucks for 10 years to have my own exclusive chunk of the wifi band in a HEARTBEAT.

* No more dealing with neighbors stomping over the entire 2.4GHz band so they can pretend their economy 768k DSL is really 300mbps.

* No more "I lost the 5.8GHz 802.11n signal after closing the bedroom door" grief.

* Propagation that's not quite as nice as 2.4GHz, but WAY better than real-world 5.8GHz. And you won't have the connection drop down to near-uselessness every time somebody within a half mile turns on their microwave oven.

* 3-mile range, and government-enforced spectrum exclusivity, for a PITTANCE of a licensing fee that has the added bonus of keeping the riffraff out and ensuring it remains an exclusive club for the computer elite.

It's a fsck'ing gift from the great Nerd God himself, yet nobody even knows it exists. WHY?!?

Re:Forget 5.8GHz wifi... I want 802.11y!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42684729)

You want a consumer product to buy, but you also want something for an "exclusive club for the computer elite." Do those two things really make any sense, together?

Pulling a piece of plastic out of your wallet and reading a number to Amazon, isn't elite.

"I don't understand. I bought the best guitar and the best amp they had. How come people say my punk rock band isn't punk rock?"

Walls! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42684303)

One problem is propagation through walls. 5GHz sucks at wifi / 802.11n power levels.

I have a ~6,000 sq. ft. house with four dual-band APs (i.e. simultaneous 2.4 and 5GHz radios). The 5GHz is only faster when you are in the same room as an AP. With a single wall between you and the AP the 2.4 and 5GHz are roughly equivalent and everywhere else in the house it is actually faster to just use the 2.4GHz band (especially on mobile devices like cell phones/tablets/ipods, etc.). I end up just leaving everything set to 2.4GHz by default since roaming between SSIDs causes a TCP reset.

Unless you have a tiny apartment and/or interference issues from neighbors equipment just stick to 2.4GHz.

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