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Old-school Wi-Fi Is Slowing Down Networks, Cisco Says

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the only-support-tech-less-than-three-months-old dept.

Wireless Networking 254

alphadogg writes "The early Wi-Fi standards that opened the world's eyes to wire-free networking are now holding back the newer, faster protocols that followed in their wake, Cisco Systems said. The IEEE 802.11 standard, now available in numerous versions with speeds up to 6.9Gbps and growing, still requires devices and access points to be compatible with technologies that date to the late 1990s. But those older standards — the once-popular 802.11b and an even slower spec from 1997 — aren't nearly as efficient as most Wi-Fi being sold today. As a result, Cisco thinks the 802.11 Working Group and the Wi-Fi Alliance should find a way to let some wireless gear leave those versions behind. Two Cisco engineers proposed that idea last week in a presentation at the working group's meeting in Los Angeles. The plan is aimed at making the best use of the 2.4GHz band, the smaller of two unlicensed frequency blocks where Wi-Fi operates."

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254 comments

so what about all my old devices? (5, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#46094587)

and i mean the ones that sell the same device over many years like a game console. PS3, xbox 360, wii u, nintendo 3ds, etc
and then you have something like printers. sure it's only $100 or $250 but no one wants to buy a new printer just to buy a new wifi router

Re:so what about all my old devices? (4, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about 6 months ago | (#46094631)

I'm willing to bet there'd be a $2 adapter for your old printer.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (5, Funny)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 6 months ago | (#46094677)

I'm willing to bet there'd be a $2 adapter for your old printer.

So do I. I'm also willing to bet printer manufacturers will sell it for $80.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 6 months ago | (#46094695)

Get the Ebay chinese version if you can wait 4 weeks!

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

Cyberglich (525256) | about 6 months ago | (#46094855)

Or Get the monoprice branded version for $10 and get in in a few days.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095363)

Not this week, Chinese new year means half of ebay has shut up shop :-)

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46094749)

And tablets? Phones? ... not so much.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094857)

Yes, because you see tons of people walking around with phones and tablets from 1997.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 6 months ago | (#46095125)

Or even 802.11b. Maybe if you got REALLY lucky you'd find a palm pilot that uses it. I can't recall the last time I owned a b device, I think it was a PCMCIA card for adding wifi to laptops that had them.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 6 months ago | (#46094637)

Add-on wireless print servers could be a fix for some, as could a slow subnet done by hanging a slow router off the fast router.

People with a desire for speed will Ebay a lot of their old gear or Craigslist it, so those who like legacy systems can do as always and stock up.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (4, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | about 6 months ago | (#46094663)

and i mean the ones that sell the same device over many years like a game console. PS3, xbox 360, wii u, nintendo 3ds, etc and then you have something like printers. sure it's only $100 or $250 but no one wants to buy a new printer just to buy a new wifi router

If you want to gain the advantages of the newest router you might, GASP, just have to run a wire to it. You might even have the inconvenience of having to relocate it next to the printer. Oh the humanity.

Things that absolutely need wireless tend to be mobile. Mobile equipment which only takes 802.11b was probably obsolete years ago. For everything that doesn't move, it should be wired anyway.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (5, Informative)

knarf (34928) | about 6 months ago | (#46095035)

For everything that doesn't move, it should be wired anyway.

Strange as it may sound to you there are actually reasons to have stationary things connect to the network through a wireless adapter. One good reason would be the simple fact that some of us live in areas where lightning plays havoc on infrastructure, especially telephone lines. If you connect to the 'net through ADSL you'll start seeing the wisdom of having as few wired connections between your modem and your network. While it is more or less impossible to protect the modem from a direct strike and usually inconvenient to protect the router, all other equipment should preferably be connected wirelessly or suffer the wrath of Thor.

This is no idle talk, I have personally lost three modems, two routers, three Thinkpad T23 network adapters, one Intel SS4200 server network interface and one HP Jetdirect card to lightning strikes. The damage always came from the telephone line and was carried through the wired network to the victims. Nothing ever happened to any wireless device, ever.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46095175)

what have you done to Thor, are you a desendant of his brothers.?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

Megane (129182) | about 5 months ago | (#46095331)

I hope you already at least have been using a surge suppressor on the phone line going to your modem. If it's really that bad, maybe you should find some kind of fiber-optic bridge between your modem and the rest of your network? I'm sure you could find some old 100BASE-FX adapters on ebay. (Better get a few spares for the modem end, I guess.)

Re:so what about all my old devices? (5, Interesting)

phoenix_rizzen (256998) | about 5 months ago | (#46095381)

Ever considered spending $20 on a surge protecting power bar that includes RJ11 plugs? They're designed specifically for this, and go between the wall outlet and the ADSL modem.

Coupled with surge protectors on ask the AC adapters, you'd be set.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#46095065)

Mobile equipment which only takes 802.11b was probably obsolete years ago.

Obsolete is a meaningless term. Why replace something that is still as functional as the day it was made?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 5 months ago | (#46095411)

Why replace something that is still as functional as the day it was made?

Because it makes the devices I bought yesterday far slower than they are designed to be.

If I have a 802.11b print server on my network, it might work fine. However, when I get home with my new 802.11n laptop & want to get on the web at 50mbit, that obsolete device can slow down my Netflix streaming because it hogs the channel for longer while someone prints to it.

More to the point, a single user in a public Wifi area (stadium, coffee house, etc) with 802.11b would cause EVERYONE to have a slower connection. Their device is now obsolete and should not be permitted on the network.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#46095725)

If I have a 802.11b print server on my network, it might work fine. However, when I get home with my new 802.11n laptop & want to get on the web at 50mbit, that obsolete device can slow down my Netflix streaming because it hogs the channel for longer while someone prints to it.

More to the point, a single user in a public Wifi area (stadium, coffee house, etc) with 802.11b would cause EVERYONE to have a slower connection. Their device is now obsolete and should not be permitted on the network.

Except, you fail to realize one point.

802.11 devices on the same channel are all affected. Even if they are on separate networks.

It doesn't matter that your 802.11n network is fast. If your neighbour has an 802.11b device on the same channel on their network/strong, your network slows down.

802.11 has channel signalling that applies to everyone on the channel, regardless of the network. Everyone obeys it as cooperation gets you better throughput than interference.

So even if your network is 802.11ac compliant, as long as someone within range is on the same frequency, your network will slow down to accommodate their network.

It's also why early "G-only" networks were doomed - just because your network only allows G clients in, someone on the same frequency using B forces G to downgrade.

Just because two users are on two different networks, doesn't mean they can't influence each other. It's a shared medium.

So your neighbour who's very happy with their 802.11b printer will still force your fast 802.11ac or 802.11n network to slow down until you change the channel, or helpfully upgrade their equipment.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 5 months ago | (#46095671)

Because it's hampering progress.

Would you see all highways limited to 30 MPH speed limits, just because someone might have a working Model T roaming around?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

tsqr (808554) | about 5 months ago | (#46095327)

For everything that doesn't move, it should be wired anyway.

So I should rip up carpet and drill holes through walls to connect my television to my router? No thanks.

Some wired connections are so logistically onerous that wireless may be the only reasonable approach. I used an old pair of Linksys WET11s to link my upstairs subnet to the router downstairs for over 10 years before finally making the switch to powerline Ethernet, and even that was in doubt until I figured out how to keep the powerline adapter from causing havoc with the Uverse TV signal.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

khasim (1285) | about 6 months ago | (#46094691)

I'd say the easiest way for Cisco to do that is to put TWO different implementations in one box.

You can buy a USB dongle that does wireless. So why doesn't Cisco just put a USB port on their wireless access point and shunt the old stuff through that?

Then, in the future when everything is faster and better and whatever, you just pull the old dongle out and ignore the old stuff.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

Megane (129182) | about 5 months ago | (#46095353)

I don't think the problem is Cisco's side supporting both the old and the new, but that when the old stuff transmits, it can only go at the slow speeds, and nothing else can go fast during that time.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094697)

Darn. At least it would have been if I wasn't on old school Wi-Fi.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (3)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46094717)

They are all disposable, how dare you think you can continue to use a device for more than a couple of years..

Re:so what about all my old devices? (3, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about 6 months ago | (#46094871)

This. Cisco is essentially annoyed because other people's wireless hardware doesn't fail fast enough so they can't sell them new junk. I have network hardware at home from the 1990s that still works, and since it's adequate for the traffic on my network there is no reason to replace it. If Cisco doesn't want to support the old protocols like 802.11b in their newer hardware they don't have to. If that protocol is all that works on my ancient backup laptop/dev box (it is) then I won't buy their new stuff. (Not that I would buy Cisco, anyway.)

Re:so what about all my old devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094947)

Cisco got out of their consumer market by selling off their Linksys division to Belkin.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095667)

Really? You're that much a fucking Luddite?

More and more bandwidth is being used in home. Netflix streaming to multiple devices, console devices, smarthome devices, tablets, phones, etc. etc.

More bandwidth is needed, you clod.

Not everything is a fucking conspiracy theory.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 6 months ago | (#46094745)

What are they currently connecting to? Odds are, it's an existing router with WiFi capability. So when you get the new router, what's stopping you from having the old router connect to the new? It's a waste of power to have 2 routers running, certainly, but it may be a better option than buying everything new.

If your current router is an ISP-supplied one and you have to return it when they send you a new one, then you'd just have to pick up any one cheap by-then-considered-old-but-not-yet-vintage routers.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 6 months ago | (#46094959)

My ISP's DSL Modem has a router and wireless built into it. However, I don't want my local network managed, or manageable, by my ISP, so I just use it as a DSL Modem. I can't imagine sharing access to my home subnet with my ISP.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095633)

This, many times this. Also most of the time the Gateway that is sold to you from your ISP is even worse at doing both the Modem and the routing so having a modem do just its own and a router do just its own is the only sensible way to go.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46094787)

and i mean the ones that sell the same device over many years like a game console. PS3, xbox 360, wii u, nintendo 3ds, etc

The Xbox 360 and PS3 use 802.11n.... they are not part of the problem.

An old printer that only supports 802.11b or 802.11g should definitely go; it's worth the replacement cost to "upgrade" to non-G supporting wireless hardware. It's probably so old at this point, that the drum is near end of life anyways, and everyone knows........ a new printer is cheap, the ink is the expensive part.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

SirGeek (120712) | about 6 months ago | (#46094825)

Are you going to give me the 100+ bucks for a new printer, new cartridges, etc ?

Why am I going to replace functional hardware JUST to "fix" a problem that isn't really a problem for me ?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

iroll (717924) | about 6 months ago | (#46094909)

Why am I going to replace functional hardware JUST to "fix" a problem that isn't really a problem for me ?

Then why are you replacing your functional 802.11g router, smart guy?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095761)

Who said he was replacing a functional 802.11g router begin with, asswipe? He might have replaced it because it was no longer functional. Did you think about that, dumb ass?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#46094853)

"... no one wants to buy a new printer just to buy a new wifi router..."

Backwards compatibility (or at least capability) is important. Look at TV.

They could have chosen a digital broadcast TV standard that was backwards-compatible with the older signalling system. It existed. It was one of the choices.

Instead they went with a brand-new protocol, that made all old TVs obsolete, unless they bought an expensive converter box and antenna. The result? Relatively few people in the U.S. watch broadcast TV anymore. Instead they pay outrageous fees for cable.

If you want to kill off a technology, abandoning backward compatibility is a great way to do it. (Again I will add "or capability"... the new system doesn't have to be "compatible" with the old, as long as it will work in parallel.)

Re:so what about all my old devices? (2)

omnichad (1198475) | about 6 months ago | (#46095005)

They could have chosen a digital broadcast TV standard that was backwards-compatible with the older signalling system.

And how on earth do you propose a digital TV standard that's backwards compatible and still uses only 6MHz? We optimized our bandwidth usage and gained a whole block of frequencies for LTE.

In the US, it cost maybe $10 (after government rebate) to buy a converter box during the rebate program. After, it was $40-50. That's maybe one month of fees for cable TV. And the picture was better than cable. If anyone spent more to switch to cable rather than pay a small one-time fee, they weren't making the best choice.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 5 months ago | (#46095511)

"... no one wants to buy a new printer just to buy a new wifi router..."

Backwards compatibility (or at least capability) is important. Look at TV.
They could have chosen a digital broadcast TV standard that was backwards-compatible with the older signalling system. It existed. It was one of the choices.
Instead they went with a brand-new protocol, that made all old TVs obsolete, unless they bought an expensive converter box and antenna. The result? Relatively few people in the U.S. watch broadcast TV anymore. Instead they pay outrageous fees for cable.
If you want to kill off a technology, abandoning backward compatibility is a great way to do it. (Again I will add "or capability"... the new system doesn't have to be "compatible" with the old, as long as it will work in parallel.)

TVs have a fair bit of backwards compatibility. New TVs can connect to HD content (through HDMI/DVI, cable/antenna, VGA), as well as SD content (composite, component, cable/antenna, VGA). And colour NTSC was made with excellent B&W backwards compatibility. In the past 6 years new LCD/Plasma TVs have seem a tremendous amount of market adoption. For the remaining six people the government subsidized receiver boxes. In the mean time anyone with a modern TV can hook up an antenna and get free HD content. A 32" 1080p TV sells new for around $200. That pays for "outrageous fees for cable" pretty quick.

I think a lot of people had cable / satellite anyways. ATSC allows for significantly higher quality, and more efficient use of bandwidth than NTSC for the remaining OTA viewers. Of those, the six remaining with SD CRT sets got their subsidized government receivers.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 5 months ago | (#46095619)

They could have chosen a digital broadcast TV standard that was backwards-compatible with the older signalling system. It existed. It was one of the choices. Instead they went with a brand-new protocol, that made all old TVs obsolete, unless they bought an expensive converter box and antenna. The result? Relatively few people in the U.S. watch broadcast TV anymore. Instead they pay outrageous fees for cable.

There really wasn't a surge in cable subscribers leading up to the switch to digital in the US. Probably one of the reasons why they could pull off the switch is because of the fact that the vast majority of households have a pay for TV service, which wouldn't be affected by the switch.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

qpqp (1969898) | about 6 months ago | (#46095017)

Just use two networks, route between them and keep your old tech. What's the big deal?

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 6 months ago | (#46095019)

Well unless I am missing something you could have more than one WiFi AP. I have one set to only accept bg connections and the other only accepts N. As soon as I pull the trigger on something that can use (and will actually benefit) from AC I'll add a third. Just pick different channels so they don't overlap and you can keep right on trucking with the old stuff without slowing down the new.

Its already happened (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 6 months ago | (#46095131)

I have an iBook - I always liked the look of the thing when it came out and around 2005 when it was no longer the current model, I bought a grey&white 366mhz, 10gb HDD iBook and the matching curve-shaped bag via eBay

Its had intermittent periods of use as and when I needed an extra machine, and although now 14 years old, with RAM upgraded to 392mb, an aftermarket battery giving 7 hours on a charge and OSX 10.3.9 installed, it still works. HOWEVER - it has an original Apple Airport card (probably worth more than the laptop & bag put together...) and these dont work with WPA2 or with any 802.11n router - they just wont connect.

So its just become a curiosity on the shelf - a machine with only one USB port is hopelessly compromised by using an external Wifi adapter.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (1)

Nam-Ereh-Won (2927897) | about 6 months ago | (#46095239)

Funny thing is, all those devices use 802.11g, not 802.11b or 802.11-1997.

Re:so what about all my old devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095705)

I want 4 useable channels in the 2.4 spectrum, not just 3.
make them tighter

Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46094607)

5GHz-capable equipment is everywhere. Most of the point of having a 2.5GHz network is to talk to the legacy devices that cannot do 5GHz. Making a wifi network for legacy devices that only supports non-legacy devices seems a bit contradictory to me.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094621)

Yeah, until you can't go through a thick wall, you know, like how people used to build houses before cardboard and sawdust were acceptable?

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (3, Informative)

Kz (4332) | about 6 months ago | (#46094823)

not only older houses, but also every solid house on places where the earth keeps moving.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 6 months ago | (#46094681)

Well... making you replace all your devices is a FEATURE, not a bug. At least from Cisco's standpoint.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (1, Insightful)

short (66530) | about 6 months ago | (#46094689)

Nokia N900 cannot do 5GHz. Besides that cheapest 5GHz router is still 3x more expensive than cheapest 2.4GHz router.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094847)

Nokia N900 cannot [...]

Ah, the start of a statement which can be safely ignored. I love the sound of it, because it's followed by nice, comforting silence afterward.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (2)

RR (64484) | about 6 months ago | (#46095181)

Cheapest 5GHz router is still 3x more expensive than cheapest 2.4GHz router.

The cheapest 2.4GHz router is less than $15, and the cheapest 5GHz router is $40, according to the latest listings from NewEgg. It may be 3x as expensive in relative terms, but in absolute terms the difference is less than the cost of 5 Big Mac meals. I certainly would rather buy a 5GHz wireless router than a Big Mac.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (2)

rk (6314) | about 6 months ago | (#46094733)

5GHz doesn't penetrate materials as well as 2.4GHz, especially in older homes. I have a dual 5/2.4 router at home, and the 5 is only fastest in the same room as the router. My house is L-shaped and made with brick/cinder block and until I moved the Wifi router there was a corner of my bedroom that didn't even see the 5GHz signal. Just because the numbers are bigger doesn't necessarily mean they're better. To me, the biggest advantage of 5GHz is it's pretty uncrowded.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094867)

5GHz doesn't penetrate materials as well as 2.4GHz, especially in older homes.

Living in a home mostly build in the 18th century (in England, 100 miles is a long way - in America, 100 years is a long time), a thousand times this.

I am a radio amateur. I am used to being able to communicate around the world with zero infrastructure. I am fed up with this move toward reliance on ever more devices transmitting ever more bloat ever shorter distances. I don't care. I don't need retina-quality porn beamed directly to my, um, retinas - I want reliability and efficiency.

I just read an article by a senior BT researcher in the RSGB's Radcom magazine, whining about how higher frequencies are where it's at, and bitching about how amateurs are always trying to concentrate on reduced bandwidth and increased distance, when in fact we should think about shitting our signals everywhere so we can sell noisy junk until the usable spectrum is so polluted that no spread spectrum algorithm is going to give you resilience.

Good for apartments but bad for houses. (1)

khasim (1285) | about 6 months ago | (#46094927)

With 5GHz you get more non-overlapping channels (12 vs 3) along with the benefit (if you live in an apartment building) of not having to worry about conflicting with other apartments because the signals are absorbed by the walls.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46094963)

The logic is indeed baffling. If you have old device A and new device B at home, then the new device would connect with the faster protocols by default and normally never use the old protocol, correct? Having the old protocol is only for products like A, which one wants to keep around if they can.

Thus, the only way to get rid of usage of the old protocol is make network comm equipment that is not incompatible with A-type devices, meaning A devices are now useless trash.

Thus, it's either stupidity or greed (force purchases of replacement gizmos). Or are we missing a subtle 3rd option because we didn't carefully RTFA?

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (2)

RR (64484) | about 5 months ago | (#46095413)

The logic is indeed baffling. If you have old device A and new device B at home, then the new device would connect with the faster protocols by default and normally never use the old protocol, correct? ... Thus, it's either stupidity or greed (force purchases of replacement gizmos). Or are we missing a subtle 3rd option because we didn't carefully RTFA?

The problem is that legacy support makes the newer protocols less efficient. The "450 Mbps" of a modern 802.11n network is only a burst speed, and the rest of the time the router is busy sending 1 Mbps preambles and beacons. If we can drop support for the older standards, then the router can dedicate more of its time to high-speed data transfers.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46095207)

More GHz's doesn't mean it's automatically better. The 2.4Ghz range provides much better signal through walls than the higher 5Ghz range.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095325)

Well since your talking 2.5GHz, my guess is no..

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095369)

5GHz-capable equipment is everywhere. Most of the point of having a 2.5GHz network is to talk to the legacy devices that cannot do 5GHz.

I just got my first 5 GHz router (dual radios, MIMO, all the cools stuff). Turns out none of my devices support 5 GHz. Not Chromecast, not my 4G mobile, nothing. So honestly, I don't think it's "everywhere" like you believe.

Re:Do anyone care about 2.5GHz speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095697)

That's odd because most of my devices support 5 GHz. Of course, they won't work outside of the room with my AP because I have plaster walls on metal lath. You can't even find the network much less attempt to connect to it.

Instead of trying to use higher frequencies that don't work well, they should instead try to use a lower frequency range that will penetrate the walls in a house better. Requiring the use of multiple APs to give coverage to a tiny 1k sq ft dwelling is ridiculous.

Uh... (0)

andreMA (643885) | about 6 months ago | (#46094647)

Isn't this properly a matter for the ITU, FCC and analogous bodies to deal with?

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094727)

Isn't the whole point of operating in the 2.4 GHz band to avoid groups like the FCC and ITU?

Re:Uh... (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 months ago | (#46094731)

Certainly not the FCC. These are unlicensed bands, they don't care what you do with them (which is the whole point of unlicensed bands).

Re:Uh... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 months ago | (#46094771)

Wifi operates in bands that the ITU has designated "ISM bands" [wikipedia.org] , which are basically unregulated. They were bands originally designated for non-telecom equipment, such as microwaves, to be able to operate in without worrying about the RF interference they emit. However telecom equipment is allowed to also operate in the band so long as it can tolerate more or less arbitrary interference. Wifi is nowadays one of the more common uses of the ISM bands, but since they're explicitly "interfere all you want" bands from the ITU's perspective, they don't have much to say about wifi interference.

Related Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094657)

I have a router which I can set to 802.11n only mode, which is fine for my purposes and devices. By setting this, do I eliminate the problem?

Re:Related Question (2)

sjames (1099) | about 6 months ago | (#46094995)

Yes, you do. Which is Why I see no point at all in Cisco's plan other than to try to obsolete some gear that should otherwise stay in service for many years to come.

Anybody who actually does have a problem from slow devices and knows how to tell what will need replacement will know enough to do the same.

What's wrong with the current system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094659)

You can operate in a less efficient "mixed mode" or go full on whatever the latest is. Is it the signal itself that's at issue? They want to do away with your neighbor's 802.11b network somehow by having the latest laptops not support it? Or is this an excuse not to include support for older standards in their latest routers?

How much do those old chips costs them these days, pennies?

good idea (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 6 months ago | (#46094665)

If you put in Cisco equipment your wired network speed WILL speed up.

Since Cisco can't follow standards well and puts wifi systems that are constantly broken your wireless traffic will go WAY down.

Sorry... the use of Cisco in many big complexes is because so many I.T. managers have to get the most expensive equipment. I've personally used Ubiquity and MicroTik equipment and they are more reliable.

Re:good idea (2)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 6 months ago | (#46094869)

I use Cisco wireless at work and Ubiquity at home. I have to say that there is still value for the Cisco products in larger companies.

The Ubnt stuff works OK at home, but there is no way I'd deploy a factory full of them using that java "controller" compared to Cisco's WLCs.

If you're a small business, sure, Ubnt is fine. If you have 300 sites to manage, you want something that can allow a single person to manage all of those networks from one console. The lower headcount can buy a LOT of expensive hardware.

Multiple protocols at the same time? (0)

watermark (913726) | about 6 months ago | (#46094723)

Excepting noise, is there a reason you can't implement 802.11 and a new protocol at the same time? Similar to the 2.4 and 5Ghz dual band devices?

Re:Multiple protocols at the same time? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 6 months ago | (#46094881)

Excepting noise

The trouble is with radio you can't really do that, for the most part whatever is loudest wins. 802.11[abgn] you have to recognize the old carrier, and more challenging the old implementations have to recognize your carrier. Otherwise they will think you are noise and turn their radios up to the highest transmit powers.

Because you would need to stay carrier compatible that is probably major constraint building a more efficient protocol.

So regressive solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094735)

15 years at 2.4ghz then 15 years at 2.8 ghz switch back and forth forever problem solved.
 
  Now where is my shotgunning(using two internet connections as one)?
And where is a mesh network worth a damn?!?!?!

signs of the times, flying out of windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094753)

like when the market 'crashed' in the 'old' days... in too deep? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/jp-morgan-employee-killed-in-fall-from-banks-london-office-named-as-gabriel-magee-9091649.html

Slow Wireless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094759)

Shit, I'm just happy when I don't get some shitbag parent's group calling me up whining that the school wifi is giving their children brain tumors.

Seriously, we had a concerned group delay our deployment by months and added a $30,000 safety report on to the tab. The leader of this group has wifi at her home, and both her elementary age children have their own cell phones.

Re:Slow Wireless? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#46095497)

Note to self: New business model

1. Create safety reporting scheme followed closely by
2. Astroturfing parental concern over wifi brain tumors.
3. ???
4. Profit!!

Sales Problem and Technical Problem (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 6 months ago | (#46094765)

What's wrong with the current system, where we use multiple letters? The answer is it's not just technical problem with unnecessary signals filling the airwaves, it's a sales problem. Customers don't grasp the differences between letter versions (a/b/g/n) so they purchase the one with the most letters, perpetuating the filling of the limited bandwidth available.

Re:Sales Problem and Technical Problem (1)

xlsior (524145) | about 6 months ago | (#46094891)

it's a sales problem. Customers don't grasp the differences between letter versions (a/b/g/n) so they purchase the one with the most letters, perpetuating the filling of the limited bandwidth available.

Not just sales -- if you've been bit by this a few times, you tend to buy the hardware that supports the most frequencies even if you may think you don't need them. For example, the Nintendo wii has a built-in 802.11b/g wifi adapter, but it has some bugs that prevent it from working on plain 'g' for many people. From the Nintendo support site: "Ensure that the router is set to broadcast in "mixed" or "b/g" mode. Routers set to "g only" may not be able to allow a successful connection from the Wii console."

Yeah, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094969)

What's wrong with the current system, where we use multiple letters? The answer is it's not just technical problem with unnecessary signals filling the airwaves, it's a sales problem. Customers don't grasp the differences between letter versions (a/b/g/n) so they purchase the one with the most letters, perpetuating the filling of the limited bandwidth available.

Yes, and can you blame them? When you have an industry that blames ALL problems on the user and tells them tough shit when they're product is incompatible and tough shit returning it, the user is going to do everything they can to have a product that is compattible with their expensive devices.

So, in short, these people can shut up and start bitching at the business proactices of their asshole members.

Re:Sales Problem and Technical Problem (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 months ago | (#46095053)

No, it is not a 'stupid customer' problem. The STANDARD says that an 'n' device must also do a/b/g. That is what Cisco is complaining about. They want a new standard that does not have the requiement of supporting the old standards.

Re:Sales Problem and Technical Problem (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 5 months ago | (#46095703)

Why do you think that standard was setup that way?

Clean-up the 2.4GHz channel allocation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094775)

It'd be nice of the channel allocation could be expanded in the U.S. to include 12 and 13. Also reduce the channels from 13 (802.11g+) to just 4 slightly overlapping channels.

Research has shown that slightly overlapping in many cases can work without much interference.

Research has also shown that even using non-overlapping channels can still show interference with each other.

This is a non-problem. (4, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 6 months ago | (#46094783)

All the newer, faster equipment supports the 5GHz band. Use a dual-radio access point, and set aside the 5GHz band for n/ac only. Run legacy devices on 2.4GHz. Use different network names for 2.4 and 5GHz so that people put their newer stuff on 5GHz.

Easiest way to do this is have "networkname" and "networkname_fast". People whose devices support 5GHz will probably use the fast one. Those with only 2.4GHz-only devices won't even see the "fast" one and use the regular one. Everyone should be (relatively) happy.

5GHz has been a godsend for WiFi performance. Sure, it doesn't penetrate as far as 2.4GHz, but in managed setups this is wonderful. Spend a little bit more on additional access points and have MUCH better performance.

Re:This is a non-problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094993)

I think you're missing the point. The wireless guys are saying "If only there weren't all these legacy devices on the 2.4 band, we could use that spectrum so much more efficiently!"

Making a second fast network doesn't help with that.

Re:This is a non-problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46095077)

Exactly. I'm not really sure what the point of the article is. Consumers already have the opt-in option to migrate entirely to the 5 Ghz band (802.11n, 802.11ac). My router (an Airport Extreme) can have its 2.4 GHz band entirely disabled. I have not done this yet as I still use an iPhone 4, which supports 802.11n only on the 2.4 GHz band. The day I choose to upgrade my phone, I will move entirely to the 5 GHz band and be fully "modern", without having to replace my router.

The only possible concern would be seeing new hardware being released with 802.11b/g cards. Even then, a well-informed consumer has a choice to avoid purchasing a product in 2014 that doesn't have a 5 GHz-capable 802.11n/ac card. I find it odd that the article talks about reducing bandwidth on the 2.4 GHz band as some kind of goal. People are abandoning 2.4 GHz range for wifi, so what is the benefit of improving the throughput?

This makes ANY connection more efficient (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094795)

By chopping out crap (malware &/or ads): Hosts do more w/ less (1 file) @ a faster level (ring 0) vs redundant browser addons (slowing up slower ring 3 browsers) via filtering 4 the IP stack (coded in C, loads w/ OS, & 1st net resolver queried w\ 45++ yrs.of optimization):

---

APK Hosts File Engine 9.0++ 32/64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?o... [start64.com]

(Details of hosts' benefits enumerated in link)

Summary:

---

A. ) Hosts do more than AdBlock ("souled-out" 2 Google/Crippled by default) + Ghostery (Advertiser owned) - "Fox guards henhouse", or Request Policy -> http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org]

B. ) Hosts add reliability vs. downed or redirected DNS + secure vs. known malicious domains too -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org] w/ less added "moving parts" complexity + room 4 breakdown,

C. ) Hosts files yield more speed (blocks ads & hardcodes fav sites - faster than remote DNS), security (vs. malicious domains serving mal-content + block spam/phish), reliability (vs. downed or Kaminsky redirect vulnerable DNS, 99% = unpatched vs. it & worst @ ISP level + weak vs FastFlux + DynDNS botnets), & anonymity (vs. dns request logs + DNSBL's).

---

* Addons are more complex + slowup browsers in message passing (use a few & see) - Addons slowdown SLOWER usermode browsers layering on MORE: I work w/ what you have in kernelmode, via hosts ( A tightly integrated PART of the IP stack itself )

APK

P.S.=> Simply by blocking adbanners (let alone malicious content) you save, on average, up to 40% of the mass of website pages downloaded typically (ADS ROB YOU OF SPEED/BANDWIDTH YOU PAID FOR, mind you) - hosts do that (& much more, see above) for you better than any "so-called 'solution'" out there: See above... apk

Um... (1)

xlsior (524145) | about 6 months ago | (#46094809)

....should find a way to let some wireless gear leave those versions behind

So... similar to how pretty much most/all modern routers give you the option to switch between 'a/b/g/n' mode, or enable just 'n', or just 'ac'? And like how they let you choose to use the 2.4GHz band or 5GHz or both, or...? It seems to me that there really isn't a technical problem here, just a user education issue of TELLING them that there may be a speed benefit to turning off standards they aren't using anyway.

Re:Um... (2)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 6 months ago | (#46094943)

I think the point is that Cisco would like to ship their products with the slower stuff off, but if they do, they are no longer "Wi-Fi" compliant.

They're asking for a second "Wi-Fi" standard created so they can give the user a faster access point right out of the box & still be compliant with a standard.

Re:Um... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 5 months ago | (#46095459)

cisco wants a new standard so they can push new network cards on everyone who doesn't currently care.

Turn off old protocols by default (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 6 months ago | (#46094821)

So default to OFF for the older protocols.

eg. I have a 5GHz access point for my devices that support it, and a 2.5GHz access point for those that don't. I'm able to set my 6GHz band to N-only and my 2.5GHz band to G-only because all the devices I have on it support G. I'm able to effectively disable A/B support and speed up my network.

Start shipping routers with A/B disabled, and make it an easy checkbox in the forced setup to enable "legacy" devices.

No need to drop the functionality entirely is there?

Re:Turn off old protocols by default (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46095039)

This is exactly what they are proposing.

Basically all the new devices are sending out a prob at the really older rates to see if anything jumps up for it. Then the router can back off. This in turn is polluting the rest of the spectrum with 99% garbage.

Instead they are saying 'lets turn this rate down' and eventually make it optional/gone. The qcom guys are saying 'hold on lets think this thru before we change it'.

Do the SAME to your network connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095651)

E.G.-> In Windows 7, I remove 6 clients + protocols I don't use listed below (no home LAN is how I get away with it, single system only, & thus, I only have to use ONLY IPv4 for the internet, as it's all I require here):

---

1.) Client For Microsoft Networks
2.) File & Printer Sharing
3.) QoS Packet Scheduler
4.) IPv6 (typically I don't ever use it)
5.) LinkLayer Topology Discover Mapper I/O Driver
6.) LinkLayer Topology Discovery Responder

---

(I.E.-> I cut all 6 of those out here, for reasons of efficiency... &, yes, it works!)

* Doing that cuts down on cells/packets/frames in the network connectivity chain sent-received & processed, thus, raising efficiency of my networking - no questions asked for MUCH the same reasons you yourself note doing in your hardware/router.

APK

P.S.=> Between THAT, plus:

---

A.) Tuning the IP stack for BOTH speed & security @ the registry level

B.) LIMITING JavaScript on most ALL sites (via Opera's "By Site Preferences" - NO "NoScript" required really... &, I limit it globally for "ALL sites", & ONLY make exception sites to use it on sites that demand data access to databases to function fully, e.g. shopping/banking online)

C.) Using a custom hosts file (for the reasons noted in this link -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/com... [slashdot.org] that some malware maker/advertiser/inferior competitor immediately downmodded, with NO valid technical justifications on the topic as to why - lol, figures: E.G.-> Adblock's inferior, & is about to get NUKED by ClarityRay, Ghostery or Request policy are also inferior giving you FAR less in features or blocking malicious content, & hosts shore up DNS faults...)

---

The combination of ALL OF THE ABOVE does the rest for BETTER overall speed & efficiency online...

... apk

Monopoly position (0)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46094893)

Not commenting about the wireless issue, but are people here worried that Cisco Systems holds a strong monopoly market position in enterprise networking gear? Why is this issue never talked about?

Re:Monopoly position (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 5 months ago | (#46095455)

Because they don't have a strong monopoly position. They are a big player yes, but Arista, Juniper, PaloAlto, HP, Aruba, Extreem, Enterasys the list is long. Cisco has pretty serious competition in almost every domain they play in. In some domains like Data Center distribution they are not even the leader.

b should be the first to go (1)

jgotts (2785) | about 6 months ago | (#46094899)

802.11b should be the first to go, but not 802.11a. Even though it didn't get good industry support, 802.11a is great. People instead adopted 802.11g, which is not 5 GHz like 802.11a, but it had better compatibility with 802.11b.

I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that my Samsung Galaxy S III supports 802.11a. I took my 802.11a AP out of storage and returned to wireless.

At some point in the near future I'll be purchasing 802.11ac equipment and putting my a network to bed. My two 802.11a adapters are PCMCIA, and laptops don't have that anymore, so I'll be generating three pieces of fairly useless eWaste.

And so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46094939)

So the "old school" wireless is holding things down- Damn I am sorry to hear it.

I will consider upgrading once I can get more then 3/4 of a megabit to my home.

Just turn it off (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 6 months ago | (#46095089)

Every router I have ever seen has an option for "n only" or "a only" or whatever band only.

Just turn off the older standards. Done and done. Some people may want to maintain compatibility with legacy devices. That should be their choice.

Re:Just turn it off (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 6 months ago | (#46095183)

Mixed mode doesnt always work anyway - although its good to have it. Apple first-gen Airport cards cant connect to any 802.11n router whatever mode its in, they just wont do it. My fully functional grey&white 1st-gen iBook is a historic exhibit rather than a working spare machine now thanks to this.

Cisco just got a new batch SOTA chips from the NSA (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 6 months ago | (#46095149)

And they want them in all your Things.

Re:Cisco just got a new batch SOTA chips from the (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about 5 months ago | (#46095523)

That's what I was thinking. Either that, or sales are down so much thanks to the spying debacle that they're having to push hard for new revenue, even if the new equipment doesn't/won't carry backdoors. 2013 was looking like a banner year for Cisco, up until August; they're almost back to 2012 share price now.

Cisco: We've got things to sell you! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#46095461)

Cisco is a company with its own interests at heart. In fact, the executive leadership's interests at heart. They want more and more money but they have to convince you there is something inadequate about what you are using now in order to sell it to you.

Back in the earlier dot-com bubble days, no convincing was needed. Money-spending-executives (much like gadget buying housewives) bought into the notion that buying new tech will somehow translate into more money in their pockets.

Right about now, tech has lost its magic in that arena. People dislike upgrades. They are expensive and do not promise much of value because now people increasingly understand what they are buying where before they didn't.

Cisco says "you need faster networks!!!" Businesses are asking "oh really?" Sorry Cisco, but your glory days are soon to be behind you. More importantly, we're about to see a kind of technology revolution where experience is more important than certifications. Certifications are little more than brand endorsements these days anyway and HR departments everywhere are wising up to that fact as well.

Cisco, you need a new game. I doubt you will come up with any. Your products demand standards compliance which means just about anyone will be able to replace you. Well, that is unless you can convince people to buy your expensive patented technology right? I guess your best bet is to get new standards adopted using your expensive patents. Otherwise you will have to compete with other beige-box sellers out there.

Greenfield (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46095791)

I thought that's what greenfield mode is for in 802.11n.
Cisco should have heard about that mode...

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