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Does 802.11n Spell the 'End of Ethernet'?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-bloody-likely dept.

Wireless Networking 404

alphadogg writes "Is the advent of the 802.11n wireless standard the 'end of Ethernet'... at least in terms of client access to the LAN? That's the provocative title, and thesis, of a new report in which the author began looking into the question when he heard a growing number of clients asking whether it was time to discontinue wired LAN deployments for connecting clients. Would 11n, the next generation high-throughput Wi-Fi, make the RJ45 connector in the office wall as obsolete as gaslights?"

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Um, no. (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571669)

When the Porcine Aviation Assocation makes WiFi as secure as wired LAN, then we'll see the end of Ethernet. Until then, no.

Re:Um, no. (5, Insightful)

Praedon (707326) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571705)

I think we will always have wired networks, for the simple fact that as technology progresses, so do the methods of spying and such. It's much easier to eavesdrop on WiFi than it is on a wired network. You would need physical access to the wired network in order to carry out your plans for espionage.

Re:Um, no. (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571749)

Yep...I was thinking one word when I read this:


Re:Um, no. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572137)

Agreed. Just got a new house. CAT6/RJ45 is going into all rooms.

Not a wireless router on the grounds, and the notebooks wireless has its switch turned off.

Once it's secure, I'll use wireless.

So, I'll be using wired for the rest of my life.

Re:Um, no. (4, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572417)

Not to mention: until someone figures out a way of turning radio from shared to switched medium for cheap, it ain't replacing anything.

Re:Um, no. (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572153)

i was thinking "interference" but i havent kept on top of how super-special-awesome 802.11n is supposed to be. is there something about it that allows it to work magnificiently when everyone in an area is trying to run 10 or 15 APs at once with 802.11n equipment?

Re:Um, no. (1, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572293)

it uses a hyperdimensional tracever, which sends the signal through its own alternate reality, where no signal is being sent to interfere with it, and not only that but there is no pesky weather to bother it either!

No, those space ships popping into existance in the sky aren't angry-transdimensional aliens coming to ravage our world because we were dropping harmful EM radiaition onto their pleantes, honestly!

Don't forget denial-of-service (4, Insightful)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572307)

Don't forget that there are multiple aspects to security. You don't want the sleazy competitor sniffing your network, but you don't want them blasting your network out of existence two days before the RFQ is due either. The bad actor could be hard to track down if they're using a highly directional antenna and an illegal amplifier.

Re:Um, no. (4, Insightful)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571741)

And that's going to happen just after the Porcine Aviation Assocation makes WiFi actually run at the speeds that it says in the headlines.

Re:Um, no. (1)

umdstu (978017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571763)

Exactly, it's way to easy to pick up wireless data with sniffing tools. One doesn't even need to be on the your network to get your data.

Re:Um, no. (4, Interesting)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571801)

I agree that wired LAN is more secure than WiFi. But can't you do some pretty scary signal reconstruction by reading electromagnetic noise coming off your network cable? It's my understanding that this can be done from X yards away, through walls, whatever.

Yeah, that moves your vulnerability away from the hobbyist tier and into the professional tier, but honestly, which one scares you more?

Guess you could always wrap your cable in tin-foil.

Re:Um, no. (4, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572103)

Yes, its called STP instead of UTP...

UTP vs STP (sheilded twisted pair) (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572395)

Using STP cable eliminates the possibility of reading stray RF signals if you are that paranoid.


Re:Um, no. (1)

DaPhilistine (710883) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571823)

When the Porcine Aviation Assocation makes WiFi as secure as wired LAN, then we'll see the end of Ethernet. Until then, no.

And maybe when many clients in close proximity to each other don't saturate the bandwitdh.

Re:Um, no. (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572409)

If I am not mistaken, to help drive your point home a little more, when a wnic has to process all those packets not coming from its own network it slows to an awful halt.

Case in point I leave my wifi AP segmented off my network and leave it open for folks to check email and the likes. As of late the amount of people with Iphones and wifi using pdas is becoming quite a burden on my AP. Now when I talk with my neighbor even when he tries loading a page during the day it's staggeringly slow even when the usage of the AP's bandwidth is low. At night it's fine.

I check the dhcp tables and there is close to 40 dhcp addresses in the table. And at least 30 are pingable. Thanks to the high school they built here having wifi almost all the channels are covered. And the kids are jumping on my open AP instead of the school and leaving them connected. The heart beats are eating up the airwaves bandwidth and not my internet bandwidth.

Re:Um, no. (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571893)

Right. There are too many reasons to use ethernet, and security is just one of them. Ethernet is also more reliable, and it's still faster. 802.11n is not running as fast as 1Gbps (which is what both my home and work network are running at). Give it a couple years, and we'll probably all be running 10Gbps networks, and though wireless speeds will improve too, I see no reason to believe that they'll ever catch up. Also, wired connections are more reliable, easier to control, etc.

Now, I don't see much reason to string ethernet through people's homes, at least not most of the time. Use WPA, secure each of your computers (password protect them and firewall any services you aren't using, preferably don't use Windows). You'll be fine, and 802.11n is probably way faster than any internet connection you might have.

And how about open drivers. (2, Insightful)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572169)

The security doesn't bug me at all compared to the issue of open drivers. If all the drivers for 802.11n products were as open as wired ethernet then it would be an almost maybe possibility but as we've seen with regular Wifi, there's no way in hell. Personally, I think pushing yet more closed and fucked up drivers is almost certainly one of the goals of the 802.11n standard.

It's a well known fact that UWB and other existing techniques can push wireless bandwitdth far past what 802.11n offers, but they're not "ready" for the consumer market. The game is to incrementally push the consumer market into a series of screwed up proprietary drivers to push out open standards and ensure that only "enthusiasts" use open source.

Re:And how about open drivers. (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572247)

The game is to incrementally push the consumer market into a series of screwed up proprietary drivers to push out open standards and ensure that only "enthusiasts" use open source.

It's possible that you're being paranoid on the drivers issue (sorry, don't mean to be insulting, but it's possible). However, I'm sure that the game is to incrementally push the consumer market to new devices. Many hardware companies do this-- they don't want to release a real solution all at once, but instead constantly release incremental improvements. The game is to get you to keep buying more hardware.

Re:Um, no. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572173)

Give it a couple years, and we'll probably all be running 10Gbps networks, and though wireless speeds will improve too, I see no reason to believe that they'll ever catch up.
This is basically what the article is about - not whether wired is faster (it is), but whether that matters to most users? They argue that metrics like ease of moving around to collaborate with different people are more important than technical benchmarks like latency and jitter since 802.11n is "good enough" in those respects.

Re:Um, no. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572333)

Whether it's RAM, processor speeds, or bandwidth, the history of computers has shown the same pattern. As our capabilities increase, we find ways to use the "extra".

Maybe we'll hit a ceiling when we can stream multiple uncompressed full-length movies in real time without bottlenecks. I'm of the opinion, though, that computers (and networks) can never be too fast, too small, or too energy efficient.

Re:Um, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572427)

Cooking something in my microwave oven is enough to knock out my wireless.

Maybe that means I have a leaky oven, although it is a respectable brand and fairly new. Perhaps I should check to see if it was made in China.

No matter what though, I still prefer wired over wireless, at least for the computers that don't move around

Re:Um, no. (3, Funny)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572023)

Pigs can fly. It is a matter of applying sufficient thrust.

It is a matter of contention ratio.

An average office has a contention ratio of 1:100 for server access and it still works. A WLAN contended to 1:100 will not work. So you have to upgrade your porcine fleet with higher thrust engines. You do that by rolling out a big wireless switch and many small accesspoints under its control each of which has a contention ratio of under 1:10. At that contention ratio deployments for anything more than 10PCs is uneconomical.

This is all of course if we leave the security aside. But that is another story.

Re:Um, no. (1)

TechnoBunny (991156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572065)

Didnt people say the same when the mobile phone was introduced?

Re:Um, no. (1)

Kortalh (1102177) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572285)

I realize this is only anecdotal evidence, but aside from my grandmother and one of my aunts, I don't personally know anyone that relies on their landline phone as their primary source of communication. In fact, the only person who still even *has* a landline is my mother, and she's mostly just retaining it because it would "feel weird" not to have one. She rarely uses it.

wait (4, Insightful)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571679)

didnt they say the same about 802.11g not too long ago?

and what do we have now? both systems coexisting with each other

same gonna happen again

Re:wait (1)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571739)

didnt they say the same about 802.11g not too long ago?

and what do we have now? both systems coexisting with each other

same gonna happen again

The bigger question is will it coexist with my cordless phone or will I have to upgrade to 5GHz?

Re:wait (1)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571931)

802.11n runs at 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz. Legacy support for your G hardware and 5GHz for your newer N hardware and your legacy A (if you have it). Should coexist just fine.

Re:wait (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572351)

I'm certainly no expert in real world signal processing but I'd expect harmonics of 2.4ghz and 5ghz to interfere with each other's bandwidth.

All radio signals interefere.

Re:wait (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572073)

Two other options:
  1. Get a DECT cordless phone. DECT frequencies are reserved for DECT, there's no chance any variant of Wifi will ever run on them (except in some form that co-exists, ie DECT does actually have a data mode, but nobody ever uses it.
  2. Get Wifi phones, so your cordless phone system is part of your Wifi network rather than competing with it. This is somewhat expensive, and complex if you're not already using VoIP: you'll need to set up an Asterisk server and get something to hook that up to your POTS or ISDN line if you're not a current VoIP user.
  3. Switch to a GSM operator that offers UMA and offers landline like rates over it. UMA is a system that treats your Wifi network and Internet connection as a virtual GSM tower (complete with handover from GSM to Wifi and vice versa while you're on a call and moving in and out of range.) T-Mobile USA does this right now, if you're in the US. Downside? Lack of phones right now, but that should improve over time.

The fourth alternative, as you say, is 5.8GHz but range and wall penetration make that option somewhat unappealing

Re:wait (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571837)

Since it was "not too long ago", maybe the transition has just yet to take place. ;-)

I want my ETHERNET! (1)

trelayne (930715) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571925)

I think wireless is overrated. I'm on a wired connection right now and like it that way. I prefer it to Heroes bittorrents making there way through my cells. Anyway, wireless is a huge security hole. It's too easy to hijack other people's web sessions and snoop on their conversations.

Re:I want my ETHERNET! (0)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572269)

Anyway, wireless is a huge security hole. It's too easy to hijack other people's web sessions and snoop on their conversations.

Bah. Wireless is far more secure than wired. To listen on your wired network all I have to do is get access to a cable. To listen on your WPA-secured wireless network I have to get access to a copy of your WPA key (assuming PSK for simplicity, but similar difficulties apply to the other modes). As a consultant who is regularly in other company's business areas, I'll tell you that the latter is vastly harder than the former. Usually, the only thing that stands between me and a wired connection is my respectful obedience to the client's security policies. Oh, and it's really trivial to get into most office areas, even uninvited.

That said, wireless will never compete with wired for bandwidth or reliability. Gig-E is the norm in wired networking these days and 10 Gbps will be inexpensive and common in a couple of years. That bandwidth doesn't matter so much if you're just surfing, but when you start moving large files around internally, it's really valuable. Gig-E and faster networks mean that there is essentially no performance difference between local and remote storage, which creates a lot of flexibility for storage management on wired networks. Wireless is also subject to frequency crowding and other forms of interference that can make it completely unusable from time to time, especially in densely populated areas. Further, wireless security comes at a high price in either convenience (PSK key distribution) or infrastructure (auth server for EAP). Wired networking provides a lower but often acceptable security level with no effort at all.

Wireless is convenient for some uses, but I want my office, and my home, wired.

Re:wait (0, Troll)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571973)

I'm not going to even so much as touch wireless until a better security model is found. Even WPA isn't that hard to crack..

Re:wait (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572109)

Is there some new exploit I haven't heard of that lets people break WPA2? If they're cracking AES encryption along with private certificates then I'm impressed. Honest question though given that I manage a wireless network which is of course on its own VLAN.

Maybe not. (1)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571689)

Well, it might very well mean a decline in the number of cabled set-ups in the future, but it won't immediately kill the infrastructure that's already in place. People are loath to change their way of doing things when what they have is good enough.

Re:Maybe not. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571743)

Not only that but there are cases were wireless just doesn't work. For example, if my file server is in the basement and my media device in the upstairs living room, wireless may be hit or miss. However, a $30 cat-5 run will work just fine all the time. Even when you're in the same room, when everyone else is running wifi it might get bogged down. Especially if you live in a younger neighbourhood.

I think wifi has *already* replaced quite a few cat-5 networks [or network attachments]. the 'n' revision just makes things sweeter.

Re:Maybe not. (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572095)

"when what they have is good enough."

What I have is gigabit, and it's just barely good enough. Once you move to gigabit, it's perfectly workable to set up diskless clients booting over the network off iSCSI disks. No more disk noise in the workstations or the media PC, much easier backups, no more hundreds of gigabytes wasted distributed around where you need maybe 4 for the OS. Etc.

And if 1 gigabit made moving disks out of the local machines useful, going to 10 gigabit will make moving even more things out of the local computer possible. It could make network based graphics accelerators possible, where any computer on your LAN could use the 3d accelerator. Etc.

Yes, wireless is good enough. For what we did fifteen years ago; it's perfectly capable of replacing 10mbit coax networks.

But it's nowhere near, nor is it likely to ever get near, replacing anything that actually uses modern networking technology.

Re:Maybe not. (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572309)

I submit to you that a RGU is a better option for the home than a complicated iSCSI PXE boot process where you have to construct a new image for every new machine.

Naturally Matrox has this one covered. RGU Link [] Fanless, no moving parts, you have all your USB and firewire and you're free to have a noisy PC in the basement with all the power you want. Much easier to setup and use.

I do agree though, in the work environment I barely get by with gigabit and 10gigabit isn't cost effective yet. I'm looking at upgrading the links between two of my switches but some of them don't even have the option yet.

Of course the thing I'm wondering is when fiber channel is going to catch up. 8gigabit throughput to the SAN is tight so you end up multi-linking and load balancing to get more throughput which is harder on the server so you end up adding more servers and distributing the load with a proper Linux load balancer. The SAN has plenty of more throughput available given that there are over 200 spindles so it's a shame the bottleneck is the network.

abortion is the end of a life (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20571711)

Day 1

Mommy, I am only 8 inches long, but I have all my organs. I love the sound of your voice. Every time I hear it, I wave my arms and legs. The sound of your heart beat is my favorite lullaby.

Day 2

Mommy, today I learned how to suck my thumb. If you could see me, you could definitely tell that I am a baby. I'm not big enough to survive outside my home though. It is so nice and warm in here.

Day 3

You know what Mommy, I'm a girl!! I hope that makes you happy. I always want you to be happy. I don't like it when you cry. You sound so sad. It makes me sad too, and I cry with you even though you can't hear me.

Day 4

Mommy, my hair is starting to grow. It is very short and fine, but I will have a lot of it. I spend a lot of my time exercising. I can turn my head and curl my fingers and toes, and stretch my arms and legs. I am becoming quite good at it too.

Day 5

You went to the doctor today. Mommy, he lied to you. He said that I'm not a baby. I am a baby Mommy, your baby. I think and feel. Mommy, what's abortion?

Day 6

I can hear that doctor again. I don't like him. He seems cold and heartless. Something is intruding my home. The doctor called it a needle. Mommy what is it? It burns! Please make him stop! I can't get away from it! Mommy!! HELP me!! No . . .

Day 7

Mommy, I am okay. I am in Jesus's arms. he is holding me. He told me about abortion. Why didn't you want me Mommy?

One more heart that was stopped. Two more eyes that will never see. Two more hands that will never touch. Two more legs that will never run. One more mouth that will never speak.


No (5, Insightful)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571727)

RJ45 jacks will never be obsolete for one reason... Security.

And I don't know what you're talking about, I still use gaslights.

Shared medium. (5, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571729)

I can't wait for wireless to take over everything. Collisions and shared bandwidth are awesome. I miss hubs so much.


You can have my wired ethernet... (1)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571735)

when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands. The day wireless can beat wired not just in theory but also in practice is the day I see how much copper I can get out of the building.

Interference? Security? (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571745)

What about situations where something is causing inference (material in building/other signals/etc?). At home I have 2 laptops, each one will get different speeds in different rooms (I'm talking about sometimes a 10 - 15 mbps difference).

Then there is the security issue. Yes you can lock down your wireless but since it is wireless someone can sit outside and keep trying over and over vs. if you don;t have it they need physical access.
This isn't saying wireless is bad, just they are factors which will never go away which will always make the decision of wi-fi vs. wired never cut and dry.

Re:Interference? Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572415)

This is precisely the issue. While security is a critical
element, so is the fact that the available spectrum/spectra
is fixed and limited. You can always make more wire, and
faster cables, but there is only just so much RF spectrum
space available. That concept seems to elude everyone. The
available bandwidth is *SHARED*, and when some people go
beyond the limited range capabilities in the original
architecture of wireless nets by adding "Pringles" antennas
and other falderol, they make it harder on the other users.
And, it will only get worse. The increased wireless LAN
activity will raise the noise floor, requiring the normal
(i.e., licensed) users (remember that wireless LANs are
unlicensed secondary users which aren't allowed to interfere
with the primary users) to raise their ERP (effective radiated power =
transmitter output power times the gain of the antenna) to
compensate, further exacerbating the problem.

Point is, if people really thought about it and used their
heads, they'd use wireless only when absolutely needed as a
short-range Local Area Network connection, not as a Metropolitan
Area Network or a long-range point-to-point link.

End of ? (1)

midwestnets (1117847) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571757)

They call it an "application" for a reason. There are a multitude of reasons for having wires which I wont go into. However, I would agree that the move in the future toward "Endpoint Nuetral" security suggests that the applications for wires will continue to drop.

Nah (1)

thrashee (1066650) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571761)

As much as I love the convenience of wireless, there's no way it's as reliable as a good old-fashioned hardline. (Online gaming comes to mind:) )

It's still wi-fi (1)

Atilla (64444) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571769)

Can 802.11n get 10Gbps? When you get those kind of speeds, we'll talk :-]

Re:It's still wi-fi (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572089)

The point is that most current installations support 10/100. When considering upgrading to GbE (10 Gbps isn't available in desktops at reasonable prices), you can get half the speed without switching from Cat 5 to Cat 5e or Cat 6 at the end-user end. One router can cover two dozen cubicles, and at draft-N speeds, that's not much of a problem for email/web.

Re:It's still wi-fi (1)

ReaperEB-Moo (628237) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572223)

exactly... 10Gbps or the new 100Gbps that they're working on at the moment.

Not all organizations want wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20571773)

My brother, who works in the data cabling field, was telling me how his major client recently gave up on wireless and reverted to the idea of putting data ports in every cube. The reason? They are a financial services company and, rightly or wrongly, they decided wireless simply doesn't offer the security they need.

Yes, of course (4, Insightful)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571785)

This is totally a replacement for wired connectivity, because in a building with three or four hundred computer users, there won't be any radio interference between wireless cards. I'm sure that there won't be any issues in high-density deployments. I mean, the four PCs in my house never, ever have any reduction in speed when they're all connected simultaneously.

What do they teach them in schools these days?

Re:Yes, of course (4, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571877)

What do they teach them in schools these days?

Had a look at Myspace or Facebook? Sigh.

Re:Yes, of course (2, Funny)

peacewon (895131) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572277)

Hmmm... Makes you wonder about the effects of multiple sequences of ones and zeros traveling through my brain right now in radio frequency form. Also makes me think of the fried egg drug commercial.

Doubt it. (5, Interesting)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571787)

Unless buildings are made of less concrete and brick. My school has a wireless network, but it's spotty due to the big maze of concrete and brick buildings. You only get a connection when the room you're in has a wireless bridge, but every room has a RJ45 port. There really is no question of signal strength when talking about wired networks.

They will coexist (1)

prestomation (583502) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571791)

With all the infrastructure already in place, no one is going to put a 'n card in their desktop when their current NIC is more secure and more reliable. If I were continually lugging my desktop machine to different locations in my house it would be different, but, uhh, I'm not.

Wireless AP can't hand (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571811)

Wireless AP can handle as mean users per AP as a switch can and you will still need to run wire to each AP anyways as you may have a hard time getting all systems to work off of one AP.
Also RJ45 ports are build in to just all systems now days build in the chipset or running over the pci-e bus that can hit the full gig-e speed. There are a few with build in wireless but most of there are on the slower usb bus that pushes up cpu load. Pci N cards are $50 or more per card.

Not nearly reliable enough (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571839)

The problem I see with wireless is still the constant interference from nearby wireless networks. No matter which of 3 routers I've used, and whether it is Win XP, Ubuntu, or OSX across 3 different machines...if there are many local wireless networks I will see disconnects around every 20-30 minutes no matter what. This can't happen when using (older) business tools like terminal sessions where a hiccup in handshake causes lost work.

On top of that, I have my doubts that any actual wireless throughput will touch Gigabit. Maybe if all we are comparing is 100MB it could be comparable.

Re:Not nearly reliable enough (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572045)

Maybe if all we are comparing is 100MB it could be comparable.

Except for the shared bandwidth issue, and the fact that wireless theoretical speeds are never achieved in the real world. You could compare it to people on a 100M hub-based network - the kind we used 10+ years ago.

Re:Not nearly reliable enough (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572077)

Every 20-30 minutes? Try every few seconds at peak times. The more wireless networks are around, the more I need my wires.

I'm in a building where I can see about 30 802.11g networks. The only way I can get my wireless network to work reliably at high-usage times (the evening) is to be at my desk about 4' from the WAP. When I'm 4' from the WAP (and router), why bother with wireless?

I don't think so... (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571873)

The wireless in my home cuts out when the microwave is started, has 802.11n fixed that? How about secure systems? There is much less of a chance of your network being broken into if the thief needs physical assess to the network.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572007)

IANAE, but maybe you should think about having the microwave replaced, or atleast inspected for faults. I can't fathom what sort of problem would cause it to interfere with wireless, but I can almost certainly say you should have that checked out...

Re:I don't think so... (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572145)

I've wondered about that, but haven't cared enough to do anything about it. My AP is at one end of the house and the microwave is in the middle. Everything on the side opposite the AP cuts out when the microwave is started and won't reconnect as long as it's running. It's a new microwave (>1yr old).

Re:I don't think so... (1)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572233)

I can't fathom what sort of problem would cause it to interfere with wireless

Because microwaves are imperfectly shielded and operate at 2450 MHz.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572123)

The wireless in my home cuts out when the microwave is started, has 802.11n fixed that?

Yes []

I'm surprised at the number of people that don't realized 802.11n can operate at 5GHz, like 802.11a. I thought this was one of the major selling points.

Yeah OK (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571885)

Wireless will never beat Ethernet, if for no other reason, simple reliability. I have seen odd things happen with radio waves, like have a very good signal in one spot, and almost no signal just a few feet away. Or getting the signal strength affect by where some random person is standing. Or signals not passing through walls (getting a cable through a wall requires no more than a drill). Or microwave ovens killing the signal.

The strangest was a friend who used a linksys router with the SSID "linksys" and WEP encryption, who lived next door to someone using the same SSID but no encryption. Oh yeah, the wireless network managers on various OS's had a field day with that one. Ethernet just doesn't have those problems, so it will always been needed when mobility is less important than reliability.

many nodes (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571907)

I am skeptical of the ability of any wireless standard to handle a large network with many nodes. Won't the clients interfere ? With switches and routers you can build a tree. I suppose you could do that with 802.11 as well with different parts of a building, etc, but can it handle 500 people in a room all using the connection ?

I have the answer (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571909)

My lead wall says no.

No, wired networks aren't going away soon..... (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571945)

and they can take the gas light from my front yard when they pry my frozen tongue from the lamp post.

I'm waiting for... (1)

GuyinVA (707456) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571967)

802.11X The 'x' makes it sound cooler.

Re:I'm waiting for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572275)

I'm waiting for 802.11X-TREME Edition.

Reasons not to change. (4, Insightful)

GodCandy (1132301) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571971)

First I will admit. I have an 802.11n setup at my house for my laptop and a desktop on the far side of the house. It works well for this.

The issues are as follows.
Security: There is little or none. All of your transactions are flying through the air and anyone with the proper equipment (which can be obtained at the local electronics store for very little money) can intercept those packets. Even if you bother to use encryption all that has to be done is some processing to "crack" the encryption. Without breaking into my house/office and tying into my physical copper network there is no way to intercept packets on a copper network.

Stability: I cant speak for 802.11n as of yet. My AP has never been rebooted and my clients stay conected. However my prior 802.11x products were somewhat less stable.

Speed: 802.11x is a bus topology much like a hub. True they are running a great deal of bandwidth now. For few users this is great however what happens when you have 20 users on the same access point sharing the same bandwidth.

I do however see uses in business for this. I don't think at this time it is the end all replacement for the simple switch and the complicated wiring closet yet.

We have people... (1)

YetAnotherProgrammer (1075287) | more than 7 years ago | (#20571997)

We have people in the office that complain about the gigabit connection that they have now. Make it a tenth of the speed and all hell breaks loose. It will help with internet access for people doing demo, sales reps, etc. that are not here all the time or visiting for whatever reason. Until there is a faster, more secure, easier to setup wireless solution I will go with no.

Transmitter = Takedown (1)

buzdale (943806) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572011)

If ethernet is replaced with wireless, it would be trivial to knock out entire buildings with a single transmitter. I mean all I have to do is broadcast garbage over the used spectrum. Wires have uses.

What about reliability? (1)

BlueF (550601) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572017)

In my experience as a sysadmin for 350 node hospital, wireless networks are far too prone to intermittent failure. In all fairness, I've yet to implement enterprise level wireless routers, for the main reason that most hardware claiming "industrial strength" tends to price itself more than simply running lines.

Wireless is a shared medium (1)

quadshop (806550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572025)

Wireless will NEVER replace wired networks completely. Because wireless is a shared medium (think "hub"), there is finite bandwidth available within a given volume of space (defined by signal strength and other factors). If you have a combination of node density and bandwidth needs that exceed what wireless can provide, you have to go with wired networks. Wired networks go over a non-shared medium (think "switch"), so you can scale the bandwidth in high-density environments. Do I think wired networks will become less and less the norm? Yes. Do I think wired networks will go away completely? No way in hell.

Never... (1)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572027)

Sure, maybe the small mom-and-pop ship business might go for it, but larger businesses would be hard pressed to do it. Besides, the costs of having a building wired with Cat5/6 is fairly small, even for retrofit, so I don't see the business case. Not to mention that with even the best Wireless N (or G for that matter) gear, there's always drop outs in connectivity, interference, and the whole nine yards. Yes, a true 'proper' wireless deployment eliminates most of it, but I've worked in places where there was lots of money spent on proper wireless deployments with commercial gear, and I'm just still not sold.

Yes, it will fit the case for some businesses, but not most. It's not to say that a good wireless A/G/N deployment is horrible, for 98% of typical businesses, there's just no point of going wireless over wired.

Wireless is no where near this point yet.

security vs sci-fi (0, Offtopic)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572029)

Well not likely if you want to become PCI compliant [] or adhere to any number of secure standards. In theory a paper like this sounds good but you only need to dip below the surface of the real world to discover it's more like a sci-fi dream at the moment.

Re:security vs sci-fi (1)

biftek (145375) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572387)

What the fuck does the (draft still?) 802.11n standard have to do with PCI standards?

Not in my datacentre (1)

simong (32944) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572055)

not in my office, or for that matter not in my house. The office might have a wireless network but it's there for breakout areas (terrible phrase) and places where isn't viable to lay cable. Desktops are still cabled for security and speed.

"Negroponte Inversion" (1)

sonoronos (610381) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572071)

The idea of the "Negroponte Inversion" was that in the majority of the 20th century, broadcast entertainment traveled over the air and personal communication was transmitted through wires. The Inversion happens when broadcast entertainment travels over wires and personal communication is transmitted through the air.

The internet started off for the majority as over-the-wire communication, but the article's premise is that there is a coming inversion where it will be transmitted in the majority through the air.

Of course, the article is bogus because it states a specific technology (802.11N). There may be a "Negroponte Inversion" coming for computer networking, but my opinion is that it will be driven by sociological and business factors, not by an obselete-as-shipped wireless networking standard.

Sounds insane (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572075)

Won't wired always be faster than wireless, at least for the guessable future? We're running at 54mbit for wireless, 100mbit for wired most places, and 1000mbit with the new hardware. In other words, wireless is only running at half the speed of the old wired standard and the new wired standard is ten times faster. This is setting aside questions of security and the like. Wireless is "good enough" for everyday home use certainly. It's good enough for laptop users in the office. But if people are doing any kind of heavy lifting, wired kicks wireless' metaphorical butt.

Of course, it's still fun to hand the new IT guy a set of crimpers and ask him to make me some wireless cables.

Re:Sounds insane (1)

skeletor935 (790212) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572105)

had the title of this /. post been "802.11N The Ethernet Killer?," it probably would have received a much better response

We will never use wireless! (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572085)

Actually, that is true. Where I work it would never be possible. One, we have a ton of shielded rooms which are prone to blocking these sorts of things and two, being that it's a testing environment, it would not be advantageous to overload our test equipment with RF from a source we are not trying to measure.
I am sure there are several others out there who have their own reasons for not using wireless. Security, risk of dropped connections..ext. I know other companies who have client/server apps which can not handle even small drops in connection and I am sure anyhow who is using wireless has seen their connection drop for a few moments.
Perhaps LAN will die someday, but that day is not close.

What kind of home situation is he referring to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572139)

//7Mbps average throughput," he says. "They don't get that in their homes with DSL and cable modems.

I live in the center of France, "la France profonde" as we jokingly call it (rough translation: the armpit of Europe) and I get 8Mbps on a bad day.

. // "I have a 21-year-old, and an 18-year-old, and they have never plugged into anything in their lives.

Try playing Nexuiz through WIFI with WPA on .) not good

I really dont understand his home situation

In a word, no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572151)

"I don't think the end is here," says Mayo. "Ask me again in 10 years." Coppin State's Prevatte thinks the same. "I don't see wired Ethernet going anywhere soon," he says.

I guess we agree after all then.

Gaslight? (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572187)

Can anybody explain what a gaslight is? I presume its a term used frequently in the usa.

Re:Gaslight? (1)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572393)

It's not used frequently anywhere, not anymore. But 100 years ago people lit their houses and streets with gas lamps.

Er, that's "gas" as in methane. You can imagine that gas light was not so great.

Re:Gaslight? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572405)

its just what it sounds like.

a gas powered light.

before we had electricity alot of cities were piped with gas lines all over hell to run lighting. from the street pole lights to your home lights. []

Theres still plenty of active gas lights around the world too. They don't burn out. (but might burn your house down) And they look kinda cool.

captcha - seared lol

Not in our enviroment (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572189)

The company I still work with, as a part-time consultant instead of full time employee these days as I am in Grad School, will not be going to wireless anytime soon. One reason is security. They are a video production company and post house that sometimes does sub-contracting work on TV and Film. There are some big fines in there if it was ever proven that materials were ever leaked by our people.

Secondly, we run ScreamernetII & Qmaster/Xgrid on every single machine in the building. That is one reason why in 2005 they elected to go 100% Mac. The front office people work on iMacs and when they go home at night, the spare G5 CPU cycles are turned over to rendering Shake, Final Cut, Compressor, or Lightwave projects.

That takes bandwidth. Lots of bandwidth and quite a few of our units are linked via Fiber as gigabit Ethernet isn't fast enough. (Especially when dealing with 400GB HDV files).

Now for the average business, especially small business, going wireless is already the way to go. It's cheap to network up to 50 PC's together without having to have cabling installed. If you grow and expand it's pretty easy to add more access points.

Again I guess it depends on where you are and what you are using it for.

Obvious (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572203)

This is just the same as the way broadcast television took over and drove the original cable TV out of business. Oh, wait...

absolutly not (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572227)

I could think of a laundry list of things that make ethernet more attractive to a company, but off the top of my head, two are key.

1) Your guaranteed a signal, which you are not with wireless where hotspots and coldspots can be noticed.

2) Intercepting a wired transition is much more difficult, to next to impossible without physical access to the location if set up properly. A wireless signal can be intercepted and possibly decoded by just having someone drive by the place.

Re:absolutly not (1)

peacewon (895131) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572389)

Ahhh with wireless you are also guarenteed coldspots... Remember when they moved you from your office upstairs into storage closet in the basement?

Re:absolutly not (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572425)

I completely agree, WiFi cannot possibly compete with a proper network infrastructure.

But assume that you have a new office, and I wonder whether you have to spend all the money of network connectors, or whether you can just use wireless. In a technical discipline, the answer is most likely no. But say you consider admin staff, or a group of journalists (that prefer to work from Starbucks anyway). I think a WiFi access point could be a lot cheaper than a switch, 10 wires, patch panels, connectors etc.

The best way for you to find your answer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20572241)

is to have someone take a louville slugger to the side of your skull. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Ubiquity (2, Insightful)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572279)

It will only be truly ubiquitous when it's a common check box feature on every PC sold, built-in to the motherboard and included in the final price.

As long as it's a peripherial, I don't care how cheap or easy to install, it'll never replace what's already there, ie. the Ethernet port. For more reference, see USB vs. Firewire.

2.4GHz Hell (2, Informative)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572289)

I once got a call from a client who said her WiFi wasn't working in her study. When I got their I found she was using a bluetooth mouse, 2.4GHz cordless phone, Wireless video extension (also 2.4GHz), and cooking diner in her microwave (big 2.4GHz transmitter). This piece of spectrum will only take so much. She asked if changing to a 5.8GHz phone would help. I said probably not as most transmit from the base to the phone on 5.8Ghz and the phone transmits 2.4GHz back. (900MHz would be better). As we use more and more 2.4GHz wireless stuff the performance of WiFi will drop.

A 100MBPS wired network with a switch will outperform any wireless network for the foreseeable future.

Talk about stupidity (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572315)

FTA: "If you look at 11n with 150Mbps and 20 users sharing the access point, they get 7Mbps average throughput," he says. "They don't get that in their homes with DSL and cable modems. It's time for people to reset their thinking."

Obviously this idiot doesn't understand the difference between 7mbps Internet access and access to files, printers, databases and other applications.

"Currently I think [150-180Mbps] is plenty," says Ruman. "Most companies are still using 100Mbps switches and have not made the jump to Gigabit past the data center anyway."

Does somebody want to explain to this DB the difference between wireless APs and wired switches? There's no way in hell that a 802.11n AP will come close to providing the bandwidth of a 48 port 100mbps switch. If I put 40 users on a 11n AP they would receive 3.75mbps AT BEST. I can guarantee a lot more bandwidth using a hard line switch and I won't have to worry about interference.

How is it that this guy is involved in networking when he doesn't even understand the most basic concepts?


Not even mom-and-pop businesses (2, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572335)

No, Ethernet isn't going anywhere, especially for "mom-and-pop" businesses. Why? If you have a small retail store with two cash registers, and your wireless connection acts up, you have -zero- income until it's fixed. That's pretty mission critical. On the other hand, if you're IBM, and some of your wireless goes flaky, IBM isn't going to shut down. A lot of people will be inconvenienced, but very few parts of a giant corporation are mission critical. If anything, I'd expect to see wireless at big businesses, where there's a ton of redundancy already (again, IBM is a prime example). Small businesses' computer systems are much more critical, so I can't imagine any successful small business using wireless anytime in the near future. I know that mine isn't!

Not a snowball's chance in hell it will. (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572385)

As with the other forms of 802.11, it'll only be useful if you use/emulate a toy OS or go hunting for very specific hardware.

As a physicist... (2, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 7 years ago | (#20572453)

i have to make a comment. Let's assume we have amplifiers and signal generators avaiable which have at each time a certain "eqi-cost" line in the "power consumption" vs "noise level" plane in the bandwidth you are interested in. If you couple these by an really good directed radio link, you can get over a few meters up to a few dB if you are good. Hovever lets assume fo the second that having a parabolic antenna on you laptop is less handy than an ethernet cable. Thus, leaving aside obstacles, wou will definitely have less power at the receiver for the same power send. now here comes the problem. Less power means lower signal/noise ratio, which directly reduces your BW. So no matter how the wireless standard looks like, if you take it literally you can always use it on a network cable, and you will get a much higher rate and an ultimately directed transmission. Nowadays etherenet standard does not use the full bandwidth of the cables. WOuld one use the wireless transmission methods on a cable, one could get substentially more troughput.

O did i forget? eqi-cost can also be translated to "cheaper modules" at the same rate.
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