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Call it WiFi or 802.11n, it's no panacea and holds some surprises

Here it is folks, and you probably won't like what you are about to read, but we'll lay it out quickly

First, that new 802.11 n high-speed router your purchased to gain network throughput probably won't give you the increase you need.

Throughput falls

Second, throughput is actually a function of the devices that are included in the mix. For example, if you use Wi-Fi (wide fidelity) routing – also known as 802.11/n – you will find that it is backwards compatible so if you have an older wireless system that is hooking into your hotspot, your throughput will dump faster than a falling ceiling.

Third, “abandon all hope ye who use WPA2/TKIP, for security, as it will slow you down, set yourself up for WPA/AES (we use it and squeeze all we can from it).

Four, 802.11/n allows channel-pairing. In other words, you can send out 20 MHz bandwidth signals on your outbound side on Channel 1, but if you pair with say Channel 11, even though the documentation says your return will be 40 MHz, don't believe it as you may have other devices interfering with your signal (nothing you can do about that – it's the way the law was written and you have to live with it), so you may find your Channel-pairing is returning you 20/10 (maybe).

Fifth – and this is still the subject of religious wars and will likely become an issue when Apple demands more space for its iPhone 5 – they may demand it, but, there are other services in the world besides Apple in the 2 GHz and 5 GHz bands where these devices are used under Part 97 of the FCC Code.

Networks will interfere

Sixth, neither Apple nor Samsung is the world. You have 11 discreet channels in a hotspot and, if you are lucky and are able to set up all of your devices as 802.11n with the same protocols, you will likely get the best performance, however, when you bring another network into proximity and your performance will be in the dumper, like it or not – rhetorically speaking.

Seventh and probably most important, they don't know how many devices a network device will listen to or support in a given area before your response grinds to a halt.

Oh yes, WiFi and 802.11 n were supposed to the the panacea, but, to tell you the truth, they are not and never will be. It is a function of a small items called RF or radio frequency energy.

Indeed, there are some very complicated algorithms – using such abstractions as the “J” factor (a number that is supposed to exist but really doesn't. It's a convenient construction to get the algorithm working and it's part of quadratics) – that you can run through that will show you that after X+n devices all network performance will degrade, no matter the IP stack being used, MAC addressing being followed, datagrams being send or whathaveyou.

We are willing to bet that during the next major problem, such as a blizzard or hurricane, you will find your on-the-air network performance will begin to degrade somewhere between 5 and 10 devices per channel, if you are lucky before the whole house of cards comes crashing down and stops or performance like an old IBM-PC1 4.7 MHz version.

Remember your first PC?

You'll get work done but there will be others in line. And, he smartphone brigade will be all over Apple and other providers, if not the FCC complaining about the issue but with wireless needs being what they are, the military must come first, public safety must come second, homeland security must also share this plane, and your HBO or 3D movie can wait. Your bank transaction can wait even longer.

That's why it's so funny watching all of the huckstering from AT&T and its pink motorcyclist – eye candy is all – and from T-Mobile with its many maps and so on. They figure, we believe,that if the public were to rise up they would get their increased bandwidth needs met at the needs of others who may have greater needs.

Then, there's the texting crowd that uses the overhead datagram (a different network layer) to shoot its quick messages through the madding crowd. They will soon find that all seven of the layers described by the networking protocols will be used to the max in any emergency, so you have to wonder why anyone would even consider suggesting it. Well, the most obvious answer is they wouldn't know a duck from a snowthrower when it comes to networking.

There is no networking panacea, plainly and simply and with all of the Social Media being pushed as the government's “secret weapon” for emergency response, you just have to wonder one thing when did they give PhD's to morons?


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