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Time To Cut the Ethernet Cable? 496

Posted by kdawson
from the restructuring-the-edge dept.
coondoggie writes in with a Network World piece that begins "A range of companies with wireless LANs are discovering that 50% to 90% or more of Ethernet ports now go unused, because Wi-Fi has become so prevalent. They look at racks of unused switches, ports, Ethernet wall jacks, the cabling that connects them all, the yearly maintenance charges for unused switches, electrical charges, and cooling costs. So why not formally drop what many end users have already discarded — the Ethernet cable? 'There's definitely a right-sizing going on,' says Michael King, research director, mobile and wireless, for Gartner. 'By 2011, 70% of all net new ports will be wireless. People are saying, "we don't need to be spending so much on a wired infrastructure if no one is using it."' ... There is debate over whether WLANs, including the high-throughput 802.11n networks, will be able to deliver enough bandwidth." Cisco, which makes both wireless and wired gear, has a spokesman quoted calling this idea of right-sizing a "shortsighted message from a wireless-only provider. It's penny-wise and pound-foolish."
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Time To Cut the Ethernet Cable?

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  • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:46AM (#27786907) Homepage

    - security
    - bandwidth
    - interference/reliability ... etc.

    • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:56AM (#27787035)

      Bingo!

      Because of security concerns my employer does not and will never have (that I can see) wireless access to the network.

      It's just too large of a security risk when you have any sort of sensitive information floating around.

      • by MrNaz (730548) * on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:07AM (#27787175) Homepage

        Wireless is great for end users and other "last yard" applications, but I don't see WiFi ever overtaking wired networks for anything else. Cables will always be faster (I'm comparing *tomorrow's* cables, with *tomorrow's* wired networks, so sit down and put your trousers back on) than WiFi, and far more reliable due to greater resilience against interference and other environmental factors. It also has a smaller attack surface area, so for security sensitive applications, the additional physical constraints may be a benefit.

        Yes, I think that office floors and other last-hop from switch to user applications could become completely wireless, but let's not get carried away. Anyone who says "we don't need wired ethernet any more" is short sighted and simply trying to attract attention. Wired ethernet will always have a place trunking the WiFi hotspots and carrying bulk data.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:16AM (#27787331) Journal
        It is certainly possible(and easy) to implement wireless security wrong or not at all; but the notion that "wireless=fundamentally insecure" seems dubious at best.

        After all, we generally trust encryption, in the form of SSL, VPNs, and the like to safely carry data across the public internet, a known cesspool of hostility and attackers. It isn't clear why it would be any less safe when dealing with the pool of possible attackers that exists within(assuming good antennas) a few kilometers of your site. Plus, since wireless is known to be vulnerable, people generally try to secure it. Unless your physical security is tight, I'll almost certainly have a much easier time sneaking in and plugging in than I will trying to break WPA or better. WEP absolutely blew, but the bad old days are (mostly) over.
      • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:49AM (#27789035) Journal

        We don't need wires for privacy. We have WEP, which provides equivalent security, wirelessly. Stop living in the past.

    • Yup. Where I work, we deal with a considerable amount of very sensitive information. There are, of course, ways to deal with that via encryption, but then again, I've got a few miles of network cable, so why would I go that much trouble?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:59AM (#27787069)

      security

      But if I'm on wireless, I can just turn my screen closer to me so those evil hackers can't see my credit card password! If I have a cable, I can't move! Therefore, wireless is far more secure.

      bandwidth

      What are you geeks talking about? I can get my emails and download the internets perfectly fine while I watch the teevee!

      interference/reliability

      Oh yeah? What about cats? If my cat chews through the cable, then I'm out for a week while I wait for the cable guy to come fix it! That doesn't sound very reliable to me! Cats can't chew through the wireless!

      And I thought you nerds were supposed to be smart!

      • by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:11AM (#27787243) Homepage Journal

            You've just made a serious breech of Slashdot protocol. You shouldn't post AC, when your comment would be modded funny..

            As I'm sitting here, I'm getting comments from the peanut gallery.

            On the wireless Internets, there are no tubes, so there are no tubes to get clogged. Therefore wireless is muchly superior.

            Ahh, how I still love Senator Stevens and his amazing insight into the functionality of that there interwebtubenets.

        • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:31AM (#27788743) Homepage Journal

          You've just made a serious breech of Slashdot protocol. You shouldn't post AC, when your comment would be modded funny..

          Last time I checked, Funny gave no karma, and Overrated took away karma. So if moderators go into a Funny/Overrated mod war over a comment, the poster loses karma rapidly. Such mod wars have brought users from Excellent (posting at 2) down to Terrible (posting at -1) in one day.

          On the wireless Internets, there are no tubes, so there are no tubes to get clogged.

          The tube from the antenna to the AP that gets clogged more easily than the tubes on a wired switch. But residential Internet service is even easier to clog than the antenna tube.

    • by lowen (10529) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:18AM (#27787349)

      RFI.

      As CIO at a radio astronomical observatory with instruments receiving in the 2.3GHz band, I can say that we prohibit WiFi here completely. We went as far as running shielded Cat5e and Cat6, and building the data center into a screened room to reduce the RFI. Ferrite beads on all cabling going into and out of the data center are installed as well.

      Wired Ethernet is the only thing working here.

      • by abigor (540274) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:27AM (#27787483)

        Let me be the first to say that you have a really cool job.

        • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:15AM (#27788457) Homepage

          Let me be the first to say that you have a really cool job.

          Let's see if I can best that... C;-)

          In Antarctica [gdargaud.net] we can't use CAT cables because their dielectric properties change at extreme cold temperatures (-80C) and they run like crap. The cables also turn to raw spaghetti and break at the slightest touch.

          So we use wireless (absolutely no interferences there !), or fiber, which doesn't change properties with the cold. Usually both as a backup in case a snowmachine runs in a cable (we can't put them in the 'ground' or they would disappear under the accumulated snow over a few years, so we place them on rows of low poles).

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Cruciform (42896)

            You're in Antarctica? You must really love Linux. :P
            Some people just put a penguin sticker on their computer or buy a tshirt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        RFI.

        As CIO at a radio astronomical observatory with instruments receiving in the 2.3GHz band, I can say that we prohibit WiFi here completely. We went as far as running shielded Cat5e and Cat6, and building the data center into a screened room to reduce the RFI. Ferrite beads on all cabling going into and out of the data center are installed as well.

        Wired Ethernet is the only thing working here.

        Out of curiosity, would fiber have been easier/cheaper than all that shielded Cat5e/6 cable?

    • Just updated to Ubuntu 9.04 on the laptop. First thing that went wrong was the wireless card. Drivers gone and no connection. Wired ethernet on the other hand, worked flawlessly. No driver issues, no compatibility errors, nothing. It worked likely a keyboard. There's a lot to be said for the maturity of ethernet cables.

      There's also a lot to be said for the reliability of cable, or rather, the unreliability of wireless. Yes, it is convienient to give devices wireless connections, but signal quality is a huge issue with location, time and simple randomness all coming into play in ways cable simply does not have trouble with. For me, a typical ping over wireless goes something like this (below numbers are made up from memory)

      PING 10.100.1.1 (10.100.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=62 time=4.35 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=62 time=3.67 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=62 time=3.56 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=62 time=4.45 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=5 ttl=62 time=1500 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=6 ttl=62 time=3.02 ms

      Whereas the equivilent wired ping times, for a device in the same room would be

      PING 10.100.1.1 (10.100.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=62 time=1.35 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=62 time=1.37 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=3 ttl=62 time=1.56 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=62 time=1.05 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=5 ttl=62 time=1.41 ms
      64 bytes from 10.100.1.1: icmp_seq=6 ttl=62 time=1.02 ms

      A wireless connection is a tradeoff of human convenience for machine efficiency. When it comes to web browsing, email and even watching youtube videos, it's more or less worthwhile for most users. However, when you get to things like voip, bittorrent and online games, wireless connections begin to sag under the weight of your demands.

    • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:23AM (#27787429)

      A company I worked for tried cutting the cord and replacing everything with dumb terminal-like laptops, only to discover that the infrastructure couldn't handle so many simultaneous connections. It was a complete failure because the wireless density and capacity just could not support everyone going wireless.

      Besides, what they forget to address is this thing called sunk cost. You've purchased that hardware and infrastructure. You're not going to get any $$$ by replacing everything with wireless anyway.

    • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:09AM (#27788345) Homepage
      Exactly. At home I've had wireless for a decade. But now with the ubiquity of wireless ADSL modems, there are about 15 hotspots within range and I can't get a stable connection anymore. I can't wire the rental appt I'm in, so I'm using ethernet over electric wires and it works great. Wireless is already dead for people who live in dense urban environment.
      • by squallbsr (826163) on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:34AM (#27788785) Homepage

        I can attest to that, mostly because my neighbors have those multi-frequency spamming "super" access points.

        Wireless pretty much doesn't work between 5pm and 9pm upstairs in my house.

      • by tinkerghost (944862) on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:34AM (#27788799) Homepage

        Exactly. At home I've had wireless for a decade. But now with the ubiquity of wireless ADSL modems, there are about 15 hotspots within range and I can't get a stable connection anymore.

        The last wireless network I installed in an apt showed 4 'Lynksys' networks available plus a few secured & a few more unsecured with actual names. Given what I've seen, I wouldn't be surprised if 20% of apartment dwellers are using the wrong wireless connection.

        As dargaud pointed out, saturation is becoming a significant issue in residential areas - most apartment buildings outside of the slums are already having interference issues, a situation which is only getting worse as people continue to push for a wireless life.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by teg (97890)

        But now with the ubiquity of wireless ADSL modems, there are about 15 hotspots within range and I can't get a stable connection anymore.

        I recently bought a new Apple Airport Extreme to solve this - by being able to use both 5.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz at the same time. 5.0 GHz is a lot less crowded - for the time being, there's just above 30 wireless networks in the 2.4 GHz range, and just me in the 5.0 GHz. A dual band router allowed me to take advantage of that, while not rendering useless the equipment I've g

  • wireless only? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:46AM (#27786913) Homepage Journal

        What a pile of marketing crap.

        A network is tailored to the site and needs of the customer. Where they say 50% to 90% of a client's network ports are unused, does that mean that they've had users migrating from wired to wireless, or did they overpurchase on projected growth?

        Using this logic, oh my gosh, even my company must be going wireless. We have a few hundred unused 10baseT connections on our Catalyst 5500. Know why? Because we original projected them to be used for VoIP. When they finally settled on the VoIP provider, they insisted that we use their switches. We simply haven't pulled the extra cards, because we don't have blanks to fill the holes, and we can't find anyone in the office who would prefer to be on an 10Mb/s line, rather than a 100Mb/s line.

        WiFi is great and all. I'm on it right now as I write this. But, that doesn't mean it's the end all of networking. When I want true reliable speeds, I go to where there's a network jack, and plug in.

        At work, every desk is wired. There are AP's, but people use the wired jacks. Why? Because they appreciate the reliability. There's no random interference. No cell phone, microwave over, or transient event on another floor is going to disturb their connection. I appreciate that they use the wired connections. At any given point, I may have 4 or 5 users on wireless, and a few hundred devices on wired. I can wonder "are those wireless connections legitimate?" If a user has a problem, I'm looking at physical facts (is their cable plugged in. Did they damage the cable) rather than random environmental facts (Is there a thunderstorm? Did someone fire up a new yet not well shielded microwave two floors down?). I had to trace a wireless problem once, and it turned out to be a small portable radio in the corner of someone's office. It was turned off, but it was effectively blocking all RF for about 10 feet. Once I found it, I unplugged it, and the wireless problems there went away.

        Right now, I'm sitting at home, away from the office. There are a number of devices that are connected wirelessly. Why? Because I haven't run wires to the places that we may use it. The back porch, where I'm sitting right now, smoking and writing, doesn't have an ethernet drop. The PS3 doesn't have a drop, so it gets it's updates wirelessly. But every machine I depend on for work has an ethernet cable going to a Cisco Catalyst switch. Ask me why a connection goes weird on a wired port, and I can find the problem (it happens rarely, but ...) Ask me why my connection drops on the back porch and it's a little harder to find the answer.

        We had a problem on the back porch a while back. As it turned out, a neighbor just got DSL, and their AP was on the same channel as ours. Since I was closer to theirs, it interfered with the signal. I spend 20 minutes listening to channels to find the least used spectrum, and changed over. What happens when someone else comes up on that channel? I'll run out of channels eventually. But hey, it's ok, I can set up more AP's with more power, and drown them out. Then it's their problem, right?

    • Re:wireless only? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Moryath (553296) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:01AM (#27787085)

      No shit.

      Upside of Wireless: no wire.

      Downsides of Wireless:
      - It is slower than Wired, unless you've somehow got an old 10-Mbit connection through the wall and an 802.11g AP in 30 feet of your location..
      - It is inevitably more finicky than wired.
      - It is inevitably more power-consumptive than wired.
      - It is much more vulnerable to interference - and JUST ABOUT EVERY HOUSEHOLD DEVICE puts out interference. I get a lousier wireless signal (yeah, I have an 802.11g station in my house because I have a laptop and Wii to hook through it) whenever someone turns on the washer or dryer, or the microwave. In both spectra that 802.11 specs use, there are "cordless phones" and cell phones interfering as well. And like parent poster said, if someone else sets up an AP on the same channel you use, even more problems can result.

      I ran a 100ft length of Cat6 from my gigabit switch upstairs, through the ductwork and into my living room, for a reason. Between the Xbox360, PS3, and my home DVR box, I'm not about to try to leave things to the unreliability of "wireless."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Amouth (879122)

        Wireless while nice isn't the end all be all UNLESS you licence the spectrum from the FCC and have the right to shut down any interferance.

        I recently had problems where i live.. in my house i can pick up 11 OTHER wifi networks.. several neighbors just switched over to N routers with that lovely mimo (yaeee lets eat channels because we can)

        anyways.. running my normall wrt45g at 5ft channels 4-10 are completely useless due to the amount of interferance from the neighboring networks.

        i ended up butting dd-wrt o

    • by SoupGuru (723634)

      I'm not sure what companies he's been to but the ones I've seen use the crap out of wired networking.

      I mean, my god, how big of a mess would it be to manage a 500 person company with 300 wireless users? I hard enough tracking down wired network gremlins...

      No, I think those companies that he's talking about exist in the fantasy world inside his head.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      The entire article can be summarized as follows:

      "Buy wireless equipment now! Everyone else is doing it!"

  • Not time yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maclir (33773) on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:48AM (#27786935) Journal

    Until I can get 1G bps that cannot be easily hacked into - wire has a future.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by beheaderaswp (549877) *

      That's a nice sentiment... And I agree.

      But I think the main point has to do with networking fundamentals. Wireless is a virtual shared media. All clients on a node share the same amount of bandwidth. 54Mb can start looking pretty slow with ten busy clients.

      Modern switched wired networks segregate traffic between nodes, rather than working as a broadcast type network (wireless/thinnet). So you have a massive performance advantage by using wired networks. A quality 24 port 100Mb switch has an theoretical aggr

  • by Allicorn (175921) on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:48AM (#27786943) Homepage

    'There's definitely a right-sizing going on,' says Michael King, research director, mobile and wireless, for Gartner.

    Unfortunately, his idiotic terminology renders his words inaudible to me. :-/

  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:49AM (#27786951) Homepage Journal
    Wireless has it's pros, I have 3 laptops at home so all I use is 802.11n. But I can think of many reasons Ethernet will prevail.
    • Speed, I have yet to see wireless reliably hit 100mbps in any configuration. Sure some of the standards out there quote that speed but they must be in a clean room with no other radio interference or walls between them or their access point. Let's just forget about 1gbps+ speeds for now with Wireless
    • Security, even with the best security wireless has to offer, you're just a smidge more vulnerable than with Wired access. It may not be that much, but I've done work with the U.S. Millitary and I never recall seeing a WAP at a sensitive location...
    • Reliability, less noise on a wired line than a wireless connection, any time someone uses the wrong wireless phone and zap, your connection is zero....try that with a wire. For the love of god don't even think of putting a server on wireless...

    That's what I've got now and I'm sure more is coming...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288) *

      > For the love of god don't even think of putting a server on wireless...

      Oddly enough, when 802.11g came out, we entertained the thought of adding new servers wirelessly. We were serious for the first ... umm ... 30 seconds. It would have been neat, and reduced cabling, but where we actually wanted them to work well, it wasn't an acceptable solution.

      I have put AP's in a rack before, but it was so I could fire up my laptop, and be assigned an IP. Sitting 6' from the rack,

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fross (83754)

      I'll contest the security thing. Disclaimer: I work for a government agency and we're not allowed any wireless access either, for the same reason, but I'm not sure I agree.

      Wireless networks automatically have an extra level of protection over wired networks, their authentication. Wired networks do not require authentication just to receive a connection in the same way. So this is a toss up between physical access and security. A wireless connection may be vulnerable to attack from someone on the floor b

      • by wastedlife (1319259) on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:10AM (#27788355) Homepage Journal

        This is false.

        Wireless does not require authentication. It only has authentication if you configure it with WPA/WPA2 and RADIUS. This is called 802.1x or EAP. In fact, you can configure your wired switches with 802.1x and RADIUS and get the same result, no connection without authentication. Just because many places do not use 802.1x on their wired LAN doesn't mean it isn't there.

        Also, if the encryption is broken with wireless, I believe you can "listen" to the traffic from the other wireless clients and use that to steal information(I am almost certain this is the case with pre-shared keys, but I am not so sure with WPA/WPA2 RADIUS). With wired, even unencrypted, you can only listen to network traffic that is broadcast or directed to your MAC address. There are attacks where you can convince other computers that you are the router or you can DoS the switch into hub mode, but those attacks can be tricky to pull off and may depend on the network equipment used.

  • by Hadlock (143607)

    Yes, I'll give them that wifi is a great convenience, especially if you have multiple teenagers living in the house with their assorted laptops. It's perfect for web browsing and browsing the iTunes music store, but anyone who plays a lot of online games, or is simply a power user can tell you, nothing beats a wired connection to the matrix in terms of latency and data throughput. 802.11g (that's 90% of the market right) is still spotty with most consumer grade hardware beyond 20 feet. My netbook may never

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      The big thing in new construction was "media rooms". Soon it will be home networking.

      The current recession wont last forever and when it ends you will have homebuilders
      building new houses again and trying to come up with low cost easy to add extras that
      will pad their margins.

      Home networking is PERFECT for that. You even see this already in some of the less
      generic builders. You can get all sorts of crazy stuff and not just cat5/cat6.

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        Cat 5 is super easy to install. Most people I know who have lived in their homes for more than 5 years (and continue to plan living in them) have already wired their homes for cat5e in at least all of the bedrooms + kitchen, living room and home office. Most of the new homes in my area (Dallas) are usually sold with it installed already. Surround sound wiring at build time is still hard to find in the $350,000 range.

  • by stevedcc (1000313) * on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:49AM (#27786961)
    And as they say, people who know radio use wires.
  • by A5un (586681)
    My own anecdote, everytime I'm doing heavy transfer with 802.11, my wireless keyboard and mouse get wonky. Mind you, this is with my HTPC and the keyboard and mouse(pad) is a bit far away, but they both work flawlessly as soon as I throw in good ol' ethernet cable to the HTPC. So yeah, wired ethernet will be here for a while.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@l y n x . b c .ca> on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:51AM (#27786983) Journal
    Ever seen a $150 brick before?

    Try doing a firmware update on your router over wifi and you'll see why this proposal is a bad idea.

    • You also need the backhaul capacity, setting up wireless-only repeaters really raises the congestion. I also find that if I want a wireless network device, often the best way to do it is to hook it up to a wired network that has a wireless access point.

  • Speed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pzs (857406) on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:52AM (#27786991)

    I'm guessing the bandwidth of wired connections will always be one step ahead of wireless. Since I regularly have to transfer multi-gigabyte files from network storage, I'll be sticking with whatever makes this process as fast as possible, thanks, even if that does disagree with the prognosis of these moronic "future trend" people.

  • At home, I have 2 desktop computers. I have a wireless router that came with my ISP, but I shut the wireless functionality down, and connect directly to the ethernet ports.

    If I had a laptop, I might want to sit on the couch and compute, but I wonder what the bandwidth difference between wireless and cabled? I've used wireless and it seems zippy, but I've never done any serious downloading with it.

    Also, I'm on the fence about whether it's better security wise to close off your wireless router entirely as

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vux984 (928602)

      If I had a laptop, I might want to sit on the couch and compute, but I wonder what the bandwidth difference between wireless and cabled? I've used wireless and it seems zippy, but I've never done any serious downloading with it.

      downloading something to or from from another PC on the lan? massive differences.
      downloading something to or from the internet? virtually no difference, the internet is the bottleneck.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pak9rabid (1011935)

      If I had a laptop, I might want to sit on the couch and compute, but I wonder what the bandwidth difference between wireless and cabled? I've used wireless and it seems zippy, but I've never done any serious downloading with it.

      In my experience transferring large files over the network, wired transfers at about 10 MB/sec (100 Mbit connection), vs about 2.5-3 MB/sec using the 802.11g wireless connection. My rule of thumb at home is if I'm doing light browsing on my laptop and want to be mobile, I just wifi it. If I need to do some serious data transferring it's wired all the way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288) *

      Here's a little side note on that.

      With default settings from a few providers (who I won't name), if they have a 5 character SSID, it's trivial to find the key. It's just math. Well, more math than I'm willing to do, but there are tools line.

      For giggles, I left my laptop on with netstumbler running on the drive home from work the other day. Over 90% of the AP's were encrypted. About 90% of the encrypted had the default 5 character SSID. So, all these "protect

  • practical limits? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:54AM (#27787007) Homepage

    802.11N is awesome. It's faster than 100Mb ethernet even in real world tests. But does it scale well even in dense office buildings? In a cube-farm scenario, where there are computers every five meters in every direction in 3D space, is it really possible to get 100Mb speed?

    Security isn't there yet, either. Someone in the parking lot could still put up an access point which advertises itself as being part of your company network, and your users will connect to it. Doing it right is possible in theory (configure computers such that they will only connect to APs which have certificates issued by your company's PKI) but Windows doesn't allow you to lock down wireless in such a way.

  • I may be mistaken, but doesn't a system use less power on a wired network than on a wifi? That could make a good argument for keeping the wired networks around (along with the usual of course).
    • by hey (83763)

      It would be nice if laptops could power down the wifi port after a period of non-use.

  • by laejoh (648921) on Friday May 01, 2009 @09:57AM (#27787039)
    I've already.#¼#éÃdj $Ã{sdNO CARRIER
  • by mc1138 (718275)
    I work for a company that has a fully integrated VoIP infrastructure, providing PoE enabled phones that jump to the desktop. We have no wireless to speak of either with no plans for a widespread implementation. I know you can go wireless with your phones, but do I really want to worry about a bunch of cordless phones?
  • Think about it, most people tend to build large when building their networks to start. Or "Let's see we have a 4 port router for $x or an 8 port router for $x + $50, why don't we just buy the 8 port router and not have to come back later for another one as my network has only been growing?" I don't think WiFi changed this to any large extend as WiFi really has only liberated the laptops which never used many network jacks in the pre-wifi days to begin with...

    In conclusion I don't think that the advent of

  • WHAT? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:04AM (#27787139) Journal

    I know that a bunch of people are going to say "WTF" and all that, and I have to add my $.02 worth.

    What a CROCK of shit. While wireless is great for "casual" surfing and such, I sure wouldn't want it for anything other than that. And from experience, Wireless starts to really drop functionality as the number of users on the WAP goes up. More than about 5 or 10 devices being used on a WAP is just about useless (depending on usage). You might as well be on dialup at that point.

    I run into this kind of thinking all the time, and it drives me nuts. We have a guy throwing all sorts of wireless out on our campuses, and it sits mostly unused. And the wireless that IS used is almost useless because so many people are trying to use it at once it is slower old 10base hubs.

    Don't get me wrong, wireless has its place. My house is wireless, and I also have wired connections. I just wired my in-laws house (two computer household) because wireless was too slow for them and their needs. They now have gig wire network AND wireless in their house.

    Don't get me wrong, wireless has its place, as does wired lans. One has to know the needs, and design and engineer a system that suits the needs of those that are using it.

  • by scubamage (727538) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:04AM (#27787141)
    Wireless only runs in half duplex. That's reason enough to use wired.
    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@cCOWornell.edu minus herbivore> on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:22AM (#27787407) Homepage

      Not only half duplex, but as you say in your post title (not the text), the resources are shared between all users within a physical area. Aggregate throughput drops quickly as the number of users on a WLAN increases.

      If we replaced our copper connections with WLAN at my company, the network would become effectively useless. Too many users.

      Another way to think of it is: For a typical user, even a 100Base-T wire to a switch will match even the latest and greatest MIMO high speed implementations (advertised 270-300, but in reality you'll be lucky to see 100 Mbps real world in a single direction).

      Once you go above 2-3 users, the switch connections win hands-down.

      Add gigabit into the mix (cheap nowadays) and wired wins by an even greater margin.

  • You funny Dr Jones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:04AM (#27787145) Homepage

    If you're an apartment dweller such as myself, you can forget about WiFi. The airspace is too crowded on all channels (1-11) which leaves me with dropped packets and a short range. Oh, and I have periods of total disconnect when my neighbor decides to use his/her circa 1980s microwave.

    Solution? I just run CAT5 along the floor baseboard from the router to my PC and PS3.

  • One word: (Score:2, Insightful)

    Hotels.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:10AM (#27787221) Journal
    It is like the brand spanking new Harvard MBA starting to work for a railroad discovering, to his utter horror, that all the rolling stock in the railroad adds up to just 1/100 th of the track owned by the company. He smartly addresses the over inventory problem by tearing up and selling for scrap all the excess track!
  • It's from Gartner, so it's not true.

    I don't know if it's always the case, but the score is becoming increasingly worse. That maybe because I just see the "interesting" media releases from Gartner.

    But basically if I ever meet someone from Gartner that says I have to move right, you'll probably see me go straight, because I don't even trust them enough to predict I have to change direction.

  • by Chas (5144) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:20AM (#27787383) Homepage Journal

    This guy is a moron who's merely attempting to shill his crap.

    As others have already said.

    Wireless fails in a comparison of throughput.
    Wireless fails in a comparison of security.
    Wireless fails in a comparison of susceptibility to interference.

    If you're just sending e-mail and browsing por^H^H^the web, wireless is fine.

    If you're trying to maintain a sustained connection for things like database traffic, or a VPN connection, and being kicked in the balls by someone with electrified spiked boots is preferable.

  • Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beaststwo (806402) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:31AM (#27787573)
    WiFi is a great way to invite people into your systems that you wouldn't let in your front (or back) door! I prefer to use at least as much access control to my network as I do to my home...
  • A range of companies with wireless LANs are discovering that 50% to 90% or more of Ethernet ports now go unused, because Wi-Fi has become so prevalent.

    At this moment, the only wireless device on the WAP at my end of the building is my iPod. There are a whole slew of wired devices, though, from servers to desktops to printers.

    They look at racks of unused switches, ports, Ethernet wall jacks, the cabling that connects them all, the yearly maintenance charges for unused switches, electrical charges, and cooling costs.

    Uh-huh, because WAPs run on fairy dust and ponies' daydreams.

  • by Sir Holo (531007) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:32AM (#27787603)
    Hey! I just realized that my office is only using 30% of our electrical outlets. What a waste!

    ...until we need to rearrange the office.
  • Maybe for some... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:53AM (#27788021) Homepage

    It is a question of series vs. parallel. Any sort of wireless connection is going to be shared by multiple people using it in a serial fashion. This means that Ann can't send while Fred is sending. Period.

    OK, if you have Ethernet cables running to both Ann and Fred then they can, absolutely both send at the same time. With switches linked by fiber and where everyone isn't banging on the same server you often acheive parallel communications all the way through the system.

    If you are posting on Slashdot or reading email it may not make a big deal. Moving large files around, interacting with some remote graphic intensive application or just doing "office work" with lots of transactions can make this seems like a really silly idea.

    Sure, wired connections are expensive to run and they shouldn't be run except for productivity or security. In my company, both of these are considerations and it would be unthinkable to rely on wireless.

  • Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Friday May 01, 2009 @11:50AM (#27789055)

    I think the news here is that Cisco actually said something smart.

    The first thing that popped into my head is security. That alone is reason enough. Never mind the bandwidth and interference issues. I think interference issues would also increase with the prevalence of wireless as well.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:06PM (#27789379) Homepage Journal

    Here is a list of reasons why cutting the cord is bad:

    Limited shared bandwidth. Soon your internet connection will be faster than your WiFi connection.
    Security - WEP is hopelessly broken. WPA-PSK is not foolproof. Proprietary solutions suck and are expensive.
    Interference with nearby WLANs. There are only three unshared channels; the rest of the channels overlap. It's going to be very difficult to not overlap someone else's nearby WLAN and when you do, the performance of everyone's (on that frequency) will decrease
    Reliability - There are often "holes" in RF transmission, even close to the antenna. I found a spot at our conference table where my notebook drops the connection. A few inches either way and the connection is perfect. This is just 25' from the WAP.
    Driver load order: Are you on a Windows network and do you need to log on to a domain/active directory? If your wifi driver won't load before the workstation stack you may not be able to authenticate properly.
    Connection tracking - this is related to the limited bandwidth and limited memory in most WAPs.

    Once you get more than 15 or so workstations on a WLAN performance can really start to suck, especially if you have network drives that see heavy use, or source control with heavy use. or if you try to do anything with a thin client.

    Abandoning ethernet for WiFi is another nail in the second(?)third(?) death of the thin client, because bandwidth limitations and reliability will become a real concern.

    On the other hand, I hate thin clients, and I hate Software as a Service (WHY would you trust another company to store all of your data under a restrictive license AND where obtaining your data if the provider goes belly up will be damn near impossible?), so bring on the WLANs!

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