Better Wifi Performance with less power, 5ghz is so much better than 2.4ghz

I am sure almost all of you have been frustrated with your wifi. At some point you get fed up and decide it is time to upgrade. You read the reviews. Look on Amazon for buyer reviews. You finally narrow down your choice. You choice is most likely an AP with more power, longer range, and higher speeds. This new AP will have the power to blast the wifi signal to all your mobile devices.

But almost all of you will make the transition and shortly discover things are not that much better.

Why? Because as Arstechnica points out almost everyone identifies the problem incorrectly.

Drowning out the neighbors’ Wi-Fi

Let’s be honest here: an awful lot of us, me included, are pretty much fine with the idea of “drowning out the neighbors” Wi-Fi with a higher powered router of our own. We’re right back to that instinctual model of a conversation: the signal from the neighbors’ Wi-Fi is pretty weak; if ours is strong enough, we can drown it out, and if that makes a problem for them they can either suck it up or go get a higher-powered router of their own, right?

This is a very human approach, but it’s not a very effective one. Consider a conversation at a crowded bar: you’re really intent on what your friend or date is saying, but the two of you are competing with the conversations on either side of you and behind you, as well as the music playing. So, naturally, you speak up! Unfortunately, what happens then is the people all around you get louder, too, resulting in a zero-sum game which ends up with everybody yelling and nobody able to understand anything very well.


The problem is 2.4ghz is crowded and more power does not improve things. This is a digital issue there are too many bits trying to get on the 2.4ghz channels. So move to 5ghz by turning off 2.4ghz. Unfortunately leaving both radios on is going to too many times leave you with the 2.4ghz collision problem.

Wireless networking doesn’t work that way. It’s engineered, not instinctual, and so the standard directly prevents devices “shouting over” one another. Instead of having a crowded-bar-style competition for bandwidth, each device must wait for a chance to “speak,” clearly and without competition from other devices. In technical terms, a Wi-Fi network is a collision domain, and this enforced politeness helps avoid packet collision. This is well worth doing, because if packets do collide, each device then has to stop transmitting, wait a random interval of time, then try again—thereby, hopefully letting one machine start “talking” enough before the other that they don’t drown one another out again. (If they picked the same random number, then they’ll collide again and have to start the whole process over again.)

Most technical people understand this about their own networks, but many don’t realize that it’s not just your Wi-Fi devices that are all on a single collision domain—it’s all Wi-Fi devices on the same channel. Any, repeat, any transmission on the same channel ties up that channel, even if it’s on a different network with a different SSID and different WPA key. The 802.11 wireless network specification uses Clear Channel Assessment to determine whether the channel is “busy” or not, and if CCA says “occupied,” the wireless device has to wait its turn. If your laptop, phone, or tablet can “hear” the preamble of another 802.11 transmission at -82 dBM, whether it’s on your network or not, it has to sit tight, shut up, and wait its turn to speak.


What comes with focusing on mobile, is spending a lot more time on wireless 802.11 technologies, turned off 2.4ghz

I have been slowly making more and more of my time about mobile first.  I now use my iPad Pro more than my MacBook Pro.  It is way more convenient to have the iPad Pro than the MacBook Pro.

As part of focusing on Mobile I spend more time on 802.11.  Latest is to improve me home office network.  I have 5 access points running off one controller. Reading this post on the end of 2.4ghz

On February 3rd, 2016 Cisco released a joint statement ( with Apple thatannounced the death of the 2.4GHz spectrum. The 2.4GHz band, often referred as the Universal Band, was the primary spectrum leveraged when initial Wi-Fi standards were first introduced 17 years ago. Over the years, this spectrum has become jammed with traffic; it offers only 3 non-overlapping channels of which many devices and technologies make use.

2.4Ghz was the initial focal point for first to market Wi-Fi deployments. In 1999, the IEEE also created a Wi-Fi standard for operation in 5GHz which supports 24 non-overlapping channels with 8 times the capacity available in 2.4GHz.

What’s surprising about the Apple/Cisco announcement is the timing of this report. Cisco has been shipping access points (AP’s) for years with one fixed 2.4GHz radio and one fixed 5GHz radio. In contrast, for the past decade Xirrus has been shipping products with software programmable radios that enable customers to select 2.4GHz or 5GHz at the click of a mouse on any radio within an AP. (Xirrus is the only Wi-Fi company with a product line that offers a choice of 2-16 radios per AP with customizable spectrum per radio).This capability provides massive flexibility to customers and extends the lifetime of Xirrus customer Wi-Fi products up to 10 years. Not surprisingly, within 2 weeks of the release of this document, Cisco finally announced new AP technology that supports a form of software programmability for 1 radio with their AP.

What does this all mean? Well, Cisco finally has admitted 5GHz-only networks are the way forward. Therefore, it’s challenging to expect a customer to purchase an AP with 2 radios where 50% needs to be turned off! The move to an all-5GHz AP is a logical step, albeit one 10 years after Xirrus first pioneered this Wi-Fi offering. The real question though, is why stop at 2 x 5GHz radios in an AP? Why not 3, 4 or more??

The one device that kept me from going to all 5ghz is my printer on 802.11g.  Switched it to wired. and switched off 2.4ghz for my house.

What's next? I am looking to upgrade my Ubiquiti wireless to Xirrus.  Why?  That is another post.

Tune out the so called official news to discuss what more people care about

I used to track the press releases from data center companies. Get contacts from their PR firms. Have pre briefing of the releases. But more and more I found what was the new news wasn't that interesting.

Huffington post has a on Rachel Maddow choosing to tune out President Trump's tweets and her ratings soared.

The question of how to cover Donald Trump has confounded many people working in the media industry since his election. There are so many areas of the president’s administration that warrant dissection that his near-daily onslaught of morning tweets started to prove something of a distraction from the potentially larger issues at hand.

So Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” made a decision: tune them out.

“We developed sort of an informal, internal mantra … which is that we basically cover [the Trump administration] as if they are a silent movie,” Maddow told TheWrap earlier this month. “I stopped covering the Twitter feed and we started covering only what they do rather than what they say.”

I a going to start writing more, but not about the press releases.


Shifting to the Cloud makes it easier to attract Top Talent says AWS users

Shifting to the Cloud continues to grow and part of the change are those who are comfortable with the legacy systems.  These legacy systems have quickly turned into the dinosaurs of IT and one of the benefits of a Cloud environment is hiring developers who build solutions faster and more agile.

Fortune's Barb Darrow has an article based on her discussions with customers at AWS Re:Invent last week.

That flexible, pay-as-you-go pitch resonates with many companies. But at the annual AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week several big AWS customers said that by moving from legacy systems to the cloud, they’re better able to attract, hire, and keep the best programmers and software engineers.

James McGlennon, chief information officer of Fortune 100 insurance giant Liberty Mutual, said this is an important factor of a big technology upgrade announced last month.

The move to the modern, faster model of micro-services and cloud deployment is making it easier for Liberty Mutual to attract the best and brightest, he said.

“Our army of developers are voting with their keyboards,” for the agile software development model common to cloud deployment, McGlennon told Fortune in an interview last week at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas.

A variety of industries, including insurance companies, car makers, and energy companies, all have to offer customers, partners, and their own employees a modern web interface for their services. Many of those services themselves are delivered over the Internet. That means all these companies need software developers and architects to update and improve those services all the time. There’s truth in the new adage that every company is now a technology company. And technology is increasingly synonymous with the cloud.