When everyone has wireless, nobody will have wireless (that works)?

In the process of trying (simply as a volunteer) to help some newly arrived international students get their WiFi-equipped computers to access the campus network, I have discovered that the area has a ridiculous number of wireless networks, many of them on the same channel. Some have been established by this particular academic institution (one for the library, one for the student lounge, one for a popular campus gathering place, two for the housing complex, and perhaps others that I have not yet identified).

Then there are networks established by the institution next door, plus other that are not identifiable by their SSID (e.g., simply "Router!") but perhaps are home systems belonging to nearby residents. And who knows how many more nearby networks are not broadcasting their SSIDs?

According to the Netgear Web site, only Channels 1, 6 and 11 have no overlap. Other combinations may have overlaps and interfere with each other, resulting in low throughput if the systems work at all.

So what will happen when wireless networking becomes even more popular? Will access become even more difficult?

This is quite apart from the susceptibility of WiFi connections to interference from cordless phones: our own home WiFi connection dies whenever the 2.4GHz cordless phone is in use. And is anyone keeping in mind that Channels 1 through 6 overlap with a band allocated for use by the Amateur Radio Service, where operators may use vastly more power than wireless networking systems and may blot out WiFi communications over a wide area? Be thankful that this is not yet a highly popular Amateur Radio band and that highly directional antennas are normally used on that band.


Reply to
Percival P. Cassidy
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May i suggest using 802.11a which i think is on the 5.4ghz frequency. That way you may only conflict with commercial isps if there are any in your area or upper priced cordless phones.

Reply to
Ray Taylor

For my own home network I could of course use 802.11a if a lot of the neighbors get WiFi -- at present I see just one (unsecured, of course) Wireless-B network with a weak signal. And all our important networking is over wired connections, anyway, with the wireless connection being mainly for a notebook that may be used in various parts of the house.

But these students are trying -- not always successfully -- to connect to an existing Wireless-G campus network that was perhaps not designed as well as it could have been and is (one could almost say) "under siege" by other nearby networks. Switching to 802.11a would be expensive for the school if the WiFi cards in all the faculty notebooks have to be replaced. And what about the students with their existing 802.11b or

802.11g cards?

IMO any wireless networking system using the 2.4GHz band is doomed to failure as it becomes even more popular. And that surely includes the

802.11n standard that is just around the corner (with "Pre-N" products on the market already).


Reply to
Percival P. Cassidy

If it's a school you have leverage in dictating school policy. That's a lot different than the real world. Make the operation of an unapproved device a discipline problem. But at the same time work with them to build additional coverage where it's needed. If you've got smart student that want to help do this then work up some instructions and meetings that help them do it.

So I'd start by having a clear policy regarding adding new wifi routers. And at the same time have a way for legitimate additions to be setup without causing (too much) congestion. You'll have to put some teeth in the policy so make sure your campus switches and routers have good per-port reporting. You'll have to track down the routers when they appear and arp tables in the routers are crucial to this process.

Yeah, there's definitely a 'tragedy of the commons' problem with unlicensed airwaves. With a bit of cooperation some of the hassles can be mitigated.

Reply to
Bill Kearney

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