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Back on Wireless March 6, 2008

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.
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Amazing, since the people upstairs moved out my wireless network suddenly works again. I knew something was interfering and was pretty certain it was them. Sure enough, it was.

802.11 gear isn’t that robust. Sure the first generation 802.11a was pretty solid but from 802.11b on to 802.11g (What happened to c, d, e and f?) the gear itself became more mass market and as a result less robust.

But this problem was vexing. The network would come up, then go down, then come up, down, up down. I know that 802.11 devices share the same bandwidth as things like cordless phones, baby monitors, etc. I could never understand why they pushed away from 900MHz for those things. You could have done Digital Spread Spectrum (DSS) on that band and increased the number of available device channels.

Instead they chose to go to a band with propagation characteristics that quite frankly suck for any distance, unless of course you’re cooking food because microwave ovens sit right in the 2.4GHz band which is shared by all the above mentioned devices.

The other wireless thing that annoyed the crap out of me was the 5.8GHz cordless phone. That was just plain awful. Now I’ve got a pair of DECT cordless units that are on 1.9GHz and that seems to be the sweet spot. Decent range, very good voice quality, and cheap as all hell. Of course the main purpose of DECT was to encourage interoperability between GSM phones and cordless phones but manufacturers in the U.S. pretty much crippled that aspect of it.

But it’s nice to be back online without dragging 50 feet of CAT-5 patch cable behind me. My laptop was getting a bit full of cables, what with the power cable, network cable, my MagicJack adapter and it’s cable to the phone, my iPod charging cable, and my digital camera USB cable. It started looking like a malformed octopus.

So now there are just two lines, power and my MagicJack phone line.

What it took to get here is interesting. In the process I found that the firmware upgrade for my Netgear FVS318 was dropping every fourth packet. That wasn’t good. So now my network goes:

Cable Modem–>Vonage Router/ATA–>Netgear 614 which is a wireless router but has the stateful packet inspector that was my favorite feature of the FVS318, and then finally now to the WRT54G.

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