back to article Ofcom works out why Wi-Fi doesn't work

An Ofcom-commissioned report into Wi-Fi performance concludes that it's baby-listeners and TV-senders that are mucking with the signal, not to mention the "Free Public Wi-Fi" virus, without which we'd all be connecting faster. Ofcom's remit is to ensure efficient use of radio spectrum, including the unlicensed 2.4GHz band used …

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Bronze badge
Coat

Wi-Fi regulation

A lot of the hardware on ISM bands is regulated, if only for the assurance that it works on the correct frequency. The key point about ISM is that it doesn't require individual licensing. So I can walk into Tesco and buy a radio transmitter. (Bluetooth ear-thingy).

Changing the aerial of a Wi-Fi unit is very likely illegal. Even though it might reduce the RF Energy going in un-wanted directions. You or I might be able to set up something which doesn't harm other users, but knowing some other users... Can we trust everyone to be the right sort of clever-dick?

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Coat

Wow ...

Seems like everyone has suddenly woken up to what happens when millions compete for a limited resource in an unregulated market.

The real question is; what took people so long to wake up ? This was entirely predictable from the outset.

As for, "move to 5GHz and you problems are over"; for how long ? Those people are suffering the same delusions that 2.4GHz would be a panacea to all their problems. The same is true of those who suggest bumping up power output; only works so long as you're ahead of the curve and every man and dog isn't doing the same.

How does it go ... if you don't learn the lessons of history ...

Mine's the one with the CB radio in the pocket.

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Silver badge

re: Paul Crawford 10th May 2009 09:50 GMT

" Anyone relying on 2.4GHz 'free' access is asking for trouble, fine for limited home use but not for important services. If there are any professional idiots out there using 2.4GHz for industrial control or similar potentially safety related projects, have you considered how easy it would be to modify a microwave oven to saturate your whole factory's RF links and do DoS attack?"

Actually, if you ask people in the industrial control business the one thing they say is never use wifi for mission critical stuff.. eg DNC from a PC to a machine tool, too mush risk of a missed/corrupted packet which can result in a serious accident

I'm afriad us industrial people are stuck with miles of network cable everywhere :+(........ and even that has to be correctly shielded and grounded

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Joke

@Laura

Ban babies? Why stop there? Go the whole hog.

Ban sex. That's equally annoying.

To my missus, anyway.

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what's so good about WiFi?

I live alone so, barring avoiding the hazard of trailing wires, what would wireless do for me? It's the most overhyped thing going. Because it's comparatively easy to produce, sell etc, it seems to me the consumer has been unthinkingly led to it. If you're a busy household running a lot of connections at once, great. If you're a sad old billy-no-mates like me, using one machine at a time, it's like paying for a hotel's worth of facilities when you only need a room.

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Thumb Down

Wi-Fi, pah!

I gave up trying to run WiFi in my house yonk ago, the signals would work fine for about a week, then degrade to such levels that I couldn't even get connected to my AP no more than 20 feet away. Changed channels, even bought a stronger AP with bigger ariels. In the end I simply took the plunge and cabled my house in cheap CAT5 and now no problems. I still run my WiFi, just in case I want to whip up the laptop, but most of the time it barely has enough juice to watch a naff YouTube vid.

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Black Helicopters

DECT

@Jason Bloomberg

So why has DECT been running happily for years?

I'm prepared to bet that there are more active DECT phones out there than WiFi points.

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Boffin

EHS Sufferes should read up on faraday cages...

Tin foil is cheap and easy to apply behind wallpaper & under carpet, its tricky on the ceiling, without reboarding and artexing afterwards but when properly connected it does ensure a good nights sleep...

Remeber there is no need to hate your neighbours because of your problems. They are not resposible for your EHS afterall.

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Stop

tosser cheap 11n kit

idiot down my road hsa got themselves a cheapo belkin 802.11n AP and is running it in the 2.4GHz spectrum with channels 1 and 6 bonded in 40MHz mode - they've sucessfully messed up the 5 APs that were running on channel 1 (3 of them) and channel 6 (2 of them). there were already 3 APs in channel 11 so that mgith get crowded.

of course, we live in the UK and so can use channel 13 too - but very few appliances and

devices are easily modified to allow this operation cos its mainly US kit - those Japanese get channel 14 to play with too.

whilst 11n could be the panacea, it wont be if everyone uses the 2.4GHz mode - its 5GHz all the way or live in the old era.

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Anonymous Coward

Free Public WiFi

Not a virus, a Microsoft 'feature'. Google it.

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IT Angle

to anonymous john

actually John 99% of wi-fi gear which includes routers and especially the Wii do NOT turn off wi-fi. Instead they disable the receive part of wi-fi (because they have lame programmers and it's easier to do so!)

The Wii for example uses the same output power when in standby mode as it does when enabled, but in it uses about 5 to 10% less when disabled. I had discussions with Nintendo last year about this and they refused to do anything about it.

While this wastes large amounts of electricity, people waste even more by leaving it on all the time, even when they are in bed, in work, or on holiday and it is not even needed!

As an alternative why not try Homeplug 200 adapters which can handle 2 simultaneous streams of HD video easily, are not affected by your neighbours and usually not other equipment either?

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Go

Who needs Wi-Fi...

I'm celebrating the demise of Wi-Fi with a t-shirt :)

http://teepay.com/frontend/showtee/162

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Happy

Spectrum analyser - everyone should have one

You don't need to pay £199 for a Wi-Fi spectrum analyser. You can get the new AirView2 for £69 + VAT. See http://www.wifigear.co.uk/category.aspx?category=69C0CD86-2A9F-4A04-800B-F979965CC007

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