I used to be an anti-wire crusader. I hated the clutter of cables, and my tendency to unconsciously chew on them if they got anywhere near my face. Bu

Wireless is a trap | benkuhn.net

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2022-05-12 19:30:13

I used to be an anti-wire crusader. I hated the clutter of cables, and my tendency to unconsciously chew on them if they got anywhere near my face. But running into bug after tricky wireless bug—mostly while trying to make my video calls work better—I’ve apostasized. The more I’ve learned about wifi, Bluetooth and related protocols, the more I’m convinced that they’re often worse, on net, than wires.

For instance: most people, when their video call stutters, blame their Internet service provider. That’s understandable, since most ISPs are overpriced oligopolists with barely-usable software and horrible customer service. However, every time I can remember helping someone track down the source of their connection problems, the culprit has turned out to be their wifi. And often, the easiest fix has been to run a cable.

Wifi (and bluetooth, etc.) sucker you in by making it seem like they “just work.” But if you investigate, you’ll often find that the wireless link is operating in a degraded state that performs much worse than a wired equivalent. Since this degradation is silent, it’s often not obvious that the problem is the wireless—instead, you’ll probably conclude that it’s your device/software/self.

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