Wireless is supposed to be good, but it often isn't
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
We are often bashed about the head with the proposition that "being wireless" is equal to some great freedom...liberation, a better life.
After all, who wants all those daggy wires hanging around a cluttering up the place?
Not me, am I right kids?
The reality is somewhat different.
Being "wireless" means dealing with slower and less reliable connections.
Sure you may be further away, but is it really worth it or even necessary?
When wireless is kept simple and done well... then sure, of course, it is great. But so often it is done poorly.
Cheap products are cheap for a reason and the manufacturers pretty much always cut corners.
The bane of my life, in a wifi/wireless context are printers.
I can't tell you the number of times I've had to re-connect and otherwise "deal with" wifi printers that just keep dropping off the network. Argh!!!
It shouldn't be that hard right?
So many other wifi devices are fine - laptops, mobile phones and so on all seem to mostly do wifi without a problem.
Smart TVs too. Some of them are nearly as bad as printers for forgetting how to connect to the network.
Wireless keyboards and mice, while not "on your wifi" are almost invariably annoying too.
They try to save power by "going to sleep" but waking them up every 5 seconds is a punishment. You have to click to wake it up but if it is already awake you've just double-clicked on something you didn't want to.
I've also had more than my fair share of weird wifi problems such as wireless access points that mysteriously go out of phase and effective operate as signal jammers rather than access points.
Interference from other wireless devices and all manner of other non-wireless domestic appliances (read - fridges, microwaves, washing machines, light switches....) can also be a major headache.
Geographical and structural problems that mean wifi can't actually work between two locations the way you may assume or like.
These things can be nearly impossible to pinpoint and often actually impossible to eliminate.
If you are working on a site that requires multiple wifi solutions, daisy-chained solutions and additional points of complexity then you are in for significant pain and quite some ongoing maintenance (read trouble-shooting).
So we end up putting in place a wired solution to overcome a wireless problem that "shouldn't be happening'.
My advice to you is this;
Where you have the option between wireless and wired, always go wired unless...
...you absolutely have no choice but to be wireless.
You may feel like you've given up some freedom, but in the end you won't notice or care because things are now working more reliably.
You'll notice the wifi problems more than the wires, trust me.
P.S. All may not be lost though if you can't afford or don't want to run cables.
Read my article on Ethernet Over Power Adapters here:
P.P.S Mesh Networking promises to fix some of these issues. Mesh networks are a collection of devices that come ready to working together to overcome a variety of access issues. However, I am yet to do any hands-on experimenting with one so I can't really comment.