2016-12-07

Mesh WIFI networking is AWESOME... bullshit

I was on Ars Technica today reading about heavyweight mesh WIFI networking gear that promises better WIFI in your home.

The article makes some excellent points against these products, but it hides the failings deep.  I guess writers don't want to knock their advertisers.  Here I point out Ars' hidden arguments against these mesh networking products.

1. The Ars Technica article says, "like I discovered when I tested Eero for the Wirecutter, multi-hop here works, but it’s best avoided if you don’t absolutely need it". Stated more simply: avoid Mesh networking unless you absolutely need it or don't care much about performance.

2. The article says "some client devices actually perform worse when overwhelmed with too much signal."  Actually, all client devices perform worse when overwhelmed with too much signal.   Unsurprisingly, noise in the radio spectrum is a serious problem when dealing with radio communications.  The more powerful transmitters you have hanging around, the more noise devices will experience.  And that means more retries and slower performance.

3. The article says that that all these mesh routers are "still a lot more expensive than a standalone router, and most people's homes can be served fine from a single, good standalone router"

Furthermore, it is clear that Ars failed to led its readers through many other limitations of mesh networking:
  • Better placement of their atrociously-placed "base unit" would likely permanently solve all of their coverage issues using a single traditional router.
  • Adding nodes is going to lower overall network reliability.
  • Adding nodes is going to increase inter-node traffic, thereby increasing radio noise and lowering network performance.
  • Adding nodes is going to increase network installation, administration, and maintenance efforts. 
  • Adding nodes is going to increase cost.
I've installed WIFI access points in a number of 1, 2, 3 and 4  level homes that were up to 4,000 square feet in size, and with over 30 WIFI clients.  A single, properly placed mid-tier WIFI access point easily covered each property with great performance and reliability.  I have never had the need to install more than one access point on a residential property.

WIFI problems are almost always due to:
  • poor placement of the base station
  • poor (outdated or 3rd rate) equipment
  • poor channel selection
Mesh networking has its place:  Maybe you like to play with WIFI.  Maybe you live in a very large steel and concrete house and proper placement of gear is impossible.  Or maybe your house has numerous wings and outbuildings, but you can't afford proper wiring and would like to pursue a faster but less reliable solution.  Then, just maybe, a mesh network might be an reasonable option.

But the for the vast majority of home users, a mesh networking product is a complete waste of money and time.  Save your money and save the headaches.  Mesh networking products are bullshit.

2016-12-02

On the failure of democracy

Democracy cannot succeed if people and politicians set up government policies along the idea of majority rule.  Instead, you have to go back to the guts of it all: happiness for the people.

With a concept like Brexit, where roughly half the population of the UK want to leave the EU, and the other half do not, compromise is in order.  Brexit shouldn't mean Brexit, and to run with that conclusion is to blindly follow a nascent and unrefined buzzword.   Is Brexit going to hurt the UK?  Then just maybe you need to REFINE the theme.

"Oh, but a majority voted for Brexit".  Bullshit!  They voted for all different things, and for all different reasons.

Brexit SHOULD mean fucking fixing the problem so that WAY MORE than 50% of the population is better off, and the few others should at least not be harmed.

That's what democracy is SUPPOSED to be about: compromise, make the imperfect world a little better, and repeat forever.

The US has the same problem.  The gun lobby can't even begin to compromise on obvious ideas like "risky unstable nuts shouldn't be given guns".  Politicians, who are real humans, actually support this idiotic position despite the realities of a complex world and a well-oiled legal system.  Instead of these politicians being fucking idiots, why don't they work to fix the fucking problem in a way that is achievable and makes reasonable sense?  Oh no, that's too hard?  You're unwilling to compromise?  You're a politician, you idiot!  It is what you signed up for!








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