where the flamingcow roams

Hall of 2.4 GHz Shame, 2016 Edition


We finally mostly live in the WiFi future. Dual band access points are more common than not, and there are cloud managed consumer models. 802.11ac is de rigueur and flavors of MIMO are in abundance. DFS counterbalances the ever expanding channel width issues in 5 GHz with more available channel space.

The 2.4 GHz disaster area, however, lives on. Its wall penetrating abilities, once a selling point, now terrorize apartment complexes. Even in my detached house, a WiFi scanner left open overnight has a list of 2.4 GHz BSSIDs that requires scrolling, stomping over each other on the three effective channels. There’s even a 2.4 GHz 40 MHz BSSID in there, to my horror (and it’s a printer!).

Why can’t we have nice things? Access points let you turn off 2.4 GHz and leave all this behind, right? Beamforming and other fanciness gets us range in 5 GHz, right? Worst case, mesh access points are becoming a consumer thing, and we can get stations close to every client, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately, there are still device manufacturers out there who think that dual band is only for fancy people, not for their devices. The extra dollar for the better chip and antenna would blow their margins.

Let’s start with the good news: those who have recently learned their lessons.

On to the ugly:

It’s nice to see this list getting shorter. It’s sad to see brand new devices or top-of-product-line devices shipping with 2.4 GHz only.