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Onion Approach to Wi-Fi Troubleshooting Basics: Not Mobile? Cable It

By George Stafanick, Blog Contributor
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Vendors are coming out of the woodwork and putting Wi-Fi radios in everything! Devices that had a tethered cable for years are now coming in with Wi-Fi radios. Guess what, they aren't MOBILE. They are stationary devices with no chance ever moving.

So what is the problem?

  • Driver updates might be limited
  • Vendor support may be next to nothing
  • Another device to manage and support. Who will get the call when they have issues? YOU
  • Could open up security vulnerabilities
  • Pending on application requirements might cause excessive contention
  • Might not support 5 GHz and add to problematic 2.4 environments
  • Might not support all the UNII channels
  • Might have poor receive
  • Might have poor transmit power
  • While stationary, may not be placed optimally for optimal signal strength
  • Radio may not support your security
  • Radio may be a poor roamer — YES stationary devices do roam from time to time

Depending on an individual deployment or a accumulative deployment, you could add thousands of non mobile devices to your WiFi network over time. This leads to unnecessary contention.

My general rule of thumb: If it can be cabled, cable it!  Of course, you need to weigh all the options and cost. Be very careful opening Pandora's Box, because if you let one in more and more will come!