You might have caught the “Wireless on the Cheap” headline a few days ago in the IT Professionals channel. This prompted a Gnomie to write in with his take on the wireless situation. If your home isn’t wireless yet, you’re missing out – it’s the wave of the future:
The differences between cheaper and higher-priced LANs aren’t always obvious until you put them through their paces. For instance, the average Joe may not see any difference between, say, an onboard LAN and a high-end Network card for general websurfing… but let Joe Consumer try to run a Web server on his onboard LAN, and watch the bugs start flying! Chances are, the card won’t be able to handle more than a handful of connections, before it bogs-down and eventually crashes. Try using a few different make/model cards to pull-down a few multi-megabyte torrents, and you’ll see exactly what I mean!
Wireless only makes these differences MORE apparent. In addition to throughput limitations, wireless cards have to handle additional overhead and protocols (as well as electrical interference, distance limitations, etc.). Cheap wireless cards are NOTORIOUS for dropping connections even under the BEST circumstances. For the occasionally connected, casual email catcher, this may be a non-issue. But for the serious road-warrior, it makes all the difference in the world.
I have issues with wireless when it doesn’t work – but when it works, it’s absolute magic. I’ve taken to using my mobile phone as an Internet connection (via Bluetooth) on the road. And I can’t imagine staying at a hotel without WiFi – although a wired connection is a good substitute. “No connectivity” is just not an option anymore. Wires are still a necessary part of wired life, however. I want to be wirelessly wired – don’t you?