Smartphone Thoughts: Why Is WiFi Less Stable Year by Year?

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Is WiFi Less Stable Year by Year?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Smartphone Talk" @ 11:00 AM

I swear that WiFi overall as a technology is less and less stable every year. Back when it was only 802.11b, I don't remember having nearly as many problems as I have lately. I've owned D-Link, Belkin, Netgear and Linksys routers - all have been replaced in my hunt for a fast, stable router that works with all of my equipment. The past month or so has been particularly hair-pulling; I've been in wireless router hell.

A couple of weeks ago my still-quite-new D-Link 802.11n router (a DIR-655) flaked out on me. I spent an hour thinking it was my cable modem, eventually narrowed it down to the router, then wasted an hour on the phone jumping through D-Link tech support hoops just so I could get an RMA and get the router exchanged. It took talking to three techs before they'd admit there was a hardware problem with the router. From the beginning the router had compatibility problems with my wife's iPAQ 1950, even with the latest firmware on both devices. It's embarrassing in a geeky way when my wife has to Exchange sync over WiFi at work because the home network is never functioning. I bought the iPAQ 1950 to replace the previous iPAQ that had trouble connecting over WiFi, hoping that the newer model would be more compatible with modern WiFi. It's not. I don't believe the compatibility problems are due to a hardware failure - I think the DIR-655 just has poor compatibility with WiFi devices, which is a common issue I've seen with routers over the past two years.

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