The Myth of Wireless – Part 1
When building or remodeling a home, wiring for entertainment or convenience technology is always a first concern of AV specialists, but for some years now many people have taken up the cry, “but you can do that wirelessly now!” Let us tell you why this outlook isn’t in your best interest.
Over the last two decades, wireless technology has expanded both as part of wireless internet systems, such as WIFI, but also in areas like wireless speakers and even televisions. In the right circumstances, these products are amazing problem solvers, but there are several things to consider before opting out of a wired technology solution on the basis of wire cost.
Range & Interference
Wireless technologies that communicate to other devices or the internet send those communications through the air, but the power of the transmitters and antennas in those devices limit the range. Think of taking your smartphone when you leave your house. Your phone, connected to your home’s WIFI, will quickly get too far away to maintain the connection. This problem is what network specialists are thinking of when they suggest wiring up extra WIFI antennas by pools and outdoor entertainment spaces.
Similarly, interference can play havoc on wireless technology, either reducing or blocking entirely device A from talking to device B. Dense wall structures and electromagnetic interference from appliances and power lines can have a performance effect on many devices, everything from tablets and smartphones to wireless speakers and televisions peripherals like Amazon Firesticks and Roku Streaming Sticks.
Too Many Cars on the Wireless Road
Most home electronics operate on the home network wireless system (WIFI) to communicate with each other and with the internet, and the number of products with such communications built-in is growing every day. WIFI networks have a finite amount of bandwidth, and with more and more devices using that limited resource, it’s possible to have too much traffic on the network, and just like cars on a highway, things can slow down.
Many items like WIFI thermostats and kitchen appliances don’t communicate continuously and are not much of a concern, but other devices like 4K video streaming televisions and wireless camera doorbells use much more of your home’s data highway. Professional technology integrators should strongly recommend identifying the high-bandwidth use products and make sure those items get wired connections, taking that traffic off of your wireless network and freeing up room for other devices that need it.