The Place for Techies!

Wi-Fi Wars: 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz

Your router is ancient – you’ve gotta admit it! And those shiny new routers, with their bright “5 GHz long-range” stickers look very appealing, don’t they? Not to mention that all of them have dual band support, promising smooth-as-butter operation in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

So, is it worth it to invest your money into a router that “speaks” the 5 GHz band? Read on to discover the entire truth.

 

5 GHz Band Pros

Let’s begin by stating that the 5 GHz band is not susceptible to interference with the vast array of wireless devices that can be found in a typical home. I’m talking about cordless phones here (especially older models), microwave ovens, wireless speakers, baby monitors, and so on.

Yes, many of these devices emit Wi-Fi signal using the freely available 2.4 GHz band, and they can cause serious interference problems with your Wi-Fi network.

On the other hand, if your local network runs using the 5 GHz band, it won’t have to suffer even if the 2.4 GHz devices are really close to the router.

But before you throw out the microwave oven, it is good to know that most interference problems are caused by the other Wi-Fi networks that are close to yours. It’s true; often times, your neighbor’s 2.4 GHz network interferes with your Wi-Fi network, limiting its performance and range.

The 5 GHz network has a much greater number of channels, because it operates using a large bandwidth, which ranges – according to data-alliance.net – from 5.1 GHz to 5.8 GHz. This way, your network can always have a freely available channel for itself, even if there are lots of Internet-connected devices in the area.

Finally, most – if not all – routers can operate using both bands. This means that it makes sense to invest into a router which supports both frequencies, and then set up two different Wi-Fi networks. Then, you can make the newer devices operate on the 5 GHz band, while the old ones can keep running on the 2.4 GHz band.

 

5 GHz Band Cons

I’ve got a feeling that you’ve started to like the higher frequency band after reading this article ;). But before making a router manufacturer a bit richer, let’s see what are the main 5 GHz band downsides.

The biggest disadvantage by far is the limited signal range. There are several ways to boost the 5GHz signal range, but don’t expect remarkable results. Sadly, even though the 5 GHz band is a more modern invention, its range is quite limited in comparison with the older Wi-Fi band. If you’ve got devices that need to connect to the Wi-Fi network and are away from the router, the 2.4 GHz band continues to be your best bet.

Another problem arises from the fact that most devices work fine on the older Wi-Fi band, but are unable to connect to the newer 5 GHz wireless network. Of course, it’s not complicated to upgrade your laptop’s Wi-Fi card by using a modern Wi-Fi USB adapter, but other devices – your old iPhone, for example – will not be able to support this new Wi-Fi technology no matter how hard you will try. You’ll encounter the same problem if you’ve got an older gaming console.

Sure, you could fix all these problems by using a 5 GHz Ethernet bridge, but this method involves additional costs and complex setups.

So, who wins this war? I’d say that both bands have their advantages, so the best solution is to purchase a router that supports them all. By doing this, you will also get access to newer technologies and to the most recent router security patches.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Read More

Continental Drifts, AI-Generated Dresses and Intelligent Skis

Yes, we’ve got unique tech news this month. Read on and be amazed!

 

Australia’s Continental Drift Fix?

Did you know that no piece of land on our beloved planet is static? Yes, each piece of land on Earth, even the tiniest island, is moving slowly, due to continental drift.

Australia is drifting with about 3 inches per year, for example. As you can guess, this causes problems whenever scientists try to use a precise geolocation system. The good news is that GPSs don’t need too much precision – on purpose, because their inventors didn’t want them to be used for evil purposes. But even your GPS will need access to more accurate coordinates in the future, because even a tiny 3 inches per year drift will lead to a 10-yard displacement in a century, and this could cause serious traffic problems.

Updating the maps – and most of all, keeping them updated – is a very serious challenge for most geodesists. Most mapping systems use certain surface points, which are known as the geodetic datum, as a reference. Every country has its reference points, and Australia has gathered information for its data set back in 1994. The reference data is called Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994, AKA GDA94.

Everything that moves in Australia (ships, aircrafts, and so on) and needs precise coordinates uses the info provided by this data set. It was quite accurate 20+ years ago, but a newer, dynamic data set which auto-updates itself is badly needed today.

Modern satellites make use of a data set that’s based on the average coordinates of all continents. The system is already used by Russia, China and the European Union. Let’s hope that Australia will soon join their ranks.

 

H&M and Google Team Up to Create Data_Dress

Not sure what dress will make you look great? Google says that the smartphone may be your best fashion advisor.

Ivyrevel, H&M’s digital branch, is collaborating with Google at a project called “Data_Dress”. It’s an Android application that discovers what things you like as you use the phone, and then it is able to design a dress that’s personalized according to your preferences. This way, people will be able to order dresses that are custom-made for them, and fully reflects their personalities.

Data_Dress uses the Snapshot API to monitor the users’ activities. It can determine if you are sitting or standing up, if you run or walk, if you are listening to music or not, your precise location, the temperature in your vicinity, and so on. You already knew that our smartphones are tracking us, right?

As you walk around, performing your everyday activities, the app learns about you, and then designs a custom dress based on what it “thinks” that you like. The dress can then be purchased from Ivyrevel.

If all goes as planned, the app will be available for everyone at the end of the year. A custom-designed dress will probably cost more, but since H&M is not an expensive brand, the dresses should have an affordable price.

 

Intelligent Skis May Make People Fire Their Instructors

I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t know of any ski student who has fired his/her instructor because of these intelligent skis. But I’m pretty sure that it may happen in the future!

Rossignol, a famous ski manufacturer, has managed to incorporate a computer and its associated LED display into their latest pair of skis.

Called “Hero Master”, this AI-powered computer analyzes your speed and turning angles as you descend. The high-quality LED display allows people to see various stats and information in real time. The AI system is called GAIA, and it has learned from thousands of athletes, according to its maker.

So how much will Rossignol’s Hero Master cost? We don’t know that yet, but I’d say that it won’t be very cheap. Sure, there are less expensive alternatives –  including PIQ Robot, which was built by the same company, has a similar purpose and can attach to your ski boots.

Nevertheless, if you love this sport you will appreciate the convenience of having everything that’s needed to analyze and improve performance built right into your skis.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
Read More