2.4 GHz, R.I.P.

2.4 GHz“Dearly beloved, WLAN professionals and wireless patrons, we are gathered here today on this solemn occasion, to mourn the passing of our dear and faithful Wi-Fi veteran, the 2.4 GHz band.  Please rise and join us for a time of silent reflection on what 2.4 GHz has meant to us, followed by family comments and some words of comfort.”

“Amen.  Thank you and please be seated.  We would like to recognize some of the offspring and relatives of the 802.11 family that are here with us today.   In the front row, we have family members 802.11b and 802.11g, both in failing health, 802.11a and 802.11n, very close to retirement, 802.11ac, just out of graduate school and beginning a tremendous career, 802.11ad in toddler shorts and the 802.11ax, just beginning his new life.  Before I make my personal remarks, the family has asked that their well-loved mentor, Uncle 5 GHz, share some thoughts about 2.4 GHz, in behalf of everyone in the 802.11 family.  Please give your prayerful attention to Uncle 5 GHz.”  (light applause).

“Friends, family members, WLAN professionals and wireless patrons,  I count it a real honor to speak about our family namesake, the 2.4 GHz band.  Wow–all I can say is, those were the days!  Back in 1997, when there was a gleam in the eyes of the FCC and IEEE, wireless networking was in its prime.  You remember those days, don’t you when people were saying, ‘Who needs a stinkin’ network cable anyway?’  Soon we saw some neat things happen–speed jumped, roaming took place, more and more apps went wireless and we heard users everywhere saying ‘I’m wireless!  I’m free!'”

“There were great things I learned from ol’ 2.4 Ghz that he could never do!  He couldn’t handle his legacy very well, but when I did the OFDM, I could sure cut some mean subcarriers!  He wasn’t that good at channel bonding or even beamforming, but I could do them both really well!  His channel restriction kept him from doing what he really wanted to do.  But I have so many channels, I still dream about all the things I can do.  Oh, I know, there’s always cousin Radar, forcing me to make a change now and then.  But, I am what I am today because of the inspiration I received from 2.4 GHz!”

“But then we began to see those things that led to the illness of our dear 2.4 GHz — things WLAN doctors warn us today to avoid:  congestion, adjacent channel interference and even using some channels that you should never use!  His RF reached out farther than I ever could, but he just did not have the number of channels in him that he needed (sniff, sniff…).  Oh, I love you, 2.4 GHz!  And I cross my antennas and promise you, dear 2.4 GHz, I will be two times, four times, even eight times more than your bandwidth ever was!”

“Could someone please help Uncle 5 GHz back to his chair as I see he is a bit overcome with emotion right now.  Thank you.  And thank you so much, Uncle 5 GHz,  for those kind, absorbing and reflective words.”

“The family asked me to speak about the last glorious years of 2.4 GHz.  I will try to be brief and avoid some difficult details. But the facts are plain and clear–there was just nothing else the WLAN professionals could do.  I have before me a Layer2 scan showing extreme CCI, ACI and channel limitations.  And for deepest respect of the family, I will not show you a recent Layer1 scan, full of microwaves, baby monitors, video cameras, Xboxes, radar motion sensors, Bluetooth and even more.  It’s not a pretty sight.  The WLANologists did all they could–band steering, channel reuse, cell sizing and power resource management.  Even the latest femtocell and SCA technologies were tried, with poor results.  Ultimately, 2.4 GHz’s three channels simply were not enough to help him survive and sadly, he breathed his last packet and his LED power indicator faded away.”

“Farewell, 2.4 GHz band.  You served us well and we will never forget you!”

“Just before we close, we received an encouraging note from the Office of the President of Wlandia this afternoon announcing that all Wi-Fi antennas in the nation will be placed at half staff for the next thirty days to honor the memory of 2.4 GHz.”

“Now please stand with me and bow your heads as we have a final prayer of interment and committal:  We now commit the RF remains to the eternal realms of FSPL,  fragments to fragments and DoS to DoS, knowing that what 2.4 GHz has started, will never, never, ever fade away!  And all WLAN professionals together said:  Amen!”


NOTE:  My thanks to Hemant Chaskar (AirTight Networks) for germinating the idea of this memorial service for 2.4 GHz in a recent blog:  http://blog.airtightnetworks.com/wi-fi-networks-in-5-ghz-a-few-observations/  Hemant believes 2.4 GHz has not quite reached EOL.  I respectfully disagree.


Wi-Fi networks in 5 GHz: a few observations


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9 responses to “2.4 GHz, R.I.P.

  1. Thanks – that was great fun to read. Quite creative!

  2. If only it were true… we’re saddled with 2.4’s woes for at least 10 years, I predict. Device makers need a kick in the pants that no one seems to want to deliver…

    • Agreed. Blog is part “dream” too, unfortunately. Was thinking which vendor might make a “bold” move to mfg a single-band only AP (5 GHz, of course). Or a dual band (5 and 60) ? Back to dreaming….

  3. scwifi

    Nicely written. We can all dream, can’t we?

  4. Ha. Creative way to covey important point. And you say my earlier post inspired this work? #blush. Since all deployment still have 2.4 GHz SSID today, we live among wireless zombies 🙂

    • “Wireless zombies”!!!! I love it, Hemant! OK, I came up with WLANologist, you added the wireless zombies. We need an UPDATED WLAN dictionary! Is CWNP listening?

  5. Have to agree with others that this was a very creative post! I was only running a 5 GHz network at home until recently… purchased a WeMo Wi-Fi enabled plug and was disappointed to learn it only supports the 2.4 GHz band! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Dale for your encouraging words and for RTs, too! Our LCD TV (one year ago) is only 2.4 GHz. And I keep seeing IoT devices that are only, you guessed it, 2.4 GHz! These IoT design engineers evidently are NOT WLAN engineers!!

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