“Wireless Is a Trap”

From LessWrong:

I used to be an anti-wire crusader. I hated the clutter of cables, and my tendency to unconsciously chew on them if they got anywhere near my face. But running into bug after tricky wireless bug—mostly while trying to make my video calls work better—I’ve apostasized. The more I’ve learned about wifi, Bluetooth and related protocols, the more I’m convinced that they’re often worse, on net, than wires…

Wifi (and bluetooth, etc.) sucker you in by making it seem like they “just work.” But if you investigate, you’ll often find that the wireless link is operating in a degraded state that performs much worse than a wired equivalent. Since this degradation is silent, it’s often not obvious that the problem is the wireless—instead, you’ll probably conclude that it’s your device/software/self…

Recently, I finally ragequit and replaced all my desk’s wireless devices with wired ones. While I had to invest a bit in figuring out cable management (and break my habit of chewing on headphone cables), I was able to achieve nearly the same level of tidiness, with much better reliability, quality and speed. I no longer have to worry about my equipment failing to pair, running out of battery, or spontaneously giving me garbled robot voice during a livestreamed talk. It’s dramatically reduced my level of device-related agony.

To illustrate the degree of agony I’m talking about, below I’ll cover some of the subtle, hard-to-notice but severe problems I’ve run into with wireless protocols. If you’re convinced, try out some wires—you, too, can figure out whether you’ve been a victim of the wireless trap.

Wireless is a trap, LessWrong, June 7, 2020

I am a huge believer in wiring everything to the greatest extent possible (and having multiple wifi access points for things like phones that are wireless only). I just did a rough estimate, and my desk alone probably has around 50 wires in and around it, which yes, means a lot of work when it comes to cable management. It is well worth it though.

A good number of those wires, by the way, are new: the combination of finally settling in a place I don’t plan on moving from for a while, along with the increase in remote speaking and video conferencing because of the pandemic, started me on a crazy path towards building the ultimate home office for an Internet creator. Matt Mullenweg, meanwhile, had the same idea in terms of being a CEO, and blogged about it. That was part of what got me thinking I really should have a personal blog so that I could do the same. So stay tuned.