When will everything be wireless?

This is a question that I am often asked. It’s understandable, most new smart home products we see advertised are wireless and yet we are still reliant on cabling. So when will everything be wireless? In my opinion never; let me explain.

Never you say!?

Yes, all wireless systems have one common fundamental issue, interference.

Issue 1: Interference

For every signal that is broadcast you add more interference to the area. The first few devices you connect work great but as you add more, issues start to arise. They could randomly drop connection or refuse to reconnect. Sure as WiFi has improved there are new and better ways to handle interference but WiFi is not the only culprit and wireless signals that are not part of WiFi cannot be controlled so easily. ZigBee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth all use the same frequency as WiFi and can cause issues.

Issue 2: Signal

The second main reason is signal strength. Each device connected to a wireless antenna draws a small amount of power from the antenna reducing range. Add more devices and those further away start to have issues, add more boosters and we’re back to the first issue, interference.

Issue 3: Speed

The third issue is speed or more accurately throughput. Imagine that the wireless transmitter is a sprinkler, the water is data and each device is a bucket. The first device you add can have a huge bucket, there’s lots of room. Second, 3rd, 4th devices can still have pretty big buckets so lots of data can reach them. By the time we get to 20, 30, 40+ devices we’ve run out of room, the buckets have to get smaller so the performance of all device suffers. To combat this we add more transmitters to share the load, see issue number one.

Issue 4: Power

Finally, we have the issue of power, to be truly wireless the devices must be battery powered. This is costly, replaceable batteries are very inefficient and environmentally unfriendly. Rechargeable batteries are better but you have more downtime whilst you recharge your devices. And let’s not forget all battery-powered devices must be easily accessible for maintenance. So we fix this by putting a power cable to the device. Wait a minute, now it’s not wireless. If we’re putting power to the device we may as well put data there too and avoid all the issues with wireless.

So where do we go from here?

Wireless isn’t all bad, if managed properly it can be a very easy and convenient way to add smart devices. We just need to be acutely aware that there can be issues and avoid wireless for ‘mission-critical’ areas. The future I think is more reliance on PoE powered devices, these get power from the data cable thus reducing the wiring needed whilst maintaining reliability. There are even gadgets out there that can send data and PoE power down two cores meaning old cabling can be easily repurposed for use with tech (2n 2wire).

If you liked this post you can subscribe and be the first to know when new content is added.

18 Comments on “When will everything be wireless?

  1. Hey there! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up
    for the great information you’ve got here on this post.
    I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.

  2. Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post
    reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept
    talking about this. I will forward this article to
    him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article
    or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and
    I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested
    feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Fantastic blog by the way!

  4. Can I just say what a relief to uncover someone who
    genuinely understands what they are talking about over
    the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More and more people must check this out and understand this side of the story.

    I was surprised you’re not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  5. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I
    am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I
    am unable too join it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues?
    Anybody whho knows the answer can you kinjdly respond?

    my web blog :: bola88

  6. We stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought
    I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following
    you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

  7. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your
    weblog. You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love
    to write some articles for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.

  8. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after looking at a
    few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly happy I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking
    it and checking back frequently!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *