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Abuse of Wi-Fi for fixed devices; added costs, headaches, and vulnerabilities.

MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
Abuse of Wi-Fi / Wireless for fixed devices; added costs, headaches and dangers. (411)

Wireless (Wi-Fi) is the absolute worst connection method for most fixed devices; for everyone's safety and sanity, avoid using Wireless!

First off Wireless was to provide connectivity for portable devices.
Instead it is abused as a "cheap and easy" way to connect any devices; most if not all know how "cheap and easy" often equates to "bad and hard".

Reasons why Wireless is terrible to connect to fixed devices
1. Failure point. one more device to fail (maybe 2 if extender needed), caused by any number of events
2. Another item to configure (wired is fully automatic by default, works 99.999% of time)
3. Configuration complexity
4. Operation costs, consumes power.
5. Bandwidth, wireless has to share its bandwidth with all devices,. More devices = slower the data rate.
6. Poor or unstable signals. Yes, bad weather can affect wireless just like your TV OTA signals.
7. Vulnerability to external hack. Yes, some people do snoop neighborhoods to hack in home networks, could be your neighbors.
8. Obsolescence. wireless do get updated, for full compatibility all your wireless devices need to be current.
9. Costs. adding wireless device (new nodes, extenders) is not free.
10. Service provider may not allow. Maybe rare, but an internet service provider could bar service (did rear of a case years ago, likely very rare).
11. (anything I miss?)

Examples of terrible use of wireless:
  • Outdoor security cameras: Noting attenuates a wireless signal more than a radiant barrier and brick, and sheet rock, and studs, and whatever else. Make that $100 camera useless, fast.
  • Smart Garage Openers: many of which have cameras. Cameras require strong signal and bandwidth, which is not an area usually well served by a homes wireless.
  • Rachio sprinkler control: Sprinkler control systems are often some of the most distant locations on a property. There is a good chance a new wireless node is needed, but often for a little more effort an ethernet wire can be run and have a solid issue. Even worse is Rachio owners complain of inability to connect to wi-fi because of outdated firmware, that can only be updated if it had a wi-fi connection. Cannot do anything without connection. Talk about a face-palm!
Not ideal:
Door bells: Many locations are very difficult to route ethernet, unfortunately limited choices.

Exception:
Thermostats and smoke/fire detectors. Have full control without wireless, very low bandwidth usage

TESLA:
To that end, it is excellent that Powerwall has an ethernet port (with wi-fi). Spending that much for a home battery, it is trivial to run a wired ethernet.
Unfortunately the Tesla Wall Charger does not (Is it only for communication with phone? Is network connection even required for it to work?). I do hope they make a wired version of WC.


Have other pro or con reasons to avoid wireless?
 
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MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
Fix your WiFi setup. If you don’t have the skills to properly architect a wireless network (and it’s more than “throw some extenders wherever”), hire someone who does. You’ll be much happier.

I’m at ~60 connected devices across 5 levels of a house, plus the yard and garage, using 3 mesh APs. Zero problems.
Throw money at something I do not need and really have no problem with?
No thanks. (My wi-fi working fine and devices have solid connection as it is)

You do not know my situation, so why do you think your set up will work for me?

100 ft of Ethernet cable, maybe 5 min so configure router, done.
Router and modem is on UPS, 20~30 min of backup power if power out.
To have your level of back on yours seems to need more than 2 UPS.
 

Darblish

Member
May 19, 2021
170
366
Columbus, OH
Throw money at something I do not need and really have no problem with?
You made an entire thread and wrote almost 500 words about how much of a problem you have with it. No one is making you prioritize a working, competently-configured wireless network if you have other things you'd rather spend money on, but lack of priority on your part is not equivalent to lack of capability on the technology's part.
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,390
1,222
Quebec City, Canada
You're right on one thing: a physical wire is more stable/reliable that a wireless connection. For critical communication it's essential. For devices where communication failure isn't critical, can be retried, it's not essential.
I use a wired connection on my Xbox Series X because I play online shooters and I don't want a microwave to delay my connection (example). I had to go through the extra trouble of fishing ethernet cables in my home, install a switch near my router etc. Not everyone wants to go through that trouble. For most people, they won't tell the difference.

So, is there something on the wall charger that is critical to get access to in microseconds? My gen 2 wall charger doesn't even have a connection at all and I don't feel I'm missing anything.
 
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MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
You made an entire thread and wrote almost 500 words about how much of a problem you have with it. No one is making you prioritize a working, competently-configured wireless network if you have other things you'd rather spend money on, but lack of priority on your part is not equivalent to lack of capability on the technology's part.
Then you completely missed the point of my post.
 

MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
You're right on one thing: a physical wire is more stable/reliable that a wireless connection. For critical communication it's essential. For devices where communication failure isn't critical, can be retried, it's not essential.
Yes, that is one of my points.
Even a camera connection greatly benefits from wired, last thing you want is to miss an event on video because of disruption.
Use of Jammers to disrupt security systems is rare currently, but sure to be more common as Wi-Fi based security system proliferate.
I use a wired connection on my Xbox Series X because I play online shooters and I don't want a microwave to delay my connection (example). I had to go through the extra trouble of fishing ethernet cables in my home, install a switch near my router etc. Not everyone wants to go through that trouble. For most people, they won't tell the difference.
Good for you. I also did some wiring and improved my network.
So, is there something on the wall charger that is critical to get access to in microseconds? My gen 2 wall charger doesn't even have a connection at all and I don't feel I'm missing anything.
That is what I wonder, too.
From what I read it simply provides use data, not much else.
If I can simply wi-fi that to my phone, I am golden (wi-fi to portable is what its for)
 

MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
There is something I did forget.
Power consumption!

For example a Google - Wifi - Mesh Router (AC1200) - 3 pack, which is NOT "ENERGY STAR Certified".
Lets assume it consumes a modest 5 watts of power per device, with 3 devices that is 15 watts.
If your price is 0.10 KWh, then over a year that is $13.14, 0.36 kWh per day, not to mention the carbon generated to power them.

And THEN the receiving device, lets say a Tesla charger, will also consume the same. Even if the data stream is barely a kilobyte (1/000 a megabyle), the power usage will still be similar to those mesh nodes.

Now its $17.52, 0.48 kWh per day.
Every year
For several years
Until replaced by another 24/7 power sipping device.

An Ethernet cable, on the other hand, sips only milliwatts of power, the majority being the transponder chip and isolator circuit (possibly a status LED).
Source
Many applications do not require the capability of 100m cable reach and can guarantee a much shorter length. For example, cable length is fixed, by design, in automotive networks, and would never exceed more than 10-20m.

Let me reiterate.
WITH PORTABLE DEVICES, Wireless is perfectly acceptable and normal. Only fixed items is the issue.
Filling the house with wireless devices is wasteful and CO2 producing.
 
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linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
Fix your WiFi setup. If you don’t have the skills to properly architect a wireless network (and it’s more than “throw some extenders wherever”), hire someone who does. You’ll be much happier.

I’m at ~60 connected devices across 5 levels of a house, plus the yard and garage, using 3 mesh APs. Zero problems.
we'd have to know more about the traffic you run, to conclude that 'zero problems' are there for all use cases.

in a previous life, I tested and validated wifi for automotive and its scary. even with vendor support and the latest custom firmware, its scary.

you dont want to know (and I'm under nda so I cant tell you) but there are bad things in many of the wifi/ble chips. also gps and lte. yeah, they all suck. vendors really are not nearly as good as outsiders think, lol!

every single chipset needs a power on/off switch via software control, to reboot those chips when they go out in the weeds. every. single. one.

dont preach about wifi.

wifi is good for non-critical things (I have over a dozen ESP style iot chips on my wifi net at home, but I dont RELY on them. I know what is trustable and what is 'best effort').
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
as a network engineer, I always recommend (and use, myself) wired, when I can. I only use wireless when there is no other choice, like phones and the esp8266/esp32/etc chips.

anything that CAN accept wired, even 10/100 wired, do it. wired ethernet and modern switches are fully solved problems. wireless is always a whack-a-mole for security and thruput and interference. more and more of 2.4 and 5 bands are being swamped. and tapping into wireless is not NSA level anymore, so even if you think you are secure, you really are not (for those that really want to get in).

wifi is convenient. but if you have a choice, like your laptop is on the kitchen table and you could run a wire to it for the night's session, so that instead of using wifi.

that's my take. as a guy who did networking at the major networking companies for the last 30 or so years.
 
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Darblish

Member
May 19, 2021
170
366
Columbus, OH
I think you vastly overestimate the critical nature of your car charger phoning home for firmware updates if you think it lacking an Ethernet port is an unacceptable “danger” (to quote the thread title).

I work for the servicing company for a series of banks, and of course we keep actual critical stuff in the data center or building/floor racks wired (and segmented/air-gapped, because PCI is a thing), but enterprise networking is on a completely separate planet from home networking. I am not poking a dragon by letting my laptop (or doorbell, or garage door opener, or smart bulbs) sit on WiFi instead of running from room to room with an Ethernet cable pulling out couches to reach the port on the wall every time I want to sit somewhere different.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,841
12,568
Riverside Co. CA
Then you completely missed the point of my post.

I read the post a couple times and must have missed it too.

I thought you were saying "wired is better than wireless" (which I happen to agree with, I run a wired connection to everything that is reasonable in my home), but it also sounded like you were saying that somehow wireless is "dangerous" for the home charger (or powerwalls) which I have both of, and think that assertion is silly.

Neither one of those devices rely on wifi for critical things. Powerwalls have wifi, cellular, and an ethernet port (actually the powerwall gateway has all that, the powerwalls themselves are connected to the gateway and do not present directly to the network themselves), so they can provide data to the user. They can operate just fine without wifi.

Same with a wall connector.

I also have many of those devices you are complaining about (rachio sprinkler control, outdoor security cameras, etc). None of those I would consider " dangerous" if wifi doesnt work on them, so the thread title (and location) seems very sensationalist and clickbaity to me.

Sure, wired is better than wireless, but nothing you listed there was critical or dangerous.
 

MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
but it also sounded like you were saying that somehow wireless is "dangerous" for the home charger (or powerwalls) which I have both of, and think that assertion is silly.
I see, my title is too strongly worded, my bad.

The rest of your comment perfectly follows what I said, wired is a superior system and should first option unless there is some prohibitive factor (like the example of door bell, requiring significant demolition effort to run an Ethernet).

Thanks for more details on PowerWall.
The Home Charger does not seem to rely on wireless, which is good. Again, if HC connects to smartphone for data, I am OK with that.
 

MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
Yeah, I think we both know that I’ve read it by now. Being bad at making a point does not mean that people aren’t watching your attempts hard enough.
Then why do you think I was demanding people to plug their laptops in wall Ethernet?
My OP even listed appropriate uses of Wi-Fi, including portable devices.

You instantly formed a biased option, and are now struggling to support that flawed opinion.
 

MontyFloyd

Member
Aug 9, 2021
233
141
Houston
I sent PM to @danny to ask to change title to (I could not find how to do that)

Abuse of Wi-Fi for fixed devices; added costs, headaches, and vulnerabilities.​

I realized that dangerous is the wrong word to use, readers got the wrong impression of article.
I am sorry about that

Wi-Fi is not dangerous, it has legitimate uses, and should be freely used in appropriate circumstances.
All because wireless is seeming "easy" to connect something instead of a wire does not mean it should be used.
 
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