Posted by: Cliff Edwards on May 10, 2007
It’s interesting how many companies continue to tout the upcoming 802.11n Wi-Fi standard as the best way to send video files around the home, even when there continues to be serious limitations to the technology.
Those limitations came into sharp focus when Intel held a press event on May 9 announcing its latest Core 2 Duo notebook platform. Execs practicing transferring video via wireless 802.11n the night before saw the stream work without a hiccup when compared to older Wi-Fi technology. But in the real world the next day during the event, where many reporters were using that same 802.11n Wi-Fi connection to browse the Web at the same time the demo was running, the newer technology actually performed worse than Intel’s combo 802.11a/b/g wireless chipset!
It’s a problem inherent with technology that shares bandwidth with many different devices. Since most wireless routers aren’t smart enough to prioritize data streams, the more devices that are connected the slower the connection speed for all those devices. With video, the issue is particularly vexing since any data loss during transmission of these large files leads to image stuttering.
It’s clear chipmakers and the consumer electronics industry have a long way to go before figuring this all out. Until then, building a truly “digital” home looks a very long way from reality.