Times I Wished I had 5G WiFi: Part II

As I mentioned in my last post, despite being immersed in technology all day long, I’m actually a bit of a Luddite. Case in point: I needed to transfer 3 GB of data between two of the (seven) computers in my house.

For data transfers like this, I could use a USB flash drive, but I’m always lending them out or losing them, so I couldn’t find any. So I moved on to the next option: an external USB hard drive that I use to backup my data.  It’s fairly slow, so it might have taken half an hour to copy from the first PC to it, and then another half hour to copy to the second machine from the drive. That’s the best case. The much worse case is what actually happened: the source machine is old and some of its USB ports don’t work. When I plugged the drive in, the PC couldn’t recognize the hard drive partition where I could store the data.

So then I had a brilliant idea: transfer over Wi-Fi. All it took to get started was me figuring out how to share a folder on the destination machine. The new machine supports peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, but the old one doesn’t seem to, so the data transfer had to go through my 802.11g router (I told you I was a Luddite.) After just four hours, the transfer was complete, for an average data rate of…less than 3 Mbps.

That’s just sad. My PCs were both close to the router, so that wouldn’t have slowed them down. But with two machines not optimized for data transfer and five other devices (plus the microwave oven) competing for the same channel on my router, the results were awful.

Here’s where I wish I had 5G WiFi. Not only would the data transfer have been faster – both because it would be peer-to-peer and a higher data rate – but it would have been more obvious how to do it. What do I mean? You often can’t tell what the value of a particular technology is before it’s launched – ten years ago, I didn’t even see the point of Wi-Fi. I mean, who needs Wi-Fi when you can just pull hundreds of feet of cable through your walls and ceiling and connect your desktop into an ethernet wall socket? So once you have 5G WiFi-enabled machines, your operating system will support wireless data transfer in a much more obvious way than it does today. And I think that’s true of many 5G WiFi features – we can’t imagine them yet, but once the technology is available, people will figure out all kinds of new and interesting things to do with it.

4 thoughts on “Times I Wished I had 5G WiFi: Part II

  1. Doesn’t this just prove that there is a use case for Wifi Direct ? There are more Wifi Direct compatible equipments out then 802.11ac; any reason to believe Wifi Direct will spread more slowly than 802.11ac?

    Also, do you see compelling use cases to have both 802.11ac and 802.11ad both deployed (particularly if Wifi Direct does indeed become mainstream)?

    • Julien, Great questions! This is a Wi-Fi Direct use case. The point is 5G WiFi/802.11ac complements Wi-Fi Direct well with the speeds and reliability. Essentially, Wi-Fi Direct allows two devices to talk to each other directly. It can work on several underlying Wi-Fi standard including 802.11a/g/n and 802.11ac. With 802.11ac, these use cases become compelling. So, our belief is that 5G WiFi & Wi-Fi Direct will spread in tandem furthered by native adoption in some popular operating systems.

      802.11ac and 802.11ad are complementary in nature. While the former provides whole home coverage, the latter is great for in-room HQ video streaming & cable replacement type use cases.

      I encourage you to visit http://www.5gwifi.org. These and several other questions are answered under the FAQ section. You will also find the white-paper useful.

      • Thanks Vijay! I get the benefits of 5G Wifi as the next gen of 802.11n for typical in-home (and possibly public) hotspot use cases. But sticking to the HD video streaming use case, I’m curious whether you seem room for some of the Wifi-patching and compatible technology candidates (WiGiG, WiFi Display and WiDi) or whether (and why) you would think 802.11ac will supersede these ?
        Any particular integration benefits on smartphone, laptop or tablet side integration?

  2. Pingback: Well, this is exciting… | 5G WiFi Blog

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