Is Cabling up for Networking or Phone Systems Still Justified?



Do you have one near the cider as well?
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?
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CIDR...
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(groan)
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Thought you'd have got that one. IPv4 vs. IPv6 address spaces etc.
I can remember going to a presentation by Jon Postel where he said that he couldn't ever see a reason why more than 32 bit IP addresses would ever be needed.
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Well, I did, once you'd pointed out the bad pun...!

Yes, I heard he'd said that...but from a mutual frind of Postel's and mine (who also wrote a number of RFCs). He wrote the 'real' RFC 666 (whose number is not at all significant).
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Andy Hall wrote:

And in fact, it transpires that they aren't...as NAT has released HUGE blocks of addresses from large companies back to RIPE at al..
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My employer still have their original /16....!
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However, that brings a host (!) of issues of its own, with the NAT breaking end-to-end connectivity. NAT is an OK stopgap but makes some things difficult and others impossible.
IPv6 will restore end-to-end connectivity, with everyone able to use as many routable addresses as they need. I just wish we'd get on with it a bit quicker.
--
Ron ( Natively IPv6 enabled here ).


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TheScullster wrote:

I've found it very flexible to have very simple CAT5 cabling between 3 rooms (double socket in each room, wired to each of the other two to make a sort of triangle) as well as a wireless access point and then expand as necessary with switches (which are cheaper than additional cable & sockets) because: - Initially used a couple of older PCs with cheap network cards - Some visiting computers haven't been wireless - We have a network printer and network filestore Worked well for us and fairly discrete except in the office with most of the kit. Al
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TheScullster wrote:

you've had some really traditional answers re cables but if you actually think about what you are going to access the web/whatever with, you'll come to the conclusion* that you have 1 main PC, one laptop and maybe a pocket PC. the laptop will have wi-fi built in, so will the pocket PC so to get the benefit from their portability you'd need at least an access point.
might as well use a wireless router and take time to RTFM which will remove 99% of connection and security issues. I have three or four PCs lying about the place and whereas they had to be in a room with a cat5 outlet or one with a temporary cable running into it, now I just add an 8 wireless NIC and I'm on. sometimes I have to right click and repair the wireless connection, big deal, 1 min later I'm back online.
all this tosh about network speed is willy waving, really. who /really/ wants to push HDTV over wi-fi when there's a far simpler method of watching movies ? whoo, yeah, I can send a 3gb file over my network in x minutes ... most people would use a DVD and take much less time.
excuse me, I'm just about to take my wi-fi laptop into the cat5 free kitchen to read a recipe for slow cooked shin beef in ale with thyme dumplings.
*no kids, most other computers in boxes.
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. wrote:

Most connection issues IME come down to lack of range through different building materials and incompatibility of different vendors kit. Alas neither of these can always be fixed by reading the fine manual on the occations one is provided.

Don't agree - I sometimes do want to shift large files about the network - for example when video editing, performing backups, moving disk images and ISOs (which I use via virtual CD/DVD drives etc). I may at times want to rip a bunch of DVDs to one machine using available DVD drives dotted about the network - even fully working WiFi slows down any of these activities noticeably.

Nothing wrong with WiFi - it has many uses. However for many of us it does not come anywhere close to being a replacement for cat5 yet alas.
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Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

LOL
yah, you know /loads/ ;-)
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. wrote:

The incompatibility is usually at a more subtle level than at the MAC/LLC level. Andy touched on one of the most irritating examples in his reply, and this is the issue of lame configuration software. Many times you may have kit that talks at the physical level, but you are unable to specify shared security settings to allow them to work, simply because one configuration utility insists on a key being specified in hex, and the other requires a textual key that it will then hash to form a key. Needless to say they don't all use the same hash functions so there is no ready way to convert one to the other.
Driver incompatibility is another problem. I lose count of the number of times I have found WiFi NICs that in theory work over a number of OS platforms only to find said compatibility is illusury when you actually try to install them. With machine lockups or drivers that simply fail to load at startup etc.
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Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

Exactly., Using 5 year old technology GENERALLY means there are drivers that work ...I had an issue with a mission critical website not being accessible..their support finally said 'upgrade your router firmware'
I didn't believe it would work, but after rebooting the router, things came back, so I grudgingly did as requested..it fixed it. Apparently the NAT algorithms were faulty and the translation was timing out or somesuch, so that return packets were forever discarded. Nice to know that an 8 year old router could be upgraded to be only 4 years old firmware wise :-)
As an IT professional for many years, I have an absolute aversion to the latest and greatest. Its always bug ridden shite. Let someone ELSE have the problems of fixing it..how many times have I been out to 'fix'; systems that have just been 'upgraded'..for no other reason than someone thought it would make a perfectly good system somehow 'better' I ONLY upgrade when there is something the new system will do that I really need, and the old system simply won't.
Buying 5 year old technology generally means its cheap, reliable and stable, and probably has about ten years of life left in it. Just about every cabled installation I have been involved with in the last 5 years worked first time and stayed that way. I would say that 50% of the wireless ones have NOT, for a variety of reasons. In time I am sure they will get much much better. But right now I am not interested.
We moved away from 10base5, because it was unreliable..10baseT was wonderful. OK you need a HUB which was expensive., but the cable was cheaper, the connectors were cheaper, and one bloody PC didn't bring a whole office to a halt..
And its still more than good enough for most things.
No modern phone system gives me anything I really need beyond what a 1980 style analogue PABX can do either, in many instances.
So much is innovation for the sake of it. I don't actually WANT to take pictures on my phone, or receive e-mails on it. Or take the phone into the bog so I can chat to some goofy teenager about my sex-life. When I leave this computer its because I don't WANT to get e-mails..how much of all this stuff would people actually trade for a simjple system, with no bells and whistles, that simply and reliably did the very few basic things that they actually needed?
How much time did I spend the other night, vainly trying to get rd of whatever random selection of keystrokes suddenly made every correction to what I was writing come out in red strikethrough? About 30 minutes of WASTED TIME.
Or take my new mouse. All I wanted was one that didn't get clogged up with cat fluff and cigarette ash.I thought 'hey, optical will do that' and so it did..BUT its now got two buttons on the side, plus a trackball that rolls AND clicks and when I grab it too hard editing a web input, it suddenly launches me back to a previous screen..and whenever I highlight text and move too the keyboard to edit a word, it slips and I end up editing three lines. ARGGH! I HATE INNOVATION. HOW CAN I TURN ALL THIS SHITE OFF. I JUST want a mouse that moves a cursor, thats ALL.
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John Rumm wrote:

all of which can be avoided by doing proper research beforehand and RTFM/STFW once the correct purchase has been made.

you must be unlucky, I've only had a few and that's with obscure floppy firewall type stuff on old hardware and there was usually a workaround.
everything you've pointed out still shouldn't put someone off using wi-fi.
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That assumes that the Friendly Manual describes the functionality correctly or at all.
Especially in the case of entry level Wifi products for the consumer market, the documentation is appalling. I imagine that this is for a few reasons:
- an assumption on the part of the vendor that the customer won't understand the technical detail anyway so why bother
- why bother because the product will have a short lifetime
- nobody likes writing manuals
- not having people with the ability to write anything beyond a cut and paste from the product config screens.
I recently bought a Linksys managed gigabit switch. It is quite well featured, but the documentation is appalling. Specifically in the area of VLAN configuration, the information is quite sparse and requires an email to their tech support for clarification.
Many of the configuration setups for these types of product including wireless and other home routers are web based. Nothing wrong with that except that behaviour is not consistent among different web browsers and versions thereof. I have had cases of products where it is impossible to do the entire set up using one browser and where two different ones have been needed in order to complete the set up. Probably this has to do with java, active X and so on, but this is hopeless for something that is meant to be an out of the box simple set up product.

All of that assumes that you know what you are doing, know where to look for information and when things are broken having a reasonable idea how to go about troubleshooting.

No, and some of the issues such as configuration, drivers and so on can arise with wired equipment also.
Wifi adds additional problems of security settings and RF behaviour into the mix.
Admittedly there are product improvements in some areas, but there is still a lot of crap on the market. Vendors are still not taking enough care over firmware and documentation and are too focussed on selling based on claimed speed rather than what it really is and on product reliability, supportability and ease of use.
Part of the blame for this can be laid at the door of the manufacturers because of their perceived need to bring out something apparently but not really new every few months; while the rest is on the ever decreasing market pricing and margins. Both reduce the ability and interest to produce properly reliable and supported products.
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. wrote:

You seem to be assuming that one gets to choose and specify the kit. In the real world many times the job is to "make that lot work" where the equipment has already been bought on price or advertising hype by people who have not done any research.
If the kit is all from one maker then that can make it easier, but there are times you can not get all the capabilities you need in all off the the different system components from one maker (and whos parts are all in stock concurrently with your suppliers)
When you are specifying and purchasing the kit then it falls to you to do the research. Here you run into another problem of getting the information required. It is frustrating how many vendors will omit information about how their configuration software works, and the key entry formats which are supported.

Maybe you are lucky, or don't do much of this sort of stuff.

I was not trying to put anyone off WiFi at all. I use it myself. However it has its unique limitations and problems, and in some cases is less suitable for the task than wired components. Hence back to the original question as to whether cable is still justified for phone and data systems. The answer is unarguably yes in some cases. In others you will be able to avoid it with wireless solutions.
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Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:
<snip>

that's quite an assumption you've made there.

yes, like in the 'real world' 2 DSL installs I've done this year (so far) both have signed up to talktalk from carphone warehouse (?) and neither of them have thought about a router firewall despite me telling them both that they would need one and that talktalk were rubbish.
I've got another install to do next week (quick 50)
<snip>

these days ? not as much as I used to do (daily, for several years) but enough to realise that pointing out the negatives of a technology doesn't negate the benefits of it. but I've never had any problems in searching out the positive elements of technology or finding workarounds for any issues I might encounter. YMMWV
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. wrote:

Well hardly, you did say "all of which can be avoided by doing proper research beforehand and RTFM/STFW once the correct purchase has been made.", which does seem to presuppose that one gets a look in beforehand.

I find you can really upset them by pointing out "but it is free!"[1] when they are going through the hell of trying to get TalkTalk to provide any service at all, or trying to get a MAC code out of them when they can't ;-)
[1] The phrase that I often hear in response to my warnings about the likely problems... still you get what you pay for.

Indeed it does not. I don't think I was pointing out just the negatives, more highlighting the areas in which wired solutions have advantages.
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Cheers,

John.

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