via XKCD:

This actually reminds me of an argument I’ve had for a while that we’ve made the Internet so accessible, so simple to access that we’ve forgotten to educate the users of it how it works. Hundreds of times in my life, people have asked me what “WiFi Repeater / Booster” they need. I claim they don’t. They don’t need that at all. They need to get a proper wireless setup which includes a modem that negotiates a connection to the ISP, a router with some built in security, quality of service and some other bells & whistles and then they need 2-3 access points in their house. These could be wireless repeaters but you don’t plug one device into a coaxial cable and put a brother device 200 feet away and expect that room to get fast Internet. It doesn’t work.

Mesh WiFi Networks are making my argument invalid in that you can spend $500 (the same you’d spend on my ideal topology proposal above) and get WiFi everywhere in the house except these devices don’t have enough Ethernet ports for the devices that really need to be hard-wired (like gaming systems or HomeKit Hubs) but the setup is simple enough that the people who really shouldn’t be online in the first place can access it now without having to get a Network certification from COMPTIA. 

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For some reason though, people all around the world are disabling WiFi when at home so they can load a web-page via cellular. What?!?! Why would you ever have to do that? I had to do that once when I was streaming a podcast while leaving my work parking lot and when I lose WiFi from the office about 200 feet down the road, the audio stopped and wouldn’t relinquish that WiFi pairing. Apple has done a great job of fixing what I consider to be a bug.

For home settings, if you find cellular service is better than WiFi, you need to step back, set fire to your “router” as everyone calls it and invest in a Mesh setup or get a proper home network. 

Digression. If you have a “router” in your home and you don’t have a modem or wireless access point, you actually do. A single box from Comcast that hands our IP addresses over a wireless protocol and connects to coaxial in your wall is a 3-in-one device and it does everything good enough but it’s like a multi-function printer. A router is one of the 3 devices in that box.

We use more data than ever before. I transfer 2-4 terabytes of data on Comcast at home each month according to my logs. My WiFi reaches 300 feet across the road to my friend’s boat-dock and 300 feet behind my house up into the woods. I can watch Netflix from here: (that sailboat mast w/o a sail & red building)

Summertime Views from the House

The fact that everyone doesn’t have a setup like that shows me that either the corporations that provide us this hardware or our educational system aren’t supporting this modern age which requires HD video streaming from anywhere. We should all know how this works from a basic standpoint and educators need to teach typing, safe browsing online, netiquette and networking to our students I pay $59 a month for 250 megabit (not megabyte) Comcast Internet and I can access that Internet within a 10,000 square foot area of my home. The fact that everyone else doesn’t have that is a bit depressing. 

Mesh WiFi won’t support a network of this size and neither will your Linksys “router” that you got for $150 at Staples. Cellular is fine when traveling but the cost per gigabyte compared to home Internet is outrageous. I was just listening to a podcast where a guy regularly has to turn off WiFi to load web-pages around his house and he’s started going over his 3GB Verizon Data Plan each month. There’s absolutely no reason for that and this is a tech expert.

Americans need to buy smaller homes or learn how networking works. I know the norm is that “everyone should have access to the Internet” but if you don’t know what happens when you type Google.com into your browser, you’re doing everyone a disservice participating in the world wide web community. 

Maybe I need to enter a new business where for $499, I’ll set people up with Internet that works reliably everywhere in their home…$999 if your home is larger than 3,000 square feet and for $500 more, you can have every computer and tablet in your house backed up to an on-site NAS with off-site cloning to Backblaze along with a media server, shared documents (replacing $99 a year to Dropbox) and a guest network that friends can hop on w/o seeing your internal network devices.

As long as people keep spending less than $400 on their home network, this XKCD comic will remain true but when every data connection goes through a crappy plastic box, you’re going to have serious issues with connectivity and keep paying out the nose for Cellular Data.