Let’s talk about wifi.
Let’s talk about the wifi in the recording studio.
Historically, I haven’t cared very much about the wifi in my studio. I don’t need it for much. I have a network connection, but it’s always been stupid and kind of broken. Part of that is not being able to put a wifi driver in a low-latency kernel without issues, so instead of a wifi card, I use a corded card and run to a wifi bridge. This shouldn’t be an issue.
The key word being “shouldn’t.”
I have discussed before how completely fucked this building is, on so many levels, when it comes to RF. I have talked about picking up FM radio on house wiring. I have talked about the many ways I have tried – eventually, with reasonable success – to get decent wifi working here at all.
I haven’t talked about the utter shitstorm and freakshow which is the studio space.
Here’s where I’ve historically put my little wifi bridge. (Well, this was after pulling it up for reasons, but basically here. A few centimetres from here.)
I get 0-300KBPS here. That’s garbage. The zero part, particularly. It’s fast enough, as long as you don’t try to move too much data, at which point it throws its hands in the air and surrenders, dropping to zero, where it stays for a while until it rests up and feels like having another go. When I didn’t actually have to use networking for much, that didn’t matter, and I moved large things around by putting them on USB keys and going to my laptop in another room.
That’s no longer quite as viable, with all the Intel CCS foolishness, and running multiple OSes, some of which like their network very much, thank you, and even kind of require it.
(And since I finally got a better graphics card, playing networked games needed some help, too.)
So, while running a very large file transfer that couldn’t be done with sneakernet and was going to take about a week to complete, I started fucking with it. First thing I did was pull the cords out of the baseboard (see above photo) and toss it to the side while I pulled some other wires.
This is when I noticed transfer went from about 80KBPS to 1.3MBPS. Instantly.
It still swung around a lot, but it stayed in a wide band of, oh, 500KBPS to 1.3MBPS as long as it sat there, which is to say, kind of near the door, in the centre of the walkway. And then it’d drop to zero for a while to rest up, but not often, and even with that, everything became dramatically better.
So I pulled cables around more so I could move the bridge a bit and see if I could get something more reasonable that was not in the worst possible place in the room, like, say, over by the couch, less than a metre away.
Okay. How about over by the wall to the left of the door? Let’s test it by…
…no. I see.
I tried a lot of other places. None of them were better. Many were worse. Some much worse.
So let’s recap, shall we?
You can draw a bigger circle around that golden spot and you get basically the same numbers. It got worse moved further away. And those were the best places, other than the original, the Golden Spot, and one place partly down the hall which wouldn’t actually work out.
I have more than one of these bridges, of course. Swapping bridges did not help. Neither did swapping out cables, or power cords. All behaved exactly the same way, and all of these results were eminently duplicable.
So I got a really long pair of cables and ran the bridge to the other side of the couch, across the room, just to see what would happen.
what. the. fuck.
Mind you, that’s a second Golden Spot. I can move it round there and get worse numbers again, but they’re all dramatically better than the original spot or anywhere near it. In no cases do I get the kind of garbage I was getting on the other side of the room. But I could find – within half a metre – consistent 500-700KBPS, 1.5MBPS(ish), and so on. This was solid transmission numbers without data flooding issues (no buggering off for breaks), with very low packet loss rates. Still more packet loss than there should be, but it’s low enough you don’t really notice.
(Before you ask: this is further from the wifi hub, which is one floor below.)
I kind of have this sorted. Heavy traffic no longer shuts down the connection, and ping times are sane – good, even, a mere 1-5ms to local servers, usually 1-3ms.
Who designed this place, Ivo Shandor?