Possible Drawbacks with Wireless

Not everything with wireless data is perfect (it's the same for wireline). Occasionally, there will be problems that must be overcome. The use of wired facilities has improved over the years with the use of fiber optics in the backbone. Newer technologies have allowed the industry to improve the performance of data to a 10-15 to 10-16 bit error rate. This was unheard of before the use of fiber and Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) in the backbone. The local loop (last mile) is the weakest link in the equation, producing bit error rates of 10-6. Still, today this is not as bad as it may sound because the distances we run on copper (the local loop) are being shortened daily. The shorter the copper, the better the performance we achieve (because the weakest link is minimized, and the cables are correctable). Therefore, we see improved data performances on the local copper-data transmission systems. However, wireless (air interfaces) have been traditionally error prone, and the amount of frequencies available have always been limited. This interface is limited to the point that many people have not wanted to use air interfaces in the past. With the culture shift and the use of digital techniques to compound the data, air has become much more acceptable.

The wireless medium is also prone to more delay and latency than the wired world. In the wired arena, the average delay for transmitting information across the nation networks is 50 msec or less. In the wired world, this delay can jump to more than 250 msec. At 250 msec, we find that echo begins to get out of control, requiring more equipment to handle this problem. However, while handling the echo control function, we introduce more latency and buffering of the real data. This almost becomes a Catch-22 problem. The more the data is buffered and manipulated across the medium, the greater the risks of introducing errors.

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