Welcome to The Long View—where we peruse the news of the week and strip it to the essentials. Let’s work out what really matters.
This week: The first silicon for Wi-Fi 7, Google’s search quality “is” failing, and what Severance tells us about The Great Resignation.
1. New, Shiny 802.11be is Better, Stronger, Faster
First up this week: Broadcom claims it’s first out the gate with chips for the new Wi-Fi 7 standard (although “draft standard” is more accurate). 802.11be kit should be faster and more deterministic, suffer less from interference and improve latency. Mediatek and Qualcomm are also expected to launch silicon this year.
Analysis: It’s not just about speed
So-called “extremely high throughput” isn’t the only benefit here. Combining non-contiguous channels—even across three different bands—and supporting 16 spatial streams should make for huge quality improvements in densely populated areas.
Paul Lilly: Broadcom Is Sampling Wi-Fi 7 Chips
Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be), a next-generation wireless standard … is officially off the ground (sort of) with Broadcom sampling complete end-to-end chipset solutions. … Don’t feel bad if you’re overwhelmed by all the wireless standards in the wild. It wasn’t that long ago when … 802.11ac was king of the hill, then came Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and, not too long after, Wi-Fi 6E … to take advantage of the 6GHz spectrum.
Part of the benefit of Wi-Fi 7 is it theoretically supports up to around 46Gbps of throughput, versus 9.6Gbps for Wi-Fi 6/6E. [And it] introduces a technology called Multi-Link Operation (MLO), which enables devices to aggregate channels and rapidly switch between them [to] pick out the less congested channel. … The net gain for consumers and enterprise customers is … a five-fold increase in capacity, much better latency, and broader coverage.
Don’t fret if you just upgraded to Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E, though. It will take some time for Wi-Fi 7 to penetrate the market.
I just want my AP to reach all four corners of This Old House. Zandikar explains why the industry isn’t going that way:
[You] are asking for higher power devices that interfere with each other. … Imagine how bad it would be if everyone had a “smart” home and all of those devices on the block were competing with each other for the same spectrum.
Lower power, lower latency, lower penetration … and lower costs should absolutely be the goal. That’s not to say high penetration wireless doesn’t have its uses … but those are few and far between in a consumer use case—especially if you can run an affordable lower power, lower penetration meshnet that doesn’t cause interference with your own devices, or with your neighbors.
Stand by for more useless marketing, thinks kpb321:
I get that they want/need bigger numbers to attract the bigger is better consumers but … those speed enhancements [are] never going to apply. … There might be some benefit in aggregate performance if the router supports multiple spatial and MU-MIMO allowing it to talk to multiple clients at once in different spatial streams. … The low latency … and multi-link stuff actually looks useful … but it doesn’t give the big number to advertise.
2. Google’s Search Quality Is Failing
It’s hard to ignore a Reddit thread with 3,000 comments in 48 hours. A short, innocent question on r/NoStupidQuestions exploded, seemingly striking a chord with many.
Analysis: Brace for another SERPS algorithm change
In summary, the answer seems to be, “Yes: Google’s search quality has gone downhill fast.” And the culprit? The chaotic evils of search engine optimization.
u/PizzaInteraction: Does anyone else think Google search quality has gone downhill fast?
I feel like SEO (search engine optimization) has ruined Google. Unless you are looking for something obvious, all the search results are websites that are barely tangential to your search terms.
I always laugh when I enter, like, four search terms and all the results focus on just one of the terms. … Yes Google, I was just messing around when I added those extra terms. Thanks for ignoring them for me.
Then you just enter “MX518” and all the results are, “518 ways to spice up your life!”
If Shakespeare’s Dick The Butcher was alive today, would he say, “Let’s kill all the SEO experts”? Here’s u/Healthy-Contest-1605:
Just like capitalism, SEO was nice when no one knew how it worked so the system generally worked to improve the situation. Then everyone learned how it worked exactly and abuse the system to get their product/website at the top to get more ad views. Same thing is happening with YouTube.
So … we get, “Buzzfeed wannabe turns a four sentence paragraph into a barely coherent word salad that tries to mention the keyword 50+ times.”
What about alternatives to Google? big_blind has tried a few:
I personally switched search engines and it has made coding, general searches, and overall just browsing the internet 10x smoother. I tried a couple like DDG, Brave Search, and Kagi.
I started using You.com and find the search results just better than Google’s. Less SEO sites bogging down search results, website filtering, and optimized results layout.
3. The Great Resignation Is Still a Thing
Friction caused by return-to-work mandates continues to cause fires. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, with the supply/demand equation the way it is, DevOps workers feel they hold all the cards.
Analysis: No end in sight
DevOps attrition is still running at savage levels. So what can dystopian sci-fi teach us? The Apple TV+ series, Severance, has been poking fun at the idea of terrible tchotchkes encouraging us in.
Elizabeth Spiers: What ‘Severance’ Gets Right About Infantilizing Office Perks
Among the many brilliant touches in the dystopian workplace thriller “Severance,” on Apple TV+, are the perks offered by Lumon Industries, the cultlike … corporation where the series takes place. … It’s hard not to see real-world analogues … especially in the post-pandemic flurry of office happy hours and gift card giveaways, as companies try to lure … workers back to offices.
Companies aren’t wrong to perceive a reluctance to return to offices among some workers. … After two years, those who were able to work from home have seen real benefits — reclaiming time from commutes, flexibility for family responsibilities, freedom from perpetual distractions and restrictive dress codes — and now they can’t unsee them. … Who wants to give up the two hours a day they gain by not commuting for a coffee mug?
Not all companies are in denial about what they need to do to get workers back on board with coming into the office; many are offering permanent flexibility for remote work and hybrid schedules, and finally addressing workplace discrimination issues. … The larger context is important, too. We’re still experiencing a pandemic [and] the war in Ukraine has heightened everyone’s sense of how fragile global stability is.
I am astounded how many people think that IT jobs aren’t creative jobs. Indeed, most managers seem to think that IT is a conveyor belt job—thus idiocy like Agile happens.
I have started laughing at interviewers when they started listing all the “perks” they offer. My usual question is, “How does your company make sure it gets out of the way of me getting my job done?”
Oh no, SimonInOz, you too?
Don’t get me started on Agile—OMG.
Wait. Pause. What’s all this about “Severance”? gordon_freeman remembers:
Just finished watching Severance and it was mind-blowing and very thought provoking. … I don’t know why not more people are talking about it the way they did about Squid Game.