The Plague of Windows WiFi Support

Why is it that every vendor of Wi-Fi client hardware without exception insists on creating their own wireless configuration utility?

When trying to assist end users with wireless setup over the phone, it is cumbersome enough having to memorize the ever changing Windows Control Panel layout without the added kludge of a distinct wireless configuration utility.

This issue currently affects every brand of wireless chipset I’ve yet encountered, Atheros, Intel, Intersil, etc. To make matters worse, specific OEM’s notebook computers somehow find it necessary to also have their own branded configuration utility (Dell, Toshiba, etc).

This seems like an enormous step backwards. Why do vendors think us poor IT guys desire supporting a plethora of user interfaces all completely different from the last? Is there something wrong with providing a good ol’ fashioned driver and letting the operating system sort out the details? If not, then perhaps vendors need to get busy and follow suit with Ethernet drivers. Perhaps every Ethernet card should have it’s own GUI for configuration of TCP/IP parameters! Why stop there, every video card vendor should develop their own GUI for configuration of resolution, color depth, and refresh rate…

Why allow end users to configure WEP or WPA security in one simple universal interface if you could instead force them to learn it multiple times, once for each Windows based wireless device they use? Isn’t this fun!?

While we’re at it, let’s just drop this apparently foreign and silly notion of operating systems and go back to the glorious 80’s when every application existed in loneliness on its own isolated island.

Perhaps I’m overreacting a little. These vendor specific utility can be un-installed in favor of the integrated Windows Wi-Fi Client (assuming you know the vendor specific way of un-installing the client without also removing the driver). All else aside, had I encountered just one more variant of wireless configuration on Windows without writing this rant, I just may have lost all sanity and snapped.

The key to this is simple: When one understands the concepts, as does any tech oriented individual, the interface is irrelevant. Subtle to major differences are not going to be an issue. However, for the masses of normal people whom don’t know, and don’t care to know, the difference between a “hard drive” and a “computer,” these subtle changes cause major issues. When normal people have computer issues, they phone their tech. Techs must therefore know in great photo-realistic detail the intricate location of every button, text label and misc widget of their wireless configuration utility.

What ever happened to the notion of standardization?

2 Responses to “The Plague of Windows WiFi Support”

  1. Andre Mendonca Says:

    you know, this is the kind of thing that makes me like Macs.
    (not that I’m a fanboy or anything, but Mac OS makes so much more sense when it comes to this stuff…)

  2. Denis Lemire Says:

    Agreed… I try to be more of an anti-Windows zealot then a Mac fanboy myself… I use a number of platforms for my day to day work, just none of them happen to be Windows… I can’t tolerate a crippled mediocre operating system. 🙂

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