Wireless or wired presentation?
With a variety of products for wireless presentation in meeting rooms and an increasing need for security, a serious question keeps popping up. Is a wired connection needed, or is a wireless connection absolutely fundamental?
To answer the question, let’s first look into the reason why wireless doesn’t always deliver on the promises. First of all, it is adement to say that a wireless connection, such as through Barco, will normally work flawlessly if set up properly AND maintained properly. Products like Barco ClickShare need product updates and upgrades on a regular basis to make joy of the feature updates and security updates. However, in many organizations, administrators would like to lock these systems out of the main (wireless) network and put them on the guest network. And where the main network enjoys updates, the guest network is often forgotten. And this is exactly when connection problems may occur. Resident users may not notice this (because they are on the same network), but guest users may experience connection problems, which is an embarrassing but commonly known sight: the guest user trying to figure out if he did something wrong with his PC and the host asking himself the question why it always has to happen to his guests in the office.
There is no easy solution. Yealink, Mersive, Barco, Poly, and many other vendors have a nice all-promising-flawless solution, but the uptime is only guaranteed via the discipline throughout the lifecycle of the product when regular updates are respected. Product & room maintenance is essential. A serious alternative is the simple HDMI cable. In many situations, an HDMI cable may be discretely connected to the base unit providing the screen connection. As odd it may seem, many feel comfortable with a simple connection of the cable that always work.
Another simple trick is to make the guest network the preferred network of the wireless presentation device. Although this may not always work in every organisation, many companies found peace of mind with this simple solution.
The underlying problem is a big amount of protocols and resolutions. Miracast requires no additional dongle, wireless router, or Internet connection and is simple to set up and operate. There isn’t a media streaming option, though. While Chromecast and Airplay allow both screen mirroring and media streaming, they are only compatible with Apple and Google products, respectively. So it is also important to decide what is being casted to the screen (for what purpose) and how this is catered.
A growing number of devices are recognising the problems and definitely there will be some improvements in new products to come, or feature updates of existing problems. Fact: there is no simple answer to a problem that seems so easy to solve. It is yet very interesting to find out which product will soon easily transmit the correct image to the display in the meeting room, respecting the proper resolution, being able to transmit audio and video without interruption and above all; provide a good connection to start with.