Why is no one suing the Wireless LAN industry?

Why is no one suing the Wireless LAN industry?

Summary: In yesterday's news, two major victories for the consumers were handed down by the court system.  First, Apple was forced to settle with owners of iPods which only had 50% of the battery life in actual run time compared to what was advertised.

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TOPICS: Networking
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In yesterday's news, two major victories for the consumers were handed down by the court system.  First, Apple was forced to settle with owners of iPods which only had 50% of the battery life in actual run time compared to what was advertised.  Second, Gillette was ruled to have falsely advertised the "hair lifting" capability of their M3Power razor.  In Gillette's case, they were ordered to stop using the false ads but Gillette had already stopped before the ruling so there doesn't seem to be much punishment.  In Apple's case, they will be forced to pay owners of the defective iPods $50 or replace them with a new battery.  Unfortunately, this ruling doesn't apply to the iPod mini which promises up to 18 hours of battery life on Apple's website but a good friend of mine who has an iPod mini swears he only gets 4 hours no matter how careful he is.

These cases were settled in court, but what about other industries such as the consumer wireless LAN market?  It's routine for many wireless LAN equipment makers to sell bastardized variations of the 802.11g standard that promise "turbo g" or "super g" speeds of 108 megabits per second when in reality they top out at around 30 megabits per second even under the best conditions.  Even the new "pre-N" products that utilize Airgo's MIMO technology top out around 40 megabits per second yet they brag about "600%" improved performance over regular 802.11g when in reality it's more like a 60% improvement in maximum sustainable throughput.  Tomsnetworking is one of the few hardware review sites that actually provide detailed performance benchmarks but that only benefits the technically savvy users who spend the time to do the research.  The typical consumer just goes to the store and relies on the literature on the retail boxes.  Unfortunately, the practice of grossly inflating wireless LAN performance numbers is so wide spread that almost every single vendor does it or face total annihilation from their competition.  It almost seems that everyone just goes along with the lie until someone lies a little more which causes everyone else to rise to the same level of deception.  Why is it that none of these vendors have the courage to stand up and sue their competitors for false advertising?  If one were cynical, it's almost as if they all enjoy charging 100% premiums for products that only deliver a 20% improvement in performance.

Aside from these obvious false advertising cases, what about the issue of consumer safety?  Hospitals are being forced to comply with HIPAA regulations to help protect patient's personal data, publicly owned corporations are being forced to comply with SOX, and retailers are forced by the credit card companies to comply with PCI standards to protect consumers from fraud.  Yet a mega corporation like Sony is releasing the brand new PSP (Play Station Portable) with utterly defective wireless LAN security that will probably force half the broadband enabled homes in the country to open themselves wide open to a wireless LAN attack because of a five year old flaw in WEP encryption.  While the dangers may not be obvious, this can expose millions of home computers to data theft and system compromises which can lead to serious financial damage to the owner of the PC.  Essentially, this is like a car company selling a 2005 model car without door locks, seatbelts and anti-lock breaks.

I'm not a fan of lawsuits, but I think the companies in question here should do some serious thinking and do the right thing.  I have a message for these companies.  Don't wait for a Judge to slap you down with a ruling and just do the right thing.  Label the products with at least semi-accurate numbers, and don't release products with five year old vulnerabilities in the first place but at least provide a timely free fix if you do.  We consumers spend our hard earned dollars to keep you in business.  The least we can expect is a fair deal.  Am I being naive?  Talk back and tell us of your thoughts.

Topic: Networking

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39 comments
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  • You can get what you want

    as soon as YOUR contributions to the FCC "overlords" exceed the contribs from the wireless companies.
    Roger Ramjet
  • As soon as I saw the title, I knew this was Ou

    What law office is promising you a kickback for starting this scuffle?

    If you really want it to benefit someone, send the issue to NYS's @ss-kicking AG - Eliot Spitzer. The man gets things done.

    http://www.oag.state.ny.us/
    ejhonda
    • You don't have a problem with this?

      Can you tell me what is the difference between the Gillette razor ads and the wireless LAN performance ads? You don?t have a problem with companies selling defective products? You don?t have a problem with someone advertising 108 mbps and only deliver 30 mbps? If your DSL provider promised you 5 mbps downstream for a monthly premium but only delivered 768 kbps, you wouldn?t have a problem with that?

      Just wondering.
      george_ou
      • Welcome to Bush World

        I absolutely have a problem with deceitful corporate actions. Unfortunately, this is such a small impact issue that it's not going to get much attention from anyone that can do something about it. I applaud you for taking it on, but I don't hold out much hope. Look at the absolutely staggering costs surrounding spam - and yet there has been virtually nothing of substance to come out of any responsible government entity.

        The only route this seems headed for is class action lawsuit, and I despise those simply because they represent a plump legal fee for the participating law firm and nothing of substance for the consumer who actually suffered from the action in the first place.
        ejhonda
        • You're on both extremes of the issue

          First you blast me as a co-conspirator of lawyers and Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer by the way is loved by the Democrats.

          Then you label this as a Bush conspiracy.

          Call me simple minded, but I?m baffled by your inconsistency.
          george_ou
  • Add claims = grain of salt

    You know, I am still waiting to get a Whopper that looks like the one in the Burger King Commecial....
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • But 3x bigger?

      Not saying you don't have a point about food ads, but they're not promising you 1 pound of meat and only delivering 0.3 pounds of meat.
      george_ou
      • Well, technically ...

        Just to be a pain ... the weight of the meat they advertise is the pre-cooked weight. Going from memory, I seem to recall the weight after cooking is anywhere from 60% to 80% of the pre-cooked weight, depending on the quality/fat content of the meat.

        So, technically, when you order one pound of meat, that's usually not what you actually get on your plate once it's prepared.
        ac2_z
        • But that's still not 3 times

          Even after cooking, you're still not talking about a 3x inflation in the numbers here. I?m talking about advertising 30 mbps as 108 mbps.
          george_ou
          • But I really want my 1/4 lb burger to weigh a 1/4 lb after cooking (nt)

            .
            ac2_z
          • Fair enough

            No problem there. I wouldn't mind if all advertising were forced to be accurate.
            george_ou
        • Still doesn't cut it

          A 'quarter-pounder' (about 113.4 g) doesn't weigh a quarter-pound even if you include the bun, 'salad' and packaging!

          Yes, MacDonalds claim that it weighs a quarter-pound much [b]before[/b] cooking, but try making a quarter-pound meat patty, they cook it down to by even 20% and it becomes inedible.

          http://www.mcdonalds.com/app_controller.nutrition.categories.ingredients.index.html

          Here's why you shouldn't be eating it:

          http://www.lowfatveggiefood.co.uk/fastfood.htm
          Fred Fredrickson
      • I'll give you that... But, the point is---

        Advertizing clains should be taken with a grain of salt regardless of who it is. Does the size of the lie really matter? I mean if going in I know they are lying, then I am highly suspect of anything they have to say. Something about, "Buyer beware".

        The real sticking point about it and why it's not in court is that it's near impossible to draw a line based on how big the lie is. Can yu imagine one competitor taking another to court?

        Your honor, our complaint is that our competition are more accomplished liars than we are. We have tried, believe me we have tried. We have lied to the public until no one trusts anyone. But we just can't match the liars in their management and marketing....

        Somehow I don't think the court would be impressed. <g>
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • I know too many people who aren't aware

          The size of the lie does matter. I get a lot of people asking me for advice and I wince when I hear how gullible they are. They're always suckered by the false advertising.

          Clearly, the courts have told Apple and Gillette to stop it and fix the damage.

          I remember when hard drive makers were sued a few years ago even though they were only off the advertised size by a little. My point is, consumers shouldn't have to put up with false advertising, and they shouldn't have to put up with defective products that expose them to security threats based on five year old vulnerabilities. These are legitimate complaints. This is not like people go around chasing ambulances.
          george_ou
          • As I said, Buyer Beware...

            That has always been the case, it always will be. I don't know that it's the government's job to try and change that. We arn't tlaking about a life threatening situation like an exploding gas tank, or even about a drug that might cause harm. Shrug...
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • It is the government's job to combat fraud

            It is the government's job to combat fraud
            I believe in a very limited government. I agree with you that there are too many things that the government is engaged in to buy the citizens votes. However, one of the fundamental responsibilities of the government is to combat fraud. Even the Libertarians will agree with that.
            george_ou
          • So you think

            that vendors should be able to say what they like? That anything goes? Should Apple be able to sell their Mac's as the worlds fastest computers, period? Or Microsoft that Windows is [b]the[/b] most secure OS on earth?

            Most consumers have no idea whether the claims are right or wrong, they rely on advertising to be truthful.

            If you say it's OK to lie in advertising, then what isn't it OK to lie about? Can a company lie about it's financial position? It's sales last month? The salaries and benefits of directors?

            Or can they lie in an advertisement, but not in a company report to the SEC?

            The government has already made it illegal, it is now up to 'the system' (i.e. some motivated individuals) to actually do something about it.
            Fred Fredrickson
  • Although I can see your point

    Don't you think there are enough lawsuits in court now? It seems to me that we have become a society bent on suing the piss out of each other over some of the stupidest things.

    Yes I would be upset if I wasn't getting what was advertised. But what ever happened to talking to the provider / business and working together towards a solution that benefits both parties?

    Have our social skills atrophied so bad that we can no longer resolve our own issues? This is a fundamental problem with modern American society. Not only are we getting fat, lazy and stupid, but our basic social skills and problem solving talent / techniques is decaying at an alarming rate!

    I could probably go on for hours about how messed up we are... but what's the point!? Some lazy tard will try to sue me because I offended them in some twisted way.
    Linux User 147560
    • Amen, brother....

      Although, it seems that the reverse of what you say is true, the tards are too lazy fat and stupid to design/advertise properly in the first place, so you have to force them into it with litigation. The whole thing is fubar.
      Kamikaze_Ohka
    • That is the point of this discussion

      You're absolutely right. There is way too much litigation in this country, especially the frivolous kind where companies are being sued out of existence and tens of thousands of employees loose their jobs. Silicon breast implants, asbestos, and malpractice come to mind. That is not the point of this article. What I'm trying to do is raise awareness among the public and the companies.

      I'm not serving them a legal notice here; I'm asking the companies involved here to simply do the right thing. I raised the Apple and Gillette case as an example of that should not have happened. I just hope they take my advice and stay out of court in the first place.
      george_ou