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Issue #2003 - 05 (February 2003)
(Updated Feb. 13, 2003)


Defense Department Resolves Interference Issues with WiFi - 

Source: Richard Shim - ZDNet News

Tech companies and the Department of Defense have reached a compromise on the future of wireless networking, addressing military concerns about radar interference. 

The two parties said that they had reached a resolution that establishes a new radio frequency threshold for products using unlicensed radio spectrum--primarily Wi-Fi products. Wi-Fi is a technology that lets devices located within a 300-foot radius communicate with one another wirelessly. 

The Department of Defense was worried that the cumulative effect of Wi-Fi products could interfere with the military's use of radar because the regions of the spectrum in which Wi-Fi and radar operate overlap somewhat. 

"We feel comfortable that the new limits will protect military radar," said Badri Younes, a director of spectrum management at the Department of Defense. 

The two sides had been working on creating limits that allowed devices to continue to use Wi-Fi technology, domestically and internationally, while not interfering with radar. 

Official statements about the resolution are expected next week from various government agencies, such as the National Telecom Information Agency (NTIA). 

The resolution will also apply to the additional spectrum that is being requested by Senators Barbara Boxer, D-California, and George Allen, R-Virginia, under the proposed Jumpstart Broadband Act. The bill proposes opening up an additional 255MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 5GHz band. A 300MHz slice of the 5GHz band is being used for wireless networking, while only 83MHz of spectrum is being used in the 2.4GHz band. 

"Now that this technical issue has been resolved, Congress should proceed to enact the Boxer-Allen bill," Boxer said in a statement released late Friday. "This bill is vital for the buildout of broadband, a technology that has shown that its use has a direct, positive impact on productivity and learning." 

The two senators had been promoting the legislation as a means of bringing broadband access to the masses. The potential revenue number of broadband subscribers in rural areas and small cities does not outweigh the cost of introducing the service in those areas. The act would lay the groundwork for more powerful, cheaper long-range wireless networks for providing broadband access. The bill also sets "rules of the road" for the launch of wireless networks to avoid transmissions interfering with bandwidth used by others such as the military. 

The new resolution removes an obstacle to the acceptance of the bill and encourages the use of the 5GHz band in the United States and internationally. The use of this band is likely to be a significant topic at the upcoming World Radio Conference in June in Geneva. 

Source: Richard Shim - ZDNET
For more information: http://www.zdnet.com

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: This is good news for WiFi and wireless in the enterprise. Many government agencies were worried for both security and interference reasons. We feel that there is enough momentum for WiFi that roadblocks like these will be solved or resolved. Security problems are being addressed quickly by vendors and the second generation WLAN products are reasonably secure so long as the security practitioners do not just complain about the problem but also implement policy and procedural guidelines at the same time as they implement software security solutions. We, the IT professionals are paid to solve problems, not simply to put out warning signals.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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