[unisog] Wireless in residence building - Tricky problem

Tim O'Connor tim at roughdraft.org
Wed Nov 5 21:54:53 GMT 2003

On Wed, Nov 05, 2003 at 01:50:59PM -0500, Bob Kalal wrote:

> What? The profs never noticed all the students reading the
> campus paper, browsing magazines, and using cell phones
> in the lecture hall?

Ah, very good -- this is PRECISELY one of the arguments we made.  (Um,
and we included napping, an essential part of amphitheater life.)  We
tried to steer it away from being a TECHNICAL discussion in the
direction of a real-life discussion: yes, there are cutoff switches for
APs, but not for newspapers/doodlers/snoozers/game-players/SMS
users/usw, so we attempted to put APs in the context of everything else
that could be a distraction.

But the technophobic lecturers carried the day.  Fear, uncertainty, and
doubt won out.  I don't know if the switches have gone in yet, but the
last I heard, the executive order was given to make it so.  I hasten to
add that the security and networking people among us definitely saw it
as a no-brainer.  But we did not carry the requisite academic weight.

> Well for that case I suppose you could fill the hall
> with water as a countermeasure. That would make the
> newspapers soggy & hard to read and probably short out
> the cell phones. hard to play a remote game on a shorted
> out cell.

You forgot pestilence.  That always helps make a flood more fun any day.


As for the message that pointed out jamming in a public space
and how cell phones don't operate in the 2.4GHz range: I am sorry for
being unclear.  I was conflating the issue of jamming an AP in a private
space (a lecture hall) with that of jamming cellular traffic in some
public space (a performance hall).  

I agree that there might be any number of objections raised by cell 
companies about jamming cell traffic.  What surprised me was how the 
topic never came up (that I recall) in the general discussion of what 
to do about cell phones being used at the theater.  I never thought 
of what the FCC might have to say.  The comments here about FCC 
penalties were enlightening.



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