Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not enough air for WiFi

On his blog over at Enterprise Irregulars, Zoli Erdos talks about The Chaos of BYOW (Bring Your Own Wi-Fi).

This is what happens when too many geeks gather together - none have his WiFi working...

The WiFi networks operates in the unlicensed 2.4Ghz/5Ghz spectrum, which means anyone can create a network without paying any royalties to a regulator. However, the FCC does regulate the WiFi devices ( and other wireless devices ) in regards to their maximum transmission power ( Tx Power ). The FCC does that in order to ensure public safety, by limiting the device radiation. The current maximum transmission power for WiFi devices ( 30dBm ) is good enough for places where you have few networks, operating at different channels, not crowded enough to make any real congestion. However, in today's world, when each person can create his own network easily, current power limitations might not be sufficient.

I would like to suggest that devices which are defined as mobile - mostly cell phones ( when used as Access Points for Tethering, not when used as Stations ) and MiFi devices - must be regulated for a much lower maximum Tx power. This would limit their wireless reach, and will not affect neighbour devices. After all, this devices are used for creating a network in a very small physical distance. Not to mention this can contribute to much longer battery life.

What do you think? Should we force such limitations?

More on WiFi networks:

Wi-Fi (802.11) Network Handbook

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