John Coleman wa5bxo at pctechref.com
Fri Jan 28 14:42:01 EST 2005

Original Message from WB5PKD

High speed Net, Wi-Fi interfering with military radar
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) - High speed and wireless Internet
connections are interfering with radar at this Florida Panhandle base, Air
Force officials say. They notified Okaloosa County officials, who responded
Thursday by warning that if the interference is intentional violators would
be fined and their equipment confiscated. Eglin is home of the Air Force's
Air Armament Center, which develops and tests "smart" bombs and other
high-tech weapons over the Gulf of Mexico and ranges on the base, which
covers 724 square miles. Radar is a vital tracking tool for those tests. The
troubled frequency band is in the 5.6 gigahertz to 5.8 gigahertz range.
"There are evidently people who are firing up (wireless Internet) hot spots
without (Federal Communications Commission) licensing," County Manager Chris
Holley said. He said Air Force officials told him the interference is
infrequent but that they hope to stop the trouble before it becomes
widespread. The interference seems to coming from Internet access lines
being installed in new apartments, hotels and condominiums or buildings
being retrofitted for Internet service. It is unclear whether other bases
are experiencing similar problems or what the consequences of the
interference might be. Spokesmen for the Air Force and FCC did not
immediately return calls seeking comment. The Defense Department and
technology companies two years ago struck a compromise designed to prevent
such interference. Manufacturers agreed to build new computer gear with
technology to detect and actively avoid interfering with military radars
that operate on similar frequencies. In exchange, defense officials endorsed
proposals to nearly double the amount of lucrative wireless frequencies
available for Internet use.

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