Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olympic WiFi police on hunt for rogue hotspots

Personal wireless access points prohibited at Olympic venues

The organizing committee of the 2012 London Games is drawing the ire of techies for its attempt to police the use of portable WiFi hotspots and 3G hubs at Olympic venues.

An image of an alleged member of the Olympics "WiFi police" armed with a radar-gun-like frequency detector had technology blogs and news websites buzzing this week after it was posted on Twitter by Sadao Turner, who has been blogging and sharing photos from the Games.

The devices, actually portable directional antennas that identify where signals of a certain frequency are coming from, are reportedly being used to detect frequencies that are not among those that were authorized for use at Olympic sites by the U.K. Office of Communications.

Some of these rogue frequencies are coming from portable routers and 3G hubs that people at Olympic events are using to get online.

One possible aim of shutting down such WiFi access points is to cut down on interference with essential wireless communications being used by those refereeing, reporting on and working at the sporting events.
Equipment that uses wireless communications to transmit data is ubiquitous at any large public event these days, and at the London Olympics, this includes everything from wireless microphones and cameras used by referees and media to the radios that venue staff use to communicate.

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