U.S. Military Fears Wireless Internet Threat

New forms of wireless Internet access may pose a threat to the functioning of military radar, say U.S. Department of Defense officials, who are seeking a limit on the technologies.

02/03/2003


New forms of wireless Internet access may pose a threat to the functioning of military radar, say U.S. Department of Defense officials, who are seeking a limit on the technologies. Major communications industry players %%MDASSML%% including Microsoft and Intel %%MDASSML%% are working to head off government restrictions on the use of these technologies, pitting national security concerns against economic interests.

Industry executives acknowledge that as technologies such as the WiFi system are increasingly applied, high-speed wireless Internet access will crowd radio frequencies used by the military. But, they argue, new frequency sharing techniques are an effective safeguard against civilian interference with radar systems.

The issue concerns low-power radio emissions that Defense Department officials claim could jam as many as 10 types of military radar systems. However, according to a spokeperson from the office of engineering and technology for the Federal Communications Commission, so far, there are no reported cases of civilian wireless Internet use interfering with military operations.

Industry officials point to the existence of smart wireless devices -- already used in Europe and soon to appear in the United States -- that sense nearby military radar and automatically yield right of way. Still, Pentagon officialsused abroad to avoid interference. But industry executives fear that the technology will play havoc with wireless access.





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