Reply to post: Re: Mr

Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?

jamesb2147

Re: Mr

There's not a concise, easy answer to this, so my apologies for the length of replies you'll need to read to be reasonably informed on the topic.

Congress granted authority to the FCC to create and manage rules around licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The FCC determined that for unlicensed spectrum, they would have a very limited set of rules, primarily regarding power levels and harmful interference. None of the rules are about business relationships and Congress did not give them that authority with respect to wireless rulemaking. Unfortunately, I don't have the rules nor the law on hand to reference.

I do, however, have a link to this NANOG archive with discussion from a bunch of enterprise wireless/WISP guys, some of whom are frequently actively involved in the regulatory process.

http://mailman.nanog.org/pipermail/nanog/2014-October/thread.html#70335

Look for anything regarding Marriott wifi blocking. Seriously, take some time, it's a fascinating read, and you'll have a much better understanding of the FCC's role in WiFi networking.

The long and the short of it is that the airwaves are a public space. You have a right to them as much as your neighbor. Since RF travels *across* property, some people confuse the land (and some ambiguous amount of space above it) which they own, with the RF spectrum, which they most definitely have a right to but do not own. RF spectrum is considered to be for everyone's use and therefore everyone must play by the rules (created by the FCC). That includes even if it's entirely on your property, with a point-to-point wireless link miles away from anyone else. If you crank up the power above what's allowed, you might not get caught, but if you are, the FCC could fine you just the same as they did Marriott, even though it was entirely on your property and may not have detrimentally impacted anyone. The point is that you have a right to use the unlicensed spectrum, but so does everyone else, so the FCC was designated as making the rules, and their rule is no harmful RF interference (and they have determined that spoofed de-auth packets are harmful interference). That's it. You don't have a God given right to use WiFi on everyone else's property, you can expect your device, if you use it within the spectrum, will not be detrimentally impacted by other devices using the spectrum (except by overloading it, because that happens, but isn't considered "harmful interference").

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