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Whose Problem is WLAN Interference?: Page 2 of 2

Industry experts propose two solutions. The first is simply to allocate more unlicensed bandwidth--after all, there's plenty of licensed spectrum that isn't being used. But look at the difficulties the U.S. government has faced in trying to come up with licensed frequency for 3G wireless systems and it'll be obvious that increasing the amount of unlicensed spectrum is no stroll in the park.

The second possible solution is self-regulation: no need to involve politicians and government technocrats when the industry can police itself. There's some merit to this argument because the industry has a vested interest in keeping things under control--the airwaves are a public good, but without regulation, all hell could break loose. Yet while technical solutions for many interference problems are indeed possible and a number have been implemented, you have to wonder whether a mere Band-Aid can stop the kind of bleeding the wireless industry may have in store.

And if the industry can't solve these problems, can the FCC? Frankly, I'm not optimistic. It makes perfect sense to question the logic of building mission-critical information services on top of unlicensed radios, especially in densely populated outdoor environments. If there's any good news, it's that wireless LANs are so compelling they may pay for themselves well before interference becomes a serious problem. Just remember you need a fallback plan if and when that time does come.