Skip to content

OPLIN 4cast #418: Jamming hotspots, Episode 2

Posted in 4cast

Marriott logoA couple of months ago, we published a 4cast post about “Jamming hotspots” and the big fine the Marriott hotel chain had to pay the Federal Communications Commission after people complained that Marriott was blocking the mobile hotspots those people were trying to set up in convention centers, to bypass the (expensive) Marriott Wi-Fi. Well, the fine is not the end of the story. Marriott and the hotel industry had already formally asked the FCC to change their rules and allow them to block mobile hotspots, and that request has now drawn some significant opposition. As we noted before, all of this could be of interest to technicians responsible for maintaining library Wi-Fi networks.

  • Hotels ask FCC for permission to block guests’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots (PC World | Grant Gross)  “Back in August, Marriott, business partner Ryman Hospitality Properties and trade group the American Hotel and Lodging Association asked the FCC to clarify [pdf] when hotels can block outside Wi-Fi hotspots in order to protect their internal Wi-Fi services. In that petition, the hotel group asked the agency to ‘declare that the operator of a Wi-Fi network does not violate [U.S. law] by using FCC-authorized equipment to monitor and mitigate threats to the security and reliability of its network,’ even when taking action causes interference to mobile devices. The comment period for the petition ended Friday, so now it’s up to the FCC to either agree to Marriott’s petition or disregard it.”
  • Google, Cisco, Microsoft, others weigh in on Marriott’s Wi-Fi network management petition (FierceWirelessTech | Monica Alleven)  “To support their argument, the hotel industry petitioners referred to a number of network management practices at more than 20 public and private universities, many of which use various techniques to ensure network performance. ‘In every single policy cited, the university reserves the right to limit use of its own network,’ Google said in its filing. For instance, Duke University places restrictions on users of excessive bandwidth on its network; Georgetown prohibits the use of its proprietary network for illegally sharing music or consuming excessive amounts of storage. But these types of practices are targeting the university’s own network. ‘None of the schools prohibit students, faculty or guests from accessing other networks not managed by the university itself, as petitioners seek permission to do,’ Google said in the filing.”
  • Google, wireless industry not down with Marriott’s Wi-Fi blocking plan (Re/code | Amy Schatz)  “The wireless industry’s trade group, CTIA, noted that wireless phones or other gadgets that use Wi-Fi have ‘equal rights to use unlicensed spectrum; no single entity may intentionally prevent others from using that spectrum.’ ‘The public is best served by increasing the potential for these networks, not allowing an individual Wi-Fi network manager unilaterally to shut them down,’ CTIA told the FCC. Wi-Fi networks run on unlicensed airwaves, which means that anyone can use them.”
  • Why Google Inc & Microsoft Corporation are fighting Marriott International Inc (Insider Monkey | Solon Harmony B. Dolor)  “In the first place, why should Marriott block people from using their own smartphones (or tablets and dedicated mobile Wi-Fi devices) as Wi-Fi hotspots just so they can turn around and charge $14.95 per day (nearly $20 if you get the ‘enhanced’ Wi-Fi connection option) for internet connectivity? However, it can be safely assumed too that Google Inc and Microsoft Corporation are willing to take on Marriott International Inc because they see that this could be precedent to help them fight other businesses or organizations that plan to do the same. In essence, they are against deterrents to people going online because they want people to continue to use their services.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library: