If You Go To The Olympics, You Can Bring Your iPhone Or Android Phone... But You Better Not Tether

from the wireless-police? dept

Among the latest bizarre limitations that the Olympics puts on people is a ban on any sort of private WiFi network via your mobile connection. That is, you're not allowed to tether your phone, turn it into a WiFi hotspot or use a device like a MiFi to create the same effect:
A first for any Olympic Games is the ban on personal or private wireless access points and 3G hubs, which are not allowed at London Olympics events and venues.

iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets are permitted inside venues, but must not be used as wireless access points to connect multiple devices.
It's possible (or perhaps likely) that this is done to help local mobile operators from having their networks overburdened, but, really, you'd think that the mobile operators would be out in droves with those "cells on wheels" (COW) vehicles that provide significantly more cellular power at high traffic events. Still, I'm curious as to how anyone enforces such a ban. It's pretty easy to hide a MiFi. And turning your phone into a hotspot and slipping it back into a pocket would make it almost impossible to detect. The whole ban just seems pointless.

Filed Under: hotspots, olympics, tethering, wifi, wireless

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  1. icon
    Tunnen (profile), 25 Jul 2012 @ 2:14pm

    They are trying to claim this Olympics as the first social media Olympics (Conveniently forgetting that the Vancouver games were) but at the same time trying to limit how social media connects to the web?

    Also, I don't see how they think the ban will work. I'm assuming this is to try to prevent excessive interference in the 2.5 Ghz range that might caused issues with in-house wireless networks used by event staff. But, if that was the reasoning, they should have had enough foresight to either setup their network on the lesser used 5 Ghz band (which most cellphones don't support) or other communication technology altogether.

    In the end, people will still do it and will likely not get caught. If they do get caught, the worse I can see the staff doing is asking the person to leave the premises.

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