Carrier WiFi

Pop-Up Pariahs

Here's yet another reason to hate those stupid little wireless video cameras that are constantly advertised via irritating pop-up ads on the Internet: Installing one can really mess up your 802.11b wireless LAN network.

The tiny cameras, which use the same 2.4GHz band as the 802.11b wireless LAN specification, generate a lot of interference on such networks, according to AirMagnet, which has developed handheld monitoring tools for WLAN networks that can be used to root the godforsaken cameras out of corporate environments.

"They're the worst 2.4GHz noise generator out there," claims Dean Au, president and CEO of AirMagnet. "They have a signal-to-noise ratio of 40 percent… If you install one of those in your environment you're going to take the network down."

Of course, the cameras aren't by any means the only thing that can cause interference on an 802.11b network. Cordless phones and microwave emissions can both clog up the 2.4GHz band; and simply installing too many 802.11b access points in one place can cause interference (see N+I: Congestion Problems? for more on this).

But, while Unstrung can understand why a cordless phone or a microwave might be useful, we frankly have no clue what anyone even uses those video cameras for.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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