Has FCC "gone off the rails" with latest Wi-Fi blocking fines?

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

organization are named. In this case, it is Xirrus and Cisco (used as the backup system). Public documents related to the Marriott, Hilton and Smart City Wi-Fi blocking cases did not mention any vendors.

In the M.C. Dean case, the electrical contractor had been using mainly Xirrus gear to restrict Wi-Fi channels, according to the FCC investigation, and making users pay between $795 and $1,095 if they wanted to gain access to the restricted channels.  

"In response to the Bureau’s investigation, M.C. Dean admitted that it deployed deauthentication equipment at the [Baltimore Convention Center] from October 2012 until December 13, 2014, and that it used an auto-block feature that automatically detected and indiscriminately deauthenticated any unknown AP. Specifically, M.C. Dean’s responses revealed that it deployed a Xirrus platform at the BCC with an autodeauthentication function that M.C. Dean affirmatively turned on when it started using the system. The Xirrus User Manual calls the auto-block function employed by M.C. Dean the ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ mode.'"

In an interview with Xirrus CEO Shane Buckley in late August, he told Network World that he'd really like to see the FCC look at the whole topic of Wi-Fi blocking "very carefully." He added: "There are lots of good reasons why WiFi blocking is a requirement in certain markets and a distinct benefit from a security perspective in others.”

And looking at it from the end user's point of view, Xirrus last month announced new technology designed to make public Wi-Fi networks safer for people to use. Not that people necessarily are going to want to use them if hotels and convention centers are going to gouge them for the privilege.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
IT Salary Survey: The results are in