Sunday, February 13, 2011

Admin: MWC

In other, tangential, mobile industry news, I was amused by this:
Apparently, if you drive around Alaska with a spectrum analyzer on the front seat of your car, nobody stops you. This is awesome.

It's awesome, and it's also true of huge nuclear reactor complexes near Bratislava, where I once did just that back in 2005. We were there to cover the switch-on of T-Mobile's new mobile-broadband network, which was using an OFDM radio technology developed by a British company called Flarion, from somewhere in Oxfordshire I think, that later got bought out by Qualcomm. And so we all went out for a drive test in a gang of vans with tinted windows and James Bond-heavy looking drivers, with laptops and funny-looking antennas and spectrum analyzers and nuclear bomb-looking coverage maps. And nobody batted an eyelid. (I think it's now safe to say that I borrowed my partner's laptop, the property of Royal Holloway, University of London, which organisation never knew that it had been used for drive-testing experimental mobile networks in Slovakia...)

It was a bit different, it turned out, in Washington DC, where they had installed a radio network for the police force. There, if you drove around with a Rohde & Schwarz analyzer (about ten grand to you, sir) on your front seat, eventually the black Chevy Suburban behind you would be joined by four more converging out of the side streets and you'd end up in a Patriot Act dungeon somewhere for eighteen hours until the head of emergency services comms found out where they were keeping you and succeeded in vouching for your non-terrorist status.

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