A funny thing happened on Twitter a week or so ago. I saw this message from Glenn Fleishman.
If anyone wants me on a podcast to explain why Marriott wants the FCC to give it license to block personal hotspots, let’s talk.
— Glenn Fleishman (@GlennF) January 2, 2015
I thought that the topic would be a good match for Packet Pushers — an interesting technical discussion with just a bit of controversy to change things up a little from our usual format. I contacted Glenn, he emailed me back, and the next thing you know, we’re scheduling a podcast recording.
Don’t know who Glenn is? He’s a technology journalist, two-time winner on the game show Jeopardy!, and contributor to such publications as the Economist and Macworld. Read more of Glenn’s bio at his site, glennf.com. He really gets around!
Since we wanted even more firepower, I took the opportunity to invite wireless pro Lee Badman to be on the program. Lee is the Wireless/Network Architect at Syracuse University, which supports thousands of wireless clients. Lee also writes for Network Computing, and blogs at wirednot.wordpress.com. He says what he thinks, and believe me, he’s got an opinion.
What We Discuss
So, what do we get into in this show? The whole thing with the Marriott and blocking hotspots – that’s what. Not familiar with the story? Well, the Marriott was fined $600K for blocking guest wifi hotspots back in October. That said, it’s a gross oversimplification of the story to say that the Marriott was blocking hotspots and leaving it at that. What’s really going on is far more nuanced, and in fact, those nuances are the basis of an important discussion.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Step away from the rage of being a Marriott customer who doesn’t want to have to be forced into using (and paying for) their in-house wireless service. Marriott is making the point that they should have the right to defend the quality of their wireless service by shutting down rogue access points if they so require. That’s not an unreasonable request if you’re an enterprise, is it? Don’t you want the ability to make sure your enterprise wireless is servicing clients as effectively as it should be? The ability, maybe even the right, to defend your airspace? What if you were a hospital, relying on wireless in situations that impact patients’ health — maybe even life and death situations? Hmm. A bit more complicated that it seems at first, isn’t it?
That gets a little closer to the Marriott’s argument, and this is the sort of conversation we have on today’s edition of the Packet Pushers podcast. It’s not about bashing the Marriott, of which we do little, if any. It’s about trying to make sense of a complex situation that has industry and consumer impacts far beyond just the Marriott.
- Marriott’s Updated Response to FCC Petition Filing (news.marriott.com)
- Look Past Marriott To The Bigger Wi-Fi Issue (wirednot.wordpress.com)
- Marriott Plans To Block Personal Wifi Hotspots (boingboing.net)
- Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for blocking guests’ Wi-Fi (cnn.com)
- Glenn Fleishman’s blog (glog.glennf.com)
- Lee Badman’s blog (wirednot.wordpress.com)