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Wi-Fi: Spelling Europe with an "a"
Posted: 29-Jun-2002 [Source: CNET]

[The faster than "b" W-LAN network 802.11a arrives in Europe but operates in the highly regulated 5GHz range and is meeting some regulatory resistance.]

by Ben Charny -- "Theoretically, if you took a card from U.S. to Europe, it would work but it may well be illegal," Potts said. "There's a good chance that if you buy our 802.11a equipment in the U.K., then take it to another country and turn it on, you might be violating the law."

At least 11 European countries are now getting their first shipments of wireless LAN (local area networking) products based on the 802.11a standard--a souped-up version of the Wi-Fi LANs that are now in 15 million homes and offices. It took two years of working with both national governments and Europe's standards bodies to open up Europe's doors.

But the equipment now hitting western European nations' stores might create a generation of tech scofflaws. Unlike the United States, European nations closely guard the use of the bandwidth where 802.11a, or Wi-Fi5, equipment must operate. As a result, some nations have crafted their own, sometimes different, rules for how 802.11a wireless networks can work, Potts said."

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