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Israel Banning iPad Over Wi-Fi Concerns

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While the iPad has been flying off shelves for almost two weeks now, its Wi-Fi — currently the only way to get online with iPad (s aapl), until the 3G wireless models drop later this month — has caused some headlines of its own. Now the news comes of Israel blocking the entry of iPads into the country over concerns of the wireless transmitters being too strong.

It seems that Israeli Customs have already confiscated 10 iPads from travelers until officials can certify the strength of the wireless transmitters used in the new Apple product. The ban doesn’t appear to be an issue of import, as tourists are being blocked from bringing iPads along with residents of the country. This must certainly be a difficult blow for those traveling with their great new device, only to have it taken away by the hosting government. The iPads are being held with a daily storage fee to the owner, or can be mailed home at the owner’s expense for now.

The Communications Ministry of Israel has explained its reasoning:

If you operate equipment in a frequency band which is different from the others that operate on that frequency band, then there will be interference

[related-posts align=”right” tag=”ipad”]¬†The iPad specs show it can manage 802.11 a/b/g/n radio transmissions. The n radio representing the most recent wireless capabilities. I suppose I could understand if Israel doesn’t currently run 802.11n networks, but that still doesn’t compute — the way these Wi-Fi technologies work, is that they access a Wi-Fi¬†hotspot using the lowest common denominator. So if the iPad was the only n-capable Wi-Fi device on a wireless network, it would be downgraded to the next highest possible transmission speeds based on other wireless client devices. Then again, I don’t pretend to know what the infrastructure in Israel is like, so I can’t be certain where their concerns may stem from. (I don’t suppose the Israeli government will relax due to the fact the iPad has been having major Wi-Fi connectivity issues…?)

Hopefully Israeli officials can come to agreeable terms soon, as Apple will be releasing the iPad internationally on May 10. But until the restrictions die down, you’ll have to leave your iPad at home when traveling to Israel in the near term.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: How AT&T Will Deal with iPad Data Traffic

13 Responses to “Israel Banning iPad Over Wi-Fi Concerns”

  1. According to a press release from Israel Ministry Of Communication dated April 24, 2010, the Communication Minister ordered to allow the import of one iPad per person. One iPad per person will be allowed into the Country.

    The issue was that “as Israel regulations in the area of WiFi are similar to European standards, which are different from American standards”.

    Following tests with Apple, other European Government agencies and a well known international lab, the Communication Minister issued an order allowing, at this time, the import into Israel of one iPad per person.

  2. Justin Westfall

    These claims seem completely false in that to my knowledge the iPhone and iPod Touch have the same wi-fi technology as the iPad. And my question is what are they worried about it interfering with? Being that the iPad is not yet sold internationally and so only those hand-full of travelers would be bringing them what harm could they possibly cause. The signals from the iPads are not any stronger than that of a regular computer or any other device with wi-fi capabilities. I think in this case the Israeli government is being a little too careful with technology that does not appear to be at all dangerous.

  3. israeli standards is similar to european standard, so as long as ipad has european standard there is no technical reasons.
    furthermore, iphones, ipads and the latest mac (with n standard) are approved by MoC

    the real issue is that MoC leaders are a group of morons looking for cheap PR and warried only abour commercial intetest of some companies expected to sell the peoduct at very high prices.

  4. Funny, all my relatives there use Linksys and Netgear wireless routers that they bought in the US (presumably US spec) and nobody has a problem with that.

    They all use US-bought laptops with US-spec wifi cards and US-bought wifi cards in their desktops and nobody seems to care.

    In fact, every US-based visitor who brings a laptop or wifi-capable PDA also has a US-spec 802.11x device with them, but I’ve never been stopped at Ben Gurion to have my trusty notebook (with Intel 802.11n card inside) inspected or confiscated.

    So what’s the big deal with the iPad? Is the iPad implementation of 802.11x any different from anybody else’s? Or is it just that they have so far failed to certify it to meet international standards? Or is there something else?

  5. Israel says that those transmission jam things for their military.
    That’s why they don’t bring/import any of their Airport devices expect for the Airport Express. Airport Extreme, Time Capsule and banned in Israel.

    • Thanks for the info – I didn’t mean to imply that Israel was behind in tech or anything like that, was just trying to figure out what possible frequency they were concerned over.

      And thanks for setting the record straight on the camels too. ;)