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, 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
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.
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