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No Wi-Fi Around Huge Radio Telescope

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the makes-a-strange-sort-of-sense dept.

Communications 224

JG0LD writes "Students at a tiny Appalachian public school can't use Wi-Fi because any such network can throw the radio equivalent of a monkey wrench into a gigantic super-sensitive radio telescope just up the road. GBT's extraordinary sensitivity means that it's very susceptible to human-generated radio interference, according to site interference protection engineer Carla Beaudet. 'If there was no dirt between us and the transmitter, a typical access point ... would have to be on the order of 1,000,000 km [more than 620,000 miles, or about two and a half times the distance from the Earth to the Moon] distant to not interfere. Fortunately, we have mountains around us which provide lots of attenuation, so we're not seeing everything from everywhere,' she said. A standard Wi-Fi access point would wipe out a significant range of usable frequencies for the observatory. 'It simply ruins the spectrum for observations from 2400-2483.5MHz and from 5725-5875MHz for observational purposes,' wrote Beaudet."

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224 comments

This is news? (5, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839177)

The National Radio Quiet Zone has been there since 1958 [nrao.edu] . It's not like it was just discovered yesterday. People living in this zone have always had to live without radio transmitters. Not having 802.11 is just another of the services they cannot use, like wireless garage-door openers and cell phones.

Re:This is news? (-1, Troll)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839233)

That is a serious infringement of Liberty, IMHO. If the federal government wants to setup a radio free zone, they should do it on government owned land. (please dont go of the deep end about eminent domain). It doesnt surprise me that the zone was setup in the 'government can do no wrong' 1950's.

Re:This is news? (4, Informative)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839361)

There is a Naval listening station nearby in Sugar Grove, WV. That location was chosen because of the way radio waves reflected off the moon and a few other things. It is essentially a focal point if you want to listen in to Moscow.

The observatory was a bonus.

And back when the zone was created the operation of radio transmitters by the general public was minimal and restricted to pretty much HAM Radio. And there weren't a lot of those guys in the area to begin with.

In short, it was a good spot and they weren't infringing on anyone at the time.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839767)

Sorry to nitpick, but it's "ham radio" not "HAM radio".

Re:This is news? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840603)

it is H.A.M. - Humdrum Aged Males

Re:This is news? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839367)

What about the rights of WVa schoolchildren to be free from respiratory problems later in life caused by pollution from the coal industry? [wvpubcast.org] I bet the wingers don't talk about that so much.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839601)

What about the rights of WVa schoolchildren to be free from respiratory problems later in life caused by pollution from the coal industry? [wvpubcast.org] I bet the wingers don't talk about that so much.

So let's wreck what's left of the state's coal industry while no reliable 24x7, non-nuclear alternative exists... they're building plenty of wind farms, but they're causing issues for migratory bird patterns and endangered bat species, and and and... Meanwhile, we'll keep importing our steel -- namely all those wind turbines, because Heaven forbid we utilize the most heavily environmentally and safety regulated coal and steel industries in the world in favor of those MUCH less so in China, Russia and Brazil. Because you know, there's no environmental impact shipping them from Brazil (which is where most of the towers in WV windfarms come from!) and then trucking them halfway across the country!

So please... in your infinite, bleeding heart anonymous cowardice tell us how getting rid of the WV coal industry will benefit anyone!

Re:This is news? (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839799)

So basically, the kids can just go to hell so your friends can continue to poison us all.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840543)

I know you said non-nuclear, but the fact is, nuclear reactors are pretty safe when proper safety precautions are followed.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840893)

However, we only have about 125 years worth of fuel, at current usage levels. Also, building a nuclear facility takes about 25 years, from initial planning, getting a site approved, building said site, multiple inspections, dry runs, etc, to the day it finally goes on the grid. Coal plants take five years.

On the other hand, surprisingly coal plants put out TONS more radiation into the environment than nuclear plants (that aren't melting down). Coal, despite Mr. Lurker's ZOMGWHATABOUTTHECHILDREN cries, has to be part of the world's energy solution. We just need to make sure the plants are efficient, and emit less pollutants.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839375)

Liberty? The PUBLIC radio spectrum is subject to heavy regulation as to power, frequency, modulation, etc regardless of transmitter location since duh radio waves can travel over long distances. Can the contributors to this forum possibly be as stupid as they appear?

Re:This is news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839539)

Liberty? The PUBLIC radio spectrum is subject to heavy regulation

How "PUBLIC" is it if the public cannot use it?

"Public radio spectrum" is code for "those corporations wealthy enough to purchase FCC licenses". Listen to yourself, man. Everything else that is called "public" like public roads and public schools is open to EVERYONE. This one "public" thing isn't. Ergo, it is EMPHATICALLY NOT public at all.

Using words that don't actually apply in a pathetic attempt to strenghten your position is DECEPTIVE and MANIPULATIVE. You should be ashamed of either your dishonesty or your ignorance, whichever one applies.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839755)

I'm a wealthy corporation now? 'Cause I'm using the public radio spectrum right now.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840229)

I'm a wealthy corporation now? 'Cause I'm using the public radio spectrum right now.

Hope you never try broadcasting with any significant power (more than 300ft range) between 87-109MHz on the FM band.

You would be unlicensed, you see. And the FCC has no sense of humor.

Re:This is news? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840601)

Are you trying to claim that unlicensed spectrum, such as the 2.4 GHz band (other than near this telescope), isn't "public"?

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840245)

I see. Ignorance it is, then...

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839403)

Liberty doesn't extend to radiating excessive EM radiation from your property above background levels.

Not that I'm a wifi nut, but the default is no radio waves higher than those already present in nature.

Re:This is news? (2)

Teresita (982888) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839495)

Liberty doesn't extend to radiating excessive EM radiation from your property above background levels.

Sol is one God almighty powerful AM radio station, forces even KGO in San Fran off the air nights in most other markets.

Re:This is news? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839745)

I disagree.

I am in Seattle, where I used to listen to KGO (810AM) at night just about every night until they gutted their talk-show format for bullshit sports and other inane news drivel. In fact, in the 80's when I lived in the mountains of the Oregon Coast Range, I always tuned in KGO as soon as the sun set.

Re:This is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839751)

Who is Sol and why don't they make him turn off his big ass fucking radio?

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840943)

Then it's double lucky that Sol isn't man made (and thus "natural") and is also far enough away that the background radiation doesn't normally interfere with much (except in certain unusual circumstances such as yours).

Re:This is news? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839415)

Wv is hardly an urban mega center

I'm sure people can find a place to live if wifi is that big a deal for them

Re:This is news? (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839449)

> That is a serious infringement of Liberty, IMHO.

Your liberty does not include the right to spray your rf all over my land.

> If the federal government wants to setup a radio free
> zone, they should do it on government owned land.

Read the FCC regs. WiFi on those frequencies is explicitly authorized on a "no interference" basis. If an authorized user complains that you are interfering you must shut down.

> It doesnt surprise me that the zone was setup in the
> 'government can do no wrong' 1950's.

You write this while putting up with the DHS and a president who claims the right to assassinate US citizens? You don't know what you are talking about.

Re:This is news? (4, Interesting)

Sipper (462582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839913)

> That is a serious infringement of Liberty, IMHO.

Your liberty does not include the right to spray your rf all over my land.

Actually in most places, it does, at least for Ham Radio operators, CB, Family Radio systems, wireless intercoms,and Wifi. However as you mentioned, these liberties also come with the restriction that the transmission not interfere with other frequencies -- thus we can give you our RF, but you should never notice.

There's one catch, though: modern TVs lack an input filter that they're supposed to have by design which would normally reject non-TV frequencies, because they're suppposed to be tolerant of out-of-band signals. TV manufacturers got permission not to ship this filter, because most TVs are hooked up to Cable where it isn't needed. However in the cases where a neighbor of a Ham is receiving broadcast TV, the TV can be desensed due to the lack of the filter and the close proximity of the transmitting Ham station. In those cases filtering needs to be added back to the TV to isolate it from the Ham transmissions -- it's my understandnig that this filter can be provided by the TV manufacturer upon request.

Re:This is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839487)

It doesn't surprise me that you didn't check wikipedia and learn that 148 permanent residents live there that are all acutely aware of the nature of their location, plus I bet you didn't know its in the middle of nowhere that you have to drive down a windy little 2-lane mountain path for like 5 hours to even get to in the first place, so its not like people go out there a lot unless they have a reason to.

Is the liberty you speak of just yours, or did you pause to consider the liberty of the researchers and scientists, too?

Re:This is news? (2)

PraiseBob (1923958) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839531)

The right to life liberty, the pursuit of happiness, the right to party, and the right to wifi!
Why should anyone sacrifice and have to endure the terrible burden of having to use a cord, simply in the name of scientific advancement.
Next thing you'll tell me is that I'm not allowed to setup my own transmitters and blast white noise across commerical radio frequencies.

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839621)

Liberty doesn't mean carte blanche for being able to do whatever you want. That region was designated a quiet zone by the people, for the people. If you don't like it, you are free to not go there. You are free to rant and rave about it in public forums. You are free to petition the government to change the rulings. However, you are not free to operate a transmitter there.

Besides, the map shows that the quiet zone is more or less centered in the George Washington National forest, which makes it government owned land.

Re:This is news? (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840275)

And besides, if someone can figure out a way to make wifi signals stop at their own property boundaries, I'm sure that an exception can be made.

This is no difference from other types of interference. You do not have the right to broadcast your music loudly either if the neighbors complain and no one sober treats this as an infringement of liberty. If you stand naked on the roof of your house so that light waves travel over to the neighbors who can see you, then you will also find yourself from being restricted from transmitting those lightwaves (which you can solve by putting up opaque light wave blockers called walls).

Re:This is news? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839665)

That is a serious infringement of Liberty, IMHO. If the federal government wants to setup a radio free zone, they should do it on government owned land. (please dont go of the deep end about eminent domain). It doesnt surprise me that the zone was setup in the 'government can do no wrong' 1950's.

Pocohontas County is at present sparsely populated. In 1958, it was even less so aside from all these wireless technologies existing. If you've driven through Green Bank, you'll see there's not much to it; I know, I grew up a mere 30 minutes north of there and passed through less than a week ago. The NRAO is life support in that area. If you take it out of the equation, the local populace would drop and businesses would close. Aside from Cass Scenic Railroad (EVIL coal fired steam engines killing the environment!), the only other spot on the map in that county is Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, which while being an amazing place to relax and enjoy the mountains, suffers from the irregularities of the seasonal conditions. This ski season has been great, but the past 4 not so much...

So please, kill of the exclusion zone, shut down a primary means of livelyhood and tell them how much freedom and liberty they can enjoy -- by being on unemployment!

Re:This is news? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839801)

That is a serious infringement of Liberty, IMHO.

You are a stupid redneck.

But you can make the world a better place.

Kill yourself.

Re:This is news? (1)

Rhys (96510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840381)

As an aside, its a facinating place to visit. They had a pretty cool hands-on science exhibit center (which was sadly largely under rennovation when we were there -- late 2005).

Just remember to turn your cell off.

Re:This is news? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839287)

Maybe they could build a Faraday fence between the school and the radio telescopes. Of course the wack jobs that claim to be em sensitive love this place.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839413)

It would have to be a faraday cage around the school. Unfortunately it would cost millions of dollars that would be better spent actually helping the student instead of allowing them to have wifi.

Re:This is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839643)

Not enough, the radio-telescope is going to pick up any reflections. You'd need to put the entire school inside the faraday cage, and it would need to be an EXTREMELY efficient faraday cage.

The last time I saw a very high-efficiency faraday cage of those, it was more like a faraday vault than a cage: no mesh anywhere, the building was enclosed by triple, solid (as in not-a-mesh) metal layers, each of the layers had a separate grounding system that looked like it belonged to 400MW hydro power generator emergency field dump. It was used to calibrate radio-telescope sensors :-)

Re:This is news? (5, Interesting)

Sipper (462582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839771)

I've visited the GBT while it was under construction at the NRAO; there's another interesting feature of the site due to the location being surrounded by mountains -- which is that thunder from lightning strikes take a long time to dissipate, because they reverberate between the mountains. It's reallly something to listen to -- the rumble after the initial thunderclap lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds. :-) Somehow it's like a symphony to the soul.

Re:This is news? (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840591)

please tell me what civilian devices operated at 2GHz+ in 1958

Re:This is news? (2)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840711)

please tell me what civilian devices operated at 2GHz+ in 1958

Microwave ovens.

Low power wifi? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839185)

Can they not use lower power wifi so that their signal does not extend that far beyond the school? Typically in these cases we have more than 1 AP connected together but all of them with lower transmit power so that the signal does not go far.

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839219)

I think the point is that the telescope is so sensitive that it's likely that no matter how much you crank down the dBs, it would still splatter too much.

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839567)

Isn't the antenna so focussed it's not likely to receive anything except in a small beam width? I know my large aperture communications terminals have a beamwidth of 0.1 degrees or less or are they concerned about reflections? How sensitive are those radio telescopes and how tight are their beams?

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

solidraven (1633185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839227)

Even with a fairly low transmission power (1 W) you can reach hundreds of meters. So yeah, it'll extend far beyond the school unless your intended range of use is 1 cm.

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839401)

One watt is up near the top end of transmit power for Wi-Fi. Most Wi-Fi hardware transmits at a quarter watt or less so that when the end user couples it with a moderately directional antenna, they don't hit the maximum ERP.

But the point is well taken.

Re:Low power wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839237)

Not far for a crude mobile receiver to have two-way communication maybe but still noisy for a super sensitive listener.

Re:Low power wifi? (4, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839251)

In three years it won't be an issue. From the article:

"here is a technological solution to the problem in the pipeline -802.11ad, a next-gen wireless standard that uses 60GHz frequencies to send and receive information, instead of the usual 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. At 60GHz, according to Beaudet, radio energy essentially just bounces off the atmosphere -meaning that the frequency is useless to the Green Bank Telescope in the first place. Signals to and from 802.11ad access points, then, would have no effect on the work taking place at the GBT, allowing for the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, 802.11ad is very much a technology of the future, not of the present -experts at an Interop New York panel last year predicted that devices using the standard wouldn't hit the market until 2014."

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839405)

When you said "very much a technology of the future" I was thinking 5+ years maybe, 2014 isn't too bad. But very interesting.

Re:Low power wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839423)

Well neither you nor the article understand 802.11ad... This will have bluetooth-esqe range. It is meant for high speed wireless communication between servers and switches on the same rack and the like. This will not and cannot replace 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. People complain that 5ghz wifi doesn't have enough range now...

Re:Low power wifi? (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839479)

There is also no issue today.

Cat5 wires to every computer. Its not that big of a deal.

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839577)

Are they afraid people will trip over the wires? Can they not afford to string cable?

Re:Low power wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839719)

I have an iPad, you insensitive clod!

Re:Low power wifi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840223)

>I have an iPad, you insensitive clod!

Use it to soak up your menstrual flow, you elitist clod! Break the glass first, it works better that way.

Re:Low power wifi? (5, Informative)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839543)

Can they not use lower power wifi so that their signal does not extend that far beyond the school? Typically in these cases we have more than 1 AP connected together but all of them with lower transmit power so that the signal does not go far.

If conditions are right, I can have a contact with someone on CW running 5 watts, on the other side of the globe.

Such is the sensitivity of tuned circuits. For untuned interference, like your cell phone trying to interfere with your TV, rejection is great. But when you're specifically tuned to receive a frequency, you've got such a high sensitivity to that specific frequency, (and very high rejection of any other frequencies) that a cricket fart of a signal a long ways away can sound like a lightning strike on your house, if it's on the same frequency you're straining to hear.

They're a little better off than my CW example, being on a high frequency that's mainly line-of-sight, for which surrounding mountains would be a pretty effective shield, but still their receivers are just incredibly sensitive at their design frequencies. They just can't have anything anywhere near them or you will be all they can hear. It'd be like trying to listen to someone talking to you from a table at the other end of the restaurant, while you are seated right next to a table full of loud party animals. You'd have no chance.

Re:Low power wifi? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840537)

Can they not use lower power wifi so that their signal does not extend that far beyond the school?

It's a great pity you can't network computers together with copper wire, isn't it?

Aliens and Wi-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839205)

Just hope that the aliens aren't using the same Wi-Fi as us, and this won't be a problem.

Who needs Wi-Fi? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839225)

Just let FedEx handle all your data transfer needs.

Re:Who needs Wi-Fi? (2)

meddle99 (1946010) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839555)

Just let FedEx handle all your data transfer needs.

High latency, High bandwitdh. But given the road, fedex is a little slow. IPoAC would be better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers [wikipedia.org]

Re:Who needs Wi-Fi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839763)

Throughput via 4 Terabyte drives shipped overnight via fedex is not bad at actually, that latency FTMFL though...

Who needs Wi-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839239)

She'll leave the lights on for ya.

A problem for satellites, too (2)

Schrockwell (867776) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839241)

This is also a huge problem for spaceborne radiometers that observe the Earth's surface (example paper [usna.edu] ). A radiometer is essentially a very sensitive receiver, and there are portions of the UHF and microwave spectrum reserved specifically for scientific research so that terrestrial stations don't interfere with the measurements. Unfortunately, interference may occur from transmitters directly in the band, from adjacent channels, or inadvertent harmonics from poorly-filtered transmitters. Pinpointing and correcting these sources is a logistical nightmare, especially when you have to deal with every individual country's RF regulators.

This is good news for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839257)

Bluetooth. Finally a reason to put up with it.

Re:This is good news for (2)

solidraven (1633185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839421)

Bluetooth will cause the exact same problem... A real solution here might be using infrared though.

Re:This is good news for (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839529)

1000BaseT.

Boo Hoo (1)

sackofdonuts (2717491) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839297)

So some kids can't get Wi Fi. A vast majority of people around the world grew up without WiFi and of those most who went to school did so without WiFi.

Re:Boo Hoo (1)

Teresita (982888) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839353)

RIAA lobbied for this so pirated MP3s didn't get out into the universe.

Re:Boo Hoo (3, Funny)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839605)

So some kids can't get Wi Fi. A vast majority of people around the world grew up without WiFi and of those most who went to school did so without WiFi.

[best Walter Brennan voice]
Yup sonny, I can remember back in the day having to use Wires!! Wires for pete sake. Imagine that!
Went by the name of CatFive, for some crazy reason. You had to plug them into the wall.
If you lost your wire you couldn't do anything. Had 8 wires in them, but only used 4 of them.
Durndest thing you ever did see.

wifi wallpaper (1)

redback (15527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839327)

What ever happened to that wifi blocking wallpaper?

Re:wifi wallpaper (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840021)

That won't do enough. It's like the difference between trying to shock-proof a cd player and trying to shock-proof a seismometer. You need a whole new LEVEL of filtering.

A problem soon to be solved (4, Informative)

pesho (843750) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839333)

NSF plans to cut the funding [sciencemag.org] for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank. So I guess the kids will soon have WiFi and cell phones. This is a good thing, right?

Re:A problem soon to be solved (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839653)

NRAO Green Bank has several telescopes, a few of which are funded by organizations other than NRAO. Most notably, the 140 foot dish is currently funded by a project from MIT. There are also many other educational program that run at Green Bank that are not the GBT or VLBA, such as the small 40 foot dish which is available for school trips & amateur astronmers. The article is not clear about the fate of these other programs at NRAO Green Bank.

I grew up in West Virginia, and took a trip to Green Bank in 8th grade where our teacher had reserved time for us on the 40 foot dish. We were allowed into the control room, and were instructed on how to aim the dish at a celestial object that was in view during our visit. And that was separate from the liquid nitogren demonstration they had for us as well. For the most part, Green Bank is looked upon favorably by those in the community around it.

If you want to get to odd rules about NRAO Green Brank, how about the fact that there is a keep-out zone for standard gasoline engines near the 'scopes. Only diesel vehicles may be used on the observatory's grounds, due to radio emissions from spark plugs.

Re:A problem soon to be solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840153)

And the "nearby, highly restricted, NSA facility". If anyone's got the money to wire the school, it's the NSA, not NRAO.

AC

Re:A problem soon to be solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840955)

Not at all odd. I can often hear gas engined cars' ignition systems with my ham radios. (Ford and Nissan are worst)

in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839445)

... they can eavesdrop on wifi from a million KM away.

No sympathy.... sorry. (-1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839557)

If they really need to use the frequencies that a technologically developed society uses all the time, then they should build their instruments in a remote enough location that regular use of technology would not be likely to interfere with them, instead of building it near enough to a town or city that a school could reasonably pose a threat just by using wifi.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839607)

When Greenbank was built this "high tech modern society" stuffe didn't exist. It's been there for about 50 years. People can choose not to live there. It was remote initially. People moved in.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839617)

And if the instruments predated the widespread use of those frequencies by 50 or so years?

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839713)

Then as the use of those frequencies started to become prevalent, they should have either started change the way they look for things or else move.... or else buy out all of the surrounding land so that they *CAN* dictate the terms of technological operations on it.

If they don't own the nearby land, then I can see no reason why they should be able to dictate what goes on nearby when those activities are otherwise legitimate and very common elsewhere.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840007)

Then as the use of those frequencies started to become prevalent, they should have either started change the way they look for things or else move....

Because all the quasars in the galaxy decided to stop emitting radio waves just because it wasn't technologically feasible to detect them otherwise.

You realize how fucking dumb what you just suggested was, right?

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

theskipper (461997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840045)

Do you understand what the purpose of a radio telescope is? How it is tuned to receive frequencies emanating from many light years away? And the frequency of those em waves can't be changed unless you somehow go back in time and fundamentally alter the laws of physics?

Maybe I'm missing some obscure humor in your posts. Pray, do tell.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (0)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840299)

Yes, of course I realize what the purpose of a radio telescope is. But if commonplace technology in a nearby town is going to start interfering with that purpose, then it stands to reason that they should relocate.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840425)

Lol. Bet you're the type that gets your opinions from cable news, rush and wnd.com.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840057)

It's in the middle of a national park, they DO own the land. When people moved there they damn well KNEW the restrictions. These instruments are not something you load on a truck, they built directly into the mountain!

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (0)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840325)

Still seems to me like something has to change.... either the people need to relocate or the facility does. If they own the land, then why did they allow development there in the first place? Such interference was *inevitable*.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

theskipper (461997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839721)

They would except flux capacitors would cause interference too.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839779)

Breaking news.... advancing technology sometimes breaks older technology. It's a fact of life... we either live with it, or move further away from other people so that we don't have to deal with it.

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (5, Interesting)

Almost-Retired (637760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840327)

If they really need to use the frequencies that a technologically developed society uses all the time, then they should build their instruments in a remote enough location that regular use of technology would not be likely to interfere with them, instead of building it near enough to a town or city that a school could reasonably pose a threat just by using wifi.

Well now, aren't we the social experts all of a sudden? The National Radio Astronomy Quiet Zone, aka the NRAQZ, was setup in the 1950's as someone has already pointed out, and it is a natural bowl with 3 to 5 miles of real estate that is shielded from a lot of earthy interference because of the surrounding hills.

In 1950, there may have been some daytime AM radio in the area, which is not much of a problem because they don't listen to much below 300 mhz, 300 times the frequency of a Ma & Pa radio station. Its (the ma & pa radio) still there too.

Interesting side effect was that distant tv stations were forced to either be low band vhf, or if high band, more limited in power output. WTDV, on channel 5, about 80 Mhz, built their original facility on Fisher Hill, which was actually about 2 miles inside this designated areas borders, and was put there by the FCC's rules & regs when it was built in the later 50's because it was the highest point, and could not be moved more than 2 or 3 miles from where it a was at without being short-spaced to some other station. But was allowed to use the full 100kw sync tip peak power that any low band vhf can us as a maximum ERP.

WBOY, 17 miles north in Clarksburg and assigned to channel 12, was not allowed the high band vhf's max power of 330 kw ERP. but was limited to 100kw because of the slightly above 200Mhz frequency.

So, in the run up to the digital conversion, they wanted to recover all the low band stuff for use by Law Enforcement & because their assignment program was written by an idiot that wasn't aware of the NRAQZ, and proceeded to assign both stations new channels in the 56-58 range. That's in the high middle of the 700Mhz range. So I called the enforcement/compliance officer at Green Bank and asked him how much noise I could make on channel 58. 58 don't mean nothing so I had to translate to the actual frequency, which he plugged into his program and which said that the maximum power I (WDTV, I was the C.E. at the time) could send from 270 degrees true to Green Bank was 4.78 watts. Anything more than that he would have us shut down. I said send me a letter to that effect, and he did.

So I went to the NAB a couple months later and had a ball going around to the various transmitter makers showing that letter and asking for bids on a 4.78 watt transmitter. IOW, I had a ball poking fun at the commishes obvious stupidity.

Eventually, along with some heavy duty prompting by our Washington legal people, they saw fit to let us stay on our low band frequency. Quite a few of the tv broadcasters in the more mountainous areas have also stayed on our original channels.

As for de-funding or de-protecting the area from interference from the broadcasters, no way. 90% of what we know about the radio universe around us, came from Green Back, and to a certain extent, Aricebo. But while Aricebo can hear farther, it isn't nearly so steerable, nor as sharply focused as Green Bank's big dish. The new dish they built to replace the 300 meter that fell from rust & corrosion way back when, is performing at a level the old dish only dreamed about. It can move faster too in the event of a gamma ray burst, it can slew and be looking at the source of that burst in just a couple minutes. That facility is IMO a national treasure. FWIW, you have to take the bus into the place is your car has spark plugs. So everything that moves in that valley moves in a diesel bus, or by muscle powered bicycles.

Like Paul Harvey would say, and that's the rest of the story.

Cheers, Gene

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840479)

The National Radio Astronomy Quiet Zone, aka the NRAQZ, was setup in the 1950's as someone has already pointed out, and it is a natural bowl with 3 to 5 miles of real estate that is shielded from a lot of earthy interference because of the surrounding hills.

Then why on earth is there any civilian development inside of that bowl in the first place? No wifi in the school is one thing... what about nearby homes? What about interference caused by cell phones? What about interference caused by passing automobiles running sophisticated electronics?

Re:No sympathy.... sorry. (2)

Almost-Retired (637760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840731)

There is not any living quarters other than what may be a dorm for interns doing research, that I know of "inside the bowl", but Davis (I think that's the name) is only 2 or 3 miles away, south on the blacktop, and there are farms all around it.

I don't live there obviously, but have been down to play tourist a couple times. At my age now, 78 & diabetic, the walking would get me down quickly as the hip joints are about shot, and the better half has COPD, so I expect we have been there for the last time. We stopped for a sandwich & cup in that town (maybe 300 on Saturday night) the last time, and with the relative quiet on the car radio, you got the impression you were transported back to a simpler, slower time, and one that I, after all the years in broadcasting, could easily enjoy the contrast. People there seem to actually talk to each other! The hills there aren't quite as 'in your face' as they are locally. Here, you leave by the same road that got you into this little cul-de-sac, or you rappel from tree to tree just to get to the top of the hill 100 yards away from my front deck.

Cheers, Gene

Not a WiFi problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839609)

I don't see what this has to do with the GBT or the National Radio Quiet Zone.

They want the same organization who steps in to solve their connectivity problem to also buy each student a laptop.

I would like to see a cost analysis of the wired vs. (prohibited) wireless solution. I expect they could afford neither.

se8 with a sh1t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42839663)

do and doing what won't be standing th3 longest 0r architecture. My of OpenBSD. How are about 7000/5 = 36400 FreeBSD BUWLA, or BSD

What's wrong with the installed hardwire? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839687)

Why is anyone even making an issue of this?

Why is a wireless network required at all? (2)

aheath (628369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839733)

The article doesn't explain why the tablet computers must have a network connection to be used to read digital textbooks. Is there any reason why the digital textbooks can't be loaded from a hardwired connection and then used when the tablets are offline?

The article also doesn't explain why every student in the entire school must have simultaneous internet access in order to take the online standardized tests. It should be possible to set a computer lab with enough computers to allow every student in a single grade to take the online standardized tests.

The article mentions that there is a highly restricted NSA facility near the school. I'm sure that the NSA knows how to limit signal leakage and radio frequency interference. Perhaps the NSA facility can find a solution to this problem that doesn't require a wireless network.

Re:Why is a wireless network required at all? (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839895)

Is there any reason why the digital textbooks can't be loaded from a hardwired connection and then used when the tablets are offline?

Because iPads don't have USB ports, ethernet ports, or any sort of removable storage whatsoever.

The only way to get those books onto the tablets would be to pack all of them into a car, drive to someplace far enough away that they CAN use wifi, and manually load the books onto each tablet one at a time.

Re:Why is a wireless network required at all? (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840077)

So don't use ipads they are a walled garden to begin with.

Re:Why is a wireless network required at all? (2)

aheath (628369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840207)

1 - The original article doesn't mention the make and model of the tablet computers that the Pocohantas County schools are planning to use for electronic textbooks. It's possible that they will select Android over iOs

2 - iPads have either a 30-pin to USB connector or a Lightning to USB connector. The wired connection can be used to transfer files to and from the iPad.

USB host, USB device, and SD reader for iPad (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840647)

iPads don't have USB ports

Of course it does, and both [apple.com] genders [iphoneshop.net] at that.

or any sort of removable storage whatsoever

Come again [apple.com] ?

Bad summary (2)

phizi0n (1237812) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839811)

The summary is restating the obvious but the actual article is about how the school district and state are moving to use ebooks and online testing so this school needs a lot of additional networking gear to keep everything wired only. They also mention how 802.11ad would work since it's signal range is too high to get through the atmosphere so the observatory doesn't care about it, but 802.11ad isn't readily available yet.

Lunar telescopes (4, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42839933)

This is why the proposal to build a radio telescope array on the far side of the Moon has been around for so long. Having the moon between us and it is one helluva lot of dirt for blocking stray signals. Plus no atmosphere to get in the way. All you have to worry about then is reflection of Earthly signals off of other bodies in the solar system.

Too bad about the expense...

Re:Lunar telescopes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42840361)

God loves radio-astronomers so he created a huge tidally-locked moon for them. Use it!

GBT Going Out of Business (3, Interesting)

omarius (52253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840089)

This is the second post I've seen in as many days on Green Bank, and no mention of the fact that the NSF is planning on closing the facility to save money. Green Bank is the largest movable radio telescope in the world. If you feel--like I do--that this would be a detriment to the nation, please sign the petition [change.org] or, even better, write your Congressperson.

So? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42840329)

Your better off running a wire network in the first place. I may be wrong ( which I'm not ) but couldn't you just put the school in a magnetic cage so to speak there for blocking it from giving off / taking unwanted fields.
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