FCC on wifi at hotel

me again.

So wifi at pycon 07 was 'better than 06' witch I hear was a complete disaster. More on 07's coming soon.

Now we are talking about wifi at pycon 08, which will be at a different hotel (Crown Plaza in Rosemont, IL) and the question came up: Can the hotel actively prevent us from using our own wifi?

_maney: although - wasn't the hotel stuck on "our wifi or no wifi" at last report?

CarlFK: only the FCC can restrict radio

tpollari: it's their network and their power the FCC has no legal right to that. and no, you show me where they do. I'm not wasting my day with that tripe -- the caselaw you're likely thinking of has to do with an airline and an airport and the airline's lounge, in which case they're paying for the power and paying for their bandwidth from a provider that's not the airport. We're not.

I know that there are all sorts of factors, and just cuz the FCC says boo isn't the end of the story, but i don't even know what the FCC's position on this is. google gave me many hits, and after looking at 10 or so I decided to look elsewhere.

Carl K

I suggest you google for massport fcc and continental.

  - jared

While the hotel cannot prevent you from using Wi-Fi, but they could:
a) restrict you from attaching equipment to their internet connection
(unless you contracted for that and the contract didn't restrict
attachments) or electrical outlets
b) ask you to leave and charge you for trespassing if you didn't

Its highly unlikely those renting facilities from the hotel would agree to
such onerous restrictions and a hotel renting you the facilities is unlikely
going to boot you out.

for some good coverage on the Massport incident.


IANAL, but I just (re-)read the FCC order on the massport
"incident" (ugh, silly massport, i have avoided logan for years now
because of them..) and would like to offer my own comments on
the above.

  Assuming you're there staying in a hotel room, it is likely to
be considered a nightly lease of some sort, which protects your rights
to use a "Part 15" unlicensed band device within your room. This
would also extend to your lease of any meeting rooms where you
have some level of "exclusive" access to them. (The continental case
actually is quite close to a conference where you may have paid
attendees). As long as you've contracted power for your devices or the
solar/battery array you're using to power the device meets the fire code,
it doesn't appear they can restrict your usage of any of these devices,
even if it's specifically prohibited in the lease/contract you have
signed. In any common spaces (bathrooms, bar?, hallways, etc..) they
may be able to prohibit your placement of equipment, but not necessarily
the reception of the signal.

  - Jared

It’s about revenue recovery. If you provide your own free wifi, they are losing potential business. It’s usually part of the negotiation with the Hotel.


It's about revenue recovery. If you provide your own free wifi, they are losing potential business. It's usually part of the negotiation with the Hotel.

Yes, some Hotels will indeed want "revenue recovery" for this - they will typically start at the
rental rate per person x the number of attendees x number of days, which could be $ 10K USD per day or more for a 1000 person meeting. You may or may not be able to negotiate it down; I think that in the IETF experience the
"negotiate it down" factor has ranged from not at all to 100%.

But, since it is part of the contract, they can certainly enforce whatever is agreed to.



  I do suggest reading this. They can not legally bar you from
using the devices. They can charge you outrageous fees to get to/from
the MMR or telco demarc and make it prohibitively expensive.

  It may also be problematic to be held hostage showing up
and them saying that no, you can not install your equipment while you
hire a lawyer to explain to them that you are violating FCC fules
for the "OTARD rules".

  - Jared

Right, a wifi that goes nowhere isn’t terribly useful :slight_smile:


You could always get to upstream via wireless.


Brandon Galbraith wrote:

Or directional wifi uplink to a building nearby, preferably G vs B (for 54Mbps).

Just *say* you're using the hotel WLAN. If they show up with a
spectrum analyser, well...you'll have to pay, but then that reminds me
of the calibration standard for the first radar speed trap, which was
based on a measurement by the National Physical Laboratory on the
basis that if you could prove the NPL wrong you deserved to get away
with speeding.

Fixed wireless or cell wireless? I wouldn't touch cell, but most every
conference I've been to (granted they are WISP conferences) has had a fixed
wireless backhaul.

Just to be clear...

While it's kind of hard to restrict radio (along the same lines as
restricting the right to breathe the air in the building... you can't
control what flows through the air), nothing restricts the hotel from
lining the exterior walls with your basic faraday cage preventing
those signals from entering at all. Of course, this also blocks cell
phones, walky talkies, sattelite, and anything else that uses RF for

If they choose to allow any of these signals in, they pretty well have
to allow ALL of them in. (And filtering cell phones esp in a building
where every single interior door is locked could be argued to
interfere with 911 emergency services and be a threat to public
safety.) So the restrictions they're trying to put into place have
more to do with what activities they, as the property owner, allow
you, as a visitor, to engage in while on the premises. That kind of
grey line rule making can get very tricky to both claim and to

The whole thing is an ooey gooey quagmire that I want no personal part
of. :slight_smile:

You might want to check the terms of service for cellular "broadband"
-- it's certainly not permitted by Verizon for the EVDO service.

    --Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb