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Wireless Networking Government Handhelds Portables Apple

Israel Blocks iPad Imports, Citing Wi-Fi Transmission Regulations 204

Posted by timothy
from the we're-looking-for-droids dept.
unixcrab writes with this excerpt from The Mac Observer: "Apple's iPad is proving to be popular everywhere — except Israel. The country's Communication Ministry is refusing to let people bring the multimedia tablet into the country because it hasn't tested and approved the Wi-Fi technology used in the device, according to Haaretz. Ministry officials commented, 'The iPad device sold exclusively today in the United States operates at broadcast power levels [over its Wi-Fi modem] compatible with American standards. As the Israeli regulations in the area of Wi-Fi are similar to European standards, which are different from American standards, which permit broadcasting at lower power, therefore the broadcast levels of the device prevent approving its use in Israel.' The government seems serious about its iPad import ban. Customs officials have already confiscated ten iPads and told their owners to ship them overseas."
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Israel Blocks iPad Imports, Citing Wi-Fi Transmission Regulations

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  • Wait till they ship a model to europe that has the wifi part limited to ETSI power and frequency limits.
    • For travelers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WiiVault (1039946) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:29PM (#31860122)
      I think the concern is more about travelers coming from North America. As somebody who has brought tons of American bought laptops into Israel I find this very strange indeed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:22PM (#31860014)

    ...WI-FI transmissions are from right to left.

    You will have to turn your routers and ipads upside down to make them work.

  • Aw poor Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:24PM (#31860038)

    Held to a countries regulations. Oh wait, they had to pass FCC testing here too. Big whoopie fucking do.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:31PM (#31860162)

      This is users bringing devices from overseas, having them confiscated. The ones Apple sells there would presumably meet whatever standard is required for the country.

      So, I'd say poor users, being foolish enough to actually declare a device too small to really detect by customs. That'll learn 'em.

      • I'm guessing that Israeli customs guys are pretty jumpy about undeclared objects, especially ones that look funny on x-ray...
      • by Altus (1034)

        It would surprise me if apple built diffent hardware for different reigons. I know the company I work for builds one piece of hardware that can be certified in all the countries that are relevant. Its not worth it to develop multiple different piece of hardware and deal with all the warehousing and manufacturing issues that would result.

        • Wifi signal power is almost certainly a software option. A lot of consumer routers have a function to reduce power (if your house is covered and you don't need it leaking into your neighbors. DD-WRT even lets me increase my power above the standard levels.

          I would imagine apple just flips a few bits and it will pass inspection elsewhere.

      • by gillbates (106458)

        Ok, you don't declare a device you could have snuck past customs.

        Now you have the problem that said device interferes with military radar, and now you have IDF at your door (if you're lucky. You might get Mr. Hellfire instead).

        Me, I'd rather declare and be declined than deal with IDF. Of course, YMMV.

        • Now you have the problem that said device interferes with military radar, and now you have IDF at your door

          I'll bet you actually think it's important to turn off WiFi devices on planes, too, lest it bring the whole plane down in a fiery ball.

      • too small to really detect by customs

        I’ve never been through Israeli customs but from what I’ve heard I’m not sure I’d bank on that.

        And if you don’t declare it and they do find it, they might just decide to shoot it [slashdot.org]...

      • Big deal they will give them back when you leave. I don't think some other countries would do that.

        • Big deal they will give them back when you leave.

          a) What if you live there? You don't want to have to leave the country to use a device you bought.

          b) They charge you for every day they have to store it for you.

          • a) you can't get one in the first place.

            b) That may be true but a citation would be nice as too how much for how long.

            Go try and take too much chocolate into Switzerland and see what happens. At least it's not total confiscation. That part was left out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Held to a countries regulations. Oh wait, they had to pass FCC testing here too. Big whoopie fucking do.

      That's not exactly the issue. The iPad uses standard wifi 802.11, just like many other devices. If Apple wants to sell in a given country, they need to submit to approval from their version of the FCC but (and this is what is different) it's really weird to confiscate random wifi devices being carried into the country by individuals. A whole lot of laptops aren't sold directly in Israel and are not confiscated at the border when tourists bring them in.

      Now probably the iPad is just high profile and looks di

      • by billcopc (196330)

        Or.... maybe the customs officials really wanted one. I mean, really, what can an average citizen do to stop them ?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Wasn't there another story earlier about how only the USA would be getting iPads for the foreseeable future? How much mre non-news could this story be?

      • by Manfre (631065)

        Wasn't there another story earlier about how only the USA would be getting iPads for the foreseeable future? How much mre non-news could this story be?

        Yes, but Americans for some silly reason venture out from the glorious USA homeland and visit other countries, one of which has decided to enforce their local regulations in such a way as to prevent this popular item from being brought in to the country.

  • Let me get this straight: Israel don't want the iPad in the country because its WiFi transmits at LOWER power than their standards?

    Doesn't... lower power mean LESS interference?

    Can someone with radio skillz please explain how this makes sense?

    • Okay, got that backwards. So the European standard "permits" broadcasting at lower power, but doesn't require?

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        It's probably just worded oddly in TFA.

        Best way to say it is that the maximum "permitted" power is lower in Europe than in the USA.

    • And more importantly, why are there different WiFi standards? Why doesn't everyone just use 802.11?
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:39PM (#31860290) Homepage

        And more importantly, why are there different WiFi standards? Why doesn't everyone just use 802.11?

        The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.

        • The actual mechanism of 802.11a/b/g/n is a standard -- nothing wrong with that.

          Things get interesting internationally because the 2.4GHz ISM band is defined differently in each country (but loosely based around the three ITU regions). There is a good reference list [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia. For example, most of the world can use channels 1-13, but North American users are limited to channels 1-11 at full power (12 & 13 can be used at reduced power -- but that's too complicated for most people so the channels are r

      • Why are there different operating systems? Why doesn't everyone just use Microsoft Windows?

        ...

        Not quite the same thing, but it's sort of related. Having standards compete just like businesses compete hopefully will lead to better standards. Having one standard only that everyone has to adhere to? Hm... SOMEONE is controlling the standard (or some group). Having one standard that everyone adheres to will lead to that one group being rather powerful. And people who work on standards are no more inherent

      • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:48PM (#31860414)

        And more importantly, why are there different WiFi standards? Why doesn't everyone just use 802.11?

        802.11 a, b, g, or n? Currently the discrepancy may be 802.11a - y2008 variant that allows for 3.7 Ghz transmissions but is only approved by the FCC, not EU governments.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Surely you don't think that every place is the same, with exactly the same solutions applicable everywhere? (I'd hope so, if you are indeed behind attaining world peace, as your sig suggests)

        For starters, it was probably clear, while drafting the standard, that Europe was bound to have rather high typical density of hotspots. Lower permitted power (and more channels available) probably helps in those circumstances.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by klapaucjusz (1167407)

        There's just one series of 802.11 (WiFi) standards.

        However, different countries have different power limits and different sets of allowed channels. For example, in the 802.11b/g band, most of Europe allows channels 1 through 13 at 100mW max, while the USA only allow channels 1 through 11, but with higher power limits (1W, IIRC).

        Because of those regulatory differences, WiFi hardware is sold with slightly different firmware in different countries, and it may be illegal for you to use foreign WiFi hardwar

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          In practice, though, no portable device transmits anywhere near a watt. The only way you get close to 1W ERP is if you're using a base station with a directional aerial. AFAIK, most laptops are capped somewhere around 50 mW, well below the ERP limits of any country, with typical transmit power more on the order of 10-30 mW.

          Either way, it sounds like this isn't so much about the actual power, but rather about the lack of certification.

      • There are two interlocking issues here:

        802.11(abgn) is the standard defining how wifi is supposed to work, interoperate, authentication, yadda, yadda.

        However, since wi-fi involves radio transmission, a given wifi-based device is a radio transmitter, and must comply with the RF broadcast restrictions of whatever country it is operating in. Luckily, 2.4GHz is open spectrum in much of the world; but details about allowable power level and such do differ.

        There aren't different wifi standards; but diffe
      • by billcopc (196330)

        It is 802.11, but different countries have different radio restrictions. The protocols and general operation are identical, it's just the frequency bands and power levels that change.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:28PM (#31860114)

    Apple doesn't sell their own products directly in Israel, they have a distributor there. Every iPad brought in represents a lost sale for them. Sounds like they're angry about not getting the device quickly enough and losing early sales.

    http://www.apple.com/il/buy/ [apple.com]

    • by firewort (180062)

      Shimon Peres' son is the owner of iDigital, the authorized reseller/importer.

      You'd think the son of a former Prime Minister might be able to make a few phone calls, wouldn't you?

    • TGDaily has an interesting take on it related to Shimon Peres' son who is the Apple distributor:

      http://www.tgdaily.com/mobility-features/49387-why-israel-banned-the-ipad [tgdaily.com]

      Indeed, it is worth noting that Apple's Israeli distributor, iDigital, is run by Chemi Peres, the hyper-entrepreneurial son of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

      Clearly, iDigital wants its lucrative cut of every iPad brought into the country - which it will undoubtedly receive when a modified European version of the iPad is approved for import

    • Apple doesn't sell their own products directly in Israel, they have a distributor there. Every iPad brought in represents a lost sale for them. Sounds like they're angry about not getting the device quickly enough and losing early sales.

      And travelers don't take stuff with them?

      Falcon

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:29PM (#31860132)
    Is it coincidence that iPads are being "confiscated" shortly after Apple announced the international launch of the iPad was being delayed? I think not! :)
  • This isn't really "news" so much as a PSA. To everyone who bought an iPad and is going to travel to Israel, don't bring your iPad with you.
  • by stm2 (141831) <sbassi@genesdigi ... Ecom minus berry> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:35PM (#31860232) Homepage Journal

    That is pretty common in a lot of countries.
    In Argentina, if you import a device with a plug different from our official plug (in size and shape), the import can be rejected.
    Even if you could buy a cheap adapter in order to make it work (provided that the voltage is compatible), you are banner for importing until you request a device with the right plug.
    So some people end up paying bribes to enter such a devices.

    • Lucky you I say - here in the Philippines there are about 6 common plug types you might randomly end up with no matter what you buy. Voltage at the outlet is 220, but some appliances require 110. As for the wiring, I don't think anyone in this country actually knows what the third prong is for so they never run a wire for it. (grounding conductor connection / earth connection)

      All in all it keeps the private fire brigades in business.

    • What if you cut off the plug? Surely you can buy a compatible plug later...

    • Of course it's not news, but putting the word "Israel" in a story title gets page-hits.

  • A spokesperson for the Israeli Communications Ministry said the Israeli Government had fully investigated the import ban, and found that Israel had at all times operated in accordance with international law. Israeli customs officers maintained a high professional and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians by broadcasting wifi at American power levels. Next time we see one of those iPads, the spokesperson said, we'll probably just shoot it [wordpress.com].
    • An iPad might actually be an interesting device to convert into a covert explosive...

      Tiny motherboard(with low current requirements, particularly if you turn off wireless and sound, and turn down volume) and a huge volume of battery.

      Replace the iPad battery with a much smaller one(you don't need 10 hours, 10-15 minutes to pass the "show us that it isn't a bomb by turning it on" test will be fine) and fill the rest of the former battery volume with the explosive of your choice(for extra credit, take ad
      • by arielCo (995647)

        Aaand, you can code it a BIG ASS countdown display!

        looks up the Apple Store

        Uhm...

    • by jo42 (227475)

      What about the JooJoo tablet? Doesn't the Antisemitic League find that not kosher at all?

  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @01:45PM (#31860378)

    5Ghz is where a lot of military radar like stuff operates. In particular Israel has specific 802.11a restrictions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels

    5.5Gz up is a not supposed to be used in Israel, but is open for use in US, Japan and Europe.

    Here is a good, but not current, discussion of the various issues around wifi.
    http://wifinetnews.com/archives/2007/01/5_ghz_or_bust.html

    • I don't think it does ad hoc networking. If there are no 5.8GHz base stations, then the iPad won't use 5.8GHz Wi-Fi. If there are 5.8GHz base stations, then it isn't really the iPad that's creating the problem, is it?

      • If there are no 5.8GHz base stations, then the iPad won't use 5.8GHz Wi-Fi

        Don't wireless devices look on the given frequencies? Possibly send out signals asking who is around? I didn't think connecting to a network was entirely passive, even in the discovery stage...

        • Most wireless cards that you find in a laptop do absolutely nothing on the 5Ghz channels unless they first hear a beacon on one of those channels. They specifically do this so that they can conform to world regulations on what channels can be used. So the Israeli claim is completely bogus unless Apple went out of their way to hardcode the wifi region directly into the firmware instead of the normal "world roaming" region that most cards have (which is possible, I suppose). Having said that, for some card

        • Well, you're wrong. Current wifi chips which come loaded with "world" firmware will never broadcast on 5GHz channels unless they first see beacons from an AP on that channel. These channels are marked for passive scanning only. When a device sees a beacon on that channel then it assumes that local regulations allow wifi on that channel, and the chip will enable it. The chips used in access points, by contrast, generally are shipped with locale-specific firmware, or at least locale-specific black box ope

  • Non sequitir (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RandCraw (1047302) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @02:00PM (#31860564)

    If Israel's WiFi standard is like Europe's, this begs several questions:

    0) Isn't it likely that Apple has already explored this ground? If not prior to the iPad's rollout, then after introducing the same technology in the iPhone when they introduced it over a year ago throughout europe and Israel?

    1) Why haven't european regulators also rejected the iPad? Since they apparently have not, they must have tested the iPad (or grandfathered it as comparable iPhone tech) and accepted it.

    2) Since the europeans tested and accepted the iPad, why haven't the Israelis accepted the european test results since they're supposedly equivalent?

    Sounds like the Israelis are waving a red herring. Either they're protecting an in-country product or license, or they're punishing Apple for something. Either way, this kind of pissy petulence makes them sound like a snotty child.

    "I'll take my ball away and play with myself."

    • You're making the naive assumption that the European models of iPhone / iPad are identical to the North American versions.

      Hint: They aren't.

    • Israel is definitely NOT like Europe.

    • If Israel's WiFi standard is like Europe's, this begs several questions:

      No it doesn't.. and not just because you meant to say 'prompts several questions'.

      1) Isn't it likely that Apple has already explored this ground? If not prior to the iPad's rollout, then after introducing the same technology in the iPhone when they introduced it over a year ago throughout europe and Israel?

      Yes. Your point is? Apple haven't launched the iPad in Israel, or Europe for that matter.

      2) Why haven't european regulators also r

  • What exactly is the issue with the Wifi?

    I could have read this story on any news feed.

    • by dlgeek (1065796)
      The exact issue is that it doesn't comply with Israel's regulations on transmission power in the 2.4 GHz spectrum.

      To expand a little: every country has similar-but-not-identical standards regarding the use of radio spectrum. This is a very limited resource, and there are all kinds of laws and standards to ensure that I can't use a really powerful wifi radio in my laptop that would prevent any other wifi radio in the surrounding mile from working. The standards in the US allow for higher power usage than t
  • its just (Score:2, Funny)

    by Phizzle (1109923)
    NOT KOSHER!!!
  • Banned in households of US intelligence agents because they reputedly recorded sounds.
  • I don't really understand how this infomercial qualifies as Slashdot material, but still it needs some corrections:
    1. The iPads were not confiscated - they were only prevented from entering Israel. They are still the property of whoever bought them, and he's welcome to take them back to the US and return/sell them on.
    2. This regulation only applies to people trying to *sell* iPads in Israel - one piece for personal use is perfectly OK. I know many people who imported various wireless devices (walkie talki

  • Not the 1st problem for Apple products entering Israel:

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2009/12/19/video-three-bullets-and-a-macbook/

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