Powerful antennae a-OK: ministry

High-gain antennae are legal for use in wireless point-to-point connections, as long as the power output doesn't exceed four watts.

High-gain antennae are legal for use in wireless point-to-point connections, as long as the power output doesn’t exceed four watts.

A Computerworld reader queried the legality of the antennae — high-power devices that are being used in a Waikato wireless internet project — after reading an article about the project last week (see Waikato Wi-Fi project progressing).

Alex Orange, senior planning engineer at the Ministry of Commerce’s radio spectrum management unit, says the antennae are permitted, as long as the EIRP, or effective isotropic radiated power, they emit is no more than four watts.

“A couple of years ago things were licensed through a general licence that didn’t allow high-gain antennae, but subsequently the ministry decided that wasn’t efficient in terms of sharing spectrum.”

The Waikato project involves a link from Waikato University to two schools in the western Waikato, and uses the 802.11b wireless standard — also known as Wi-Fi.

New Zealand providers offering Wi-Fi services include Southland-based SouthNet and Chiliad Communications in Auckland.

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