Fear factor

Britain’s aviation authority is apparently considering banning all laptops and PDAs on planes, because of concerns that ultra-wideband wireless chips could interfere with airplane collision avoidance systems. While air safety is obviously of paramount importance, this sounds like an over-reaction. UWB cards for consumer devices won’t even be on the market for another year or two. The FCC did extensive tests and collected hundreds of comments over several years before giving limited authorization to UWB. If there’s a concern about UWB’s effects on aircraft systems, lets do the tests and figure out what technical restrictions on consumer UWB systems would ensure safety. Banning all laptops preemtively is like banning luggage because it could be used to carry a bomb.