Special Issue August 2009, INFO Volume 11, Issue 5. Charles L. Jackson, Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering, George Washington University.
Unlicensed wireless has become an industry, with hundreds of millions of radios in use today. These devices range from short-range wireless computer keyboards to microwave links with ranges of several miles. Among the most well known are wireless local area networks (WLANs) often referred to as WiFi or 802.11. This special issue of info presents a collection of papers presented at a George Mason University Law School Conference on “The evolution of unlicensed wireless policy: how spread spectrum devices won access to license-exempt bandwidth” on 4 April 2008. The conference, organized by GMU Law School’s Information Economy Project, reviewed the development of unlicensed wireless policy in the US with the goal of assisting scholars in understanding how current unlicensed policies came into being. It looked at the interplay between regulation and innovation and examined policy initiatives from industry and from inside the government. It also reviewed technological and market responses to changes in regulation.