Daily Israel Report

Israel Not Alone – Princeton University Limits iPads

Israel-bashers had a field day panning Israel’s ban on imported IPads. Now, Princeton Univ. says the gadget can interfere with others' services.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/21/2010, 4:08 PM / Last Update: 4/21/2010, 4:16 PM

Israel-bashers have had a field day panning the Israeli government’s ban on importing IPads, but now Princeton University agrees that the gadgets can interfere with other devices and communications systems.

Israel's Communications Ministry ordered customs agents at Ben Gurion International Airport to confiscate incoming travelers’ iPad tablet computers. Officials said the iPad's broadcast Wi-Fi power levels are not compatible with Israeli standards, which are closer to European standards than American ones. They added that approval for the foreign iPads may come after acquiring more information.

In the meantime, tech experts and the media worldwide mocked Israel, claming that the iPad would not cause problems.

However, Israel now has good company. Princeton University, while not banning the iPad, said that its Wi-Fi system allows it to give the IP address to another user after the initial user is finished. Some iPads keep using their assigned numbers, which “is an issue because it can interfere with service to other devices,' according to the university’s computer staff.

The result could be malfunctions because of confusion concerning IP addresses.

Before Princeton discovered the problem, TIME magazine’s Matthew Kalman quoted tech experts as saying that the iPads would not cause any problems because most wireless networks in Israel are private. However, there are also many public Wi-Fi systems, such as those at Ben Gurion airport, and in hospitals, universities and downtown Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

One person working against the ban is Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset Member Robert Ilatov, who chairs a parliamentary sub-committee for the advancement of high-tech industries. He told TIME, "This has not earned us a lot of respect in the high-tech world. I have asked the minister to reconsider his decision because it doesn't seem to make any sense. I don't think they checked it sufficiently.”