CEA Releases Draft RP for Disabling Portable Wireless Devices

Many laptops and PDAs now have wireless connectivity built in. Wireless headphones are becoming popular for use with MP3 players. The data stored in cell phones could be useful even in areas where cell phone use is not permitted. This can create problems in environments such as airplanes and hospital wards where wireless transmitters are restricted or not allowed. If a flight attendant can't determine if the wireless transmitter in a device is turned off, their only option may be to ban the use of the device altogether.

To avoid such problems, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is working on an industry Recommended Practice for a status indicator for transmitters and control of transmitters in portable electronic devices (PEDs). Last week CEA's working group on Portable Electronic Devices released a draft version of the Recommended Practice (RP).

Jeffrey Schiffer, chair of the working group and a special programs manager with Intel Corporation's Communications Technology Lab described the group's work. "Device manufacturers, airlines, pilots, and flight attendants have come together to develop these voluntary recommended guidelines to facilitate the on-off control of transmitters inside wireless devices. The swift cross-industry collaboration by the working group speaks volumes about the desire to make it easier for consumers to turn off all transmitters in wireless devices when needed and then clearly demonstrate the 'transmitters disabled' state through a common, easily recognizable and industry-accepted symbol. This is particularly relevant when consumers are traveling by air."

CEA said the RP "offers a simplified enabling mechanism for switching off the radio transmitters in wireless devices, a consistent and easily identifiable symbol representing "transmitters disabled"; and associated terminology."

More details, including information on how to obtain a copy of the draft RP, are available in the CEA news release CEA Issues Wireless Device Recommended Practice Document For Comment.