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The Apple iPhone is causing problems with the Duke University wireless system

The popular Apple iPhone is turning out to be a worst nightmare for the Duke University IT staff.  The Duke WiFi network is currently being crippled by the iPhone's wireless Internet adapter, even though the problem never arose with other WiFi devices.

According to the university IT staff, the iPhones are distributing as many as 18,000 data requests per second to the university network -- and it appears that each iPhone on campus is requesting a router address that is not available.  After the phone does not get a return signal, it keeps sending requests, which leads to dozens of access points becoming overloaded.

"The scale of the problem is very small now," said Bill Cannon, Duke technology spokesman.

Duke University, Cisco and Apple do not know why the problem is happening with the school's network. Even though there are only around 150 iPhones on Duke's campus at the moment, the problem must be resolved before students return for the fall semester.

A computer science professor from the University of Maryland believes both the iPhone and Duke's Internet network are at fault.

"When you set up a network on the campus, you set up the network to accommodate the devices you can have in use," said Ashok Agrawala, who also serves as Director of the Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Lab.

It is unknown if the iPhone's WiFi chips are causing problems on other computer Internet networks.

Update 7/22/2007:
Duke has fixed the network issues. The University worked with Cisco and Apple to find a fix for the problems. The problem has completely gone away. The iPhone was not the culprit after all.





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