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Military Exercises Threaten to Disrupt Lothian Broadband Network

Saturday, May 8th, 2021 (7:26 am) - Score 3,072
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Fixed wireless and full fibre ISP Lothian Broadband, which reaches across rural parts of East Lothian, Mid Lothian and the Highlands of Scotland, has warned some of its customers on their Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network that nearby exercises by the UK military (MoD) may disrupt their internet connectivity.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) do periodically conduct large military exercises of various different types around the East Lothian area and in this case the Navy appears to be involved. Sometimes this may involve the use of Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) or jamming, which can spread interference across a wide range of radio spectrum bands and that could also disrupt some civilian wireless communication systems.

However, in this case the main cause of connectivity problems is the use of Radar Detection in Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which is the process of detecting radar signals that must be protected against interference from 5GHz (WiFi, FWA etc.) radios, by dynamically switching the operating frequency of the 5GHz radio to one that does not interfere with radar.

As a result, Lothian Broadband are now warning nearby customers that their wireless broadband links could face some disruption over the next two weeks (until 22nd May 2021). Indeed, they’ve been affected by such exercises before. A lot of WiFi and FWA networks make use of the 5GHz band, both for indoor and outdoor connectivity.

Lothian Broadband Statement

Due to the nature of a fixed wireless network, certain naval equipment/operations can interfere with our signals and thus impact on your connections. The exercise is due to take place between 8 and 22 May. From previous experience, the most vulnerable timings are 1-2 days before and 1-2 days following the exercise dates, as vessels travel to and from the exercise locations.

We have been working closely with Ofcom in recent days (who in turn liaise with the MoD on our behalf) to seek to minimize this impact as far as possible. You may experience low speeds or a loss of connection, caused by DFS Radar detection. We should be able to rectify these issues within 30-40 minutes where equipment does not automatically reset itself.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and please be assured we are taking all steps possible to minimize the impact on your service.

The provider said they would be introducing additional support staff and network monitoring during this period, which among other things could enable them to better manage any interference that may arise. Customers who experience such issues are also being advised to contact the ISP.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Optimist says:

    Customers could always revert to dial-up I suppose…

  2. 5G_Infinity says:

    Teach them to use WiFi rather than a more appropriate technology, eg 60GHz WiGIG.

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