Cell Network Wiped Out by ... Beer Fridge

Engineers say motor's electric sparks caused blackout
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2013 9:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Beer truly is the cause of (and solution to) all of life's problems. Or at least this problem: An Aussie telecom company investigating the cause of network blackouts near Melbourne tracked the disturbance to ... a bloke's beer fridge. Technicians believe electric sparks emitted from the fridge's motor generated enough radio frequency noise to knock out the cellphone network across several neighborhoods, reports the Herald Sun.

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Engineers say they used "software robots" and "Mr Yagi" antennas to pinpoint the problem to a garage in the town of Wangaratta, where they IDed the fridge as the culprit. "I'm amazed something like that could knock out part of the network," says fridge owner Craig Reynolds, who poses for the paper in front of a Carlton Draught-stocked fridge. NPR notes that Slashdot is asking the million-dollar question: Assuming Reynolds had to unplug the fridge, how's he keeping his beer cold now? (Read more cellphones stories.)

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