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Jamming definition

Jamming refers to often illegal activity in which someone is interfering with the radio signals of a network or system. This can be done intentionally or unintentionally, but this disruption can severely degrade the ability to communicate wirelessly.

See also: angler phishing, baiting, cloaking, cyberbullying

Jamming examples

  • Radio frequency (RF) jamming. Commonly, an intruder sends a signal at the same frequency of the communication system to interfere with radio frequency. For example, someone could jam GPS signals preventing your devices from displaying your route accurately.
  • Cellular jamming. It involves disrupting a phone’s ability to send the signal to the cell tower. For example cellular jamming could be used in a theater, a hospital, or a prison.
  • Wi-Fi jamming. A device called a Wi-Fi jammer could prevent all devices in a certain radius from connecting to the internet.

How to prevent jamming

Signal jamming is illegal in many countries, so if you encounter jamming, you should contact law enforcement. However, you can prevent jamming with anti-jamming devices that search for the jamming signal and aim to filter it out.

More advanced anti-jamming measures include spread spectrum as well as error detection and correction techniques. The former involves spreading the signal over a wide range of frequencies, while the latter are methods of checking for errors in transmitted data and correcting them, overcoming the interference caused by jamming.