Technology

'Terror' wi-fi signal leaves LA-London flight grounded

wi-fi list
Image caption Wi-fi networks appear when detected by mobile devices.

A wi-fi signal named "Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork" (sic) has resulted in a long delay for passengers on a plane at Los Angeles airport.

A passenger alerted American Airlines cabin crew when his smartphone identified the network as one available nearby and police were notified.

After an investigation lasting several hours, police at the airport said no crime had been committed.

The flight from LA to London on Sunday was eventually rescheduled for Monday.

Many broadband subscribers re-name their home wi-fi network to personalise it.

When a device comes within range of the network, its name will appear on a list of potentially available wi-fi connections.

While some use their family name or the name of their house, others take a more satirical approach.

'Sometimes it's funny'

"It can be a kooky way of saying you support a local football team or you want to bait your neighbour who supports the opposing team," said Stuart Miles of tech review site Pocket Lint.

"Some people use it as advertising. It's an unwritten code of spreading a message that you're allowed to do - but obviously sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's not."

In a discussion about favourite wi-fi names on community site Reddit, users admitted to using titles like "FBI Surveillance Van", "ISIS HQ" and names that sounded like computer viruses to alarm passers-by.

The acronym LAN (Local Area Network) - the name given to a network linking a small group of computers in a home or business hub - has also been the subject of puns.

'Get off my LAN', 'the promised LAN' and 'WuTangLAN', a homage to US rappers Wu-Tang Clan, are popular choices.

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