All Video Conference Meeting Tables Should Be Metal January 18, 2008Posted by gordonwatts in physics life.
I think it is caused by a GSM phone communicating data over the packet network (do Verizon phones do this as well??). The iPhone is a heavy user of the packet data network and so is a particularly bad offender.
Now, think about a video conference room. This is a room with a large table in the middle that everyone sits around, and there are numerous microphones distributed around its top. The microphones are, of course, hooked into the electronics via cables — which are perfect pick-up antennas for this GSM noise. Every self respecting physicist has a cell phone and many of them are smart phones – heavy users of the GSM packet network. This can be hell for those on the other end of a video conference. The buzzing is very loud and can drown out everybody’s conversation, prompting remote participants to yell “move your cell phones away!”
My Dad’s iPhone will cause the buzzing in computer speakers from 4 feet away. He has a very simple solution — just put it on a bit of tin foil. This effectively kills the induced sound. A metal table will do the same thing. Now, I’m sure not every single phone is designed the same way, but if this could eliminate those noisy video conference calls…