Duke university has announced that the problem with iPhones interoperating on their wireless Cisco network has been solved, and that it wasn't an iPhone problem after all. A note from Tracy Futhey, Duke’s chief information officer states:
By now many of you have read news accounts around iPhones and Duke’s wireless network. Some of the reports incorrectly made it sound as if our entire wireless network had collapsed. Others made it sound as if the iPhone could not work correctly on our wireless network. Still others seem to imply that Duke’s network was deficient in some way because the problem had not been encountered more broadly. The reality is that a particular set of conditions made the Duke wireless network experience some minor and temporary disruptions in service. Those conditions involve our deployment of a very large Cisco-based wireless network that supports multiple network protocols.
Cisco worked closely with Duke and Apple to identify the source of this problem, which was caused by a Cisco-based network issue. Cisco has provided a fix that has been applied to Duke's network and there have been no recurrences of the problem since. We are working diligently to fully characterize the issue and will have additional information as soon as possible. Earlier reports that this was a problem with the iPhone in particular have proved to be inaccurate.
When the problem first surfaced, Duke technicians blamed the iPhone as the source of a flood of ARP messages that overloaded parts of the network. Now it sounds like either a firmware problem in the Cisco routers, or a mis-configuration that had previously gone unnoticed.
What's interesting about all this is how the mainstream press jumped all over the problem. Fox, CBS, ABC, the Associated Press, and others all ran stories on the incident. Perhaps it's because of the irony of Cisco and Apple equipment not working well together after the iPhone trademark fight. But I suspect it's Apple's "unblemished" image (or, as some critics call it, their "reality distortion field") that makes them a frequent target.
It probably doesn't hurt that, aside from the social networks themselves, Apple is one of the favorite subjects at popular sites like Digg and Slashdot where Apple fans and detractors often "duke it out".