On Mon, 24 Jul 2006 00:35:24 GMT Jeff Liebermann <email@example.com> wrote:
| On 23 Jul 2006 22:52:00 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org
|>If you had a committee intent on designing the best technology, then
|>it could do so. If element A and element B cannot coexist unless one
|>of them is less than optimal, then that's where technical tradeoffs
|>might have to be made, or more research done to solve a problem.
| Standards committees have exactly one goal. To agree upon a workable
| standard. Whether that standard offers the superior technology or
| optimum solution is not as important as coming to a consensus. I've
| seen some really good ideas get ignored or voted down simply because
| they would not be acceptable to some of the voting members because of
| licensing or business reasons.
I can understand some of the licensing issues. It would be better
to have unencumbered standards where that is practical to do. But
quite many times, a superior technology was developed under investment
by one company (or person).
It is, always has been, and as far as I can tell always will be, my
opinion that these standards should have optimal technology as the
primary goal. If licensing some technology will be too costly, then
it would have to be taken off the table and things proceed as if it
cannot ever be used.
|>Committees formed of manufacturers, however, tend to be more about
|>promoting their technology to the others, rather than making something
|>that works better.
| Exactly. However, the same manufacturers realize that if they don't
| compromise and come to an agreement, they're going to end up with a
| proprietary and fragmented market. Therefore, everyone gives up a
| little for the common goal of achieving consensus and a standard.
But only the interests of the manufacturers is represented here. The
interests of the consumers should be as well.
|>I'd expect a little better of IEEE than what I have seen, although to
|>a great degree they have done reasonably well.
| I would say they have done amazingly well until the 802.11n (MIMO)
| debacle. I don't know exactly what went wrong but the traditional
| consortia, consensus and compromise seems to have failed completely.
| Incidentally, here are the 802.11 committee timelines:
| 802.11n is up to Jan 08 for final approval. Yech.
Then either used the locked room and pizza approach, or dismiss all
the manufacturers and make a strictly 100% academic committee to do
|>The early TCP/IP standards were developed in quite different ways, and
|>in many ways are quite superior to what you could get by a committee
| Sure. There are now 4,590 RFC's and I don't know how many pending
| There are now 25 802.11 sub-committees. Yep, very different.
One seems to get more done. We're online because of that one.
|>the demand for a technology can create the ability to make it work
|>sooner. Would you have simply never done OFDM had the DMT work never
|>been done? That would be stupid. The CPU speed to do OFDM really
|>was around even in 1996. It just wants _architectured_ in a way most
|>suitable for it.
| "Wants"? I think you mean't "wasn't". I agree. It was the lack of
| the dedicated DSP's and sufficient processor horsepower to make an
| economical product, or perhaps a cost issue. Whatever, it doesn't
| matter. The original design goals of 1 and 2Mbits/sec was easily
| accomplished with straight FM modulation, no amplitude component, and
| really simple (and cheap) hardware. One could have done OFDM, but you
| could not have afforded the resultant product.
Yeah, editing glitch ... missed a word while rephrasing.
If OFDM had been chosen, someone would have made a chip do it soon.
| I'll try again for the third time. It took about 9 years to get form
| the original 802.11 committee to today. Please predict the necessary
| technology necessary for the wireless products of 2015. Good luck.
More bandwidth, more reach, less interference.
We'll have to use IR, and be able to a repeater anywhere. We'll have
more and more need to be able to let any device do any role ... even
having them figure out their role automatically, to make the network
|>This is like a chicken and egg problem. They won't make the technology
|>unless there is a demand for it. There won't be a demand for it if we
|>decide to only use what already exists. Someone has to think ahead to
|>get out of that vicious circle.
| Sure. However, that's not how standards committees operate. The
| resultant product MUST be commerically viable with a minimum of R&D.
| It makes no sense to base a new standard on a technology that may not
| even work, be manufacturable or be affordable. Therefore, mediocrity
| is often selected over the next big thing on the horizon. Where the
| committee draws the line is often even more conservative. As I
| previously mentioned, the IETF won't even accept an RFC for anything
| does does not have at least 2 working implimentations.
If they can't tell whether the technology will work, they shouldn't be
on the committee. Apparently the people sent to these committees are
not the engineers doing real R&D.
|>So basically, it sounds like the 802.11 group was stuck in a vicious
|>circle and the telco group decided to get out of it.
| Actually, there were far worse problems. One particular major
| manufacturer decided that it was in their best interest to maintain
| their propietary product position and did their best to derrail the
| voting. It was so bad that a few vendors got together and formed the
| HomeRF Alliance in the hope that they could get something together
| before the IEEE came to a decision. It didn't fly, mostly because
| HomeRF used FHSS which the FCC intentionally crippled to insure the
| predominance of the IEEE specification. There were other horror
| stories I don't wanna detail. To their credit, the committee members
| continued forward without the malcontents and eventually ironed out a
| standard. No vicious circle anywhere in sight.
The set of manufacturers whose technology will be used, and the set of
manufacturers having voting power, should be disjoint sets.
|>In 1996 I had no interest in doing wireless. I was doing other things.
| So was I. I got involved in about 1997 or 98. The original
| complaints were "why is this thing so complicated"? Now days, it's
| "why didn't they throw in more than just the kitchen sink". Sigh.
It really would not have been that hard to make a wireless standard
just to do the basic talking, and then let other standards go from
there to create topology on top of it.
|>But I do think it is not outside of reason to ask for _every_ wireless
|>device in a home or small office to be able to communicate with _every_
|>other device there, when it has traffic specifically for it.
| That's what ad-hoc (peer to peer) wireless networking mode is suppose
| to address. There are no access points. Every bridge radio is a
| client. Everyone can talk to everyone else. The only limitation is
| that no repeater was specified for ad-hoc. That means you have to be
| able to directly see (line of sight) any radio you want to talk to.
| With the addition of a repeater feature, we have mesh networking.
Unfortunately, because it was not the only way, products get made to
work other ways instead. The two WGT624 routers won't do ad-hoc at
all. The HP 6980 printer will. But the bridge I have can only talk
to one device if in ad-hoc mode (MAC table limitation?).
If they had made ad-hoc mode the ONLY way wireless is done, and then
say you can put switching, VLANs, routing, or whatever, on top of that,
then we won't end up with devices that can't talk to each other.
|>| Yep. The surest sign of success is pollution. Wireless is certainly
|>I wouldn't necessarily use success. The term "popular" comes to mind
|>as being more appropriate.
| Fine. The surest sign of popularity is pollution. Wireless is
| certainly successful. Same thing in my humble opinion.
Popular? Yes. Polution? Yes. Success? That depends on how you
measure it. If you measure it in units sold under judgements of the
managers that deal with it, they probably do say yes (although maybe
they could have sold _more_ units if a less polluting design had been
the chosen one). if you measure it in terms of reliable, functional,
networking by those responsible for keeping networks running, you will
find a lot of unhappy people and even a few 4 letter words.
|>Of course manufacturers would consider it
|>to be successful if larger numebrs of units are sold, regardless whether
|>the buyers find it usable or not.
| Fine. If the customers are not able to judge whether something works
| or not, who is? The government? Consumer reports? Methinks not.
| Most customers are quite capeable of deterining if something is useful
| and will usually buy more if they like it. If there was anything
| fundamentally wrong with the millions of 802.11 devices sold each
| year, you would certainly hear about it. Even defective WEP
| encryption couldn't kill the market.
Or they may have a fixed goal and end up having to buy more just to
make it really work. That would be success in the minds of the CFOs
of the manufacturers, but a failure in the minds of users.
Virtually everyone I know who uses Microsoft Windows swears at it all
the time, and complains about all the problems it causes. Yet they
still insist on buying it. Is it a success? That depends on who you
|>Of course non-usable can result in
|>later sales going down. Ultimately I think people need to determine
|>where they really need wireless and use it there and avoid it in other
| Actually, most wireless growth has been in areas where there are
| adequate alternatives (i.e. CAT5 ethernet) but where wireless is more
| of a convenience than a necessity.
With more and more people using laptops, including carrying them around
the office into meetings, sure, wireless is at least a convenience.
In an office building occupied by a single company, potentially it can
be properly managed. In an office building divided up and rented out
to dozens of small businesses, it can be next to useless.
|>| Actually, quite the contrary. Most of the original participants were
|>| academics, not greedy corporate exploiters. Note that the fastest
|>| speed considered useful in 1996 was 2Mbits/sec.
|>So why would they want to make each frame spedn air time TWICE?
| "spedn"? The only devices that do that are repeaters and WDS bridges.
| It's NOT a problem if the airspace to each endpoint is isolated and
| only the repeater or WDS bridge can hear the endpoints. It's a major
| problem if they're all in the same airspace. Nobody "wanted" to do it
| that way as evident by the late arrival of repeaters and WDS bridges
| to the market. The manufacturers were fully aware of the real and
| potential problems with repeaters. However, the market demanded a
| solution and they provided one, even though it was inefficient. Look
| around and see how many other inefficiencies are designed into
| products in the name of expediency, cost, or convenience. Nobody
| likes inefficiencies, but they're a fact of life in product design and
When the access point is transmitting to send the last recevied packet
on to the other machine that is its destination, the first machine that
sent it in the first place cannot be transmitting (well, at least not
that the access point could utilize). That cuts the bandwidth in half.
A combination of ad-hoc and infrastructure would work better. Send the
frame direct if the destination can actually get it direct. Otherwise
send it on to the access point and it it manage getting it to the right
place. With less air time used going direct where it works, then more
is available for using wireless to go between two access points that can
also work in distribution mode. Let people choose between connecting
the access points by wireless or wire. But they should have the choice.
Yes, inefficiencies are a fact of life in product design as long as we
roll over and play dumb consumer for manufacturers who decide for us
what products we want.
|>Even Linksys did for a while in
|>the early WRT54G. And somehow they did realize it would be good to
|>have the WRTG54GL on the market. Maybe they figured Linux developers
|>could find and open up new wireless uses.
| You give Linksys/Cisco far too much credit. I suspect that they had
| no clue what people were doing with the WRT54G. At best, they may
| have thought it was some kind of "hobby" market. Anyway, to these
| people, Linux does NOT offer any type of marketing advantage over
| something proprietary like VxWorks. Obviously, for your application,
| Linux has a definite advantage as it is almost infinitely configurable
| and can be built to do almost anything.
In terms of selling to a product to the general market, of course there
is no advantage to it being based on Linux or VxWorks. or anything else.
But the Linux community could potentially in their experiments find new
ideas of how to use wireless, giving the manufacturer more markets to
sell products to, even if they end up re-implementing it on VxWorks.
But the manufacturer making the Linux based model (e.g. WRT54GL) would
be in the better position to utilize it sooner. I don't know if that is
why Linksys chose to make was was essentially a continuation of WRT54G
version 4 as WRT54GL, but they could get this benefit for doing so if
such an innovation comes around. We'll see. I'm gonna start by getting
a couple of WRT54GL's and go from there. Recommended retailer for it?
Where I bought the Netgear stuff carries WRT54G but not WRT54GL. If no
one can suggest one, I'll probably go to newegg.com.
| Phil Howard KA9WGN (ka9wgn.ham.org) / Do not send to the address below |
| first name lower case at ipal.net / email@example.com