The Librarian of Congress now has until June 20, 2002 to issue his final recommendation. This should be thought of as a victory, because the CARP pricing scheme would have effectively killed Internet Radio. However, things are still up in the air, because this is only a rejection of CARP's report, and does not detail the new pricing scheme that the Librarian will accept.
When pressed for further details, Allchin said he did not want to offer specifics because Microsoft is trying to work on its reputation regarding security. "The fact that I even mentioned the Message Queuing thing bothers me," he said.
The mind boggles. So Microsoft's screw-up will be an acceptable defense to keep its protocols secret? Wow. If this isn't one of the mist Alice-in-wonderland turns in recent memory, I can't think of many better ones. Perhaps it would only be stranger if the judge actually bought the argument, I suppose.
It's as if asprin could actually be turned into poison if it was taken while a particular high-pitched tone was sounded, but the asprin manufacturers used the fact that asprin is a part of the Army's standard medical kit, and that if they had to disclose the frequency of the sound, it would put our military at risk. Rather than just FIXING THE PROBLEM, of course.
Interesting idea - but there are a few problems:
(1) You've got a limited IP Address space. (2) No one considers you the authority, so others are going to use the space as well. (3) How do you deal with rogues? (4) It is going to require a huge VPN - or at least IP-in-IP tunnelling system to allow for routing between nodes in the private space over the public internet, along with all the routing headaches associated. These are not small problems.
It is an interesting idea, though, akin to Sputnik's roaming capabilities - by placing authentication databases at a number of centralized points, Sputnik already provides this free roaming capability, without the need for tunnelling or dedicated IP space. We're solving somewhat different problems - Sputnik for example, is not built to give each wireless user his own unique IP address; rather it is allocated from the pool that each Gateway delivers, and therefore some of the whiz-bang routing features of the NoCat proposal aren't implemented. However, at the same time, the smaller problem set allows us to avoid the big problems mentioned above.
This is an interesting thought experiment - will the success of the 2.4GHz spectrum (and any other unlicensed spectrum) fail due to its own success? Will illegal amplifiers turn the spectrum into another Citizen's Band? Even without illegal amps, is it doomed to failure because the density of devices will increase too quickly?
I don't think so. But it does remain an open question - how much is enough? In other words, as 802.11h and other standards that help to reduce interference become more popular, at what density of spectrum do even those methods fail? Surely there is a transmission power and density for which the specrtum becomes unusable. The question is, can technological advances outpace the bandwidth needs of the public? As more bandwidth is available over the airwaves, whether by spectrum allocation, frequency increases, or new standards for interoperable devices, at what point will the spectrum be rendered effectively unusable? To what extent is legislation or regulation needed here?
Maybe the answer lies in the fact that the unlicensed spectrum (2.4GHz, used by 802.11b and others, and 5.3GHz, used by 802.11a), while unlincensed, IS NOT UNREGULATED. Among other things, all devices have to follow FCC Part 15 rules, which means that they must be approved by the FCC before the manufacturers can offer them for sale. Perhaps the key to saving the commons is to ensure that these devices are interoperable and, well, for the lack of a better term, polite to other users of the spectrum.
Of course, this would be an extension to the FCC's regulatory capacity - essentially asking it to endorse certain protocols at a layer above the radio. However, I think that by focusing on protocols rather than products, it (a) does not act anti-competitively, and (b) promotes the public good (remember, WE own the airwaves!) by enabling more functionality and usability of the spectrum we use. And if we are smart, we can agree to a level of interference protection that all higher level radio protocols can use, allowing for even greater flexibility.
Think of it as a new layer, sitting between layers 1 and 2 of the network stack - the new layer would provide for interference detection, channel switching, and possibly even automated changes in the spread spectrum algorithms to make sure that different devices, running different higher-level protocols, would automatically detect each other and not interfere with each other.
You can download it from the main site or there are debian binaries available by putting the following in your /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://apt-proxy.sf.net/openoffice unstable main contrib
and then doing "apt-get install openoffice.org". Kudos to the OpenOffice team.
Good Technology's wireless e-mail service functions on Blackberry devices as well as Good Technology's own G-100 devices, which the company plans to release later this summer.
What's cool about this? Its server software sits in your NOC and talks to your exchange server. It gives you up-to-date email/calendar/to-dos in real-time. So if your assistant schedules you for a last minute meeting while you're on the road, the device alerts you on the fly.
This release also coincides with a major website update that reflects our changed focus on building enterprise products. We are not going to charge for the Sputnik Network, ever. We hope that community networks will use the Network as an easy way to roam, and developers will use it to test out their Sputnik apps.
We're still working on the Enterprise gateway, which has a whole bunch of other cool features, including the robust backend management console, rogue AP detection, and more. Expect that release this summer.
They also claim that due to its new design, it will reduce rollout costs by 25% because of its integrated antennas, quick mounting mechanisms, and power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support.
Worth a read - it is a good overview of the state of the art, and while it isn't exactly chock full of details, it is a pretty big topic to cover, and the PC Magazine folks have clearly done a lot of research.
Work on Vertigo continues.
NEW YORK -- Joltage, which provides Wi-Fi software to businesses such as cafes or health clubs that then offer wireless Internet access to their customers, said it appointed new investor Nicholas Negroponte to its board of directors.
Read the full story.
Wireless networking systems developer Woodside Networks Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. said Tuesday that it has raised an additional $4 million from Nokia Venture Partners, following a $20 million second round of funding announced in February. The venture firm joins Sevin Rosen Funds and Accel Partners as backers of Woodside Networks, which has raised $32 million to date. A developer of wireless local area networks, Woodside Networks maintains an office in Breukelen, The Netherlands, in addition to its headquarters in Palo Alto.
Sputnik info: Yesterday I wrote, very briefly, about Sputnik. If you want to learn more about Sputnik, check out Glenn Fleishman's 802.11b Networking News entry about Sputnik. Glenn says: "Based on what I've seen, they may set a new high-water mark for creating configuration tools that work, and that average human beings can understand."
Hmmm, I wonder if this is possible without breaking the 802.11 standard - In other words, I can see you turning a PC into a black-box repeater, but I don't see how they could turn it into a repeater AND still allow you to use the box as a wireless node on the network. Perhaps I'm missing something, or perhaps we will all need to download some client software (that'll be windoze only, of course). Still, it is an intriguing idea - they are looking at an embedded product with MSRP of $60.
Actually, as I read Reiter's post more carefully (pardon me, I still haven't had my morning coffee), it looks like Mesh Networks is trying to do something like what we've done - turn a PC with broadband connectivity and a WiFi card into a Mesh Networks AP. Well, if that's the case, just go and download our code, it's free and available today...
Something to keep an eye on.