Reed Hundt's article on the benefits of municipal wireless

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by SMS, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. SMS

    SMS Guest

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  2. SMS

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO alt.internet.wireless - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <it_4f.2832$> on Tue, 18 Oct 2005 04:02:22 GMT,
    Registration required on that direct link. No thanks.
    I was able to get to it without registration from Google News
    or <>. In part:

    Congress should grant $1 billion in federal matching grants to any
    municipality that will pay 50 percent of the cost of such a local
    wireless broadband network. Local government should let competitive
    contracts and build city-by-city, county-by-county, coast-to-coast
    WiFi network.

    Incredibly bad idea.
    John Navas, Oct 18, 2005
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  3. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    "Officials ought to reallocate a spectrum, probably in
    the 700 megahertz band, for a national wireless network
    reserved for first responders. The local WiFi networks can
    be used by anyone with a laptop. The first-responder network
    would be available only for authorized emergency services."

    Um... that's what they've allocated 4.9 GHz to.

    Also the way this article uses the term "mesh" is incorrect.

    Steve Pope, Oct 19, 2005
  4. 4.9GHz is where Motorola and others are trying desperately to prevent
    customers from adopting non-proprietary (802.11a) standards. See any
    802.11a mentioned here?

    700MHz is worse because even acts of congress and major FCC
    concessions cannot seem to move the broadcasters off the frequencies.
    Incidentally, depending upon whom you discuss the issues, "wireless
    data" at 700MHz often means Project 25 data at a fabulous 3600 or 9600
    baud. Whoopee.
    Actually, he understands mesh quite well within the frame of reference
    of when the FCC first mis-allocated the 700MHz band in early 2002.

    Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    831.336.2558 voice AE6KS Skype: JeffLiebermann
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 19, 2005
  5. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    There's a pre-standard product; it will become 802.11p, probably.

    Steve Pope, Oct 19, 2005
  6. No way. The whole idea behind allocating 4.9GHz was to allow the use
    of modified 5.7Ghz 802.11a hardware on 4.9Ghz using coordination and
    licensing to mitigate interference. Nobody even suggested a wide
    area wireless municipal mesh network on 4.9GHz in the original
    proposal. What we're seeing are vendors trying to lock large
    government equipment anti-terrorism funding into proprietary corners.

    I'll spare you my rant on such a technical "solution" looking for a
    problem to solve. Do you remember what problem 4.9GHz was originally
    intended to solve? It was a rush allocation by the FCC following the
    WTC bombing as a solution to a rather disgusting inter agency
    communications interoperability problem. One doesn't do that by
    pushing proprietary solutions.

    802.11p is for data between high speed vehicles to fixed access points
    at 5.9GHz, not 4.9GHz. It is not a mesh network standard. I don't
    see why Firetide would need or want 802.11p for their mesh. Progress
    is currently on draft 0.23 which is very preliminary. It's been
    running for about a year and there will probably need to be some live
    testing before the vote. My most optimistic guess is 1.5 years.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 19, 2005
  7. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    Yes, the "modified 802.11a" you're talking about, formerly
    called "WAVE", is now called 802.11p.

    I only say "probably" in the above because it's not yet
    adopted by IEEE.

    N obody even suggested a wide
    There may be some of that going on, but mostly it's pre-standards
    confusion, not a deliberate attempt at a lockin of non-standards.

    Steve Pope, Oct 19, 2005
  8. Can't be done. However, we're getting off the subject. You stated
    that the Firetide mesh product that being advertised for the 4.9GHz
    band will eventually mutate into 802.11p. I stated that there's no
    connection, relation, or reason for Firetide mesh to have anything to
    do with a completely different technology around 802.11p. There's
    absolutely no connection. The 802.11p topology was suppose to be a
    moving mesh network but has more realistically slithered back to fixed
    access points and moving vehicles with no attempt to play mesh network
    between the vehicles and the roadside access points. With the
    extremely short times allows for transmission, 802.11a timing just
    isn't going to work. It won't be an adaptation but a total redesign.
    Sorry. My perception of the situation is far more conspiratorial. In
    a past life, I dealt with quite a bit of FCC related issues. Although
    I'm far out of the loop these days, my experience showed that when the
    big vendors proclaim "open systems" or "interoperability", they never
    seem to quite deliver. I have lots of examples, but one of my
    favorites is that Motorola doesn't even pretend to be interoperable
    with their own equipment. Every new model requires *ALL* new
    accessories and batteries. Even the power connector is new requiring
    a vehicle rewiring. I don't think there's an antenna connector
    available that they haven't used. The mics are similar, but the
    connectors are all different. When they accidentally use a standard
    connector (i.e. RJ45), then they make sure that the pinout is
    completely different from other manufacturers and their earlier
    products. Many more examples if you want them. Not only is the
    proprietary design deliberate, but it's institutionalized by company

    Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    831.336.2558 voice AE6KS Skype: JeffLiebermann
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 20, 2005
  9. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    I agree, there's no way an 802.11 MAC will run on top of the
    802.11p PHY, and in that sense it will be a less-standard standard.

    I do not know if Fireside uses some earlier version of that
    standard -- WAVE has been around for a long time, it was originally
    controlled by SAE ... yep, the same people who standardize
    motor oil.

    In any case, yes nothing sold now will interoperate with anything
    that may be standard in the future, unless someone deliberately
    puts in back-compatibility.

    Steve Pope, Oct 20, 2005
  10. I'm trying to visualize what TCP/IP would have looked like if DARPA
    had adopted the same philosophy. Back compatibility with what? The
    technology lifetimes are so short that it's literally not worth the
    effort. Incidentally, wanna try using my 802.11 (1-2Mbits/sec
    Teletronics PCMCIA cards? It won't work with about 1/3rd of the hot
    spots I've tried and does a fair job of monopolizing the ones that
    allow it to connect.

    If you do consider backwards compatibility a desireable feature, then
    make it optional with a switch. Eventually, you just turn it off and
    leave it off. I just turned on "802.11g only" mode on a clients three
    access points because all the 802.11b client radios had finally been
    exterminated. They noticed an immediate improvement in general

    If the government really wants inter agency communications
    interoperability, they have to:
    1. State that this is their intent and goal. (done).
    2. Establish a shopping list of functional requirements. (not done)
    3. Establish a standards selection process and deadline to insure
    that at least some thing useful will be done. (not done)
    4. Establish a testing mechanism and criteria for standards
    compliance. (not done)

    This is roughly the way TCP/IP, FIPS, POSIX, (not SVID), were
    established. In my never subtle opinion, either the government isn't
    serious about interoperability, is completely clueless about how it is
    going to achieve it, or both.

    Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    831.336.2558 voice AE6KS Skype: JeffLiebermann
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 20, 2005
  11. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    Actually I've seen (pretty large) government RFQ's for 4.9
    GHz emergenry comm gear. This was about two years ago.
    I don't know who (if anyone) responded but Motorola would
    be a reasonable guess.

    Do you really want the feds to be triving to drive the
    standards process?

    (Actually, the feds to this, for Military standards... but
    not for anything really used commercially, except by accident.)
    Again they do this for mil specs.
    You will recall, in the early 90's, there was a fed-wide
    move towards COTS -- commercial off-the-shelf euquipment,
    standards, etc. No governmental efforts unless it was
    military or intelligence.

    Steve Pope, Oct 20, 2005
  12. I haven't seen those so I don't know what's in them. Over the years,
    friends working for various companies have sent me bid specs involving
    RF and ask me the traditional "What are they asking for"? The problem
    is that in order to be universally fair and equitable, the
    specifications for wireless system cannot follow a specific vendors
    product specs. As a side effect, they therefore tend to be rather
    vague. Unfortunately, even good ideas get overdone and non-vendor
    specific turns rapidly into incomprehensible or just plain vague. Over
    the years, I've seen a few elaborate wireless government RFQ's, that
    either would not work as specified, require major R&D to deliver a
    working device, or are borderline science fiction. Since the FCC has
    only recently started type certifying 4.9GHz hardware, I can only
    speculate as to what the government RFQ was expecting.

    Incidentally, I regularly read First Responder, MRT (Mobile Radio
    Technology), Mission Critical Communications (Radio Resource)
    magazines and others. Lots of stories about possible 4.9GHz
    applications. Up until recently, the major application seems to be
    video from either aircraft or surveillance devices. Lately the hype
    has drifted into building municipal mesh networks. Interoperability
    is rarely even mentioned. The few users in the business that I've
    asked about what they plan to do with 4.9GHz seem to think that it
    would nice to have a secure data link for smart hardware and wireless
    laptops for filling out forms. It seems like a solution looking for a
    problem to solve, but I may be talking to the wrong people.
    Read what I wrote. I said "standards selection" not creation. That
    means they go shopping for available commercial standards necessary to
    deliver a workable product. For example "must comply with
    IEEE-802.11a-1999 and such". After all, the feds are both the biggest
    customer and the source of funding for the smaller municipal
    customers. If they're going to burn my tax dollars on this joke, they
    might was well get something that has a chance of working without
    spending its days occupying a warehouse.
    The radios I used to design were full of MIL Spec components. There
    were quite a few differences between commercial components and MIL
    spec. Most of it was in the testing necessary to insure that they met
    the specs. The coax cable in your wireless contrivances is all
    references by Mil designations (RG-XXX and Mil-C17-XXXXX). As the
    military was buying more off the shelf commercial hardware, what
    really happened was the elimination of the compliance testing
    component. The military was more than happy to get the Mil Spec
    components they had been used to buying as sky high prices, but as
    commercial prices without the testing. Kinda like "kosher style"
    food. Same stuff but without the rabbi's inspection and blessing.
    Actually, they're suppose to do that for literally everything they
    buy, from pencils to satellites. This step is literally the key to
    the whole exercise. A dozen companies can build 4.9GHz interoperable
    hardware that meets some federal RFQ specs. But, it's not really
    interoperable until someone actually tests them for compliance and
    functionality. Three examples of a 90% job that could have been 100%
    if someone had established a testing mechanism were, WDS, NWAY
    ethernet negotiation, and VPN interoperability. In fact, both of
    these are still problems today because specs and testing vaguely
    defined. If you want it to work, you gotta test it to be sure it's
    gonna work.
    Yeah, I guess. Just have the city drive down to Fry's and buy a
    4.9Ghz wireless system. Actually, that was the original intent and
    why the FCC released 4.9GHz from their clutches for the purpose. One
    would expect that all the 802.11a vendors would make a 4.9GHz model.
    In sufficient quantities, it would probably be available off the shelf
    from the usual emergency responder vendors.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 20, 2005
  13. On Thu, 20 Oct 2005 01:06:36 +0000 (UTC),

    I may be reading this wrong, but why is compatibility such an
    issue if we are talking about systems that are going to be
    primarily used by emergency agencies and so on? Isn't the
    history of that sector pretty much filled with proprietary
    solutions? Would you really want to make it trivial for
    someone to modify a consumer product in order to snoop on
    law enforcement and emergency-vehicle radio transmissions?

    * Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which *
    * differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are *
    * even incapable of forming such opinions. -- Albert Einstein *
    * *
    * To send email, remove numbers and spaces: pjkusenet64 @ ekahuna27 . com *
    * Simple answers are for simple minds. Try a new way of looking at things. *
    Philip J. Koenig, Oct 24, 2005
  14. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    To allow inter-agency operation, or to ensure that a
    system could be expanded with more units in the future
    and still be compatible.

    Recall the 1991 Oakland fire, wherein fire crews from
    different jurisdictions found that, in many cases, their
    hoses would not fit onto the fireplugs because
    fireplugs are non-standard.

    Steve Pope, Oct 24, 2005
  15. On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 05:43:49 +0000 (UTC),

    I see the potential benefits.

    On the other hand, I guess I'm one of those skeptics that
    finds a certain degree of comfort in the fact that states
    and municipalities don't all operate as if they were one
    homogenous mass. From a civil liberties point of view,
    the idea of "National ID cards" and national citizen
    databases of various forms aren't too appealing.

    If all the law-enforcement and emergency agencies end
    up having the same basic communications equipment, my
    cynical mind starts to worry about whether it doesn't
    pave the way for centralized, national control over all
    of these agencies.

    * Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which *
    * differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are *
    * even incapable of forming such opinions. -- Albert Einstein *
    * *
    * To send email, remove numbers and spaces: pjkusenet64 @ ekahuna27 . com *
    * Simple answers are for simple minds. Try a new way of looking at things. *
    Philip J. Koenig, Oct 24, 2005
  16. The original inspiration for 4.9Ghz was the muddle at the World Trade
    Center, where different agencies could not talk and coordinate with
    each other. 4.9Ghz was somehow intended to give law enforcement a
    common datacomm system. 700MHz will eventually do the rest. Here's
    Michael Powell's pitch line before a Senate committee on the grand
    plan for emergency services.
    "This spectrum at 4.9 GHz is part of a transfer of Federal
    Government spectrum to private sector use and will accommodate
    a variety of new broadband applications while also fostering
    Note the word "interoperability" which means that anyone can talk to
    anyone else. It would be a fair assumption that such broadband
    applications would be standards based and not some proprietary
    protocol fabricated for the sole purpose of restricting competative
    Absolutely. Motorola leads the industry in insuring that absolutely
    nothing will talk, communicate, or plug into other vendors hardware
    (or their own previous models). In addition, great efforts are made
    by the frequency coordination organizations (APCO) to prevent
    interoperability in the name of interference reduction. Even the FCC
    has weighed into the interoperability prevention business by refusing
    to type certify field programmable radios. While over the air
    programming is allowed for Motorola SecureNet operation, this does not
    include juggling frequencies and channels remotely. A good example of
    how an agency responds is the current use of Midland 256 channel
    radios by CDF. They need all those channels in case the unit has to
    move to another area. I've been told another 256 channels would be
    handy. Basically, all the tools for interoperability are available
    and functional. What's missing is the removal of bureaucratic
    impediments, standards, and the necessary relaxation of rules-n-regs.
    It's more than just snoop. It's also trivial for someone to hot wire
    a microwave oven and turn it into an area wide jammer. If you dive
    into eBay, you'll find a fairly large collection of used public safety
    radios suitable for constructing a monitor or jammer. The FRS, GMRS,
    and MURS rules prevent combining these channels into public safety and
    commerical radios insuring a market for both. Never mind that much of
    the short range communications in Iraq is still being done with cheap
    FRS radios because the fancy military stuff didn't work as expected.
    In other words, the rules are intentionally restrictive in areas of
    cross service interoperability. Wouldn't it be nice if your cell
    phone had a "walkie-talkie" like function (such as FRS) that didn't
    require the benevolent involvment of the cellular provider?

    Interestingly, the major reason that law enforcement doesn't use
    encryption as much as one would expect is that they also use a huge
    amount of cheap consumer scanners and commercial hardware that does
    not allow for encryption. It's also an expensive option. The issues
    are commonly discussed under the topic of "scanner law".
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 24, 2005
  17. On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 09:34:33 -0700,
    [excellent comments on interoperability and proprietary
    vs standards-based technology within the emergency
    services sector]

    So here's an interesting alternative - it may have most
    of the benefits without most of the problems of radio
    standardization, and some interesting "goodies" of its

    * Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which *
    * differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are *
    * even incapable of forming such opinions. -- Albert Einstein *
    * *
    * To send email, remove numbers and spaces: pjkusenet64 @ ekahuna27 . com *
    * Simple answers are for simple minds. Try a new way of looking at things. *
    Philip J. Koenig, Oct 25, 2005
  18. Basically, that's a pitch for VoIP for dispatch. That's already being
    done with a wide variety of related products. One part that's
    conspicuously absent interfaces for Nextel, Telco, POTS, lease lines,
    P25, conventional FM, and other forms of incompatible communications.
    There are products that glue these together which include VoIP.

    | Interoperability

    However I have a different view of emergency communications. It
    largely reflects the thinking of Andy Seybold at:
    In a real disaster, the infrastructure always breaks down. The more
    extensive the disaster, the more extensive the damage. If
    communications is reliant on infrastructure such as cell sites,
    repeaters, internet connections, and wired backhaul, then it will
    fail. What's really needed is infrastructure-less communications.
    That's something the major manufacturers detest because it frees the
    customer from their proprietary clutches. In this light, I see the
    Cisco emergency "system" as a giant step backwards.

    Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    831.336.2558 voice AE6KS Skype: JeffLiebermann
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 25, 2005
  19. SMS

    Steve Pope Guest

    Satellite communications may be your best bet here, or, possibly, HF
    although that doesn't scale as well. These two have been favorites
    of military communicators for decades. Very few natural disasters
    or human adversaries have the ability to knock out a satellite
    (although ground stations are potentially vulnerable), and disrupting
    HF requires a procedure known as "pumping up the belts" which
    involves the use of nuclear bombs.

    Steve Pope, Oct 25, 2005
  20. How would satellite communications have helped in the World Trade
    Center mess? For that matter, how would municipal wireless have

    Satellite comm certainly has its place. Many of the COW's (Cell sites
    on Wheels) use satellite for their backhaul. CA OES and FEMA both
    have satellite comm systems. However, these tend to be concentrated
    at the emergency centers. Once communications breaks down between the
    PSAP's (public safety answering points), satellite becomes less than
    True. NVIS HF does handle medium range communications that is farther
    than can be done on VHF/UHF, but not so far that one ends up out of
    state. As for capacity, maybe 300 baud via HF using Pactor 3 on a
    good day.
    FEMA list of this years disasters:

    Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    831.336.2558 voice AE6KS Skype: JeffLiebermann
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 25, 2005
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