FW: support for the IEEE Standards Association
fyi. This is a note from Roger Marks to Bruce Eisenstein. Please give Roger
Jim Carlo(email@example.com) Cellular:1-214-693-1776 Voice&Fax:1-214-853-5274
TI Fellow, Networking Standards at Texas Instruments
Chair, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC6 Telecom and Info Exchange Between Systems
Chair, IEEE802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee
From: Roger B. Marks [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 5:56 PM
Subject: support for the IEEE Standards Association
To: Bruce A. Eisenstein, IEEE President
From: Roger B. Marks, IEEE Member
Dear Dr. Eisenstein,
I am writing to you because I believe passionately in the importance
of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and am convinced that it
is being hurt by activities of the IEEE Industry Standards and
Technology Organization (ISTO).
As the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless
Access <http://ieee802.org/16>, I am close to the dispute between the
IEEE-SA's LAN/MAN Standards Committee (Committee 802) and the ISTO
over the Broadband Wireless Internet Forum (BWIF), which was
announced in a July 11 ISTO press release provocatively entitled
"BROADBAND WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS GAINS HIGH SPEED STANDARD"
<http://www.ieee-isto.org/071100_bwif.html>. I support 802's Position
Statement <http://ieee802.org/16/802/positionBWIF.pdf> on the issue.
I'd like to provide you some context.
First of all, let me mention that I have been a card-carrying IEEE
member for 15 years. I received an IEEE Fellow Award from you at the
IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT) Symposium in
Boston last month; I also received an IEEE Technical Field Award (the
IEEE Morris E. Leeds Award in Electrical Measurement) in 1995. I
serve on the MTT Society's AdCom (as Standards Coordinating Chair and
Meetings & Symposia Operations Chair) and as an IEEE Distinguished
Lecturer. I initiated the IEEE Radio and Wireless Conference (RAWCON)
and chaired it for its first four years, and I have served in other
capacities in many IEEE conferences and publications.
In spite of my many IEEE activities, I never appreciated the treasure
that is the IEEE Standards Association until I became involved in it
about two years ago. The IEEE-SA is founded on idealistic principles
of transnationalism, openness, consensus, due process, balance, and
appeal rights. Unlike nearly all other standards developing
organizations, it is also based on individualism; engineers, not
companies or national institutions, are in the driver's seat. The
miracle of IEEE Standards is that this idealism does not exclude
realism. The simple fact is that the IEEE-SA Standards process works,
and works superbly. With dedicated, technically-minded volunteers,
standards quickly arise whose quality is almost literally
unquestioned; that's because questions are openly welcomed and then
addressed during development. IEEE 802, for example, is enabling the
emerging computer-centric wireless web while continuing to pioneer
new Ethernet technology. 802's Millennium Award, perhaps the only one
awarded to a group, was well deserved.
The ISTO is a separate legal entity from IEEE and operates outside
its basic principles. Its purpose is to appeal to industry desires
for closed consortia. I understand the rationale for such consortia.
The bestselling Harvard Business School book _Information Rules_
takes an extremely pragmatic and hard-nosed approach to
standardization through any means. Yet, calling IEEE "a highly
respected and neutral industry-wide organization," it said "Adoption
by the IEEE did much to create self-fulfilling expectations that
Ethernet would emerge as the accepted industry standard."
Expectations like those are based on the hard-earned credibility of
IEEE standards. IEEE must protect that credibility.
The ISTO can serve as a constructive complement to the IEEE Standards
Association by offering post-standardization services such as
marketing, intellectual property rights management, and
interoperability testing. It might also assist industry groups in
developing pre-standardization specifications. However, in that
regard, ISTO has tried to wear two hats: on one hand, it promises a
fast track without the red tape; on the other hand, it tries to make
use of the prestige of the IEEE name to enhance its value. This has
led to widespread confusion. Most 802.16 participants have found it
difficult to sort out the meaning of the ISTO announcement of a
"standard," and I have to tell you that many mistakenly viewed it as
an attempt by IEEE to undermine their work. One can only imagine the
confusion of people outside IEEE.
I don't believe that ISTO should continue to wear both hats. I think
ISTO will best serve IEEE if its pre-standardization efforts are
clearly distinguished from the activities of the IEEE-SA. I urge
IEEE, as the sole member of ISTO, to work to enact policy changes to
ensure the following specific outcomes:
*ISTO should cease its claim to be "affiliated with the IEEE
Standards Association"; I have found no basis for this claim.
*The terms "IEEE Industry Standard" and "IEEE-ISTO Industry Standard"
should be eliminated in favor of the term "ISTO Industry
*ISTO announcements concerning "ISTO Industry Specifications" should
carry a disclaimer such as "ISTO is not accredited to write standards
and is not affiliated with the IEEE Standards Association."
*ISTO should avoid projects that are competitive with IEEE Standards
I suggest that these conditions, which I believe will be good for
both the IEEE-SA and ISTO, should be incorporated in the ISTO bylaws.
The IEEE-SA is built upon some of the most dedicated volunteers in
IEEE. For example, well over 400 individuals from well over 100
companies have participated in IEEE 802.16. Since we meet for
virtually an entire week six times a year, the travel schedule alone
is a very serious commitment. Thanks to the efforts of this group, 35
proposals aired last November have led to a single consolidated draft
of our first, core standard. In a few months, when the final document
is published, IEEE will be a good position to announce "BROADBAND
WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS GAINS HIGH SPEED STANDARD."
The IEEE-SA and its volunteers are showing the world how to do
standards. It would be a tragedy to allow ISTO activities to lead the
world to believe that IEEE has lost faith in the process.
Please let me know if I can provide further information.
Dr. Roger B. Marks <mailto:email@example.com>
phone: +1 303 497 3037 fax: +1 303 497 7828
I am copying a few of the many individuals who have been concerned
with this issue:
Jim Carlo (Chair, IEEE 802)
Steve Diamond (Chair, IEEE Computer Society Standards Activities Board)
Larry Hamerman (Director-Elect, IEEE Region 6)
Robert Hebner (Former Acting Director, U.S. National Institute of
Standards and Technology)
Don Loughry (President, IEEE Standards Association)
Peter Staecker (Director-Elect, IEEE Division IV)
Roger Sudbury (President, IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society)
and the following:
ISTO Board of Directors
-George W. Arnold
-Richard J. Holleman
-Marco W. Migliaro
-Edward M. Roney
Representative of the IEEE-SA to the IEEE-ISTO