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RE: [802SEC] Bad press Re: pre-std "g" equipment


The interpretation URL:
is in the introductory material of published standards.


>While this particular case took a bit less than a year, I think it is
>the exception rather than the rule.  Admittedly, corrections should run
>faster, and I think a typical number of about a year (or perhaps a
>little less) is a good guess.  I'm not sure what a goal should be.
>Perhaps a year is good enough, or perhaps 6 months or something on that
>order would be better.  Regardless, I think it is always good to look
>for way of improving the process.  If people are satisfied with a
>process that takes about a year, lets stick with it.  But, personally,
>I'd like to see something that can run a little faster if possible.
>One concern I have with interpretations is how they are recorded.  To my
>knowledge, they occur in the WG minutes, and in a formal response to who
>ever requested the interpretation.  They are not widely distributed, and
>might be hard to locate after the fact.  Perhaps if they could be
>included as some sort of addendum on released standards, it would make
>the mechanism more useful corrections.
>Matthew Sherman
>Vice Chair, IEEE 802
>Technology Consultant
>Communications Technology Research
>AT&T Labs - Shannon Laboratory
>Room B255, Building 103
>180 Park Avenue
>P.O. Box 971
>Florham Park, NJ 07932-0971
>Phone: +1 (973) 236-6925
>Fax: +1 (973) 360-5877
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Roger B. Marks []
>Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2003 9:54 AM
>To: Sherman,Matthew J (Matthew)
>Subject: RE: [802SEC] Bad press Re: pre-std "g" equipment
>I don't think that the 802 process makes it too hard or
>time-consuming to correct errors.
>Let me take an example: 802.16c. We submitted a PAR in February; it
>was approved by the SEC in March, and we issued a Call for
>Contributions. In May, we released a draft and opened a Working Group
>Letter Ballot. We opened Sponsor Ballot on August 5. The final draft
>(Draft 4) was issued on October 4 and approved in December.
>802.16c included a lot more than maintenance; it was 92 pages long,
>and maintenance was just a tag-along to the primary content. If we
>were doing maintenance alone, it would have been a lot easier (though
>probably not much faster).
>If you look at the process as having taken nearly a year, then it
>sounds a bit long. However, the final draft was finished less than
>eight months after the PAR was submitted. And most of the corrections
>were in the draft issued less than four months after the PAR
>submittal. Overall, I think that the time frame was short enough.
>I understand that a larger group, or more contention, could lead to
>slower progress. However, I don't think that the process of
>developing corrections in 802 in inherently too slow.
>Also, don't forget the option of an interpretation, which is suitable
>for fixing some kinds of errors and can be done very quickly by the
>Working Group alone.
>At 10:57 PM -0500 03/02/17, <> wrote:
>>Well you got me on this one.  Somehow I glossed over it when I was
>>writing my response to Geoff (I did catch it when you first sent it
>>out).  But I should note that it was a quote of a rather disgruntled
>>sounding individual, and I did not think it represented the author's
>>opinion.  The author ended the article clearly coming down on Wi-Fi,
>>IEEE.  The real question is what are we going to do about it?
>>If we feel that IEEE is being misrepresented, then it is up to us to
>>respond in some way to ensure that these perceptions are not
>>However, when they are presented as one person's opinion I'm not sure
>>what we can do.
>>As for your further comments, there are some parts of the process I'd
>>like to see changed.  My feeling is that when something in the standard
>>is clearly broken, there needs to be a "fast track" to fix it.  You had
>  >suggested opening a PAR the other day in the 802.11 interim, and I
>>misinterpreted your meaning as to create a standing PAR for corrections
>>to the standard.  In my mind, a lot of the process is just getting a
>>approved.  I'd almost rather that once a project exists, corrections to
>>standards the project produced are possible without getting a new PAR.
>>I know that goes against the current process, but to me this is one
>>possible way to improve the current process.
>>Also, about your comment on the IETF and interoperable prototypes, I
>>like that idea a lot.  However, when we (AT&T) have tried to bring in
>>hardware demos of a proposed standard in the past we were told that
>>things aren't allowed in our meeting.  We had to do the demo "off
>>So I guess my question is what could be done to permit more of the IETF
>>approach which requires demonstration of hardware and interoperability
>>during the standards development process?
>>Best Regards,
>>Matthew Sherman
>>Vice Chair, IEEE 802
>>Technology Consultant
>>Communications Technology Research
>>AT&T Labs - Shannon Laboratory
>>Room B255, Building 103
>>180 Park Avenue
>>P.O. Box 971
>>Florham Park, NJ 07932-0971
>>Phone: +1 (973) 236-6925
>>Fax: +1 (973) 360-5877
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Bob O'Hara []
>>Sent: Monday, February 17, 2003 8:05 PM
>>To: Sherman,Matthew J (Matthew);
>>Subject: RE: [802SEC] Bad press Re: pre-std "g" equipment
>>I'm not sure how you can say this article "didn't come down on IEEE at
>>all" with a straight face.  I quote from the article below:
>>"Within the IEEE, former home of engineering, but now merely court
>>jester to
>>vested interest, standard seems to mean 'I'm already shipping it -
>>look how big my wallet is,' or something very similar." "
>>Regarding your point about the turn-around time in the IEEE process, I
>>agree.  It takes a relatively long time to modify the standard.  I have
>>not found any parts of the process that I would like to see changed,
>>though.  It is really up to the working groups to determine how they
>>produce their draft to send to Sponsor Ballot.  Currently, 802.11 is
>>mostly in "invent, then standardize" mode, which takes quite a long
>>and results is a high probability of problems discovered only after
>>deployment.  An alternative method is one used in the IETF; "show me
>>different and interoperable implementations, then I might standardize
>>it".  This takes longer up front, but seems to result in fewer
>>interoperability problems after deployment.
>>Seems like a "pay me now or pay me later" situation.
>>   -Bob
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: []
>>Sent: Monday, February 17, 2003 3:58 PM
>>To:; Bob O'Hara
>>Subject: RE: [802SEC] Bad press Re: pre-std "g" equipment
>>Given that the standard isn't even released yet, I don't see how there
>>can be a question about 802.11g quality, or our due diligence on that
>>standard yet.  I think this is an issue of how we interface with the
>>outside world, what we do to defend our name, and how we deal with
>>industry pressure to release products before they are done.
>>My own read of this particular g-bashing is that it didn't come down on
>>IEEE at all - rather it attacked Wi-Fi.  I have seen some other similar
>>pieces that Bashed IEEE / 802 as well.  Honestly I don't see that we've
>>done anything wrong yet - at least not procedurally.
>>Also, being on the board to me means that we ensure "due diligence" on
>>procedural issues.  Those procedures may not be sufficient today to
>>guarantee issues such as compatibility from the get go.  My impression
>>is that all our standards are becoming more complex, and there are
>>increased possibilities for interactions (coexistence, backwards
>>compatibility, etc.).  The real question to me is not whether "new
>>projects" in our own or other groups are up to snuff, but rather are
>>procedures / rules we follow up to snuff, and properly enforced.  This
>>to me is where we need to focus our due diligence.
>>One thing that has greatly bothered me is the turn around time to fix a
>>problem in a standard.  Compatibility problems are (in my opinion) more
>>likely to be found in the field than on the drawing board.  Fixes might
>>be quickly developed, but for even a simple fix to be reviewed and
>>accepted by the standards body could (in my opinion) take a year or
>>more.  This is a long time when vendors are chomping at the bit to get
>>devices to the market (and the standard has already been formally
>>In other industry organizations I have participated in, a number of
>>procedures were followed that allowed greater certainly of the
>>performance of a specification, and shorter time to fix it when a
>>problem arose.  These included requiring a hardware brass board (which
>>becomes the gold standard for compatibility) prior to release of the
>>specification, and a revision notice procedure that allowed fixes to an
>>existing specification to be quickly evaluated and accepted/rejected.
>>While these bodies were not "standards bodies", it would be nice if
>>there were analogous processes which could be followed in developing
>>Just my two cents.
>>Matthew Sherman
>>Vice Chair, IEEE 802
>>Technology Consultant
>>Communications Technology Research
>>AT&T Labs - Shannon Laboratory
>>Room B255, Building 103
>>180 Park Avenue
>>P.O. Box 971
>>Florham Park, NJ 07932-0971
>>Phone: +1 (973) 236-6925
>>Fax: +1 (973) 360-5877
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Geoff Thompson []
>>Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2003 3:31 PM
>>To: Bob O'Hara
>>Subject: Re: [802SEC] Bad press Re: pre-std "g" equipment
>>This only emphasizes that all members of the SEC have real
>>to see that new projects in other groups, as well as their own, uphold
>>established quality of 802 Standards.
>>Being on a "board" is a due diligence job, whether it is the finances
>>Enron or the quality of 802 Standards.
>>At 10:46 AM 2/13/2003 -0800, Bob O'Hara wrote:
>>>IEEE, and by association 802, is getting tarred with the same brush
>>>this 802.11g fiasco.
>>>    -Bob
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>   >
>>>   > New wireless 11g 'standard' ends in tears
>>>   > By Guy Kewney,
>>>   > Posted: 10/02/2003 at 08:43 GMT
>>>   > <>
>>>   >
>>>   > It is nearly a year since NewsWireless Net warned of the disasters
>>>   > looming if American wireless manufacturers went ahead with 802.11g
>>>   > the go-faster WiFi standard. Now, we hear of incompatibility
>>>   > between rival 11g products - discovered in "secret" testing
>>>   > Are we really supposed to be surprised?
>>>   >
>>>   > You can, today, buy an 802.11g (pre-standard) device. This story
>>>   > written on a PC connected over a Linksys WRT54G "Wireless-G"
>>>   > broadband router. It really is running at 54 megabits a second,
>>>   > giving a pretty good working approximation of 20 megabits per
>>>   > throughput. And, the good news: it will work fine with my old WiFi
>>>   > cards on the 11b standard too, even though it slows down to 11
>>>   > megabits (5 megabits throughput) to do so.
>>>   >
>>>   > So why is this bad news? The answer is that since it works, in a
>>>   > one-off situation like this, people will, quite naturally, buy it.
>>>   > And then, the fun will begin; because there's no guarantee of
>>>   > compatibility with other 11 "pre-g" standards.
>>>   >
>>   > > It was Nick Hunn, managing director of TDK Grey Cell, who first
>>>   > pointed out that there were serious problems with the idea of
>>>   > out a 50 megabit version of the normal WiFi LAN technology, back
>>>   > May last year.
>>>   >
>>>   > Now, the WiFi Alliance has been forced to act as rival 50 megabit
>>>   > wireless systems have been launched on the market - without even
>>   > > benefit of a finally agreed IEEE standard to conform to, and with
>>>   > compatibility testing between the rivals, either.
>>>   >
>>>   > As predicted, the result is a monumental cockup.
>>>   >
>>>   > A scale of the disaster is the giveaway quote by Broadcom's Jeff
>>>   > Abramowitz, senior director of wireless LAN marketing:
>>>   > understand what interoperability means to them, and they are
>>>   > in that direction."
>>>   >
>>>   > This statement says, as honestly as you could ask for from a man
>>>   > speaking under NDA, that we aren't there yet.
>>>   >
>>>   > Abramowitz can't say "they don't interwork" even though he may
>>>   > for sure which ones cause the problems. He's not allowed to,
>>>   > the tests where this bad news was established are secret. WiFi
>>>   > specialist site, Unstrung, reports: "Fueling industry anxiety is
>>>   > fact that the results of the first interoperability trials,
>>>   > by the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab, won't be
>>>   > made public." Not only will they not be made public, but the
>>>   > who attended them have actually been obliged to sign a
>>>   > agreement saying that they may not discuss them.
>>>   >
>>>   > There would be no need to make the results secret if they all
>>>   > interworking.
>>>   >
>>   > > Today, Nick Hunn responded angrily: "In my belief, 'standard'
>>   > > something that everyone adheres to for the common good. Within
>>   > > IEEE, former home of engineering, but now merely court jester to
>>>   > vested interest, standard seems to mean 'I'm already shipping it -
>>>   > look how big my wallet is,' or something very similar."
>>>   >
>>>   > Hunn believes that the 11g concept is redundant, and should never
>>>   > have been developed. "I've already said that .11g is a bastard
>>>   > concept - it should have been put down eighteen months ago, but
>>>   > chip vendors can't take the medicine of having to throw away their
>>>   > competing development," he commented. "As regards
>>   > > at least the standard has taken a leaf out of the Hitchhiker's
>>>   > to the Galaxy and comes with the comforting phrase "These are
>>>   > drafts. Do not build product" on the front cover."
>>>   >
>>>   > Our own tests here at NewsWireless Net have been hampered by
>>>   > which worked poorly. One vendor shipped faulty 54g equipment for
>>>   > review, and we found that not only was the signal indecipherable
>>>   > an 802.11b adapter, but it was also jumbled when the mobile units
>>>   > moved more than 20 feet away. A replacement unit shipped two weeks
>>>   > later works correctly.
>>>   >
>>>   > However, from reports leaking out of the New Hampshire University
>>>   > tests, it's clear that there have indeed been 54g and rival chip
>>>   > which did not work correctly with 11b "legacy" network equipment.
>>>   >
>>>   > It isn't a trivial matter. To some, it will seem trivial, of
>>>   > They have PC notebooks with plug-in PC card adapters. Throw away
>>>   > old 11b adapter, plug in the new 54g or alternative, and you're
>>>   > online, four times faster - where's the downside, apart from the
>>>   > upgrade price?
>>>   >
>>>   > But to many, there is a different problem; they have notebooks or
>>>   > pocket PCs or other devices which have the WiFi wireless built in.
>>>   > Many PC makers have already started shipping dual standard PCs,
>>>   > 11b and 11a, not 11g, built in. They will perhaps be able to plug
>>>   > new adapter card in, but the support costs for a corporate user of
>>>   > wireless are going to be substantial.
>>>   >
>>>   > The other problem is that while 11b and 11g are supposed to be
>>>   > compatible, that comes at a cost. The cost is speed. As long as
>>>   > is an old legacy 11b unit broadcasting packets, the 11g devices
>>>   > have to switch mode to 11b, and run at a maximum of 11 megabits.
>>>   >
>>>   > Some fear that manufacturers will deal with this the cruel way;
>>>   > will simply make 11g units that go diplomatically deaf when an 11b
>>>   > card walks into the room, and ignore it. Hints from the test
>>>   > laboratory suggest this has already happened.
>  >>  >
>>>   > Back in May last year, we quoted Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds
>>>   > saying: "Think of the wireless spectrum as a three-lane highway in
>>>   > which all drivers are required to change lanes every 10 seconds -
>>>   > so bad when the roads are empty, but a probable disaster when
>>>   > mounts. The ruling makes life easier for designers of devices
>>>   > supporting multiple protocols."
>>>   >
>>>   > The biggest loser, here, is almost certainly the WiFi Alliance,
>>>   > was the watchdog that ran away in the night when it saw the
>>>   >
>>>   > The Alliance made its reputation by insisting that only compatible
>>>   > equipment could carry the WiFi logo. It organised tests where
>>>   > compatbility was assured, and issued accreditation, and the result
>>>   > was a wireless industry where wireless adapters became
>>>   > and you could pick the cheapest.
>>>   >
>>>   > This didn't suit the manufacturers. They like the idea of "winning
>>>   > big" - of being the guy who sets the standard. They want to be
>>>   > out the door, forcing everybody else to follow in their footsteps,
>>>   > and maybe, even, pay a licence fee for doing so. They hate
>>>   > commoditisation; so why they praise the standard in public, they
>>>   > their hardest to undermine it and create their own statute in the
>>>   > background.
>>>   >
>>>   > If this standard is rescued, it will take time; and by the time it
>>>   > sorted out, many dismayed buyers will find themselves with
>>>   > gear. The WiFi Alliance turned out to be helpless to intervene,
>>>   > its credibility will be hard to re-establish.
>>>   >
>>>   >
>>>   >