(Wireless) Innovation
(Wireless) innovation can't depend on grudging permission from the FCC.
14-Feb-2010Version 2: 2023-05-28 17:09:26

We need an approach that doesn’t depend on FCC’s omniscience and benevolence.

Whitespace is the FCC giving a grudging concession. I find databases even more problematic in that they require too many agencies to do the right thing. If databases are necessary then we have a system that is too brittle. Stuart Benjamin (FCC scholar) cited the complexity in his 2003 paper as a reason he backed off and went to spectrum auctions instead. Too bad.

As I see it (and wrote in http://rmf.vc/?n=SD) a fundamental problem is the nutty idea that wired and wireless bits are different and then we compound it by treating wireless space as homesteaded land and act as if it’s a negative sum game (with the creation of interference).

We should take heart from the microphone people who showed the benefits of ignoring the FCC. Too bad they seem to have used simplistic signaling techniques. What if they had learned from Hedy Lamarr and spread the signal out so that it didn’t suffer from interference (both in the technical and social senses)? Who’d’ve cared that they were ignoring the FCC? It’s the same technique we use in the free-for-all (pun intended) bands.

Rather than seeing how far we can reach in a single hop shouldn’t we be opening up the vast capacity of our physical infrastructure? Cisco in fact has software to support a second SSID. Supposedly they don’t install it by default because it would confuse the users but I think it’s far more likely that they don’t want to visibly annoy their carrier customers.

These are the carriers who wanted to peek inside our homes and charge us for each PC and outlaw webcams (but couldn’t thanks to NATs). We can each violate their terms of services on our own but it would be difficult for Cisco to get past the LotI (Lawyers of the Incumbency) by visibly encouraging the necessary civil disobedience.