Its always good to have a fresh perspective and links to new resources, expecically realated to grants :-).

Tom DeReggi
RapidDSL & Wireless, Inc
IntAirNet- Fixed Wireless Broadband

----- Original Message ----- From: "k claffy" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "WISPA General List" <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 5:15 AM
Subject: Re: [WISPA] Martin's call for more radio frequencyspectrum foremergency responders

[too long and off-topic academic rant, delete now
unless you have strong stomach]

On Wed, Sep 28, 2005 at 12:45:32AM -0500, John Scrivner wrote:
 I see you have made your introduction K.  :-)   I think you guys will
 find this lady's enthusiasm toward policy change to be no less than
 revolutionary. She has an eye toward a complete rework of the FCC (as in
 destroy it and rebuild governance of spectrum and policy from the ground
 up) to allow for more progressive spectrum and related policy. I have
 explained that we are all still attempting a more standard approach to
 working within the framework of our existing system a little longer
 before we are ready to start burning the FCC at the stake. While there
 would be a certain pleasure in seeing the system rebuilt from scratch it
 would be of little use if it ended up being rebuilt by people who do not
 care about our needs as an industry. At least some policy bodes well for
 us now or we would not even be talking here today.

john, you overestimate my enthusiasm. <s>

revolution isn't the goal, congruence (between policy and
our-best-understanding-of-the-world, aka truth) is the goal.  i don't
know enough about the fcc to foment revolution, and frankly, i'm not
even sure what revolution means this decade.  i admit i have heard
gentlemen talk about low power squatting on channel 2 to broadcast local
city/state public governance proceedings, w tagline: "this is your
democracy, on unconstitutionally licensed spectrum.  any questions?
http://openspectrum.<city>.<state>.us". but i don't know anyone who
actually wants (or plans) to break federal law.  if i were going about
that i would try to get city and state law behind me first (california
has some history of state legislation that is 'empirically ahead' of
federal legislation, e.g., props 71, 215, tax breaks for alternative
energy investments.  actually, california's opening up some spectrum for
public sector research and experimentation would be tame compared to what
california has effectively said to the feds on several other issues...)

[for a good 'broadcasting is unconstitutional' rant, see

alas...i have learned this month that many underground groups are already
using 'licensed' spectrum for their own unlicensed private purposes so
i reckon the only way to be innovative there would be to do something
in support of the public sector.  conveniently, there is great need
there. inconveniently (and correlated), there is less monetary payoff there...

but whatever its instantiation, revolution is a last resort, and it's
not clear to me that we have exhausted other options.  i know several
quite bright, progressive, enthusiastic people at the fcc (seriously!),
among other agencies (i admit i know noone at fema).  what they lack is
irrefutable empirical (or analytical, or realistically simulated) evidence
that proposed changes have extraordinary quantified (in $$$, or hours,
or lives, or, bandwidth, or coverage, but probably mostly $$$) advantages
over the status quo.

but john's got the spirit of my passion quite right -- i am witnessing
a deeply widening gap betweeen policy and our best understanding of the
world, and i am [wearing myself out] trying to put scientific resources
toward narrowing this gap.

i'm not sure what specific data to ask for at the moment because have
little insight into what data i could get.  my exceedingly pie-in-the-sky
and yet apparently unusually pointed questions are:

what's the most effective, economic way to provide for the nation:

   * a layer of 'cellphone' bandwidth across the country?
(that might mean a long-haul backbone to tie together regional
wifis -- let's figure out what that costs too. e.g., if you all
had an oc192 optical fiber backbone connecting WISPs all across
the country to eachother, how many WISPs could pay the access
fees to connect to it? or, what would those access fees have
to be for you to be able to afford what-you'd-need?
   * a layer of communication for emergency services across
the country? (as you want to define it)
   * N Mbps (e.g., 100Mbps) worth of digital communications
bandwidth to each building? each person?
[all backed up by compelling economic and engineering analyses]

i know these are hand-wavy, but they are also the numbers that ultimately
should inform enlightened public policy for digital communications.  so,
given that we might actually need to build and measure some wireless
testbeds to validate/refine cost and throughput models, i think WISPA
data could go a long way here in helping the academic sector Imagine the
[most cost-effective] Possibilities.

another key question for researchers trying to build new technologies
for you to deploy: what measurement support do we need to build into
network architecture to assess and track the costs of resulting
infrastructures for a given set of performance and coverage constraints?
what technological (e.g., radio) and regulatory (e.g., spectrum control)
developments are needed to support testing and experimentations with
proposed architectures?

you folks know better than i do that as a society we still haven't gotten
our heads around treating digital communications bandwidth as critical
infrastructure, which means we are procrastinating the required change
in the nature of our thinking about everything from consumer protection
(FTC) to spectrum stewardship (FCC) to network science policy (NSF,
DARPA, NIST).  it's a long road ahead of us, but the more i learn the
more concerned i am at the lack of empirical data supporting /any/ given
position. tim you're exactly right that the power of lobbying is daunting,
currently much stronger than the power of objective analysis from
independent sources, and you're also right that it's ultimately an
economic problem (they have more money to lobby than we have to fund
objective research and analysis.  takes a lot to make ma bell look good,
but there we are...).

not that it will help much or soon, but there are actually several
potential sources of small amounts of federal funds (google for "SBIR")
that WISPA folks might qualify for (i don't know enough to judge), and,
on the science and R&D sides, here is NSF's valiant attempt to help move
the world (of communications) forward in face of all odds against it:

if anyone's looking for a job (they tend to but not always require a
phd), NSF is looking for a manager of this new program.  more importantly,
this initiative is a place that WISPA folks should consider applying for
funding once the actual solicitation comes out (not sure when that is,
things are up in the air and, ironically, the recent re-prioritization
of federal resources has a decent chance of killing this program before
it even gets funded). at least you should consider offering to be on a
peer review panel (send them your qualifications or talk to me about it
if you're interested but not sure what it entails) so you can help guide
more enlightened science policy yourselves -- this decade science needs
all the help it can get.

with endless respect for all of you,
(sorry this got so long)
WISPA Wireless List:



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