[Battlemesh] IEEE magazine on FCC lockdown

Will Lumpkins xillia at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 20 18:02:14 CEST 2016

Hello Simon,
I would love to participate and we would love a follow-up article, better written by your team.

Will Lumpkins
Sr. Member IEEE
IEEE Council on RFID Past President
IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Magazine Senior Editor
972-639-6393 Mobile

-----Original Message-----
From: Simon Wunderlich [mailto:sw at simonwunderlich.de] 
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 9:59 AM
To: William <xillia at yahoo.com>
Cc: leonardo <mail at leonardo.ma>; Sven Eckelmann <sven at narfation.org>; battlemesh at ml.ninux.org; William Lumpkins <xillia at ieee.org>
Subject: Re: Re: [Battlemesh] IEEE magazine on FCC lockdown

Hi William,

thanks for getting back at us!

I didn't receive an e-mail from you (just checked my archives), and my mail filters are not very strict ... seems it got lost somewhere.

I'd be gladly available for a (conf) call. Note that we also have the next edition of Wireless Battle of the Mesh coming up in 2 weeks in Porto, Portugal. We will have a follow up discussion on the FCC topic there [1]. 
Maybe we can patch you in through skype, and please allow me to invite you to join us personally, although its rather short notice. ;) We will have ~100 participants, and I'd assume a majority is pretty interested in the topic.

Also some people have expressed interest in doing a follow up article for IEEE, we can try to gather people there to just do that. :)


[1] http://battlemesh.org/BattleMeshV9/Agenda#Wednesday_4th_May_2016

On Wednesday 20 April 2016 09:45:56 William wrote:
> Hello Simon et al,
> Interestingly, I sent you an email many months ago asking for a quote 
> for my article. It was probably lost in the mix. I would love to print 
> a follow on piece. We always look for articles, we are print, 
> therefore it is a nine month cycle. Normally, I only get one or two 
> comments from my articles. It is kinda of cool to get so much 
> interest. (Typing on my phone) I would love a voice chat with you or 
> the group. I can setup a conference call.
> Sincerely,
> Will Lumpkins
> Sr. Member IEEE
> IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Magazine Senior Editor
> 972-639-6393
> > On Apr 20, 2016, at 9:36 AM, Simon Wunderlich 
> > <sw at simonwunderlich.de>
> > wrote:
> > 
> > Hi Leonardo,
> > 
> >> On Wednesday 20 April 2016 16:01:43 leonardo wrote:
> >> [...]
> >> 
> >>> And his statement "FCC is calling out in FCC 14-30 is the “firmware”
> >>> that is
> >>> located inside the radio chip or application-specific integrated 
> >>> circuit" is rather controversial because they used the term 
> >>> "DD-WRT" (which is a device firmware and not a wifi chip firmware) 
> >>> earlier in their questionnaire. It was most likely not their 
> >>> intent but they made it really hard not to interpret it this way. 
> >>> And right now, WiFi firmware chip versions can still be replaced 
> >>> and mostly only hindered the lawful use of the devices (e.g. in 
> >>> mesh networks with ath10k). I don't know (but could easily be 
> >>> wrong) of any widely deployed wifi chip used in community networks 
> >>> which uses some kind of cryptographic mechanism which would stop 
> >>> anyone from installing a hacked wifi chip firmware (and wifi chip 
> >>> firmware only). But even when it doesn't exist now - maybe this 
> >>> will come and thus confirm his standpoint.
> >> 
> >> This is the point that i wanted to discuss. There is this line of 
> >> interpretation that says "intentions of FCC are good, 
> >> implementation is wrong". Where:
> >> - intentions means: "lock down frequency/powerlevel/DFS..." in the 
> >> Radio chip to use the unlicensed spectrum as FCC mandates.
> >> - implementations is what Simon said in the other email: since 
> >> vendors like tp-link today can not simply enforce the lockdown on 
> >> the radio -only, they locked everything to stay on the market.
> >> 
> >> Now let's say that tomorrow technology X allows to lock down radio 
> >> firmware. Do we like it or not? would this be a reasonable 
> >> trade-off to preserve our ability to reflash the OS in the device? 
> >> in the bufferbloat-FCC-discuss ML it seems the answer is a big NO, 
> >> I'd like to know how this ML feels.
> > 
> > We haven't seen this yet, so this is a more a theoretical question.
> > Practically, what we see today e.g. in ath10k is a big firmware 
> > which has all sorts of limitations (no ad-hoc support, limited 
> > amount of peers, closed source).
> > 
> > Also, these firmwares are actually uploaded from the host (i.e. the 
> > router firmware), and therefore can easily be replaced.
> > 
> > Personally, I wouldn't mind a firmware which just locks the radio 
> > stuff (and ONLY the radio) so we can get some peace in this 
> > discussion. But from the past experience, vendors tend to put all 
> > kind of things into the firmware instead of making it small.
> > 
> >> Concretely, since in Europe we have the ongoing similar problem, 
> >> should we go to our governments and convince them that they should 
> >> apply a "lock the radio" implementation of the Radio Directive?
> > 
> > No, because vendors will not practically implement that - at least 
> > as far as I see. And if they don't implement minimal firmware with 
> > locking, we are back to the previous problem and AP vendors will 
> > just default to lock the whole firmware.
> > 
> >>> We will not start to being happy and praise the new FCC 
> >>> requirements but I think he has the rights to point out the 
> >>> intentions we may (or may
> >>> not) have
> >>> missed. But at least for me it was nothing new which wasn't 
> >>> written already at many other articles.
> >> 
> >> We also have the rights to tell IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine 
> >> our opinion, if we want. We can ask the editors (among them there 
> >> is also the author of the piece) if they are interested in a 
> >> 2-pages paper stating the point of view of the community.
> > 
> > Sure, if you want to work on that, feel free to do so. :)
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > 
> >     Simon

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