[Battlemesh] FCC Contacts about Wifi Regulations

Benjamin Henrion zoobab at gmail.com
Fri Aug 5 09:32:48 CEST 2016

On Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 9:24 AM, Paul Gardner-Stephen
<paul at servalproject.org> wrote:
> Hello,
> On Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 3:42 PM, Jonathan Morton <chromatix99 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> > We need to be able to have Mesh Extenders imported into practically any
>> > country at short notice, e.g., if we succeed in having the Red
>> > Cross/Crescent movement adopt them.
>> >
>> > Where it gets complicated is if we have the <insert random small
>> > pacific, african, european, south american, middle-eastern or other country
>> > here> regulator and customs people want a rapid assurance that the devices
>> > cannot be operated except on some band (which they might authorise for us at
>> > short notice to meet a humanitarian need).
>> “Complicated” isn’t the word.  “Fundamentally incompatible requirements”
>> is.
>> On the one hand, you need to be able to “rapidly reconfigure” your
>> hardware for a different frequency band, at short notice, from generic
>> stock, and without making actual hardware changes.
>> On the other hand, you anticipate needing to be able to show that the
>> preceding action *cannot* be done to these same devices once deployed in the
>> field.
>> You have a big problem here.  Something has to give.
> Agreed in general.
>> As a related problem, consumer-grade APs are already easy to physically
>> transport between Europe, America and Asia.  I’ve literally done that myself
>> on occasion while visiting; I have a habit of bringing a reasonably complete
>> computing environment with me wherever I go.
>> But my European AP is not FCC-compliant, because it is trivially capable
>> of transmitting on frequencies that are not permitted in the USA (eg. 2.4GHz
>> channels 12 & 13).  What’s more, it cannot be made FCC-compliant, even
>> temporarily, because the firmware is locked down so that I can only select
>> from European regulatory domains.  I suspect there’s a jumper somewhere
>> enforcing this.
>> I think the correct solution is as follows:
>> 1: Allow software-level reconfiguration of the radios.  Make it as easy as
>> possible to select the correct regulatory domain, using geolocation if
>> practical.  Before selling/deploying hardware, set it up correctly for its
>> intended region, or for a failsafe composite region which is compliant in
>> all of the most common domains.
> Unfortunately we know from the TP-LINK case just now, that the FCC doesn't
> like this, and experience from RC and others, is that the staff on the
> border during disasters also get cagey about any purely software option.

Unfortunately, people travel and cross borders more and more,
especially with wifi-equipped devices.

Why they would not be allowed to use channel 14 if they travel to
Japan with their FCC certified device?

Benjamin Henrion <bhenrion at ffii.org>
FFII Brussels - +32-484-566109 - +32-2-3500762
"In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software
patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy.
Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of
software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent
court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their
favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or
democratically elected legislators."

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