[Battlemesh] What hardware still works?

Jonathan Morton chromatix99 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 01:32:03 CET 2016

> On 7 Mar, 2016, at 15:24, Daniel Golle <daniel at makrotopia.org> wrote:
> Apart from that, I'm not sure if modularization will truly solve the
> problem as it would still require that devices are assembled by
> end-users (and not re-sold as a whole) as well as suitable hardware
> components (especially SoftMAC WiFi mPCIe modules) being available...

That’s not what happens with laptops or all-in-one PCs.  The last time I found a laptop where I'd have to install the wifi card myself was over a decade ago, and ath9k chipsets are still appearing in 802.11n devices.

They have to be relying on the FCC certification of the module for intentional-emission compliance, so they only have to do the normal unintentional-emission tests on the complete laptop.  And laptops are *fundamentally* devices on which you can replace the entire software stack on a whim.  They just wouldn’t be useful as PCs if you couldn’t.  That’s why I’m focusing on laptops as the primary use-case that the FCC has to preserve intact.

The Raspberry Pi 3 also makes an interesting case.  The Broadcom chipset it uses is a FullMAC, attached via SDIO.  It’s really not a high-performance solution, but in the volumes Pis sell at, it could be added without increasing the price.  And its approach to spectrum allocation is interesting - it will use channels 12-14 if it can hear other wifi devices already using them, but remain silent on them otherwise.

This is a sensible strategy for a client device, but it does mean that if a Japanese student brings their wifi router with them to the US, suddenly lots of devices will think that transmitting on channel 14 is okay, making them non-compliant with US regulations.

 - Jonathan Morton

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