Notices


Reply
Thread Tools
Posts: 436 | Thanked: 2,194 times | Joined on Oct 2009
#1
There are new rules being pushed by the FCC (other regulatory jurisdictions including the EU and Canada are also looking into similar rules as well) regarding devices with WiFi hardware.

Basically (according to the FCC) there is an increasing problem with WiFi devices that are transmitting outside the frequencies and power levels allowed and these WiFi devices are causing problems with things like aviation weather radar (and I think we can all agree that aviation weather radar is pretty important)

A lot of people who know about this stuff (FSF, EFF, people who work on this stuff for a day job, others) are saying that it wont be possible to comply with the new rules unless you lock the devices down to only run manufacturer provided stuff. So no more custom Android firmware on Android devices. No more DD-WRT/OpenWRT on routers.

Where this could affect the Neo900 project is that because the Neo900 has a WiFi chip in it that transmits on the frequency bands the FCC and others are concerned about, the Neo900 project may not be able to get FCC or EU certification and still remain as open as the Neo900 team wants it to be (no-one is going to want a Neo900 if the only way to legally sell/use it in the US or EU is to make it so that it can only run FCC/EU approved kernels and software stacks)

see http://savewifi.org/ for details of the campaign against these rules (including a mailing list for discussion of the rules, discussion of how to properly file FCC comments against the rules and general related stuff)
 

The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to jonwil For This Useful Post:
pichlo's Avatar
Posts: 4,809 | Thanked: 14,332 times | Joined on Sep 2012 @ UK
#2
There are already two threads about this:
* The USA and an attitude to the unofficial Wi-Fi firmware
* [Attention Please] Save WiFi/Individual Comments on wifi fw lockdown proposal by FCC

Originally Posted by jonwil View Post
A lot of people who know about this stuff (FSF, EFF, people who work on this stuff for a day job, others) are saying that it wont be possible to comply with the new rules unless you lock the devices down to only run manufacturer provided stuff.
OK, I admit I do not "work with this stuff for a day job", but it sounds like a load of codswallop to me. You do not need to lock the firmware, you need to make sure the hardware is not capable of using other than approved frequencies. Are there even any chips that are capable of transmitting on frequencies between channels? I would find it rather surprising if that were the case. As for disabling channels 13 and 14 in certain locales, a locked firmware is not a solution either as you still need to enable those channels when you move.
 

The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to pichlo For This Useful Post:
Posts: 436 | Thanked: 2,194 times | Joined on Oct 2009
#3
I think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOcYTqoSQ68 answers the question of "is there hardware that can use unapproved frequencies"
 

The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to jonwil For This Useful Post:
joerg_rw's Avatar
Posts: 2,201 | Thanked: 12,414 times | Joined on Mar 2010 @ SOL 3
#4
Originally Posted by jonwil View Post
I think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOcYTqoSQ68 answers the question of "is there hardware that can use unapproved frequencies"
It also seems to answer why we (so far) can't find Atheros modules not hogging the CPU and thus suitable for embedded. AR9280 aiui comes with an embedded CPU to run parts of the firmware (other parts still run on APplication Environment CPU), but it's a USB chip and USB is sth you rally want to avoid by any means in embedded, if any possible.
Aso see https://youtu.be/WOcYTqoSQ68?t=1842 "Notably not open sourced: MOBILE CHIP firmware (ath6kl)"

My take on all this: we're using a pre-certified type-approved WLAN module, so we don't need to worry about any of that. Let's hope I'm not mistaken. Also see https://youtu.be/WOcYTqoSQ68?t=1121 "What _bad_ things can we do?" rational "...required for various COMPLIANCE tests" which means those modes must be there to even get FCC approval since without them the FCC cannot run their certification tests. I don't see this conflict getting solved any time soon. General lockdown of the complete "firmware" isn't an option either with many contemporary WIFI chips and general device designs. E.G Neo900 cannot lock down firmware, the CPU isn't even made to accomplish that (no HS SoC)

Last edited by joerg_rw; 2015-09-19 at 15:00.
 

The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to joerg_rw For This Useful Post:
Reply

Thread Tools

 
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 16:20.