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Wireless Networking IT

Historic IEEE 802 Group Looks Back and Forward 45

Posted by samzenpus
from the state-of-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The IEEE MAN/LAN Standards Committee — better known as the people who brought us Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth — is celebrating its 30th anniversary next week. This article has interviews with the original committee chairman and other veteran members, and reveals some of the inside situation. It also looks at some of the upcoming 802.x standards including one that sends data by modulating visible light."
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Historic IEEE 802 Group Looks Back and Forward

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  • IEEE Bluetooth? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @05:40AM (#31435804)

    IEEE did not develop the Bluetooth standard

  • Upcoming? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by silverdr (779097)
    Don't we use visible light in optic fibre for some time now? ;-)
  • MAN/LAN (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zlel (736107) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:09AM (#31435904) Homepage
    This is really nostalgic I almost forgot what MAN meant!
    • Since this is Slashdot...

      This is really nostalgic I almost forgot what WOMAN meant!

      There, fixed that for ya. ;)

  • Ethernet was fine, but they sure screwed up with WiFi. Broken crypto etc.

    It's still messed up - you can't have easy encrypted anonymous WiFi the way you can have easy encrypted https connections.
    • Re:Ethernet was fine (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheLink (130905) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @06:14AM (#31435914) Journal
      In case people don't get it, with the current WiFi standards you cannot have an easy way for a Cafe/Hotel/Conference to provide encrypted wireless connections to guests in a way where they cannot snoop on each other's connections. if you use preshared key users can decrypt each other's traffic. If you use username and password, it's far more inconvenient for the user and the service provider.
      • Agree. Wireless security was really broken from the start, and has got only slightly better, slowly...
        Interoperability between devices from different vendors is not so bad now.
        On the other hand, if you travel around the world you can actually enjoy the convenience of wirelessly connecting to the internet almost anywhere.
        (The other day I did a free conf call, via Wifi in some airport terminal, with three people in three different continents, using my bluetooth headset on a cheap laptop...could you imagine t

      • Re:Ethernet was fine (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:43AM (#31436434) Journal
        In case people don't get it, with the current wired Ethernet standards, you cannot have an easy way for a Cafe/Hotel/Conference to provide encrypted wired connections to guests in a way where they cannot snoop on each other's connections either. If you want security, you should be using end-to-end encryption.
        • by TheLink (130905)

          Users are responsible for their security. But as a provider, you may wish to do your best for them within your ability to provide a decent amount of privacy and security.

          You can do that with wired ethernet. You can't with WiFi.

          It is far easier to sniff someone else's WiFi traffic than it is to sniff someone else's traffic from an ethernet port.

          AND it is still much easier to make it even harder for guest users to snoop on other wired ethernet connections with various switch vendors (e.g. cisco, huawei) port

  • They 'standardised' the following -

    Ethernet (which you still have to set to 1000/Full because Auto-negotiate doesn't work properly)
    Wi-Fi (how many years has it taken for N to become standard? I've been through three pre-N routers....)
    Bluetooth (which is infamous for not working between devices by different manufacturers, to the point that no-one bothers with it. Oh and you get spammed).

    After decades of having to deal with this nonsense, yes - I'd have a few questions for them. Right after setting them on fi

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just a little pompous? The miracle is that equipment from hundreds of different suppliers can inter-operate at all. As imperfect as it is, I have a lot of admiration for the IEEE standardisation process, for what it has achieved. Those who work with IEEE standards (distinct from those who use the final product) will grumble about shortcomings, but still get excited when you can plug "A" into "B" and it works.
    • by aXis100 (690904)

      Man, how ungratefull can you get. Why dont you go out and develop you own "standard" wireless protocol and see how long it takes you!

      The only hardware I've ever had an auto-negotiate issue with is Cisco switches, on many occasions with completely different clients over many years. Everyone else seems to play nice, but Cisco was well known for implementing their own "standard" early.

      • Dell put out some switches that really didn't autonegotiate well(not even with the onboard NICs of Dell computers, just for giggles). Their switches always sucked, though, so that wasn't a giant surprise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tomsk70 (984457)

        Man, how ungratefull can you get. Why dont you go out and develop you own "standard" wireless protocol and see how long it takes you!

        Err...no, that's what they were supposed to be doing. Or do you think an eight-year lead time is acceptable? And your answer is stupid anyway - you don't say 'well write your own OS' when someone complains about Windows.

        The only hardware I've ever had an auto-negotiate issue with is Cisco switches, on many occasions with completely different clients over many years. Everyone else seems to play nice, but Cisco was well known for implementing their own "standard" early.

        Which tells me exactly how much networking hardware you've actually worked with, so let me fill you in - ISCSI not working? Set all adaptors to 1000/Full. Backup Exec not working? Set all adaptors to 1000/Full. Network generally slow? Set all adaptors to 1000/Full. I could list around 20 mor

        • The IEEE is a standards body, not an enforcement one. If a manufacturer wishes to deviate from the standard, there's nothing that the IEEE can do about it. In the time I've been doing this I've learned this about vendor equipment: There's a standard and then there's the way that a vendor chooses to implement the standard.

          Every manufacturer I've worked with has added "features" that make them not-completely-compatible with equipment from other manufactuers. Sure, they'll work, sometimes completely, but not c

        • Which tells me exactly how much networking hardware you've actually worked with, so let me fill you in - ISCSI not working? Set all adaptors to 1000/Full. Backup Exec not working? Set all adaptors to 1000/Full. Network generally slow? Set all adaptors to 1000/Full.

          Let me fill you in - if auto-negotiation is failing, there's something wrong with your hardware or cabling. Forcing your adapters to a specific setting just makes the problem less visible - you still have the same shitty defective adapters/switche

          • by Tomsk70 (984457)

            And you learnt that where?

            You only have to google to see that the 1000/Full thing (and the Windows autotuning problem) is down to there being *no standards*. It can be caused by different firmware, mixed hardware, different NIC's, the list is quite long.

    • They 'standardised' the following -

      Ethernet (which you still have to set to 1000/Full because Auto-negotiate doesn't work properly)
      Wi-Fi (how many years has it taken for N to become standard? I've been through three pre-N routers....)
      Bluetooth (which is infamous for not working between devices by different manufacturers, to the point that no-one bothers with it. Oh and you get spammed).

      After decades of having to deal with this nonsense, yes - I'd have a few questions for them. Right after setting them on fire.

      Heh, I was in the room at an IEEE 802 meeting when someone actually apologized for having insisted gig-e even have a half-duplex mode.

      Dave

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Wi-Fi (how many years has it taken for N to become standard? I've been through three pre-N routers....)
      Bluetooth (which is infamous for not working between devices by different manufacturers, to the point that no-one bothers with it. Oh and you get spammed).

      Well, it's your fault for buying pre-N equipment in the N case. After all, they couldn't get consensus on how N should work, which is why it took so long. Every manufacturer implements their own idea on how to do it, especially if there was no standard.

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:18AM (#31436120)

    ... is the 20th Anniversary of the 802.11 Working Group itself. The Working Group held its first meeting September 10-14, 1990 [ieee802.org], in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @07:20AM (#31436140) Homepage Journal

    In the Bilski case, IEEE filed a brief pushing *for* software patents [swpat.org]. Maybe specific groups in IEEE, like the 802 group, should push for a change in this position. Having the whole wifi industry paying a tax to CSIRO [swpat.org] for a wifi patent must make this group a little more clued in about the harm caused.

  • by thoughtspace (1444717) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:27AM (#31436388)

    I am staggered how complicated it is to setup WiFi a lay-person. Far too much jargon (SSID, WPA, WPA2, WEP, TKIP, AES+TKIP, channels ...), and stupid ideas like multiple WEP keys. Let alone connecting via ethernet, change the subnet, browse to an IP address, etc etc etc just to get it going. What an awful decade of design.

    Look ... from day 1 we just wanted a secret password.

    Public networks are different and need to be publicly identified - don't shoe-horn it into the same user interface.

    Start thinking like a user and stop this engineers crap.

  • Wonderful... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elFarto the 2nd (709099) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @08:58AM (#31436506)
    ...prehaps they could get around to increasing MTU from 1500.
  • by BubbaDave (1352535) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @09:45AM (#31436798)

    Cool. I've worked with Paul Nikolich (when ADC broadband bought bought the CMTS company he was at), and have run into some of this cast of characters during the 802.3ah Ethernet in the First Mile meetings. Interesting folks.

    I think it was Geoff (I could be wrong, this was a while ago) that said we would not need high-speed uplink from the home because 'there just isn't that much relevant content out there'. That was a pretty good chuckler.

    I'm sure Michael Coden of Codenoll feels snubbed, he always claimed to me he was the co-inventor of ethernet.Never believed him.
    He did pioneer one interesting product- a distributed ethernet switch that would operate over a unidirectional fiber ring- worked pretty well after I fixed the gaping hole in his protocol.

    Dave

  • Small correction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Thursday March 11, 2010 @10:56AM (#31437374)

    The official name of 802 is the IEEE 802 [ieee802.org] "LAN/MAN Standards Committee," not the other way around.

  • The new 802.1 "AVB" standards [wikipedia.org] (IEEE 802.1AS:Timing and Synchronization for Time-Sensitive Applications, IEEE 802.1Qat: Stream Reservation Protocol (SRP), and IEEE 802.1Qav: Forwarding and Queuing for Time-Sensitive Streams) are awesome.

    This finally will allow for the reliable transmission of high-bandwidth data streams (such as uncompressed HD video at 1.5 Gbps) over Ethernet switched networks.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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