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77579207 story Government United States Wireless Networking

FCC's WiFi Rule-Making: Making It Fair For Both Open Source and Proprietary (fcc.gov) 173

Posted by samzenpus on Friday October 16, 2015 @08:14AM from the playing-nice dept. Bruce Perens writes: The FCC wants to be sure that WiFi drivers don't cause interference with airport weather radars, but their proposal to lock down WiFi firmware, won't fly. Many commenters in the proceeding have made it clear that Open Source firmware for WiFi devices must remain legal. While an "alternative" proposal to the FCC that would require that all WiFi routers be Open Source is getting most of the publicity today, I have proposed another alternative that would be fair for both Open Source and proprietary software. It requires approval of the source code of a WiFi driver by a person with a technical license from FCC, the GROL+Radar, if that driver is to be mass-distributed in binary form for use by RF-naïve users by either the manufacturer or Open Source. The license assures that the responsible person actually understands how to protect radar systems in a WiFi driver. It's pretty easy for someone competent in radio engineering to pass the license test, and many thousands of people hold the license today. Vendors and Open Source are treated the same. It doesn't place restrictions on testing and development, or conversion of WiFi equipment to other radio services. And it includes an explanation of the problem, for those of you who don't know what the uproar is about.

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