Wireless standardization ever going to happen?

Hi all,

It seems to me that wireless technology is today
where sound cards used to be: A chaotic mess of
cards each requiring a different driver. Then came
the AC97 standard which I gather (I could be wrong)
set things right.

My question is though, when are wireless cards
going to be standardized too? So long as we are
forced to get drivers from the manufacturers
alternative OSes other than perhaps Linux will be
hamstrung-- prevented from supporting what is
arguably the most important feature a computer
can have nowadays: wireless connectivity.

Thoughts?
0
qyz (1)
12/13/2009 6:43:00 PM
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In article 
<222e78a5-15a8-4ffd-b81e-f4365f56d201@p30g2000vbt.googlegroups.com>,
 Qyz <qyz@myway.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> 
> It seems to me that wireless technology is today
> where sound cards used to be: A chaotic mess of
> cards each requiring a different driver. Then came
> the AC97 standard which I gather (I could be wrong)
> set things right.
> 
> My question is though, when are wireless cards
> going to be standardized too? So long as we are
> forced to get drivers from the manufacturers
> alternative OSes other than perhaps Linux will be
> hamstrung-- prevented from supporting what is
> arguably the most important feature a computer
> can have nowadays: wireless connectivity.
> 
> Thoughts?

Many vendors are including the hardware as a standard feature, not an 
option; for example, all Macs now sold, and for a while now, have had 
built-in wireless client hardware.

There are standards (or at least drafts) for the radio side 
(802.11a/b/g/n).

I don't expect vendors to get interested in supporting alternative OSes 
until they become a much larger fraction of the market than they now 
have.

Steve

-- 
steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, chip shot in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
0
Steve
12/14/2009 1:00:40 AM
On Sun, 13 Dec 2009 10:43:00 -0800 (PST), Qyz <qyz@myway.com> wrote:

>It seems to me that wireless technology is today
>where sound cards used to be: A chaotic mess of
>cards each requiring a different driver. Then came
>the AC97 standard which I gather (I could be wrong)
>set things right.

Well, sorta.  Via introduced the AC'97 driver when it integrated the
sound function into various glue chips.  Here's a partial list:
<http://majorgeeks.com/VIA_AC97_Vinyl_Audio_driver_d4505.html>
Despite the buzz and noise that this introduced, the conglomeration
did produce a substantial drop in price.  That attracted the bottom of
the line system integrators.  The rest is history.

To do the same with a wireless chipset would require a much higher
level of integration.  Bluegoof and Wi-Fi integration is a no-brainer.
WiMax, GPS, AM/FM, TV, HDTV, Wireless USB, cellular modems, IrDA, and
whatever else I forgot, will need to be conglomerated into a single
chip in order to do the same thing that Via did with the AC'97.  This
is already happening in space cramped devices such as PDA's and cell
phones.  You may get you wish, but I suspect there will be more than
one nightmares attached.

>My question is though, when are wireless cards
>going to be standardized too?

Probably when some company buys out all the dot.com survivors and
declares themselves dictator of computers.  It's difficult to build an
interface standard, without first building a functionality standard.  

Standards come in two flavors, de facto (in practice) and de jure (in
principle).  The AC'97 driver is a de facto standard because in
practice, it's used in a rather large number of systems.  It was never
endorsed by any standards organization.  802.11 is a standard in
principle because an organized mob of experts, inscribed a document to
that affect, and it's members and supported adopted it with minimal
butchery and protest.  However, they missed one obscure patent, which
is now causing extreme grief:
<http://www.itnews.com.au/News/158194,csiros-wi-fi-patent-victory-earns-200m-and-counting.aspx>
The inability of getting this horde all going in the same direction
was demonstrated by the protracted and often absurd battle over
802.11n (MIMO).  If you want an interface standard, it will need to
come from the various wi-fi chipset vendors, few of which are even on
speaking terms.  By 2011, the industry expects to ship about 1 billion
wi-fi chipsets.  Good luck changing the direction of that avalanche.

>So long as we are
>forced to get drivers from the manufacturers
>alternative OSes other than perhaps Linux will be
>hamstrung-- prevented from supporting what is
>arguably the most important feature a computer
>can have nowadays: wireless connectivity.

The same chipset vendors are often unwilling to share chipset
internals.  Some, such as Atheros are fairly liberal with information.
Others, such as Broadcom are utterly secretive and paranoid.  I had to
sign NDA's in order to get an accurate data sheet and programming
info.  If you feel the need, please do try to organize this herd of
cats.  Otherwise, pick your favorite chipset vendor, and stay with
them.

>Thoughts?

None come to mind.  Thinking is a luxury.  These days, I just react.


-- 
Jeff Liebermann     jeffl@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann     AE6KS    831-336-2558
0
Jeff
12/14/2009 1:43:16 AM
On Sun, 13 Dec 2009, in the Usenet newsgroup alt.internet.wireless, in article
<222e78a5-15a8-4ffd-b81e-f4365f56d201@p30g2000vbt.googlegroups.com>, Qyz wrote:

NOTE: Posting from groups.google.com (or some web-forums) dramatically
reduces the chance of your post being seen.  Find a real news server.

>My question is though, when are wireless cards
>going to be standardized too? So long as we are
>forced to get drivers from the manufacturers
>alternative OSes other than perhaps Linux will be
>hamstrung-- prevented from supporting what is
>arguably the most important feature a computer
>can have nowadays: wireless connectivity.

Probably about the same time we will get uniform or standard drivers
for the rest of the hardware, such as printers, Ethernet and video
cards.  The manufacturers feel that their designs are superior to all
others and see no need to share such trade secrets with other
manufacturers, much less software authors.   You may recall when US
Robotics developed the "Winmodem<AE>" as a means of reducing the high
cost of their modems.  They didn't share with the rest of industry,
much less the other operating system software authors (there still is
no "free" driver for the USR loosemodem family).  The other
manufacturers saw how profitable this was, and developed their own
versions (continuing to eat USR's lunch by remaining much cheaper).
Have you noticed how many different loosemodems have "free" drivers?
Have a look at the Hardware and Modem HOWTOs:

-rw-rw-r--  1 gferg    ldp       1078686 May 23  2007 Hardware-HOWTO
-rw-rw-r--  1 gferg    ldp        338097 Jan 17  2007 Modem-HOWTO

This compatibility problem is no worse than elsewhere. How many parts
on your car are compatible/interchangable with parts from other car
manufacturers?

        Old guy
0
ibuprofin
12/14/2009 8:03:15 PM
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