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regulatory domains

regulatory domains

Posted Oct 26, 2006 3:41 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313)
Parent article: Patch summary: regulatory domains, network channels, and virtualization

one thing to note is that what is illegal for the general population to do is frequently very legal to do with a license.

for example a Ham Radio Operator is allowed to operate on frequancies, power levels, and antennas that the general population is not (and do other things like modfying the transmitter hardware). An interesting result of this is that Hams are takeing stock wireless cards and modifying them to versions that are only allowed to be used by people with (or under the supervision of someone with) the appropriate license

there will always be people who modify their equipment to do illegal things (look at the CB radio band for a perfect example), but if the restrictions are clearly spelled out and documented there can't be any claims of ignorance.

David Lang


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regulatory domains

Posted Oct 26, 2006 18:00 UTC (Thu) by smitty_one_each (subscriber, #28989) [Link]

Taking the thought a step further, we have driver's licenses: why not wireless licenses? Go learn the basics of not blowing up the neighbor's cel phone with your 802.11x setup, and then have a firmware-less network experience.
We trust folks with cars and (in some places) guns; what's a bit of RF?

regulatory domains

Posted Oct 26, 2006 18:15 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

actually, every transmitter (and almost all receivers) are regulated and licensed.

what you think of as wireless is actually licensed under some fairly restrictive terms (low power, antenna limits, no end-user tinkering, must accept all interferance from other devices, etc) in exchange for not requireing that each transmitter be licensed individually by ID, owner and location.

David Lang

regulatory domains

Posted Oct 27, 2006 18:40 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

dlang is talking about a license given to a manufacturer to manufacture a transmitter, whereas smitty_one_each is talking about a license given to an operator to operate a transmitter.

As I understand it, in bands such as wireless telephone, the government's policy is normally to license the manufacture and then let people freely use whatever legally manufactured transmitters they can get their hands on. That makes lots of sense, but does shut out a certain class of use. In particular, it makes governments unwilling to license the manufacture of transmitters with easily modifiable control programs, which is what we Linux people would like.

So what if the government additionally gave licenses similar to ham radio licenses for use of the wireless telephone band? A user of the band could choose: use a licensed transmitter or be a licensed operator.

That does raise an issue of how to force users to choose one or the other, and not just go totally unlicensed. How does that work in the ham band? Maybe the risk of abuse just isn't as great in the ham band as in the telephone band?

In any case, this is just academic. There are not enough people who want to build their own custom telephone transmitters to make a whole licensing system for them practical.

regulatory domains

Posted Nov 2, 2006 13:03 UTC (Thu) by arcticwolf (guest, #8341) [Link]

Why does there have to be a technical solution to what is essentially a social problem? Cars don't prevent people without a valid driver's license from starting and driving them, and guns don't prevent people without a proper license from firing them.

Why do RF transmitters have to prevent people without a valid license from using them?

regulatory domains

Posted Nov 3, 2006 3:36 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Why do RF transmitters have to prevent people without a valid license from using them?

[To be precise, what the transmitters prevent is people from using them for certain kinds of transmissions; there's no user license involved]

It all comes down to practicality. It is far cheaper to regulate manufacturers of transmitters than users of them for the same effect. The money we save can buy stuff more valuable on the whole than the freedom for a few geeks to have more flexible transmitters.

I believe certain kinds of firearms in certain places are in fact illegal to manufacture for the same reason: it's easier than enforcing the law against shooting people.

Technology provides lots of solutions to social problems, of course. I don't see how there's anything wrong with that.


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