FCC considers putting amateur radio operators above Wi-Fi users: in an interesting set of events, the FCC has opened a docket on making amateur radio have the primary status for the 2400 to 2402 megahertz band, the lower part of the unlicensed ISM band which 802.11b, HomeRF, Bluetooth, and cordless phones all use. In my initial posting on this issue, I thought (based on some other more informed comments on other lists) that this changed the balance of power. In fact, hams already have primary status from 2402 to 2450 MHz, and, as Steve Stroh wrote in, they have rarely exercised this priority. The announcement is available from the FCC as a Word doc, a PDF, or a text file.
The convergence, however, between this rulemaking proposal and another event made me fear this was worse than it sounded. I found out about this news from Dave Farber's Interesting People list [via Alan Reiter's forward to me] which had this forwarded post from Dewayne Hendricks, including Dave Hughes's mad as hell response to it, which, based on further feedback, may not be as fully correct as I initially thought. Interestingly, 80211-Planet ran a story yesterday about how Hendricks is the chairman of the FCC's Spectrum Management Working Group, an avid amateur radio supporter, and -- yes, there's an and -- the CEO of a consulting firm that is a proponent ultrawideband (UWB) technology. UWB has the potential to displace current Wi-Fi and related specs in two ways: by having priority over those standards and by being better than them (lower power, better range, less interference, etc.). The latter would be fine; the former, problematic.
More FCC news: tweaks to Part 15 rules: I frankly don't understand all the implications of these rule changes. I'm sure some of you can explain it better. If you're willing to share, email me and I'll post more information.