Must vendors wait for standards?

Must vendors wait for standards?

Summary: Last time, those who waited for the IEEE process to play out had to adapt to what was in the field. Like the man said, fool me once, won't get fooled again.

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TOPICS: Intel
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Readers of this blog have told me, in no uncertain terms, that open protocols are more important to them than open source.

It's a good point. Knowing how it's done, and having everyone do things that way, gives a buyer more confidence than any old code dump.

Which brings me to 802.11n, and Intel's decision to release product before the standard is finalized.

As a business case this was a no-brainer. In 2003, when 802.11g was new, Broadcom jumped the gun, and swept Intel aside among the OEMs who make up the market. This time, Intel has already won a purchase commitment from Apple. Because DSL access remains stuck at 1.5 Mbps, Intel is pushing the upgrade as a way to move video around the home.

Last time, those who waited for the IEEE process to play out had to adapt to what was in the field. Like the man said, fool me once, won't get fooled again.

The problem I see is with the standards bodies. Prolonging an argument (and this could go on for another year) only promotes the establishment of quasi-proprietary standards on a standard base. Or maybe I'm just old-fashioned...

Topic: Intel

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  • Differences and Distinctions

    [i]The problem I see is with the standards bodies. Prolonging an argument (and this could go on for another year) only promotes the establishment of quasi-proprietary standards on a standard base. Or maybe I?m just old-fashioned?[/i]

    Lumping all standards groups together is approximately as valid as lumping all companies together: not very.

    At one end, you have the IEEE -- they have a long history of making sure that their standards are "right" by waiting until the technology is obsolete. (Partly overstated, but not entirely.)

    At the other, you have the PCI-SIG, which is a "standards body" with technical representation from only one company: Intel. (Have a look at the committee chair list if you doubt me.) PCI-SIG is totally driven by market considerations, and will always issue a specification in time for Intel hardware -- even if the spec is internally inconsistent or otherwise utterly borked.

    In between you have groups like JEDEC, MIPI, etc. which are run by the companies in the market, whether vendors or users. They are well aware of the market schedule pressures but also have a serious interest in keeping their technical content solid. JEDEC, for instance, has a good record of issuing the DDR series of specifications (JESD-79 family) in time for the first silicon to be compliant but still well-wrung-out.

    So, when you start off on a "standards vs. the market" topic, it pays to be a bit more specific.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • 1.5 Mbps DSL?

    <i>Because DSL access remains stuck at 1.5 Mbps</i>

    Says who? I've got 5.0 Mbps DSL at home and I don't live in some technology hot bed like Silicon Valley.
    Swashbuckler2
    • Agreed. Most DSL packages in the UK...

      .. are sold at a maximum rate of 8Mbps. Actual throughput depends on line length, etc, but I regularly get 6Mbps at home.

      I have seen some vendors touting 24Mbps but the truth is that most home routers simply won't support it yet.
      bportlock
    • And I dream of something better.

      1.5 Meg was promiced, on a good day maybe it I get a meg. Absolutely no competition to be seen...
      No_Ax_to_Grind
  • Just like the WiMAX standard

    The IEEE SAT on it for two years, and then approved it on the sly - hardly anyone knew when it was finally approved (a year ago, just before xmas).
    Roger Ramjet
  • Standards = Boat Anchor

    Ok, maybe not that bad but close. The truth is, standards are anti-innovation and anti-competition.

    I mean if all companies build everything to set standard then there is no reason for more than one company to exist. Of course no one would be pushing the envelop either and innovation would all but come to a halt.

    The truth is, it's a banacing act between standards and innovation and people play bet the company on it eveyday.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • The great thing about standards is

      there's so MANY of them to choose from!

      There are those people that advocate anarchy because governments will always be corrupt. Free-for-all works in some circumstances, but in the end we all need to get along, so we "standardize" our relationships.

      Same thing with standards. If nothing exists, sure GO AHEAD and create your own standard. If there are already competing standards and you MAKE UP A NEW ONE - you are killing innovation, as you freeze the market.
      Roger Ramjet
    • Innovation and competition

      [i]The truth is, standards are anti-innovation and anti-competition.[/i]

      Oh, absolutely. Why, look at how much farther we'd be along if everyone had their own network stack instead of using TCP/IP and 802.x.

      And let us not forget how much more competitive the DRAM market was when every vendor had their own (totally incompatible) parts. When SIMMs came along and allowed users to shop for memory from multiple vendors, all semblance of competition dried up overnight.

      I'm sure that the whole electrical appliance industry would be much more advanced (and prices vastly lower) if every appliance had its own voltage, frequency, and outlet connector requirements. Electric utilities could compete (thus bringing the benefits of competitive pricing) to consumers on the grounds that "our 72 Hz service is faster than their 67 Hz service!"

      Why, we'd enter into a whole new world of ski performance and safety if binding and boot manufacturers ditched the current interchangeable boot/binding interface and got into a race to make their own pairings.

      Now, let's talk about gasoline, oil, hydraulic fluids, coolants ...
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • in stormy waters...

      in stormy waters, most boats want a good anchor, as it allows them to stay pretty much in place, as opposed to getting tossed into the coast and being destroyed.

      standards are a stabilizer which allows people to compete on a per-product basis, on a more even playing field...

      if we didn't have a standard game of soccer, how could people say who was the better player?
      shryko
    • OK.. So let's turn the clock back 25 years...

      [b]I mean if all companies build everything to set standard then there is no reason for more than one company to exist. Of course no one would be pushing the envelop either and innovation would all but come to a halt.[/b]

      25 odd years ago, we had the PC going through it's birthing pains. Before IBM launched their first PC, there were dozens of PC vendors - Kaypro, Compaq, Osborne, to name a few. While most of these computers ran on a Zilog Z80, and ran on CP/M, getting them to talk to each other was quite a chore. Why? Different floppy drive formats. Some had 92 K floppies, some had 180 K floppies - all of which had a slightly different format. The end result: transfering data from machine to machine was a royal pain.

      So if you were a company back in the day with ambitions on having more than one computer, you would have wound up having to buy ONE brand of computer, and ONE model just so you could insure that everyone was able to share data.

      By standardizing on ONE type of floppy and drive format, gee, suddenly everyone's working on the same page and productivity went up.

      This is NOT to say that innovation STOPPED - it's like WHO uses a 180 KB single sided floppy any more (besides those few who insist on dragging out their ancient Apple II's)? No. The world moved on, innovated and upgraded. First double sided, then double density, then it went from 5 1/4 to 3 1/2" floppies, and then some. The point is - STANDARDS ARE GOOD - especially for the consumer. And after all, isn't THAT what it's all about - the consumer?
      Wolfie2K3