Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Friday, October 09, 2015

  Saving wifi! Fixing Bufferbloat! Fighting the vendors and the FCC!


I have been working on fixing bufferbloat now, for 5 years. After we came up with the utterly spectacular solution for it, back in may 2012, we only had the "minor" problem of a few billion devices to upgrade to solve, which is taking far longer than I imagined to do, even on CPE.

Bufferbloat remains an epidemic across the Internet, even at GigE!



After fq_codel was developed, we wrestled with how to go about incorporating a similar algorithm into wifi, and about this time last year, pretty much fully worked out all the theory for it, but it became engineering problem of a scope our small team cannot handle at any reasonable scale - and, worse, our biggest problem became getting enough access into almost-universally locked down wifi and dsl firmware to apply the fixes, and the FCC's rulings last year, and upcoming this year, have made it almost impossible to even start!

So Vint Cerf and I - and whole bunch of other people you'll find in wikipedia - have drafted a letter to the FCC explaining how they can make for better/faster/safer home routers if they write better regulations, substituting sane, well understood software engineering practices for handling wifi and binary blobs than what exists today.

In part, the letter is fueled by our anger at VW cheating on emissions tests, but it is also driven by our fears of continued network insecurity, and our frustration at the speed at which bufferbloat fixes are rolling out to the real world - if we only had access to some more wifi and dsl firmware, we could be done, in weeks! It's only 1300 lines of code!

So... please consider signing our letter to the FCC before the deadline of 2PM EST, today.

The network you save may be your own.
 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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