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stds-802-16: 802.16.1 Selection Process for Session #7

People have been asking about the 802.16.1 selection process for 
Session #7. I'd like to clarify the situation.

Here is a typical question/comment:

>It appears as though there will be 2 PHY and 2 MAC proposals that 
>will likely be presented in May. I have been looking through the web 
>site, but could not find clarification on the voting process for 
>May. Is there any document or procedure that we could look at?
>1. It has been stated that 75% of the total working group vote is 
>needed to win:
>What if neither proposal garners 75%? What is the process then? We 
>are concerned that lots of chaos could ensue by individuals trying 
>to use their influence perhaps even to defining new rules 
>2. Are the voting members required to chose between the two PHYs and 
>MACs or is there a "grading" system for each proposal as was the 
>case at the previous meetings. If there is a grading system, than 
>how do you measure the 75% total vote figure?

Although we will need to finalize the details, the process for 
Session #7 is already fairly well defined. It is described in the 
letter-ballot-approved Document IEEE 802.16-99/05 ("Development Plan 
for the 802.16.1 Air Interface Standard") 

The basic philosophy of the Development Plan is that the 
contributions are in the hands of the proposers up until the time 
when the Working Group accepts a draft at Session #7. Until then, the 
Working Group is temporarily entrusting the process to the proposers. 
We have offered our constructive feedback and have given them free 
reign to mold the proposals in accordance with our goals.

The ultimate goal of the Working Group is to agree; in other words, 
to reach consensus. The proposers may have different goals. However, 
as long as they move us toward our goal of consensus, we let them 
remain in the driver's seat. Session #7 is the deadline for the 
proposers to deliver us to a consensus on our baseline draft 
document. Afterwards, the Working Group will assume responsibility 
for the draft and will begin refining it.

Regarding Session #7, the Development Plan says that invited 
proposals as well as suggested improvements and mergers will be 
presented. The Session outputs are to be "Drafts selected by Task 
Groups; Selections confirmed by Working Group."

So, we will listen to the invited proposals (on Tuesday, I suppose) 
and the suggested improvements and mergers (probably on Wednesday). 
Then, probably on Thursday, the MAC and PHY Task Groups will each 
select a draft. [We won't hold parallel MAC and PHY sessions during 
any of this, and we won't hold any other 802.16 sessions during the 
voting.] On Friday, the Working Group will take up confirmation of 
the Task Group selections.

In 802, technical decisions are made by vote; that's why there is no 
provision for numerical scoring at Session #7. A 75% majority is 
always required to pass a technical motion. We will schedule agenda 
time for the consideration of motions to approve documents as the MAC 
and PHY portion of a baseline 802.16.1 standard. We will debate the 
motions, and then we will vote. We will work on this until we pass a 
motion, or until we give up.

If we give up without passing a motion, then our Development Plan, as 
described in IEEE 802.16-99/05, will have, for the first time, missed 
a deadline. We will need to go to a backup plan. The most 
straightforward backup plan is to put off selection of the baseline 
draft for another meeting.

However, I am optimistic that the existing Development Plan will 
succeed. That's because the Working Group has a powerful incentive to 
reach consensus. If it does, it can keep the process on track for 
timely delivery of the standard. It can also take full possession of 
the process and assume responsibility for making (by 75% majority) 
the technical decisions needed to refine the proposal toward a final 
consensus. Working Group members do not need to fully support a plan 
in order to support a motion to accept it as a draft.

Please notice that the Development Plan imposes no constraint on what 
document we may consider for our baseline standard. Out of courtesy 
to our invited proposals, motions to accept them will get first 
crack. If these motions fail, then motions to accept some other plan, 
including, for example, a document that was submitted under the 
category of "suggested improvements and mergers," will be in order. 
If any such motion passes at the 75% level, we have a baseline 
standard. I am optimistic that 802.16.1 won't leave Session #7 empty 

As for the full details of the voting procedure, we'll specify them 
before the Session gets underway.

I'd also like to mention the quorum issue. As you know, we need the 
presence of at least 50% of the members for a binding vote. That's 38 
people. I think we are likely to have a quorum. Of our current 
members, 59 attended Session #6, 53 attended Session #5, and 64 
attended Session #4. Therefore, I think the odds of 38 at Session #7 
are good.