Re: [802SEC] IEEE-SA CAG considering sponsoring competing standards to IEEE 802
I share your concerns.
I would be happy to second your motion when you are ready to make
At 02:36 12/02/2004, Grow, Bob wrote:
Some recent activities on Ethernet have raised concerns again about the
IEEE-SA competing against itself by spawning competing standards
activities through different organizations. Many of you will
remember when an ISTO affiliated consortium was formed that IEEE 802.16
perceived as direct but non-interoperable competition to IEEE
802.16. This time, an Ethernet related activity has been discussed
as an IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group (CAG) sponsored standards
development project. Please note that at this time, nothing formal
has happened, but initial discussions raise some more general questions
in the prevue of the Executive Committee.
As background, I provide my understanding of the relevant parts of CAG
operation from "Operating Procedures for The Corporate Advisory
Group as a Standards Development Sponsor", “Maximizing Your IEEE-SA
Corporate Membership” and discussions with CAG leadership and IEEE
The CAG has 10 seats with 6 currently
filled. There are 46 entities listed as IEEE-SA Corporate Members
on the web site (last modified September 2003).
The CAG can function as a sponsor for IEEE
standards projects (as can other societies within IEEE, like our sponsor
the IEEE Computer Society).
Before sponsoring a standards development
project, the CAG must give existing societies 45 days to consider being
the sponsor for the proposed project. If the sponsor takes on the
project, balloting must be as entities.
At least three IEEE-SA Corporate Members
must support doing a standards project, and the CAG must approve a PAR
before forwarding to NesCom if it is to be the sponsor.
The CAG is not required to get a supporting
vote of the corporate membership, nor even solicit comment from the
corporate membership about a proposed project. The support by the
requisite number of entity members is assumed to be sufficient indication
of entity interest.
- The "CAG is a committee of the IEEE-SA Board of Governors (BoG),
constituted to provide operational and strategic planning advice on
matters affecting the interests of the IEEE-SA corporate and
organizational members." In some ways, the CAG is similar to
the LMSC EC in that it is a supervisory body representing its
members. The CAG represents IEEE-SA Corporate Members, only a
subset of which have representatives with seats on the CAG.
Recent activities in and outside 802.3 will highlight why I feel current
CAG policies are an important issue for the LMSC Executive Committee to
consider. In general, my concern is that the current procedures of
the CAG can be used to undermine the decision making authority of
established working groups, and destroy industry respect for and support
of IEEE-SA as a standards development organization.
Because the EC’s responsibility is mostly to process, I present the
following as background information so that you can easily envision
similar situations within your working groups. Hopefully we can
deal with this particular proposal as a case study, and independent of
the technical merits and liabilities of the proposed work, focus on the
more general strategic implications.
Also in July 2003 at the closing 802.3
plenary meeting, the proponents brought the issue directly to the floor
during the study group report. After more than an hour of
discussion, and it being a late hour, no motion was made on objectives
for the emerging P802.3an (10GBASE-T) PAR, and a motion to forward the
PAR and criteria failed Y: 30, N: 16, A: 15.
In November, efforts to promote 2.5 Gb/s
were separate from the proposed 10GBASE-T project. Motions to
approve and forward the 10GBASE-T Five Criteria and PAR passed with
little or no opposition.
Also in November, proponents of 2.5 Gb/s
Ethernet held a Call for Interest. It was one of three CFIs held in
sequence Tuesday evening. Attendance was about 175 and seemed
fairly consistent for all of the CFIs. Two of the CFIs were
successful in generating support for formation of a study group, but the
2.5 Gb/s CFI was not. The straw poll question presented at the CFI
Should IEEE 802.3 form a Study Group to
develop a project proposal for 2.5 Gbps Ethernet?
- In July 2003, a proposal was made to the 10GBASE-T study group for
multi-rate operation (2.5, 5 and 10 Gb/s). This was discussed on
its technical merits as well as within the context of the Five
Criteria. After three hours of discussion, the SG declined to
include an objective for multi-rate operation. The motions to
change criteria text to allow multi-rate operation generated 23% or less
support, and the individual votes on each of the Five Criteria passed by
78% or more.
Attendees: Y: 53, N: 64, A:
802.3 Voters: Y: 20, N: 29, A: 21
5. Also in November, the proponents brought essentially the
same question before the 802.3 closing plenary.
Motion: 802.3 WG authorizes the formation of 2.5Gbps Study
Y: 17, N: 31, A: 17 Motion Failed
6. In January 2004, Mr. Nikolich received a request for
cooperation on a 2.5 Gb/s project from the Chair of the IEEE-SA CAG,
initiating discussions among CAG leadership, IEEE 802/802.3 leaders and
IEEE Staff. Mr. Nikolich gave his personal opinion to the Chair of
the CAG that executing this project through sponsorship by the CAG
"was not advisable due to conflict with the 802.3 position",
but he also requested more information about the CAG and corporate
IEEE-SA participation before offering any formal response to the request
and requested that 802 and 802.3 leadership be involved in any discussion
by the CAG on this potential project. To date, that request has
Consequently, a number of email, telephone
and conference calls resulted in IEEE staff arranging a 27 January call
IEEE 802 – 1st Vice Chair,
802.3 Chair, 802.3 Vice Chair, 10GBASE-T Chair
- Following this communication, a significant amount of misinformation
began to circulate within the Ethernet community, including
misrepresentations of Mr. Nikolich’s position on the proposal, the status
of the proposal with the CAG, etc.
CAG – Chair and Vice Chair
President of the IEEE-SA
In addition to the above information about CAG operation, the conference
a) The CAG leadership was committed to support this proposed
b) A PAR if proposed would only require approval by the CAG
to forward to NesCom.
e) IEEE 802 participants felt the absence of communication
with the corporate membership about the advisability of sponsoring a
project lessens the value proposition for becoming a corporate
member. “Why should I recommend my company join IEEE-SA when it
would not be guaranteed any mechanism for disapproving proposed new
f) It was expected that a 2.5 Gb/s project would be
submitted to NesCom for March consideration. [Though it is believed
that this will not happen.]
g) The CAG leadership would allow the 45-day period for other
societies to respond to overlap with the NesCom submittal.
The similarities of this to IEEE 802.16’s problems with ISTO are obvious
to those that were involved. With ISTO, we argued about whether it
was appropriate to call their output IEEE standards or
specifications. The major difference here is that standard versus
specification isn’t a question with a CAG sponsored project. A CAG
sponsored project will be an “IEEE Std xxx” document.
The ability of the CAG to sponsor projects is a worthwhile activity for
IEEE-SA to support. Without proper constraint though, it can be
used to undermine the decisions of 802 and other established working
groups. As an example, most of our groups have lively discussions
about encoding/modulation techniques. What if one of our WGs makes
a decision and the proponents of a losing proposal recognize they only
need two entity “friends” to go get their own standard through the
CAG. Consider what this particular case would mean as a precedent
to IEEE Std 802.11, IEEE Std 802.15, IEEE Std 802.16, etc. What if
the losing side on a bridging or security proposal didn’t like the 802.1
I would like the EC to consider a position statement to the BoG on
additional considerations for CAG sponsored standards projects. I
believe that a motion should state that:
The IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC) is supportive of Corporate
Advisory Group (CAG) standards activities where existing sponsors are
disinterested in a proposed activity. The LMSC is strongly opposed
to the CAG sponsoring projects where there is strong interest in the
proposed activity. The LMSC disagrees with any presumption that
rejecting a proposed standards activity is equivalent to disinterest in
the activity. CAG and IEEE-SA process must consider an established
working group’s position that a particular standards project is within
its area of work and it that it should not be approved. The LMSC
requests that CAG P&P be modified to support this method of
To have a position ready for the BOG meeting on February 25-27, I will be
making a motion similar to that above this week. In the meantime,
any wordsmithing suggestions will be appreciated.
Thank you for your attention to this lengthy but important message.