Gordon And Mike's ICT Podcast
Perspectives on Technology and Education from Gordon F. Snyder, Jr. & Mike Qaissaunee

The Mid-Pacific Information and Communications Technologies (MPICT) Center is a recently funded National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Regional Center hosted by City College of San Francisco (CCSF). MPICT's mission is to coordinate, promote and improve the quality and availability of ICT education in a region consisting of Northern California, Northern Nevada, Southern Oregon, Hawaii and the Pacific Territories. Current Regional Partners include: Ohlone College , Santa Rosa Junior College , Cabrillo College and Foothill College.

We've had a great relationship with Pierre, James and CCSF and were fortunate to get them on camera to talk about MPICT at the 2008 SAME-TEC Conference.

MPICT is off to a great start under the leadership and direction of Pierre and James. Contact them for more information at www.mpict.org

Direct download: Pierre_and_James.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:17pm EST

German graduate students Erik Tews and Martin Beck have discovered an exploitable hole in WPA, a popular wireless encryption protocol. This week, Tews will present a paper on the topic at the PacSec conference in Tokyo. In this podcast Mike Qaissaunee and I discuss wireless network security and this newly discovered WPA hole.

Here's a list of questions asked during the podcast:

Where is the information for this podcast coming from?

Why is this important?

So, we've now got a security issue with WPA encryption! Before we get to WPA - can you give us a little background on wireless encryption?

So, the first attempt was WEP. Most devices still support it - why should we not use it?

So, that's not good. What did the IEEE do?

What else did the 802.11i group do - what was the second solution?

So, let me make sure I understand. Older wireless devices can be updated to support WPA which includes TKIP. Now, I've heard of WPA2 - what is that?

So, the new products support both but old products only support WPA. I think I've got it! What did Tews and Beck actually crack?

So the problem is with old devices that only support WPA and TKIP and not WPA and AES?

What is the problem with TKIP?

Now, didn't WEP use checksums this way?

The ars technica piece mentioned short packets are ideal - especially ARP broadcasts. Why?

Let me see if I understand, an attacker sniffs a packet, makes minor modifications to affect the checksum, and checks the results by sending the packet back to the access point.

So it is not something we should be worried about?

What can we do to protect our networks?

Can you describe rekeying?

Now, I've heard of this - you need to be careful. You don't want to enable rapid rekeying unless ALL of your clients support IEEE 802.1x and an authentication method (e.g. EAP-TLS) that supports key distribution.

So, let's get to the point here - WPA really is not broken?

Listen to get the answers!

Direct download: WPA_Give_It_A_Crack.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:29pm EST

On Oct 1, 2008 Nart Villeneuve and the Information Warfare Monitor released an interesting joint report titled BREACHING TRUST: An analysis of surveillance and security practices on China’s TOM-Skype platform. Villeneuve is CTO of psiphon inc and the psiphon research fellow at the Citizen Lab, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. In this podcast we discuss the report, confidentiality and security issues with TOM-Skype, the Chinese version of Skype

Mike: Gordon, Can you tell us a little more about this report?

The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media and world civic politics. The author, Nart Villeneuve's research focuses on International Internet censorship and the evasion tactics used to bypass Internet filtering systems.

Other Questions:

How about some background on Skype in China?

How about some details from the report?

You said these are publically accessible servers - can others besides the Chinese access these servers?

Can you review the major findings from the report?

What kinds of questions has the report raised?

How does the report say the sensorship actually works?

How about some detail on those servers?

The report claims it may be possbile to map users social networks using the logged information. Can you explain?

How has Skype responded?
Direct download: TOM_Skype_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:50pm EST

Bio-Link is an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center for Biotechnology that originated in late 1998 with a grant from the National Science Foundation. The Center is located on the campus of City College of San Francisco with office space at the University of California, San Francisco. Regional Bio-Link Centers across the country are located in Seattle, WA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX; Madison, WI; Graham, NC; and Portsmouth, NH. 

At the SAME-TEC conference this past July, I had the opportunity to interview Bio-Link Director Dr Elaine Johnson. In the interview Elaine discusses the work the Bio-Link Center and Regional Centers are doing to bring students the knowledge and skills essential to the field as well as the ability to continue with more advanced education in math, science and engineering.

My undergraduate background is in Microbiology so I've always had an interest in biotechnology and related fields. If you are faculty and considering starting a biotechnology program or maybe a student thinking about a biotechnology career, you will find her interview very interesting.

Elaine and her Center's work are outstanding! You can get more information on Elaine and Bio-Link here.
Direct download: Elaine_Johnson.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:27pm EST

Earlier this month I wrote about how the National Center for Telecommunications Technologies
(NCTT, focusing on information and communications technologies) collaborated with sister NSF Advanced Technology Education Centers of Excellence
Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center (MATEC, focusing on semi-conductor, automated manufacturing and electronics) and OP-TEC (focusing on optics and photonics) to sponsor the SAME-TEC 2008 Conference in Austin, Texas.

SAME-TEC has a long history, starting in 1994 with the vision of David Hata at
Portland Community College and continuing to grow and evolve under the leadership and direction of Mike Lesiecki and his team at MATEC. This year the conference had over 350 attendees.

At the conference we did a number of video interviews and John Reynolds, our multimedia specialist, has been hard at work editing them. We've now got another one posted - an interview with David Hata - the Godfather of SAME-TEC
. David discusses the original grant he wrote to the National Science Foundation to launch SAME-TEC and the evolution of the conference.
Direct download: David_Hata.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:44pm EST

The OP-TEC Advanced Technological Education Center was launched in August 2006 with funding from the National Science Foundation. Under the direction of Dan Hull, the Center engages a consortium of two-year colleges, high schools, universities, national laboratories, industry partners, and professional societies. The participating entities have committed to join forces in creating a secondary-to-postsecondary “pipeline” of highly qualified and strongly motivated students and empowering community colleges to meet the urgent need for technicians in optics and photonics.

OP-TEC serves two types of one- and two-year postsecondary programs:

  1. Those devoted to lasers, optics, and photonics technology; and
  2. Those devoted to technologies that are enabled by optics and photonics.
OP-TEC is building support through curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, faculty development, recruiting, and support for institutional reform. OP-TEC will serve as a national clearinghouse for teaching materials; encourage more schools and colleges to offer programs, courses, and career information; and help high school teachers and community and technical college faculty members develop programs and labs to teach technical content.

The project has four goals:
  1. Serve as a national resource center for optics and photonics education and training.
  2. Create, assemble, align, and distribute coordinated curriculum materials designed to support optics, laser, and photonics education in high schools, two-year colleges, and retraining of adult workers.
  3. Support established and new photonics education programs in high schools, community and technical colleges, universities, and professional societies.
  4. Provide education and training for administrators, counselors, high school teachers, and community college faculty members to prepare them to:
  • design new photonics technology programs that meet their local needs;
  • infuse photonics into programs in photonics-enabled technologies; and
  • teach optics, photonics, and lasers using curriculum materials distributed by OP-TEC.
OP-TEC is establishing a national infrastructure for developing and supporting widely disseminated educational programs in cutting-edge, high-demand technologies that require photonics. That infrastructure encompasses both the secondary and postsecondary levels and will involve collaboration between educators and industry personnel.

Dan and his team are doing excellent work. In July I had the chance to interview him (on his birthday!) at the SAME-TEC 2008 Conference in Austin, TX.

You can get more information on the OP-TEC National Center located in Waco, TX here.
Direct download: Dan_Hull.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:53pm EST

Interview with Mike Q This is a series of  interviews Dan Greenwood, Brookdale Community College's Instructional Designer, recorded with Mike.  This is part of Dan's Project Emit (Engaging Methods in Teaching) podcast.  You can find Dan's podcast at http://www.brookdalecc.edu/pages/613.asp

Here are descriptions for the interviews, which we've combined as one podcast. 

Associate Professor Michael Qaissaunee of the Engineering and Technology Department shares some of his innovative ideas on using video in courses. In Part 1 of this interview topic, Mike explains how both students and faculty can become involved in creating videos to improve learning.

In the second part of our Video conversation, Mike shares some excellent examples of using video. We also discuss the use of video hosting services and Mike provides some ideas on how you can get started creating your own video content.

Our conversation continues with Professor Qaissaunee explaining what viral videos are and the concept of viral PowerPoints and how they can be used with online course materials.

Links mentioned in the podcast:


Direct download: Project_Emit_with_Mike_Qaissaunee_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:55pm EST

Bunker Hill Community College Professor Paula Velluto has received National Science Foundation funding to create a model computer forensics program.

The project is a regional collaboration of Middlesex Community College, Bristol Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, Northern Essex Community College and the University of Massachusetts Boston to meet the regional need of law enforcement for trained computer forensics (CF) technicians. The programs uniquely combine the disciplines of Information Technology and Criminal Justice and are tailored to the needs of each institution.

The CFATE NSF project focuses on achieving three goals:

To create computer forensics programs that align with law enforcement, public safety, private industry and homeland security needs to ensure consistent, current and flexible training. CFATE works with local/regional law enforcement agencies and industries to determine the needed skill set. Faculty workshops are being conducted to facilitate integration of CJ and IT into courses and expedite curriculum development on a consortium wide basis. CF experts work with the colleges to ensure that materials are rich in real world content. UMass Boston is developing baccalaureate programs that accept community college graduates and provide them with career pathways. In addition, CFATE is developing stand-alone courses and programs for IT professionals and CJ practitioners.

To offer regional professional development opportunities for educators to develop expertise needed for teaching these programs. In addition to workshops on CJ and IT integration, extensive workshops on CF and the use of state-of-the-art software are being offered. Curriculum development workshops emphasize learner-centered pedagogy that give students needed skills. CF experts work individually with faculty and mentor them as they deliver CF courses.

To expand the capacity in the region to attract students from diverse backgrounds to CF programs at each institution and support them in gaining employment in related positions. CFATE is creating recruitment materials such as CDs, brochures, and interactive websites to reach local schools and local and regional community organizations. This is combined with targeted personal outreach to schools and organizations.

I've know Paula for many years and have always been so impressed with her technical knowledge, experience, vision and (especially) the way she works with her students. Paula is one of the best and last month I had the opportunity to interview her at the SAME-TEC 2008 Conference in Austin, TX.

You can get more information on the CFATE rogram at Bunker Hill Community College here. The project website at CFATE.ORG will also be up shortly.
Direct download: Paula_Velluto.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:55pm EST

In this Video Podcast. MATEC Executive Director Michael Lesiecki discusses the past, current and future of the SAME-TEC Conference in Austin, Texas. You can get more information on SAME-TEC and MATEC at www.same-tec.org

More Info on SAME-TEC

SAME-TEC is a unique event that provides national networking and collaboration between education and industry partners, to promote the viability of our high tech industries, through the development of a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Conference participants are given an up-close look at the ever-advancing tools, training demands, and recent developments in emerging and converging technology fields.

With this year's conference theme, we call attention to how different technologies are seamlessly converging into new all-encompassing technologies. High tech gadgets such as the Apple iPhone force us to fine-tune our focus as we endeavor to bring new technologies to our students and future employees. At SAME-TEC, faculty connect with each other to share practices, knowledge, and new approaches to help students succeed. Industry members connect with educators to ultimately help ensure students emerge into the workforce with the
knowledge and skills desired by themselves and employers. Exhibitors will connect with existing and potential clients to help determine current and future needs. SAME-TEC provides the venue for learning about seamless technologies and the forum for creating seamless connections.

Who Attends SAME-TEC?
  • Faculty in technology programs who want to learn about new technologies and how to expand their
    existing programs
  • College representatives, program development specialists, and counselors who are interested in
    creating more robust technology education programs and strategies for recruiting students
  • K-12 teachers who want to learn how to integrate advanced technology concepts into their existing
    science and math curriculum
  • Industry trainers and learning managers who want to gain insight into future training needs
  • Industry personnel investing in workforce education and training
  • Workforce development personnel from government, labor, business, and education who are involved
    in shaping workforce development programs
  • Individuals concerned with issues related to skill standards and employability

Direct download: Michael_Lesiecki.m4v
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:35pm EST

Intro: The Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG, is a working group of ISO/IEC charged with the development of video and audio encoding standards. In this podcast we look at the MPEG standards and video delivery systems.

Mike: Gordon, what sources are we referring to here?

Wikipedia and white paper from the MPEG Industry Forum at www.m4if.org/public/documents/vault/m4-out-20027.pdf. we've also got a couple of diagrams from the Verizon website.

Mike: What's the history of MPEG?

Mike: Are these open standards?

Mike: What's the history? Can you tell us about MPEG-1?

Mike: How about MPEG-2?

Mike: We don't hear much about MPEG-3 - what's up with that?

Mike: Let's talk about MPEG-4 now.

Mike: What are some of the advantages of MPEG-4?

Mike: Let's switch gears and talk about carried video delivery systems - specifically the telcos and cable companies. How is this technology used?

It's different for broadcast and video on demand (VOD) content. Let's discuss broadcast systems and look at how Verizon (as an example) is setup.

Two National Super Head Ends (SHE) - one in Tampa and the other in Bloomington, IL:

- Diversely located
- Satellites collect video feeds
- Video is converted to digital MPEG-2 and packaged in a 10-GigE payload
-  SHE servers “pitch” data to the Video Hub Office (VHO)
- Three OC-192 SONET (long haul) rings that drop and continue GigE to VHOs

Mike: What is OC-192?

Mike: OK, these video hub offices are distributed over Verizon's footprint - what happens when they get the video?

Video Hub Office (VHO) ex. Burlington MA Combines:
- National Channels
- VOD Servers “catch” data from the SHE servers
- Off-Air, program guide, public, education, and government (PEG) channels, and local ads are injected
- Encrypts all content
- Content sent over several 1-GigE links to local Video Serving Offices (VSO, ex. CO) over SONET (medium haul)
- VSO then sends it to the OLT and then to the  PON network for delivery to customer.

Mike: Broadcast is still done using traditional RF modulation methods - correct?

Yes - that will change - rumor has it Verizon will be trialing IP Broadcasting this summer in Pennsylvania - just a rumor!

Mike: Now - Video on Demand (VOD) does things a little differently - correct?

Yes - VOD delivers IP content to the customer - it is not in RF format:

- Content is requested by user via the IP network (private subnet)
- Content is then streamed from the video pumps to the Video Distribution Routers (VDR) in the VHO (ex. Burlington)
- VDR then sends 10-GigE links to a Video Aggregation Router (VAR)
- The Video Aggregation Router (VAR) then sends it to the Gateway Router (GWR) in the VSO (ex. CO)
- GWR then sends it to the OLT and then to the  PON network

Mike: So - Verizon is combining Voice, Video and Data services on the same fiber?

Yes - Here's another nice diagram from the Verizon website:

Direct download: MPEG_Final.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:06pm EST

Intro: In this podcast we take a look at modern fiber delivery systems.

Podcast Questions

Mike: Passive Optical Networks use Fiber – could you talk a little but about Fiber to the Premise or Home (FTTP or H)

Mike: So what exactly is a Fiber P2P Network?

Mike: OK, so what’s a PON?

Mike: What are the PON Architectural Choices?

Mike: What is Centralized Splitting?

Mike: What is Distributed/Cascaded Splitting?

Mike: What are some of the Protocols and Standards used with PONs?

Mike: What are the Outside Plant Components?

Mike: What’s an ONT?

Mike: Are Technicians typically terminating fiber in the field?

Reference List:

FiOS: Our Future
James Armstrong, Chris Cote, Stan McCoy, James Todd
STCC Verizon NextStep Class of 2008

Passive Optical Network Splitter
Lawrence Graham, Mike Thompson, Jodi Lewandowski, Jeremy Dillensneider, Stephen Booher
STCC Verizon NextStep Class of 2006

FTTH Explained: Delivering efficient customer bandwidth and enhanced services
Michael Kunigonis, Product Line Manager: Access Corning Cable Systems

Direct download: PONs.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:19pm EST

Intro: Amazon launched the Kindle in the United States in November 2007. Demand for the Kindle has been high with long waiting lists. We finally got our hands on one and review the Kindle in this podcast.

Show Questions:

Can you give us some basic specs on the Kindle?

What about external storage, battery life and ports or connectors? 

Can you give us a quick overview on the Kindle controls - How do you use it?

How do you navigate?

Does the ruler do anything else?

What's Whispernet?

How do you get content on the Kindle?

Can you get content from other sources?

What file formats does the kindle support?

Are there other ways to read pdf's?

Can you view pictures?

What else can you do?

I'm always reading things and making notes to include in blogs or other documents - is there a way to do this?

Is content on the kindle searchable?

How does the dictionary work?

What are some of the experimental extras - does it allow web browsing??

I've heard about a question ask and answer feature - can you describe that?

Can you play music on it?

Any other observations?

Direct download: Kindle_Final.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:34pm EST

Intro: Two weeks ago we gave an overview of IPv6. This week we take a look at some of the technical details for this protocol.

Mike: Gordon, a couple of weeks ago we discussed Ipv6 - can you give us a quick review - what's the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?

The most obvious distinguishing feature of IPv6 is its use of much larger addresses. The size of an address in IPv6 is 128 bits, which is four times the larger than an IPv4 address. A 32-bit address space allows for 232 or 4,294,967,296 possible addresses. A 128-bit address space allows for 2 28 or 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 (or 3.4x1038) possible addresses.

In the late 1970s when the IPv4 address space was designed, it was unimaginable that it could be exhausted. However, due to changes in technology and an allocation practice that did not anticipate the recent explosion of hosts on the Internet, the IPv4 address space was consumed to the point that by 1992 it was clear a replacement would be necessary.
With IPv6, it is even harder to conceive that the IPv6 address space will be consumed.

Mike: It's not just to have more addresses though, is it?

It is important to remember that the decision to make the IPv6 address 128 bits in length was not so that every square inch of the Earth could have 4.3x1020 addresses. Rather, the relatively large size of the IPv6 address is designed to be subdivided into hierarchical routing domains that reflect the topology of the modern-day Internet. The use of 128 bits allows for multiple levels of hierarchy and flexibility in designing hierarchical addressing and routing that is currently lacking on the IPv4-based Internet.

Mike: Is there a specific RFC for IPv6?

The IPv6 addressing architecture is described in RFC 2373.

Mike: I know there is some basic terminology associated with IPv6. Can you describe Nodes and Interfaces as they apply to IPv6?

A node is any device that implements IPv6. It can be a router, which is a device that forwards packets that aren't directed specifically to it, or a host, which is a node that doesn't forward packets.

An interface is the connection to a transmission medium through which IPv6 packets are sent.

Mike: How about some more IPv6 terminology - can you discuss Links, Neighbors, Link MTUs, and Link Layer Addresses?

A link is the medium over which IPv6 is carried. Neighbors are nodes that are connected to the same link.

A link maximum transmission unit (MTU) is the maximum packet size that can be carried over a given link medium, and is expressed in octets.

A Link Layer address is the "physical" address of an interface, such as media access control (MAC) addresses for Ethernet links.

Mike: Can you give a brief ouline in address syntax?

IPv4 addresses are represented in dotted-decimal format. This 32-bit address is divided along 8-bit boundaries. Each set of 8 bits is converted to its decimal equivalent and separated by periods.

For IPv6, the 128-bit address is divided along 16-bit boundaries, and each 16-bit block is converted to a 4-digit hexadecimal number and separated by colons. The resulting representation is called colon-hexadecimal.

The following is an IPv6 address in binary form:


The 128-bit address is divided along 16-bit boundaries:

0010000111011010  0000000011010011   0000000000000000   0010111100111011  0000001010101010   0000000011111111   1111111000101000  1001110001011010 
Each 16-bit block is converted to hexadecimal and delimited with colons. The result is:


IPv6 representation can be further simplified by removing the leading zeros within each 16-bit block. However, each block must have at least a single digit. With leading zero suppression, the address representation becomes:


Mike: I know there are lost of zeros in IPv6 addresses - can you discribe zero compression notation?

Some types of addresses contain long sequences of zeros. To further simplify the representation of IPv6 addresses, a contiguous sequence of 16-bit blocks set to 0 in the colon hexadecimal format can be compressed to “::?, known as double-colon.

For example, the link-local address of FE80:0:0:0:2AA:FF:FE9A:4CA2 can be compressed to FE80::2AA:FF:FE9A:4CA2. The multicast address FF02:0:0:0:0:0:0:2 can be compressed to FF02::2.

Zero compression can only be used to compress a single contiguous series of 16-bit blocks expressed in colon hexadecimal notation. You cannot use zero compression to include part of a 16-bit block. For example, you cannot express FF02:30:0:0:0:0:0:5 as FF02:3::5. The correct representation is FF02:30::5.

To determine how many 0 bits are represented by the “::?, you can count the number of blocks in the compressed address, subtract this number from 8, and then multiply the result by 16. For example, in the address FF02::2, there are two blocks (the “FF02? block and the “2? block.) The number of bits expressed by the “::? is 96 (96 = (8 – 2)(16).

Zero compression can only be used once in a given address. Otherwise, you could not determine the number of 0 bits represented by each instance of “::?.

Mike: IPv4 addresses use subnet masks - do IPv6 addresses?

No - a subnet mask is not used for IPv6. Something called prefix length notation is supported.

The prefix is the part of the address that indicates the bits that have fixed values or are the bits of the network identifier. Prefixes for IPv6 subnet identifiers, routes, and address ranges are expressed in the same way as Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) notation for IPv4. An IPv6 prefix is written in address/prefix-length notation. For example, 21DA:D3::/48 is a route prefix and 21DA:D3:0:2F3B::/64 is a subnet prefix.

Mike: I know there are three basic types of IPv6 addresses - can you give a brief description of each?

1. Unicast – packet sent to a particular interface
A unicast address identifies a single interface within the scope of the type of unicast address. With the appropriate unicast routing topology, packets addressed to a unicast address are delivered to a single interface. To accommodate load-balancing systems, RFC 2373 allows for multiple interfaces to use the same address as long as they appear as a single interface to the IPv6 implementation on the host.

2. Multicast - packet sent to a set of interfaces, typically encompassing multiple nodes
A multicast address identifies multiple interfaces. With the appropriate multicast routing topology, packets addressed to a multicast address are delivered to all interfaces that are identified by the address.

3. Anycast – while identifying multiple interfaces (and typically multiple nodes) is sent only to the interface that is determined to be “nearest? to the sender.
An anycast address identifies multiple interfaces. With the appropriate routing topology, packets addressed to an anycast address are delivered to a single interface, the nearest interface that is identified by the address. The “nearest? interface is defined as being closest in terms of routing distance. A multicast address is used for one-to-many communication, with delivery to multiple interfaces. An anycast address is used for one-to-one-of-many communication, with delivery to a single interface.

In all cases, IPv6 addresses identify interfaces, not nodes. A node is identified by any unicast address assigned to one of its interfaces.

Mike: What about broadcasting?

RFC 2373 does not define a broadcast address. All types of IPv4 broadcast addressing are performed in IPv6 using multicast addresses. For example, the subnet and limited broadcast addresses from IPv4 are replaced with the link-local scope all-nodes multicast address of FF02::1.

Mike: What about special addresses?

The following are special IPv6 addresses:

Unspecified Address
The unspecified address (0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0 or ::) is only used to indicate the absence of an address. It is equivalent to the IPv4 unspecified address of The unspecified address is typically used as a source address for packets attempting to verify the uniqueness of a tentative address. The unspecified address is never assigned to an interface or used as a destination address.

Loopback Address
The loopback address (0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 or ::1) is used to identify a loopback interface, enabling a node to send packets to itself. It is equivalent to the IPv4 loopback address of Packets addressed to the loopback address must never be sent on a link or forwarded by an IPv6 router.

Mike: How is DNS handled?

Enhancements to the Domain Name System (DNS) for IPv6 are described in RFC 1886 and consist of the following new elements:

Host address (AAAA) resource record
IP6.ARPA domain for reverse queries

Note:  According to RFC 3152, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) consensus has been reached that the IP6.ARPA domain be used, instead of IP6.INT as defined in RFC 1886. The IP6.ARPA domain is the domain used by IPv6 for Windows Server 2003.

The Host Address (AAAA) Resource Record:

A new DNS resource record type, AAAA (called “quad A?), is used for resolving a fully qualified domain name to an IPv6 address. It is comparable to the host address (A) resource record used with IPv4. The resource record type is named AAAA (Type value of 28) because 128-bit IPv6 addresses are four times as large as 32-bit IPv4 addresses. The following is an example of a AAAA resource record:
        host1.microsoft.com    IN    AAAA   FEC0::2AA:FF:FE3F:2A1C
A host must specify either a AAAA query or a general query for a specific host name in order to receive IPv6 address resolution data in the DNS query answer sections.

The IP6.ARPA Domain

The IP6.ARPA domain has been created for IPv6 reverse queries. Also called pointer queries, reverse queries determine a host name based on the IP address. To create the namespace for reverse queries, each hexadecimal digit in the fully expressed 32-digit IPv6 address becomes a separate level in inverse order in the reverse domain hierarchy.

For example, the reverse lookup domain name for the address FEC0::2AA:FF:FE3F:2A1C (fully expressed as FEC0:0000:0000:0000:02AA: 00FF:FE3F:2A1C) is:

The DNS support described in RFC 1886 represents a simple way to both map host names to IPv6 addresses and provide reverse name resolution.

Mike: Can you discuss transition from IPv4 to IPv6?

Mechanisms for transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 are defined in RFC 1933. The primary goal in the transition process is a successful coexistence of the two protocol versions until such time as IPv4 can be retired if, indeed, it's ever completely decommissioned. Transition plans fall into two primary categories: dual-stack implementation, and IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling.
More Info Mechanisms for transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 are defined in RFC 1933. There are two primary methods.

Dual Stack Implementation
The simplest method for providing IPv6 functionality allows the two IP versions to be implemented as a dual stack on each node. Nodes using the dual stack can communicate via either stack. While dual-stack nodes can use IPv6 and IPv4 addresses that are related to each other, this isn't a requirement of the implementation, so the two addresses can be totally disparate. These nodes also can perform tunneling of IPv6 over IPv4. Because each stack is fully functional, the nodes can configure their IPv6 addresses via stateless autoconfiguration or DHCP for IPv6, while configuring their IPv4 addresses via any of the current configuration methods.

IPv6 Over IPv4 Tunneling
The second method for implementing IPv6 in an IPv4 environment is by tunneling IPv6 packets within IPv4 packets. These nodes can map an IPv4 address into an IPv4-compatible IPv6 address, preceding the IPv4 address with a 96-bit "0:0:0:0:0:0" prefix. Routers on a network don't need to immediately be IPv6-enabled if this approach is used, but Domain Name System (DNS) servers on a mixed-version network must be capable of supporting both versions of the protocol. To help achieve this goal, a new record type, "AAAA," has been defined for IPv6 addresses. Because Windows 2000 DNS servers implement this record type as well as the IPv4 "A" record, IPv6 can be easily implemented in a Windows 2000 environment.

Mike: we've only touched on some of the IPv6 details - where can people get more information?

I'm hoping to run a session at our summer conference July 28 - 31 in Austin, TX - we've currently got faculty fellowships available to cover the cost of the conference. See www.nctt.org for details.

References - Content for this academic podcast from Microsoft sources:

All Linked Documents at Microsoft Internet Protocol Version 6 (note: excellent and free online resources): http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/network/bb530961.aspx

Understanding IPv6, Joseph Davies, Microsoft Press, 2002
ISBN: 0-7356-1245-5
Sample Chapter at: http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/sampchap/4883.asp#SampleChapter

Direct download: IPv6_Details_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:57pm EST

Intro: On March 18, FCC Auction 73 bidding round 261 ended and, after 38 days and $19.592 billion in bids (almost double the $10 billion the FCC had hoped for), the FCC closed out the auction. In this podcast we review and discuss the auction results.

Mike: Gordon, can you give us an overview of the auction results?

Sure Mike - this comes from the FCC auction website linked up in the shownotes.

Rounds: 261 (started on 1/24 and ended on 3/18)
Bidding Days: 38
Qualified Bidders: 214
Winning Bidders: 101 Bidders won 1090 Licenses

*Auction 73 concluded with 1090 provisionally winning bids covering 1091 licenses and totaling $19,592,420,000, as shown in the Integrated Spectrum Auction System. The provisionally winning bids for the A, B, C, and E Block licenses exceeded the aggregate reserve prices for those blocks. The provisionally winning bid for the D Block license, however, did not meet the applicable reserve price and thus did not become a winning bid. Accordingly, Auction 73 raised a total of $19,120,378,000 in winning bids and $18,957,582,150 in net winning bids (reflecting bidders' claimed bidding credit eligibility), as shown above.

Mike: Before we get into the auction results, can you give us an overview of the different spectrum blocks? I know we've done this before but - how about a quick refresher?

Sure Mike - this comes from a blog I wrote back on January 14.

Back in 2005 Congress passed a law that requires all U.S. TV stations to convert to all digital broadcasts and give up analog spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band. This law will free up 62 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band and effectively eliminate channels between 52 and 69. This conversion, which has a deadline of February 18, 2009, has freed up spectrum that is being split up by the FCC into five blocks:

  • A-Block - 12 MHz, split up into 176 smaller economic areas
  • B-Block - 12 MHz, split up into 734 cellular market areas
  • C-Block - 22 MHz, up into 12 regional licenses
  • D-Block - 10MHz, combined with approximately 10MHz allocated for public safety, a single national license.
  • E-Block - 6 MHz, split up into 176 smaller economic areas
So in summary, each spectrum block in the 700 MHz auction, except for the national public safely D-Block, has been assigned an area designation by the FCC.
All FCC areas, along with names, county lists, maps and map info data can be found on the Commission's website linked here.

Mike: How about a quick review of the D-Block again?

Sure Mike, this also comes from that January 14 blog:

The D-Block lately has been most interesting to watch. Early on it appeared Frontline Wireless would be one of the biggest bidders for D-Block spectrum - the company was setup for D-Block and had worked closely with the FCC on putting together specifications for the spectrum. Frontline built a formidable team including Vice Chairman Reed Hundt, who served as Chairman of the FCC between 1993 and 1997. The business plan, the organization, the technology seemed to all be in place........ On January 12 the company placed the following statement on their website:

Frontline Wireless is closed for business at this time. We have no further comment.

Another company, Cyren Call also looked like they were planning to bid on the D-Block Auction but did not.

What happen? Rumor has it Frontline could not attract enough funders - it seemed like a good investment - or at least you may think so up front. Many are now asking if the FCC's approach to solving the public safety inter-operability problem is in trouble.

Mike: OK, how about the results?

Here's a summary from the Wall Street Journal:

Verizon and AT&T accounted for 80% of the nearly $20 billion AT&T agreed to pay $6.6 billion for 227 spectrum licenses in markets covering much of the country. Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, won 109 licenses for $9.4 billion.

Dish Network Corp., which bid for spectrum through Frontier Wireless LLC, did acquire a significant footprint, winning 168 licenses throughout the country for $712 million. Satellite-TV providers are looking for a way into the high-speed Internet business to better compete with cable and phone companies. But Credit Suisse analyst Chris Larsen said in a research note that the particular segment of spectrum Dish acquired would make it difficult for the company to offer interactive wireless broadband service. He said the company could use the spectrum to broadcast data or for on-demand video.

Google had indicated interest in a nationwide package of licenses before the auction, but it bid just high enough to trigger rules that will force winners of one segment of spectrum, known as the C-block, to allow any mobile devices and applications on their networks. Verizon won the lion's share of spectrum in this segment. Google had pushed for the regulation since its efforts to sell some mobile services had been stymied by major carriers, which traditionally have strictly limited the kinds of devices that consumers could use on their networks. Even before the auction had wrapped up, Google scored a victory as Verizon voluntarily agreed to open its network to devices it doesn't sell through its own retail network. Verizon released details of its new policy on Wednesday.

Mike: Were there any licenses that dod not get any bids?

There were 1,099 licenses auctioned and only eight did not receive any bids:

Lubbock, Texas
Wheeling, W.Va.

Bismarck, N.D.
Fargo, N.D.
Grand Forks, N.D.

Lee, Va.

Yancey, N.C.

Clarendon, S.C.

Mike: So, what will happen to these?

These licenses will need to be re-auctioned by the FCC. I'm guessing they were over priced, the FCC will end up dropping the re-auction minimum bid and they will end up going quickly.

Mike: What's going to happen with D-Block?

The Public Safety D-Block did not meet the minimum bid and the FCC will have to decide what to do. It looks like the FCC could go one of two directions for the re-auction - drop the price or change the requirements. From the start, the public safety D-Block auction was seen as one of the biggest auction challenges...... I've expressed my opinion on the D-Block in the past........ the FCC still has some major work ahead before they can close this one out.

This comes from InfoWorld:

On Thursday, the FCC voted to de-link the so-called D block from the rest of the auction results. The D block was a 10MHz block that was to be paired with another 10MHz controlled by public safety agencies, and the winning bidder would have been required to build a nationwide voice and data network to serve both public safety and commercial needs. But the FCC failed to receive its $1.33 billion minimum bid for the D block, with the lone $472 million bid coming from Qualcomm.

The FCC has no plans to immediately reauction the D block, a spokeswoman said. Instead, the agency "will consider its options for how to license this spectrum in the future," the FCC said in a news release.

Mike: So, it looks like the big carriers won?

For the most part, yes. Kevin Martin had an interesting quote in an EFluxMedia piece though:

"A bidder other than a nationwide incumbent won a license in every market," FCC chairman Kevin Martin said hinting that it’s possible for a "wireless third-pipe" competitor to emerge in every market across the U.S. This would increase the competition and the first one to benefit from it will be the consumer.

Things still could get interesting!
Direct download: FCC_Auction_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:53am EST

Intro: The world has changed significantly since the Internet was first created. IPv6 gives over 4.3x1020 unique addresses for every square inch on the planet, and is going to allow us to do things we've only dreamed of in the past. In this podcast we give an overview of IPv6.

Mike: Gordon, before we get into the technology, can you give us an update on IPv6 history in the United States?

Sure Mike, this comes from a 1-minute history of the Internet by Federal Computer week at FCW.COM

Mike: So,
the federal government has ordered its agencies to become IPv6- capable by June of 2008 and this is going to happen in June on our federal government networks - how about businesses?

It's  happening with business too Mike.  Let's take Verizon as an example as quoted in a Light Reading post from last September.

Verizon Business, which began its first phase of deploying IPv6 on the public IP network in 2004, will complete the North America region in 2008 and move into the Asia-Pacific and European regions from late 2008 to 2009. The company will operate both IPv6 and IPv4, in what is known as a "dual stack" arrangement, on its multi protocol label switching (MPLS) network core. The company also has deployed IPv6 throughout its network access points (peering facilities) where Internet service providers exchange traffic.

Mike: So, what's the problem with IPv4?

It's a combination of a lot of things - Microsoft has a nice set of resources on IPv4 and IPv6 - let's use that as a guide:

The current version of IP (known as Version 4 or IPv4) has not been substantially changed since RFC 791 was published in 1981. IPv4 has proven to be robust, easily implemented and interoperable, and has stood the test of scaling an internetwork to a global utility the size of today’s Internet. This is a tribute to its initial design.
However, the initial design did not anticipate the following:

The recent exponential growth of the Internet and the impending exhaustion of the IPv4 address space.

IPv4 addresses have become relatively scarce, forcing some organizations to use a Network Address Translator (NAT) to map multiple private addresses to a single public IP address. While NATs promote reuse of the private address space, they do not support standards-based network layer security or the correct mapping of all higher layer protocols and can create problems when connecting two organizations that use the private address space.

Additionally, the rising prominence of Internet-connected devices and appliances ensures that the public IPv4 address space will eventually be depleted.

The growth of the Internet and the ability of Internet backbone routers to maintain large routing tables.

Because of the way that IPv4 network IDs have been and are currently allocated, there are routinely over 85,000 routes in the routing tables of Internet backbone routers. The current IPv4 Internet routing infrastructure is a combination of both flat and hierarchical routing.

The need for simpler configuration.

Most current IPv4 implementations must be either manually configured or use a stateful address configuration protocol such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). With more computers and devices using IP, there is a need for a simpler and more automatic configuration of addresses and other configuration settings that do not rely on the administration of a DHCP infrastructure.

The requirement for security at the IP level.

Private communication over a public medium like the Internet requires encryption services that protect the data being sent from being viewed or modified in transit. Although a standard now exists for providing security for IPv4 packets (known as Internet Protocol security or IPSec), this standard is optional and proprietary solutions are prevalent.

The need for better support for real-time delivery of data—also called quality of service (QoS).

While standards for QoS exist for IPv4, real-time traffic support relies on the IPv4 Type of Service (TOS) field and the identification of the payload, typically using a UDP or TCP port. Unfortunately, the IPv4 TOS field has limited functionality and over time there were various local interpretations. In addition, payload identification using a TCP and UDP port is not possible when the IPv4 packet payload is encrypted.
To address these and other concerns, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has developed a suite of protocols and standards known as IP version 6 (IPv6). This new version, previously called IP-The Next Generation (IPng), incorporates the concepts of many proposed methods for updating the IPv4 protocol. The design of IPv6 is intentionally targeted for minimal impact on upper and lower layer protocols by avoiding the random addition of new features.

Mike: OK - can you list the primary features of IPv6? What makes it different?

Sure Mike - this list also comes from Microsoft's website. The following are the features of the IPv6 protocol:
  1. New header format
  2. Large address space
  3. Efficient and hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure
  4. Stateless and stateful address configuration
  5. Built-in security
  6. Better support for QoS
  7. New protocol for neighboring node interaction
  8. Extensibility

Mike: Let's go through the list with a brief summary of each. Your first item on the list was the new header format. What's different?

Mike: How about number 2, large address space?

Mike: Number 3 was efficient and hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure - can you describe?

Mike: How about number 4, stateless and stateful address configuration?

Mike: Number 5 was built-in security

Mike: How about number 6, b
etter support for QoS?

Mike: And number 7, new protocol for neighboring node interaction?

Mike: And finally, number 8,  extensibility.

Mike: Are there any other things you want to add to the list?

Mike: Are we ready?

I always look at the end devices (even though there is so much more) and, if we just look at desktops, you have to look at Microsoft.

Microsoft started with the following implementations of IPv6, all subsequent versions/products continue to support IPv6:
The IPv6 protocol for the Windows Server 2003 and later families.
The IPv6 protocol for Windows XP (Service Pack 1 [SP1] and later).
The IPv6 protocol for Windows CE .NET version 4.1 and later

The capture and parsing of IPv6 traffic is supported by Microsoft Network Monitor, supplied with Microsoft Server 2003 and later products.

Mike: This is a good overview - next week we'll get into some details on the IPv6 protocol!
Direct download: IPv6_Overview_Final.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

Intro: On Thursday, March 6, 2008, Apple released the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) beta along with the App Stores, a place where iPhone users will be able to get applications written for the iPhone. Apple also launched the Enterprise Beta Program.

Gordon: Mike, can you give us a quick rundown on what Apple released on Thursday?

Sure, much of our discussion today is based on an excellent post at macworld.com titled The iPhone Software FAQ. Macworld editors Jason Snell, Jonathan Seff, Dan Moren, Christopher Breen, and Rob Griffiths contributed to this article. They also thank Glenn Fleishman, Craig Hockenberry, and Daniel Jalkut for their feedback and contributions.

Here's how Macworld answered the question:

The SDK is a set of tools that lets independent programmers and software companies design, write, and test software that runs on the iPhone. Right now there's a beta version for developers, but a final version of the iPhone software that supports the installation of new programs written by independent programmers is due in late June.

As a part of the announcement, Apple introduced a new iPhone program, App Store, through which you'll be able to purchase, download, and update iPhone software. That will be available as part of the new iPhone Software 2.0 update in late June. That's when you'll be able to add third-party apps to your iPhone for the first time, at least via official channels.

Gordon: You blogged about you experience with the SDK - can you tell us your first experience?

I downloaded the new iPhone SDK and wrote about my first impressions. I did quite a bit of FORTRAN programming many years ago > 10, but haven't done a whole lot lately. The SDK took a long time to download -2 Gig - over my wireless connection. And about 45 minutes to install. I also downloaded a couple of the sample applications Apple provides ~ 1 Meg each. In about 15 minutes - would have been shorter if I knew what I was doing - I was able to open the sample, compile and run on the simulator Apple provides.
I have no doubt that this is going to have a huge impact on mobile application development. It's really easy and really cool. If you teach programming - I suggest you download the SDK today, install it in your labs, and have your kids developing and running native iPhone apps by Monday afternoon. Get the SDK here. Even better, download Jing have your students record the simulator running their iPhone apps and embed in your department or faculty webpage - great for marketing! Wish I was 20 again!

Gordon: And you actually wrote a little Kalimba (African Thumb Piano) app. Where can we have a look?

You can go to my blog at http://q-ontech.blogspot.com/2008/03/iphone-sdk.html

Gordon: Apple is taking 30% of what is sold from the App Store - will shareware apps be available or will we have to pay for everything?

That's a good question and one that was sort of answered in the macworld.com post. Macworld assumes Apple won’t let you sell a “free? program that requires an unlock code. However, there are some other scenarios we expect to see. First, donationware: People will probably sell “free? programs that request that you make a donation if you want to keep the project going. We don’t think Apple will have any problem with that, since the donation would be voluntary. Second, it’s possible that you’ll see two versions of various iPhone programs: a free “lite? version that’s a good advertisement for a more feature-rich for-pay version.

Macworld also mentions  Iconfactory’s Twitterrific, a Mac program that is free, but contains ads. For an “upgrade? fee, users can shut off the ads. Whether Apple would allow this to be handled within the program or there would need to be two separate versions of an iPhone version of Twitterrific remains to be seen.

Gordon: On Thursday, five companies demo'ed applications - can you give us a brief summary of what was shown?

From Macworld: Five companies showed off what they were able to put together with two weeks of engineering work and very few people involved. There were games from Electronic Arts (Spore) and Sega (Super Money Ball), an AIM client from AOL, medical software from Epocrates, and business software from Salesforce.com. The programs took advantage of the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, Multi-Touch capabilities, interface elements, and more.

Gordon: I'm going to go back to the Macworld post again and take some questions directly from that FAQ:

1. What kind of stuff does Apple say it won’t allow developers to create?

2. What if someone writes a malicious program?

3. What’s a “bandwidth hog??

4. Can I buy these programs on my Mac, or just on the iPhone?

5. What about software updates?

6. What if you’ve synced your phone on one computer and then restore it on another? Do you lose your apps until you sync to the original?

7. If I buy a program for my iPhone, can I also transfer it to my significant other’s iPhone?

8. Can I download programs off the Web, or any place other than the App Store and iTunes?

9. What about internal, “private? software? What about beta testing?

10. Can I try the iPhone SDK and how could it be used in the classroom?

 Gordon: Apple posted a roadmap video - can you tell us a little bit about that?

On March 6, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone software roadmap, released the iPhone Software Development Kit, and introduced the iPhone Enterprise Beta Program. You can watch the presentation now and see what's ahead at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/iphoneroadmap

Direct download: iPhone_SDK_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

Intro: In this podcast we continue discussion on the in-progress FCC 700 MHz spectrum auction, with a focus on the D-Block public safety piece.

Mike: Gordon, can you give us a little background on the auction?

Back in 2005 Congress passed a law that requires all U.S. TV stations to convert to all digital broadcasts and give up analog spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band. This law will free up 62 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band and effectively eliminate channels between 52 and 69. This conversion, which has a deadline of February 18, 2009, has freed up spectrum that is being split up by the FCC into five blocks:

  • A-Block - 12 MHz, split up into 176 smaller economic areas
  • B-Block - 12 MHz, split up into 734 cellular market areas
  • C-Block - 22 MHz, up into 12 regional licenses
  • D-Block - 10MHz, combined with approximately 10MHz allocated for public safety, a single national license.
  • E-Block - 6 MHz, split up into 176 smaller economic areas
Each Block has a reserve price set by FCC and if a reserve price is not met in the auction, the FCC will end up re-auctioning that piece of spectrum.

Mike: I know we discussed the auction a few weeks ago and not much has changed. Can you give us an update on where the auction is today?

Bidding round 102 came to a close yesterday afternoon with $19,524,595,900 (last week the auction finished at $19,450,389,100 - it is slowing) in total provisionally winning bids. Things have slowed considerably with only 40 new bids placed in round 102. For reference, on Thursday, each round averaged about 50 new bids.

Most active in the final round yesterday were E-Block licenses in the Bismark, North Dakota and Rapid City, South Dakota areas along with B-Block licenses in the southeastern United States.

The public safety D-Block still has not had a bid since the first round and will end up being re-auctioned by the FCC.

This may end up being the last week (an FCC decision but I'm thinking so). After the auction is closed the FCC will announce the winners.

Mike: Let's talk specifically about D-Block, the public safety piece. What's happened - why are we not seeing any new bids?

I think you have to go back and look at the history of D-Block. Early on it appeared Frontline Wireless would be one of the biggest bidders for D-Block spectrum - the company was setup for D-Block and had worked closely with the FCC on putting together specifications for the spectrum. Frontline built a formidable team including Vice Chairman Reed Hundt, who served as Chairman of the FCC between 1993 and 1997. The business plan, the organization, the technology seemed to all be in place........ On January 12 the company placed the following statement on their website:

Frontline Wireless is closed for business at this time. We have no further comment.

Another company, Cyren Call also looked like they were planning to bid on the D-Block Auction but did not.

Mike: So what happened?

Rumor has it Frontline could not attract enough funders - it seemed like a good investment - or at least you may think so up front. Many are now asking if the FCC's approach to solving the public safety inter-operability problem is in trouble. At the same time many are also asking "Is there a better way?"

I've always liked the idea of public-private partnerships and we've seen them work in times of disaster - last August I wrote here about the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse tragedy and how within minutes USI Wireless opened their subscription-based Wi-Fi service so anyone could use it for free. US Wireless didn't just stop there - because the network had only been built around part of the disaster, the company installed additional Wi-Fi radios in areas surrounding the catastrophe to blanket it with signals, providing an additional 12 megabits per second of capacity to the area around the bridge collapse.

A national network built from scratch may be too big of a bite though.

Mike: So what are we looking at for a solution?

Last month I had an interesting conversation with Rivada Networks’ Senior Vice President for External Affairs John Kneuer about emergency responder communications and the FCC Spectrum Auction.. Rivada uses existing cellular networks and commercial off-the-shelf technology to deliver high-speed voice and data services over a network that can survive natural or man-made disasters. I like the idea of using the existing commercial infrastructure for public safety for lots of reasons.

State homeland security officials have struggled for years with the inability of local emergency responders to communicate with each other and their federal counterparts during disasters. This inter-operability problem is so serious it has been identified as the number one concern of state homeland security officials in the National Governors Association 2007 State Homeland Security Directors Survey. Here's a quote from the report:

Public safety interoperable communications once again topped the list of homeland security advisors’ concerns in 2007 as states continue to work to ensure that first responders from various agencies, jurisdictions, and levels of government can speak to each other during emergencies or at the scene of a disaster. Increasingly, the campaign for interoperability has expanded beyond voice communications to encompass data and video interoperability as well.

Mike: How does this system work?

Rivada uses existing cellular networks and commercial off-the-shelf technology to deliver high-speed voice and data services over a network that can survive natural or man-made disasters. Right now Rivada is working with National Guard units in 11 states (Alabama, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington). These units are installing new communications systems for voice and data services over a network that uses existing commercial infrastructure. Not relying on a single network makes a lot of sense when you consider communications survival during natural or man-made disasters.

According to a Rivada press release, the Louisiana Army National Guard decided last year to adopt their interoperable public safety communications system for the following reasons:
  • Is available today,
  • Does not require new spectrum allocation or depend on federal spectrum auctions or mandates, and
  • Offers far greater range and capability at a fraction of the cost of other existing or planned technologies.
Rivada also supplements existing technology and infrastructure as needed by:
  • Building new towers in areas without sufficient commercial infrastructure;
  • Employing Rivada Interoperable Communications Extension Systems (ICES) – “fly-in? units capable of being deployed within hours – where existing infrastructure has been degraded or destroyed;
  • Using proprietary backwards-compatible technology to provide full interoperability between cell phones, PDAs, laptops, landlines and traditional ‘walkie talkie’-type Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems; and
  • Combining all of these elements into an efficient network architecture.
Mike: Who would these leasing agreements be with?

Right now Rivada is not saying who they are making leasing agreements with but it seems like a safe bet to assume Verizon, Sprint and AT&T will be involved - it would be good revenue along with PR and advertising for the companies. In terms of the public safety personnel it makes a whole lot of sense because they would be able to use their day-to-day wireless devices in emergency situations.

The providers would build out, maintain and update the infrastructure....... I'm liking this kind of solution.
Direct download: D_Block_Auction_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:57pm EST

The FCC 700 MHz Spectrum Auction

Intro: In this podcast we discuss the in-progress FCC 700 MHz spectrum auction.

Gordon: Mike, you are the reigning Global Wireless Education Consortium Educator of the year so you know about this stuff - what exactly is this spectrum the FCC is auctioning and where did it come from?

Back in 2005 Congress passed a law that requires all U.S. TV stations to convert to all digital broadcasts and give up analog spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band. This law will free up 62 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band and effectively eliminate channels between 52 and 69. This conversion, which has a deadline of February 18, 2009, has freed up spectrum that is being split up by the FCC into five blocks.

Gordon: What so interesting about this block of spectrum?

Cell coverage, required cell-site density and cost (total network cost and cost per customer).

I understand each spectrum block in the 700 MHz auction, except for the national public safely D-Block, has been assigned an area designation by the FCC. Could you describe those areas included in the 700 MHz auction using FCC definitions.

Economic Areas
Both the A-Block (12 MHz) and the E-Block (6 MHz) are being auctioned using the Economic Area (BEA) service areas established by the Regional Economic Analysis Division, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce. Included are Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Gulf of Mexico. There are a total of 176 Economic Area service areas designated by the FCC.

BEA services include General Wireless Communications Service (GWCS), Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) and Location and Monitoring Service (LMS).

Cellular Market Areas
The B-Block (12 MHz) is being auctioned using the Cellular Market Area (CMA) service areas. The 734 CMAs are broken down as follows:

Areas 1-305: Created from the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) defined by the Office of Management and Budget (1-305)
Area 306: The Gulf of Mexico
Areas 307-734: Rural Service Areas (RSAs) established by the FCC which do not cross state borders including parts of Puerto Rico not already in an MSA (723-729), U.S. Virgin Islands
(730-731), Guam (732), American Samoa (733), and Northern Mariana Islands (734).

CMA Services include Cellular Radiotelephone Service and Interactive Video and Data Service (IVDS)

Regional Economic Areas

The C-Block (22 MHz) is being auctioned using the 12 Regional Economic Areas (REAs) created by the FCC. The REAs are an aggregation of the 52 Major Economic Areas (MEAs) defined by the FCC.

REA Services include Wireless Communications Service (WCS)

All FCC areas, along with names, county lists, maps and map info data can be found on the Commission's website linked here.

Mike: How is the auction being conducted?

On their website, the Federal Communications Commission has  a public notice titled Auction of 700 MHZ Band Licenses. This document describes the bidding procedure for the 214 companies that have qualified for the auction, which will be handled by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB). The WTB is one of seven FCC Bureaus and is responsible for all FCC domestic wireless telecommunications programs and policies.

Here's a summary outline of the procedure pulled from the 12 page FCC document:

  • Bidding in Auction 73 started on Thursday, January 24, 2008.
  • Each qualified bidder received prior to January 24:
    • At least two RSA SecurID tokens
    • An Integrated Spectrum Auction System (ISAS) Bidder’s Guide
    • A FCC Auction Bidder Line phone number
  • The FCC will conduct the auction over the Internet and telephonic bidding will also be available. In either case, each authorized bidder must have his or her own SecurID token.

  • There will be a minimum opening bid amount for each license and package and the minimum opening bid amount is subject to reduction at the discretion of the WTB. The WTB will not entertain requests to lower minimum opening bid amounts.
  • The WTB has established the following block-specific aggregate reserve prices for Auction 73:

    • Block A, $1.807380 billion;
    • Block B, $1.374426 billion;
    • Block C, $4.637854 billion;
    • Block D, $1.330000 billion;
    • Block E, $0.903690 billion.
Mike: It's interesting the range of reserve prices - is it safe to say that these correlate to the "value" the FCC sees with each?
  • If, at the close of bidding in Auction 73, the aggregate reserve price for the A, B, C and/or E Blocks has not been met, the WTB will issue an announcement that bidding in Auction 73 is closed and set a date for commencement of Auction 76.

  • Round results will be available approximately 10 minutes after the close of each round. and two types of reports will be available to bidders: (a) publicly available information, and (b) bidder-specific information available only to that bidder when logged in to the FCC Auction System.

  • Each qualified bidder will have a default watchlist that contains every license and packages of licenses selected on the bidder’s short-form application. Qualified bidders may also create custom watchlists.

  • On Tuesday, January 22, the WTB conducted a mock auction, which will allow qualified bidders to familiarize themselves with the FCC Auction System. Only qualified bidders will be permitted to participate in the mock auction.

  • Once winning bids are announced (either after Auction 73 or Auction 76) and winning bidders are announced, winning bidders will have 10 business days to file a long-form application (FCC Form 601) and make down payments for all of the licenses it won.
Mike: Who are some of the major bidders?

USA Today has published an interesting article titled Google could cause a stir in FCC's airwaves auction and, in the article, some of the leading bidders and their likely strategies are listed.

Let's take a quick look at some of the major bidders (in alphabetical order) and their expected bidding strategies.
For additional detail be sure to read the USA Today Article.
AT&T already has more spectrum than any other carrier so bidding on the 700 MHz band will be used for further build-out. Many experts are speculating AT&T will focus primarily on the D-Block public-safety spectrum.

Mike: Why is AT&T going after public-safety spectrum? Am I missing something?

Cablevision, Cox, Advance/Newhouse, Bresnan
These cable companies are interested in spectrum to provide wireless services and compete with the large providers. Most experts believe they will be bidding on A-Block regional licenses in their service areas.

EchoStar is a satellite TV provider that is interested in using spectrum to provide wireless broadband access to its customers. Most experts do not feel EchoStar has the money to compete with companies like Google, At&T and Verizon in the auction.

Google is the heavyweight here. The company wants to further expand into the cellular smartphone market and has the money to compete with the big providers. The company is expected to bid the $4.6 Billion minimum for the C-Block spectrum.

Mike: Is this National Spectrum? As opposed to regional?

Like the cable companies (Cablevision, Cox, etc), these regional wireless companies will likely be bidding on A-Block regional licenses in their service areas. Experts also are speculating Alltel will bid on the public safety D-Block spectrum.

Paul Allen's (co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates) investment company, Vulcan, already owns spectrum in Washington and Oregon.Vulcan may be bidding on some of the C-Block regional licenses or smaller A or B-Block regional licenses.

The California based wireless manufacturer is looking for spectrum for its MediaFlo smartphone video service. Qualcomm will likely be bidding on E-Block regional licenses.

Verizon will likely be bidding big on C-Block spectrum with plans to open their network to any (hardware and software) devices.

Mike: Can you give us some background on the auction to date?

The 26th round finished yesterday (Friday - Feb. 1, 2008) afternoon - here's a quick update from the FCC auction site:

  • Bidding Rounds to Date: 26
  • Bid totals to Date: $18,554,080,600
  • The A and B-Blocks have been getting most of the attention lately:
    • The Los Angeles A-Block leads the A's with a current bid of $580,268,000.
    • The Chicago B-Block leads the B's with a current bid of $892,400,000.
  • There has not been a C-Block bid since it passed the FCC reserve price on Thursday. The current C-Block bid is $4,713,823,000.
  • The public safety D-Block has not had a bid in 25 consecutive rounds and is stuck at $472,042,000, well below the $1.3 Billion reserve price set by the FCC.
  • E-Block bidding has been slow with the New York City E-Block leading at $178,897,000.
  • 23 licenses had not registered a bid at the end of round 26, 19 of these 23 are in the E-Block.
Mike: Any personal observations and opinions on the auction?
  • It looks (to me anyways) like the C-Block bidding may be done. Since the FCC reserve price of $4.6 Billion has been passed, the open-access that Google wanted is assured. We won't know who the winning bidders are until after the auctions have closed but I'd say Google is the current leading C-Block bidder.
  • Right now it does not look like the D-Block will meet the $1.3 Billion reserve price and will end up being re-auctioned by the FCC.
  • A number of E-Block licenses will not meet minimum bids and will also be re-auctioned.
  • The FCC had set an original goal of $10 Billion for the auction. With current bids totaling over $18 Billion, it appears the auction (from the FCC's perspective) will be a success.
Bidding is closed for the weekend with round 27 starting Monday (Feb. 4, 2008) morning.

Mike: What's the best way to stay updated?

If you want to stay updated - the FCC Auction 73: 700 MHz Auction Summary page lists, among other things, results of the auction after each round. You can also watch my blog!

Mike: When will we know the winners?

The auction will likely last a couple of months so we won't know the winners until then. We should start to see products from the winning bidders that use the spectrum sometime next year.

Direct download: Auction_73.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:55pm EST

Special Notes: In this podcast Mike and I interview Martin Trieu, a former community college student and current Google Engineer from California. The interview was done on January 5, 2008 during our National Science Foundation funded National Center for Telecommunications Technologies (located at Springfield Technical Community College) winter conference hosted by Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California.

We’d like to thank Dr Ann Beheler; Dean, Business, Computing, & Career Services at Orange Coast College and Principle Investigator of the NSF funded Convergence Technology Center (located at Collin County Community College), for hosting our conference and arranging this interview with Martin. We’d also like to thank the National Science Foundation for funding and support.

In the interview Martin uses a couple of acronyms that may need clarification. He refers to UCI - short for University of California, Irvine and EE – short for Electrical Engineering. He also refers to Orange Coast College as “OCC?.

Martin’s son, 14 year old Martin Jr, was in the audience and is taking a programming course at OCC this semester.

I’d also like to thank Mike Q – this was the first interview we’ve done in front of a live audience and I ended up asking all the questions due to some microphone issues.

We know you’ll find the interview with Martin fascinating – if you are a potential student, Martin’s story could inspire you to take a look at your local community college. If you are a current student – we hope his story motivates you to continue to do your best work. If you are a faculty or staff member – we know you can relate to Martin’s story because you and your students have similar stories to tell. If you are an employer – Martin is a good example of the type of talent, dedication and motivation you will find coming out of your local community college.

We especially enjoyed recording and now enjoy listening to this interview with Martin – we hope you do too!

- Gordon

Podcast Intro: We’re here today at the NCTT Winter Conference hosted by Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA. with Martin Trieu, a Software Engineer at Google Audio.

Interview Questions:

1.    Can you tell us about your background – where were you born and what brought you to the United States?

2.    I know you attended Orange Coast College, what made you decide to go to college and why did you choose a community college?

3.    What happened after you graduated?

4.    How did you start working for Internet based companies?

5.    How has working for Internet based companies changed?

6.    Can you describe your current job?

7.    What advice would you give young people with regards to careers and success?

Direct download: Martin_Interview_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:33am EST

Intro: In this podcast we discuss the growing array of online collaboration tools.

Mike: Gordon, because I'm in New Jersey and you're in Massachusetts, we've had to rely on online collaboration tools quite a bit. What are some of the tools we use most often?

Gordon: If we look just at what we're doing today. We use Skype - the free VoIP client to record these podcasts and we use Google Docs (docs.google.com) to write, edit and share the scripts. In fact, I use Google Docs to collect material and write my blog - ictcenter.blogspot.com

Mike: Although it's not a new tool, we also use email quite a bit.

Gordon: Yes - email is still a very important tool, but more and more we seem to be communicating with other tools such as Twitter and Text Messaging. The iPhone really lends itself to quick communication with email, Tweets, and IM.

Mike: Twitter and Google Docs aren't the only options.

Gordon: No. in addition to twitter, there are micro-blogging services Jaiku and Pownce, although if you compare the three using Google Trends, we see that Twitter is by far the most popular of the three.
Mike: What about Google Docs.

Gordon: It's what we use, and probably the most popular, but there are alternatives, including Zoho, Thinkfree and Zimbra. Again Google Trends gives us a nice snapshot.

Gordon: There's been some movement with some of these tools.

Mike: Yes. Zimbra was purchased in September by Yahoo, and Thinkfree is having some issues with leadership and possibly looking at a change of direction.

Gordon: Are there some new online collaboration tools?

Mike: Robin Good 
Online Collaboration Technologies - New Tools And Web Services - Robin Good's Latest News has a great listing of some new online collaboration tools and services. Good also points to Kolabora www.kolabora.com - a great resource for news and information about online collaboration.

Gordon: Mike could you give us an overview of the tools Good describes.

Mike: Sure - the article describes eight new online collaboration services, including:

Tokbox: http://www.tokbox.com/ is a free web-based video conferencing application that enable you to have one-to-one video meetings online. With the service, you create a video room and invite someone for a video conference. You can even embed the conference room on your web-site, or blog. I think this is a great tool for providing technical support, office hours, access to a librarian, or even college counseling.

Gordon: What else?

SeeToo: http://www.seetoo.com/ On the surface, SeeToo a free web-based application for sharing videos with friends and family doesn't seem that novel. What makes SeeToo unique is that you don't need to upload your videos - instead you select a video (any size) from your computer, invite others to watch, and click play to start watching together. It's like you're running your own streaming server!

SnapYap: http://www.snapyap.com/ Similar to ToKBox a free one-to-one video conferencing room. Create a personal video conference room, invite anyone to join - SnapYap users just enter their username, others get an email with instructions to enter the room.

TeamViewer:  http://www.teamviewer.com/ TeamViewer is a free (for personal, non-commercial use) Windows-only application that allows you to share your screen and control someone else's PC. After downloading, you start the program without any installation. You have a code and password you can provide to others to view and control your PC, and similarly, they have a code/password combination they can share with you. Other features include chat and the ability to transfer files. Possible applications include helpdesk/desktop support, application demos, and distance education.

FlickIM: http://flick.im/ FlickIM is a free Web-based instant messenger application that allows you to connect to all major IM services (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, GoogleTalk, Jabber, ICQ). Seems very similar to an existing service - meebo. Includes video, audio and other add-ons, as well as an iPhone friendly interface. Meebo has also customized their interface for the iPhone.

Loudtalks: http://loudtalks.com/ Is a free, Windows-only download-able application that gives users walkie talkie-like ability to communicate with one another with the touch of a single button(F7). Versions are being developed for other platforms, including mobile phones.

http://airtalkr.com/ Similar to FlickIM, AirTalkr allows you to access multiple IM networks. One major difference is access to Web 2.0 services (Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, and Myspace). AirTalkr is runs within Adobe's AIR (cross-operating system runtime; hybrid web/desktop applications) - Windows and MAC, and also as a web-based application. Looks like the download version doesn't work with the current version of AIR. Here's a screen grab:

Global IP Video: http://www.globalipvideo.com/
Global IP Video has a f
ree web-based (no downloads, no installs) video conferencing tool MeBeem (http://www.mebeem.com) that uses flash to create video conferences. In a browser, create a room, share it, and click to connect. Not sure how well it works, and seems a little like the wild west. Here are a couple screenshots:

Direct download: January_14_Podcast.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:50pm EST