Forums

wifi command set secrecy - why?

Started by Dimiter_Popoff November 25, 2021
I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our
systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is
documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip
stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does
with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of.
What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi
was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented;
at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully
made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip
for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and
maintain etc.
Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation
of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps
if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really
reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for
some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better
things to do with the active years I can hope to have left.
Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote:
> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our > systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is > documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip > stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does > with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. > What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi > was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; > at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully > made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip > for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and > maintain etc. > Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation > of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps > if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really > reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for > some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better > things to do with the active years I can hope to have left.
I just privately sent you the full documention for the chipsets you listed.
On 11/25/2021 21:39, Cydrome Leader wrote:
> Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote: >> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our >> systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is >> documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip >> stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does >> with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. >> What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi >> was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; >> at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully >> made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip >> for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and >> maintain etc. >> Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation >> of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps >> if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really >> reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for >> some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better >> things to do with the active years I can hope to have left. > > I just privately sent you the full documention for the chipsets you listed. >
Thanks but nothing received at this end... (no chance to have been received and remained unnoticed in various "folders", I do email in a really oldfashioned way).
Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote:
> On 11/25/2021 21:39, Cydrome Leader wrote: >> Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote: >>> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our >>> systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is >>> documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip >>> stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does >>> with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. >>> What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi >>> was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; >>> at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully >>> made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip >>> for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and >>> maintain etc. >>> Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation >>> of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps >>> if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really >>> reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for >>> some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better >>> things to do with the active years I can hope to have left. >> >> I just privately sent you the full documention for the chipsets you listed. >> > > Thanks but nothing received at this end... (no chance to have been > received and remained unnoticed in various "folders", I do email > in a really oldfashioned way).
You didn't mention any of the parts you can't find data on. Not sure how anybody will help you out. You may need to nag the manufacturer for data. Lots of specs are not for download off websites. I vaguely deal with one place that produces off the shelf products, but we get custom software. The interactions are bizarre and there are NDAs from us and them. We get internal infomation on the product, they know how we use it and there's no full docs on how any of it works as implemented. All parties are happy.
On 11/26/2021 1:27, Cydrome Leader wrote:
> Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote: >> On 11/25/2021 21:39, Cydrome Leader wrote: >>> Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote: >>>> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our >>>> systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is >>>> documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip >>>> stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does >>>> with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. >>>> What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi >>>> was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; >>>> at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully >>>> made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip >>>> for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and >>>> maintain etc. >>>> Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation >>>> of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps >>>> if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really >>>> reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for >>>> some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better >>>> things to do with the active years I can hope to have left. >>> >>> I just privately sent you the full documention for the chipsets you listed. >>> >> >> Thanks but nothing received at this end... (no chance to have been >> received and remained unnoticed in various "folders", I do email >> in a really oldfashioned way). > > You didn't mention any of the parts you can't find data on. Not sure how > anybody will help you out. > > You may need to nag the manufacturer for data. Lots of specs are not for > download off websites. I vaguely deal with one place that produces off the > shelf products, but we get custom software. The interactions are bizarre > and there are NDAs from us and them. We get internal infomation on the > product, they know how we use it and there's no full docs on how any of it > works as implemented. All parties are happy. >
I see, yet another nullsayer wisecracking at a message he did not understand. I have been trying more than you think can be done for years, but thanks for enlightening me that the Earth is round.
Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote:
> On 11/26/2021 1:27, Cydrome Leader wrote: >> Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote: >>> On 11/25/2021 21:39, Cydrome Leader wrote: >>>> Dimiter_Popoff <dp@tgi-sci.com> wrote: >>>>> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our >>>>> systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is >>>>> documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip >>>>> stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does >>>>> with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. >>>>> What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi >>>>> was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; >>>>> at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully >>>>> made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip >>>>> for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and >>>>> maintain etc. >>>>> Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation >>>>> of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps >>>>> if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really >>>>> reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for >>>>> some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better >>>>> things to do with the active years I can hope to have left. >>>> >>>> I just privately sent you the full documention for the chipsets you listed. >>>> >>> >>> Thanks but nothing received at this end... (no chance to have been >>> received and remained unnoticed in various "folders", I do email >>> in a really oldfashioned way). >> >> You didn't mention any of the parts you can't find data on. Not sure how >> anybody will help you out. >> >> You may need to nag the manufacturer for data. Lots of specs are not for >> download off websites. I vaguely deal with one place that produces off the >> shelf products, but we get custom software. The interactions are bizarre >> and there are NDAs from us and them. We get internal infomation on the >> product, they know how we use it and there's no full docs on how any of it >> works as implemented. All parties are happy. >> > > > I see, yet another nullsayer wisecracking at a message he did not > understand. > I have been trying more than you think can be done for years, but > thanks for enlightening me that the Earth is round.
Did I misunderstand your complete inability to get documentation to use some sort of wifi chipset with your own network stack? Sucks to be you.
On 26-Nov-21 5:40 am, Dimiter_Popoff wrote:
> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our > systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is > documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip > stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does > with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. > What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi > was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; > at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully > made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip > for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and > maintain etc. > Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation > of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps > if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really > reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for > some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better > things to do with the active years I can hope to have left.
I think they're just embarrassed about how awful the hardware interface is. Sylvia.
Hi Dimiter, The situation presented is
somewhat vague. So I'll consider some
fringe possibilities.
Could it be, the chipset maker that you
are dealing with does not actually have all
the information? Are they the true owners
of the IP? Could what you are looking at was
copied from some other company? And 
any documentation of such might put them
in legal jeopardy? (or be bad for their image
at least?)
More likely, the reason is mundane.
Documentation process & management
is costly. Why should they spend the 
time & money if its not going to make
them any more competitive? Are you 
going to choose another source, one who
did document everything, but charges more
for their product?  How critical would most
of the product's customers consider this
information?
regards, RS
On 25/11/2021 19.40, Dimiter_Popoff wrote:
> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our > systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is > documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip > stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does > with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. > What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi > was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; > at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully > made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip > for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and > maintain etc. > Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation > of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps > if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really > reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for > some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better > things to do with the active years I can hope to have left.
Have a look at the Linux driver if it exists. They usually reverse-engineer the needed specs. -- Cheers, Carlos.
On 11/26/2021 6:28, Sylvia Else wrote:
> On 26-Nov-21 5:40 am, Dimiter_Popoff wrote: >> I have been looking for some wifi chip(set) to be able to use in our >> systems and it has turned out it is impossible to get one which is >> documented in a way we could write our own driver so our tcp/ip >> stack under dps would treat it as yet another medium, like it does >> with Ethernet or via PPP and sort of. >> What I don't get is *why* do they keep things so secret? When wifi >> was starting there was some PRISM hardware which had been documented; >> at some point it was bought and *all* documentation was carefully >> made extinct. Now all you can buy are modules which will do the tcp/ip >> for you, you can only ask for a tcp connection *they* will make and >> maintain etc. >> Why is that, does anybody know? I am trying to understand the motivation >> of those who pull the strings to keep these data so secret, perhaps >> if I once understand it I can advance a step closer. I am really >> reluctant to spend a year of my life writing my firmware for >> some wifi radio (these can be bought), not least because I have better >> things to do with the active years I can hope to have left. > > I think they're just embarrassed about how awful the hardware interface is. > > Sylvia.
There are various hardware interfaces and most are indeed half baked but this has little to do with the protocol used over them. Some go via SDIO, others via USB, SPI, plain UART (the latter at crazy speeds yet still too slow). But how to talk to a chipset - any chipset on the market - so one can send/receive IP packets like one would via a normal MAC etc. - is buried in the deepest secrecy. So far I have not come across anyone who knows why the secrecy, let alone how to break it (apart from reverse engineering or just implementing the 802.whatever protocols on your own).