Tag Archives: Greg Gerst

The TLPS Graphic That Says It All

Riddle me this: When is 33% not 33%? (I realize that this is fertile ground for politician jokes…) Let me put you out of your misery- 33% is actually 3.6% in at least one case.

Got it? Of course you don’t. because I’m only telling you what I think is convenient to my agenda. Which brings us to our friends from Globogym that are pushing that futuristic WLAN snake-oil called TLPS. Not ringing familiar? Don’t run off yet- the math lesson is coming quick, and is of consequence to anyone in Wi-FI. It’s another case of the telling of only part of the story.

(Quick backstory links if you want to learn about TLPS are here and here, and lots of other places on the web.)

Read up on it. Get educated on both “sides” of the issue. Delight in the fervent idiocy of this crowd who generally exhibits gross misunderstanding of WLAN technology while thumping their chests and worshiping the Globoknob CEO. Then let’s get to what really irks me about how TLPS is being packaged- that 33.3% thing.


Globofool keeps touting that we’ll see 33% increase in available Wi-Fi capacity in the US by letting them do really weird, proprietary things with channel 14 in the 2.4 GHz ISM band used by unlicensed Wi-Fi. Simple arithmetic, right?… add a channel to where there are only three usable, and you gain 1/3 capacity. That’s a tasty sound bite. And…This might work in some other United States where dual-band APs don’t exist and where there is no 5 GHz Wi-Fi.

But I’m here to tell you that the ‘Merica I love has got 25 glorious channels in 5 GHz, and enterprise/stadium/school WLAN networks use them extensively, along with the few channels that are in 2.4 GHz. Whoopsie… looks like 33% is based on a half-truth.

Here’s what the reality of the potential benefits of TLPS looks like to the grown-ups who actually do Wi-Fi for a living:


(This comes from a Greg Gerst ex parte found here on the FCC’s site.)

Why is Globalstar not showing 5 GHz in their sales pitches? Have they not heard of a little thing called 802.11ac? Or 11n? Do they live in a different United States?

The list of things to debate about TLPS is long and nuanced, hence so many filings by so many parties (and they are worth reading). But one thing is NOT debatable, and that is the fact that Globalsnicker is being less than forthcoming with their math, by my reckoning. Two problems that I see:

  • It turns out, when you add 1 channel to 28 others, you actually get 29 channels- not 4! And when you apply Common Core maths to that, 1 channel equals 3.6% of those 29! (actually it’s 3.5% on my TI-60 calculator). Hmmmm.
  • Now let’s pause to  take a hit of what Globowonk is puffing… mmm, that’s good. Now play the game, and pretend for a minute that there WAS no 5 GHz. Buy into the lie for this one. If I add 1 non-overlapping channel to the  3 current in 2.4 GHz- I DO NOT GET 33% MORE  Wi-Fi CAPACITY IN THE UNITED STATES. I only see the gain in Globowack networks, because only THEY would be allowed to use that channel 14 (if I missed any news about possible licensing to other vendors, I’ll gladly eat a portion of my words). So “in the United States”, even 3.6% is a moonshot. Unless there’s maybe another United States somewhere?

Denying that 5 GHz exists “in the United States” and conveneniently leaving out the fact that it is used doesn’t make it not exist. And that same denial doesn’t negate the fact that 5 GHz carries significant amounts of Wi-Fi clients in business and residential WLAN environments alike. It doesn’t add up, and the Gerst graphic nails it.

As my imaginary grand-pappy Enos McBadman used to say “if they’re blowing smoke about this, what else are they not being upfront about?”



Could Missing Filters and a Potential Conflict of Interest at the FCC Mean A Bad Deal for Wi-Fi? Another TLPS Blog

Wowsers. If you’re in the WLAN world in any capacity, you’ve likely at least heard  of TLPS. Short for terrestrial low power service, TLPS is a crazily over-hyped twinkle in satellite communications company Globalstar’s eye. The satcomm company is lobbying hard for the FCC to approve it’s very  weird offering, while a range of groups and individuals who actually understand and work with real-world WLAN technologies that would be negatively impacted by TLPS try to bring sound technical counter-arguments to the FCC’s attention. If you need some refresher material, here are past articles I’ve written on TLPS:

Then there’s skepticism by Devin Akin, Kerrisdale Capitol, and Kerrisdale again, and lots of others including the Wi-Fi Alliance the Bluetooth SIG, Microsoft, and Google.

Here’s where anyone pro-TLPS says “So what? Globalstar has it’s own army of supporters.” The problem is, many of them are stark-raving nuts, with little technical acumen, high hopes for getting rich off of TLPS, and a penchant for conspiracy theories about why the FCC hasn’t approved this steaming bundle of joy yet.


Then there’s Greg Gerst. He too would like to make a lot of money off of TLPS, by having it NOT be approved. Gerst is a CFA at Gerst Capitol who has taken a most public short position on Globalstar, but he also happens to be an experienced Cornell-educated BSEE with a decent technical resume in digital communications technology. I don’t know Gerst. I can’t tell you whether he’s a good human being or not, but I do know he has posted impressive ex parte filings stating his case in engineering terms that validate and expand what many of us fear about TLPS.

Gerst is calling out some pretty specific and really disturbing things. If he’s wrong, time will prove him to be a laughingstock. If he’s right, however, then absolute shady dealings are afoot in the offices of the FCC when it comes to The Demonstration (mentioned above in the Network Computing article). And to boot, a potential conflict of interest by one FCC committee member adds an odd shadow to what’s already pretty weird ground.

Globalstar conducted a limited demonstration of their TLPS technology at the FCC’s offices using Ruckus Wireless access points. (To date, I’ve read nowhere that TLPS has been demonstrated with any other brand of AP.) There is a lot of opinion about the validity and results of the rather brief demonstration, but Gerst throws a zinger here, where he claims in his 5/14/15 filing that Globalstar used MODIFIED Ruckus access points while leading the FCC to believe that the test gear was commercially available off the shelf. A screen grab from the filing (it’s an interesting read regardless of how you feel about TLPS):

gerst 1

Gerst reiterates his opinion about the missing filters equaling deceptive testing in a 7/16/15 filing that also calls into question the judgement of one of the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council Members (the chairman, I think) when it comes to TLPS, as he also happens to be a paid consultant working for Globalstar. From the filing:

Regarding the final quote above, it is ironic that Globalstar’s paid lobbyist, Blair Levin, refers to “sound engineering” when a straightforward engineering analysis clearly raises doubts that TLPS will be “compatible with existing services”. More ironic is Dennis Roberson’s involvement as Globalstar’s paid consultant in this proceeding while chairing the Commission’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC)12. In April, the TAC produced an excellent paper entitled “A Quick Introduction to Risk-Informed Interference Assessment” 13. According to the executive summary, “This short paper proposes the use of quantitative risk analysis to assess the harm that may be caused by changes in radio service rules.” In his capacity as a paid consultant to Globalstar Mr. Roberson would have the Commission rely on the fact that TLPS had no “qualitative impact” 14 on Bluetooth, while ignoring the quantitative negative impact proven by the Bluetooth SIG report1.

That feels weird from where I sit, but then again Washington is a place where millionaires claim to be po’ folk and no one bats an eye, a certain Chief Exec never had sex with the woman he had sex with, and pretty much anything goes as long as it’s done “for the children”. I won’t even pretend to know what’s OK with lobbying rules, but Gerst’s point about Mr. Roberson would equal a conflict of interest in my own world, if Mr. Roberson’s committee has any sway in whether TLPS gets accepted (provided Gerst is representing the relationship between Globalstar and Roberson properly).

Like everything regarding TLPS, it will be interesting to see where this all goes.