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Network Information API: Roaming and network characteristics

From: Bryan Sullivan <blsaws@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 08:20:19 -0700
Message-ID: <BANLkTinON_2C7wDR=TPwPWOjpzWRhzautg@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-device-apis <public-device-apis@w3.org>
For further discussion here as desired, points I made today related to the
Network Information API (http://dev.w3.org/2009/dap/netinfo) discussion:

Re roaming, discussions on how to do this over the last 2-3 years (in BONDI
and WAC for example), IMO have shown that while "roaming" is not hard to
determine (i.e. whether the current network is the home network), the
significance of that state is not so clear. The significance, e.g. network
usage cost, was one of the drivers for knowing roaming state, with
International Roaming the most important state to know (at least for us, as
a service provider in North America). But the cost of a network connection
is a much more complex thing and depends upon various info not available to
the device. So the significance of the network context is not easy to
determine reliably. However network type (at least PLMN/WWAN or WIFI/WLAN)
and key characteristics (e.g. for PLMN: mcc, mnc) would be useful at least
as source info to determine context significance. For example, if those are
known, developers could use network APIs to determine the context
significance based upon additional information not available to the device
(e.g. user account info, data plan, roaming partners and agreements, etc).

For WIFI, re ssid and security level (WEP, WPA, etc - really only a boolean
is needed):

a) ssid as Dom pointed out may be a privacy concern: I am OK with leaving
this out since WIFI service usually does not have a usage-based service cost
(though there may be caps), as compared to international PLMN roaming.

b) security level (boolean) is important as unprotected WIFI network
snooping is a key way that info is stolen (e.g. via FireSheep). It would be
important (or very useful at least) for apps to know that the network they
are using is secure or not, prior to using non-secure network APIs that
could expose personal information.

Bryan | at&t
Received on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 15:20:49 UTC

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