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Re: The Network Information API - Comments

From: Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 13:24:03 +0100
To: Franck Poullain <franck.poullain@naosenn.com>
Cc: public-device-apis@w3.org
Message-ID: <491DBFBF6A4B440A88682C6ACBB6A196@marcosc.com>
Hi Franck,  

On Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 5:21 AM, Franck Poullain wrote:

> We are working on a project which will use computer tablets at school. We design the tablets from a hardware and a software perspective. Amongst the issues we’ve come across and which will be of some interest to the HTML5 community is the type of communication and more specifically wireless communication. The devices that we are designing will use wireless connections but not all of the time. We’re looking for a way to switch on or off the communication device depending on the situation.  
> Wireless communications are still a subject of debate and there are no studies showing clearly that wireless communication should be considered as a danger to health safety or not. As an illustration, from a power point of view, the wifi electromagnetic waves are at least 20 times weaker than GSM. But in a classroom, there will be on average 30 to 35 pupils studying on tablets, and we don’t know the long term effects of 30 antennas transmitting simultaneously all day long. As a precaution, we prefer to switch wireless communication on only when it is necessary and switch it off the rest of the time.  
> This is a subject of concern amongst parents and educational institutions. Thus, it will be useful to have a status of wireless communication available in HTLM5, and a way to enable or disable wireless communication.  
> For instance, these are the kind of information we would need:  
> - (essential) Is it on or is it off?

You can already use navigator.onLine and related events.  
> - (optional) What sort of power is it emitting. In Wifi, this would give something as low: 1mW, standard:100mW, high: 500mW)?  
> Consequently, we would also need to have the ability to:
> - (essential) Switch wireless communication on or off, if it is needed or not.

This is best handled by the system, not by Web applications. Imagine if an Web application in one tab could disable wifi, hence killing wifi access for all other applications.    
> o General use case: the wireless communication is switched off because most of the time pupils will work offline.

Right, this is an operating system level problem. Or power to the wifi point could just be switched off (or the wifi could be configured to kick all the students off the network/stop them accessing the Web/ until a certain time).  
> - (optional) Change the power of transmission depending on the circumstances.  
> o Use case 1: in a classroom, use low power for short range transmission.  
> o Use case 2: in a lecture hall, use standard power for medium range transmission.  
> o Use case 3: on a sport field, use high power for wide range communication.

This is best controlled by the hardware (and not by Web apps/browser), as it is the hardware that can best detect and make decisions about power usage based on proximity to access points, range, etc.  

Hope that helps!  

Marcos Caceres
Received on Thursday, 18 April 2013 12:24:33 UTC

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