Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wait it out

It might not be a good sign that if one just waits long enough, some BACnet issues might just become moot. Such seems to be the case with an old proposal of mine that Bernhard Isler brought to my attention for having an unresolved disposition. This proposal, WS-048 "Half-Routers with Application Entities", was originally written Sept. 6, 2002. It went through the usual process of review and changes up until Jan. 23, 2007, when the draft of Jan. 24, 2004 (3 years later!), was approved for public review and then suddenly pulled back during discussion, according to the minutes of that meeting.

The minutes show no task was assigned. (If only we'd had Sharon Dinges' very carefully detailed minute-taking in that meeting, over and above the call of duty!) Bernhard says his notes said, "It is moved and approved that this section is withdrawn in favor of further research on the issue. Dave Robin will do this research." Three years later, Dave guesses the research is still ongoing.

But as he asked today, "Is anyone actually making half routers these days?" Good question! The BACnet half-router was developed for joining BACnet internetworks intermittently through dial-up connections, though it also has other applications. I have long argued that BACnet evolved in the one of two possible directions in which the primary function of the half-router doesn't work, at least not without some "assistance" not defined in the standard.

And it is fairly argued that the subject matter of WS-048 soon becomes the obvious approach to anyone implementing half-routers, though the intent of WS-048 was simply to make the point obvious, not something that had to be puzzled out.

Still, it seems strange that we can just table the proposal because technology has passed it by.

IS anyone actually making half routers these days?

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