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[802SEC] purchasing IEEE 802 standards


Since your are our chief contact regarding the Get IEEE 802 program,  
I'd like to bring to your attention the current status regarding  
sales of individual IEEE 802 standards. As I recall, the decline in  
sales of standards is usually cited as a key problem in the Get IEEE  
802 budget. I have many times raised concerns that IEEE-SA is not  
effectively marketing or selling its standards or drafts. To look  
into this issue from a consumer perspective, I've today undertaken to  
answer the following question:

Q: Is it possible to purchase an individual standard or draft from IEEE?

I decided to buy 802.11-2007, as, I expect, a lot of people wiould  
want to do. Here is a report from the field.

(1) As I think we have discussed many times, the Get IEEE 802 web  
site would be a good place to promote the sales of products - new  
standards or drafts - that are not in the program. So I started there:

Drafts, which at one time were advertised on the site, are given a  
brief mention: the site says "they can be purchased at ShopIEE".  
There is no link on ShopIEE or explanation as to why the IEE would be  
selling IEEE drafts.

The site says that "New, Superseded, and Withdrawn documents can be  
purchased by visiting the Shop IEEE . or ..." "Shop IEEE" links to a  
page that says "Shop IEEE Has Moved":
More on that in Step (2).

Regarding new standards, the site says: "Effective 1 January 2007 new  
IEEE 802 standards will be included in the program after they have  
been published in PDF for twelve months. IEEE 802 standards  
currently subject to the six month waiting period are listed  
here." [I took note of the discrepancy between "twelve months" and  
"six months", an issue that I pointed out to IEEE in June and at the  
July Plenary.] The word "here" has a link to a page listing two  
items. Of the two, one is listed as a draft but was in fact approved  
over a year ago. Other standards that might go in here are missing. I  
haven't checked to see what belongs there, but I can think of one -  
802.11-2007 - because it's the one I want. In any case, both of the  
list documents have links that lead to the "Shop IEEE Has Moved" page.

To summarize Step (1), the Get IEEE 802 site provides no list of  
drafts and offers incorrect instructions to get them. It provides an  
incomplete and obsolete list of new standards, and the only links to  
the sale of standards lead to the "Shop IEEE Has Moved" page. So,  
let's go shopping...

(2) I'm at the "Shop IEEE Has Moved" page. Strange name for the  
shopping page, but what's in a name?
Shop IEEE recommends that I download Internet Explorer 6.0 for  
Windows. I ignore the recommendation.

Shop IEEE notifies me that "To make a purchase, you will need to  
login with an IEEE Web Account." I proceed anyway.

Shop IEEE gives me two options "to find products in the new IEEE  
shopping area":

(a) "Browse by Product Type". OK, I click browse and go to "The  
Definitive Source for IEEE Products & Services." Following the  
directions, I click the word "Standards". Now I get some more  
choices, including "Individual Standards" and the subsets "Approved  
Standards" and "Draft Standards". I click on "Approved Standards" and  
see the first ten IEEE standards, in a kind of alphabetical sort.  
8802:12 is right near the top, but I don't see 802.11. I keep  
clicking through the slow-loading pages, ten standards at a time.  
When I get to the 100th standard and see that it is 1073.4.1-1994, I  
give up and decide that this is not going to work for me.

Before moving on, I wonder if perhaps the "Draft Standards" link  
would be helpful. Bingo! There are only 11 drafts in the catalog, so  
this is an easy list. I looked at the details. I found a 802.16 draft  
from 2005 that was published in 2006; I clicked the link and got an  
error message. I found a link to 802.16k/D3, which dates to October  
2006 and has been obsoleted by an approved standard; this one  
actually seemed to be for sale to the unsuspecting customer. I found  
two links to drafts of active 802.16 projects; these seemed to be for  
sale also. The drafts were obsolete; for example, P802.16/D5 instead  
of the P802.16g/D9 approved by RevCom today. Still, this was some  
kind of progress. But back to my goal: seeking 802.11-2007. Since  
"Browse by Product Type" was not the answer, I went back to the Shop  
IEEE page and clicked on:

(b) "Search Shopping Area"
This takes me to a page that says "Catalog Search - Search one or  
more criteria". It seems like an important page, so I'd like to give  
you the URL to get there. It's not clear how to find that URL, but  
I've done some research on the IEEE site and I think I have one that  

OK, now I have a search page, but I can't enter anything into the  
search fields. After poking around, I see that I need to click "New  
Search" first (even though I thought this _was_ a new search). OK,  
now I enter "802.11" in the "Standard Number:" field and hit return.  
When that doesn't work, I click "Run Search". Bingo! 802.11-2007!  
[Along with some obsolete amendments, and the withdrawn 802.11F. But  
I noticed that the 802.11n draft, which I saw when browsing for  
drafts, is curiously missing. I tried searching for "802.11n".  
Nothing. I tried searching for "P802.11" and "P802.11n". Nothing.  
 From the search perspective, it seems that P802.11n is not for sale.  
For kicks, I searched for "802.11b". No hits, even though it turned  
up when I searched for "802.11". Mysterious.]

Anyway, I see 802.11-2007, so I click "Add to Cart". I ending up  
dropping both a CD and a PDF into my cart, with the following prices:
  CD:  Member: $295, Non-Member $370
  PDF: Member: $235, Non-Member $295

(3) Purchase

Now I'm ready to buy. I found the "My Cart" button at the top of the  
screen. Next, though, I need to "Create an IEEE Web Account or  
Login". Fortunately, I had an IEEE Web Account. What if I didn't? I  
didn't go there.

Up pops "Calculate Shipping Charges". It's a little confusing. There  
is a Status field in the table. The CD status is "Unavailable". The  
PDF status is "shipped". I don't understand either of these, but I  
get the idea that the CD is out of stock. The two items are not  
priced, but there is a total price: $665. But that means I am being  
charged the nonmember price ($370 + $295), even though I am logged  
into my IEEE Web Account and my personal information is displayed on  
the screen. Not good. I deleted the CD and the price dropped to $295  
(the nonmember PDF price).

Now I can Proceed to Checkout. I'm asked for my credit card info.  
However, this is where I stop. Why? Because I have not been given any  
information on the PDF. How will be it provided? When? Will I able to  
read it, or will copy-protection make it unusable on my system? [as  
could happen with IEEE drafts under the old system]. I'm not  
comfortable plunking down my credit card number with these unknowns  
and with a bill of $295 to commit to. Besides which, I am an IEEE  
member, so why does it say $295 instead of the member price of $235?

So, I walk away. I just don't like the risk. Besides, I understand  
that I'll get the document for free if I wait just six months. [Or  
was it twelve months? I can't recall.]

So, is it possible to purchase an individual standard or draft from  
IEEE? My research was inconclusive. But I get the strong feeling that  
sales of individual standards are not going to be looking good.


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