IEEE and MAC Addresses #2

CSC's response to IEEE's Letter

10 November 1998

Anita Ricketts
Program Manager
IEEE Registration Authority

Regarding your letter of 5 November 1998.

Dear Ms. Ricketts:

  1. "As you are aware, the OUI/company_id was provided to you by the IEEE Registration Authority for you use on products manufactured by you." Not entirely true. I did a thorough search on your web site prior to placing my order. No where does it specify that you have to manufacture the hardware yourself or that you cannot resell MAC addresses. From your list of assigned OUI's "Your attention is called to the fact that the firms and numbers listed may not always be obvious in product implementations, as some manufacturers subcontract component manufacture and others include registered firm OUIs in their products". The last part implies the use of OUI's not actually owned by the manufacturer.
  2. "The resale of the numbers is not authorized under your agreement with the IEEE". Since your informational pages and order form do not even mention the resale of numbers, no such agreement exists.
  3. "The sale of numbers creates another "registration" authority which defeats the purpose of the IEEE registration." Hardly. Assignment of numbers is inherently hierarchical in nature. IEEE assigns at the top level, someone at the next level assigns blocks for various product groups, and then assignments are made for production runs. CSC's blocks of 256 numbers are at the second level, with my clients assigning numbers at the third level.
  4. "Accordingly, we must ask that you discontinue your unauthorized resale of IEEE OUI's." For something to be unauthorized, it would need authorization. As I pointed out above, no mention was made by IEEE before the sale of the need for authorization for resale of numbers.
I think your concern over this matter is misguided. I intentionally made the block size very small in order not to compete with IEEE. It is my feeling that if this type of service is not available, people will just fabricate MAC addresses. Since most MAC addresses are hidden behind routers, the chances of a collision are small, but non-zero.

Since no one has ordered a block as of today, I would be willing to sell my block back to IEEE for some amount greater than $1250, since IEEE misrepresented the usefulness of these addresses.


Robert Reimiller
Certified Software Corporation

IEEE's Response to this Letter
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