TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Satellite Radio Authorization: How Does it Work?

Re: Satellite Radio Authorization: How Does it Work?
Sat, 12 Feb 2005 07:16:02 -0800

I suspect most of the folks who use this forum are not interested in trying
to cheat XM or Sirius.

AES wrote:

> Pointers to info on how XM and Sirius systems work, specifically as
> regards authorization?

> When a satellite authorizes a given radio, does it do it by sending
> that radio (and, as a side effect, all other radios) some kind of
> digital key that combines with some unique built-in matching key in
> that particular radio to enable it to decode the broadcast content?

> If so, presumably if you stop paying your bill it can also deauthorize
> your radio by sending something to wipe out the code?

> But suppose you put your radio in a shielded box, stop paying, wait a
> few months until they give up trying to deauthorize you, then bring it
> back out -- are you still authorized? Or does every authorized radio
> have to get reauthorized at some periodic interval?

> Bottom line: Do individual radios actually talk back to the satellites
> at any point? Or do authorization and other command signals flow only
> from the satellites to the radio?

> (Not looking to play any games here -- just interested to understand
> how it works.)

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: An interesting problem, and one that
> the gas company deals with a lot in older inner city areas, which is
> gradually getting cured. Many years ago, gas was delivered in underground
> pipes (it still is), but as a matter of economics the gas company used
> a lot of 'branch lines' off the main feed. For example, there are two
> dwellings on a piece of land, one sort of behind the other one. Gas
> company runs a pipe which attaches to one meter, then the pipe
> 'branches' off and runs to the second meter. First meter owner gets
> delinquent in paying his gas bill, and refuses to allow access to his
> basement for the purpose of cutting off his service. Gas company keeps
> telling the man "let us in your basement so we can lock off your
> meter." Man refuses to do so, assuming there is no way for gas company
> to cut his service if they can't get in his basement. What the gas
> company will do is get a permit from the city to excavate in the street
> and cut him off at that point. The only trouble is, the person on the
> other end of the property, with his own meter, which is in good standing,
> winds up getting cut also.

> Needless to say, that man (second meter) raises plenty of hell, and
> demands his gas service back. Gas company claims it was an accident,
> and they will turn him back on ASAP, but there is one big problem with
> natural gas which does not apply with other utilities; before they can
> turn him back on (with the consequential lighting of his pilot lights
> to prevent explosions, etc, now they *absolutely must* get the other
> guy's pilot light relighted as well (or in actual practice cut his
> meter) to avoid possible explosions at that end. So they turn one
> neighbor against the other one, telling second meter, "Gee, we would
> love to restore *your* service but we can't get into first meter and
> under the law, even if we should not have 'accidentally' cut off your
> service, we have to light his pilot as well (and all the other
> pilot lights on the same branch line)." You better believe second meter
> finds first meter (if he has to break the basement door down himself)
> and imposes on him to allow the meter to be cut off so that then gas
> company can turn the line back on, and go around lighting all the
> pilot lights for all the other residents on the 'branch line'.

> Western Union also had similar woes with their clock service fifty or
> more years ago: a large office building, maybe there were a few
> dozen clocks on the circuit. Some joker would not pay his clock bill
> and assume WUTCO can't do anything about it if I don't let them in the
> office to remove the clock. Their policy was where an individual clock
> was on an individual circuit, WUTCO would put a 'load' on the line
> and just leave it there. Eventually the load would overcome the
> tension from the escapement spring and stop the pendulum from swinging,
> which had the effect of denying any more clock service. When the guy
> paid up, the clock man came back out and restarted the clock. But if
> (as was common) there were fifty clocks and only one setting-circuit
> handling them all; one joker does not pay and refuses to give up the
> clock; WUTCO had to shut them all down, then once they were all dead
> (due to the load on the line), go back and restart the 49 good customers
> and let the one bad guy sit there and stew in his juices.

> Of course there are no clocks with WUTCO works in them any longer, and
> although gas company still now and then has to resort to cutting off
> many customers temporarily (and use *them* as tools to get after the
> bad guy) and delinquencies in paying for gas is more common these days
> for various economic reasons, gas company is gradually redoing their
> outside plant infrastructure, so that everyone gets their own direct
> feed to the gas main, so customers either voluntarily admit the gas
> man to inspect/lock out their meter for non-payment, or gas company
> excavates in the street as needed, but now there are no innocent
> victims in the process, or not as many as in the past.

> My understanding is satellite receiving units do not 'talk back' to
> the satellite; everything is done from the satellite end, and as long
> as there is any 'unfinished business' with any one receiver, the
> satellite company just keeps on sending over and over the required
> codes. DISH has those little plastic 'smart cards' which have to
> be replaced once a year or so, so I assume if you were not paying, at
> best, you'd get the remainder of the time available before the Smart
> Card ran out. I do not know what some of the others are doing. PAT]

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: LonnyPaul: "Re: Cell Phone Lockdown"
Go to Previous message: Ron Chapman: "Re: Satellite Radio Authorization: How Does it Work?"
May be in reply to: AES: "Satellite Radio Authorization: How Does it Work?"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page