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Net Neutrality vs. Technical Reality

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the in-this-corner-weighing-61-trillion-dollars dept.

The Internet 251

penciling_in writes "CircleID has a post by Richard Bennett, one of the panelists in the recent Innovation forum on open access and net neutrality — where Google announced their upcoming throttling detector. From the article: 'My name is Richard Bennett and I'm a network engineer. I've built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi. I was one of the witnesses at the FCC hearing at Harvard, and I wrote one of the dueling Op-Ed's on net neutrality that ran in the Mercury News the day of the Stanford hearing. I'm opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we're going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain ...' This article is great insight for anyone for or against net neutrality."

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251 comments

It's not reality, it's all a lie (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23801965)

I've seen the truth, and this ain't it !!

Re:It's not reality, it's all a lie (2, Informative)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802335)

Article summary: "Hello, my name is Richard Bennett, and I'm an industry insider who's been bought off by big money to say net neutrality is bad in the same way climate scientists got bought off by big money to say environmental protection is bad."

Open source throttling detector? (2, Interesting)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#23801969)

Since the Google throttling detector does not yet exist, does any bright spark know how to achieve the same result using software that already exists?

Re:Open source throttling detector? (5, Informative)

Aluvus (691449) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802723)

Re:Open source throttling detector? (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803681)

Cheers,

Interesting Link, it is very Windows centric so probably won't ever work in Linux but I might look into how hard it would be to reimplement in say twisted or whatever.

I hope he's not referring to QoS... (1, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802039)

...or some such. Because those don't work on the scale of an ISP. It's simply much cheaper to add more bandwidth than try to manage things with QoS.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802097)

Then why does pretty much every ISP use some form of QoS today?

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802155)

Because pretty much every isp is part of a vertical monopoly and QoS provides a convenient excuse to leverage their monopoly in one market to push their product in another.

No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802143)

I do not have the experience he has, but I see some strangeness in the phrases he uses.

The Internet's traffic system gives preferential treatment to short communication paths. The technical term is "round-trip time effect." The shorter your RTT, the faster TCP speeds up and the more traffic you can deliver.
Yes. And? Do I really want the server next to me to be as slow as the server in Tokyo?

The Internet's congestion avoidance mechanism, an afterthought that was tacked-on in the late 80's, reduces and increases the rate of TCP streams to match available network resources, but it doesn't molest UDP at all. So the Internet is not neutral with respect to its two transport protocols.
I'm not sure about this. But he's the expert so I'll accept his claim. But wouldn't it be easier to add UDP management capabilities to the existing structure than any of the alternatives?

VoIP wants its packets to have small but consistent gaps, and file transfer applications simply care about the time between the request for the file and the time the last bit is received. In between, it doesn't matter if the packets are timed by a metronome or if they arrive in clumps. Jitter is the engineering term for variations in delay.
Wasn't that what Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) was supposed to address?

The Internet is non-neutral with respect to applications and to location, but it's overly neutral with respect to content, which causes gross inefficiency as we move into the large-scale transfer of HDTV over the Internet.
Yes. And? So grabbing a huge file off of the server next to me is more efficient than a VOIP call to Tokyo. I'm not seeing the problem yet.

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (2, Interesting)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802407)

The Internet is non-neutral with respect to applications and to location, but it's overly neutral with respect to content, which causes gross inefficiency as we move into the large-scale transfer of HDTV over the Internet.
Unless some people finally get there managers on deploying Multicast on every medium they manage, I totally agree with the inefficiency.

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (4, Interesting)

Stellian (673475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803243)

Just forget about Multicast, it's a dead-end idea. Not because it's technically flawed (actually, it works pretty nicely), but because it ignores economics.
A simplified economic model of the Internet calls for multiple level of service providers that sell bandwidth to each other. So I, as your ISP / backbone provider make as much money as bandwidth you can use. I have the option of enabling a technology that allows you to be more efficient and use less bandwidth, therefore pay me less. Meanwhile, this technology offers no benefits for me, in fact costs me money, the money needed to implement it and manage it.
To add insult to injury, this technology works properly only if all the hops between you and your destination have deployed it correctly. So a bunch of telcos who's primary business is selling bandwidth must go trough hoops to make your data transfer more efficient. No, it's not gonna happen.
To be successful, Multicast must be completely redesigned from an economical perspective such as to provide a immediate benefit for the provider that uses it (if this is at all possible), without reducing his revenue potential.

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (5, Insightful)

johndfalk (1255208) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803627)

Just forget about Multicast, it's a dead-end idea. Not because it's technically flawed (actually, it works pretty nicely), but because it ignores economics.
Except that IPv6 uses multicast for pretty much everything. As the telco's upgrade to IPv6 they will be forced into using multicast. The telco's want to move your data as efficiently and at the lowest cost to them while still charging you the same price. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6 [wikipedia.org]

To add insult to injury, this technology works properly only if all the hops between you and your destination have deployed it correctly. So a bunch of telcos who's primary business is selling bandwidth must go trough hoops to make your data transfer more efficient. No, it's not gonna happen.
Once again incorrect. You can tunnel multicast through devices that do not support it by having multicast point to point servers. We did this at I2 all the time to reach schools that weren't on the Abilene backbone. You would setup a server at the closest place that could receive multicast and then one at the destination thus reducing congestion.

To be successful, Multicast must be completely redesigned from an economical perspective such as to provide a immediate benefit for the provider that uses it (if this is at all possible), without reducing his revenue potential.
It already does by reducing their costs associated with routing traffic.

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (1, Troll)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802459)

Like all self professing experts he's a well paid off self professing expert.

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802561)

The Internet's congestion avoidance mechanism, an afterthought that was tacked-on in the late 80's, reduces and increases the rate of TCP streams to match available network resources, but it doesn't molest UDP at all.
One very important point here is that this 'afterthought' in TCP works at the end-points. The network remains dumb, it is the end-points that decide how to do congestion management.

Wasn't that what Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) was supposed to address?
Good point. ATM died because the benefits weren't worth the costs (much more complex hardware all around, never mind the protocol stacks).

A related point that seems to run through the article is that more bandwidth is not the solution. But he doesn't explain why - for example

This problem is not going to be solved simply by adding bandwidth to the network, any more than the problem of slow web page loading was solved that way in the late 90's or the Internet meltdown problem disappeared spontaneously in the 80's. What we need to do is engineer a better interface between P2P and the Internet, such that each can share information with the other to find the best way to copy desired content.
In the first case I think he's completely wrong, more bandwidth is exactly what solved the problem. Both in the network and the applications use of that bandwidth (netscape was the first to do simultaneous requests over multiple connections - which did not require any protocol changes). In the second case, he's talking about Bob Metcalf (the nominal inventor of ethernet and nowadays a half-baked pundit) predicting a "gigalapse" of the internet specifically due to a lack of bandwidth...

It's interesting to note that ATT themselves have declared more bandwidth to be the solution. They didn't phrase it quite that way, but ultimately that's the conclusion an educated reader can draw from their research results. 1x the bandwidth of a 'managed network' requires 2x the bandwidth in a 'neutral network' to achieve the same throughputs, etc. Sounds like a lot, but then you realize that bandwidth costs are not linear, nor are management costs. In fact, they tend to operate in reverse economies of scale - bandwidth gets cheaper the more you buy (think of it as complexity O(x+n) due to fixed costs and the simple 1 to 1 nature of links), but management gets more expensive the more you do it because the 1-to-1 nature of links gets subsumed by having to manage the effects of all connections on each other n-to-n style for O(x+n^2). Ars Technica analysis of ATT report [arstechnica.com]

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (4, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802991)

In the second case, he's talking about Bob Metcalf (the nominal inventor of ethernet...)
It's particularly ridiculous to talk about how increasing bandwidth will not solve problems in the face of Ethernet, which has consistently beaten off all other comers by piling on the bandwidth even though its link utilisation is piss-poor...

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802623)

No, It is not just simpler to add udp management capabilities. The Management capabilities in TCP are built into the NETWORK STACKS! And these network stacks may not play by the rules either. Read up on TCP RENO etc... Then you will understand what he is talking about.

Re:No, he's talking about replacing TCP/IP. (5, Interesting)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802989)

Yes. And? So grabbing a huge file off of the server next to me is more efficient than a VOIP call to Tokyo. I'm not seeing the problem yet.

The problem is subtle, and I've only seen it now that I read the TFA although I've experienced it with our internet connection at work.

The sliding window mechanism of sending packets before the ACK of the previous one until you get NACK and then back off has an unpleasant side-effect. An ACK train coming back over three hops from the local P2P clients or ISP-based servers moves faster than one heading across the world over 16 hops with higher ping times. Therefore the sliding window opens more and the traffic over the three hops can dominate the link.

Now add that problem with BitTorrent clients reported earlier that try for max bandwidth. That can force the window even wider.

And once the DSLAM/switch/aggregation port is saturated with traffic, it will delay or drop packets. If those are ACKs from the other side of the world, that window closes up more. There goes the time-sensitive nature of VOIP down the toilet.

On a shared-media network like cable, it doesn't even have to be you. If two people on the same cable are P2P transferring between each other, there goes the neighborhood. They dominate the line and the chap only using Skype down the road wonders why he isn't getting the performance he needs.

I'm opposed to price-oriented non-neutral networks, your ISP charging Google for your high speed access to them. But a non-neutral network that does proper QOS by throttling bandwidth-heavy protocols that don't behave themselves on the network is acceptable. As long as the QOS only moves the throttled protocols down when needed.

Reply: talking about profit not QoS/innovation (2, Interesting)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803505)

I do have some old experience, I see some BS in the phrases he uses.

        The Internet's traffic system does not gives preferential treatment to short/fast communication paths unless you are stupid enough to configure your network/telecommunications backbone-architecture to the S/FPF rather then route on QoS metrics and implied content criticality. TCP is ignored by the backbone it is part of the package and cannot route, only the IP part is the destination/route information use for packet-switching, ATM cell-switching is another backbone technology and (yes) both are (can be) used at the biz-office LAN/WAN network level.

The technical term is semantics "round-trip time effect." Critical content delivery requires TCP/IP not time and a protocol like UDP is important for real-time/streaming content VoIP/VTC/.... UDP Packets (no need to manage) dropped/corrupt cannot be recovered, but TCP/IP has a process for packet dropped/corrupt recovery. UDP is a good fast protocol on LANs and for multimedia/broadcast (can case jitter/distortion), but UDP is not appropriate for email/downloads of large/critical files across the internet, because the complete email/file would then require another complete send/download. The less your RTT is not always best for TCP/IP (assured content delivery is critical) traffic, the faster UDP speeds, the more traffic you can deliver is great for VoIP, streaming MP* files ....

IOW: Bandwidth and QoS is best kept net-neutral, and CableCo (or whichever IAP) needs to invest in their infrastructure and innovation not screw their customers with bullshit/legislation. Oh, some folks (like me), consider infrastructure "IAP" access (CableCo/TelCo) providers different from the "ISP" content/services (Google, Yahoo, MSN, /., SecondLife, Wired, PBS ...) providers. Letting either IAP or ISP control everything is corporate-welfare monopolies or worse, and will never provide innovations or QoS improvements. We already pay for bandwidth access and QoS, and don't need more bullshit about what causes (lack of reinvestment) jitter/UDP bullshit.

VoIP functions best when it receives a stream of uninterrupted packets, but reality is VoIP was meant to function acceptable for voice communications and when there is adequate bandwidth provided VoIP provides an acceptable phone conversation. VoIP (the protocol) does not (as best I know) give a shit about consistent gaps ... for the voice conversation it would be nice, but the answer is bandwidth investment and/or truth in advertising (VoIP and get crappy due to limited bandwidth (or mother nature) problems).

File transfer (FTP) applications simply care about the time between the request for the file and the time the last bit is received and if the file is corrupted then you/application make other FTP request for a clean+usable file. In between, it doesn't matter if the packets are timed by a metronome or if they arrive in a specific sequence of clumps when using TFTP. Jitter is the engineering/common term for variations in delay when data is corrupted/unrecoverable causing voice/video/content... distortion.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) (Cell switching) does manage both bandwidth and QoS, far better than packet switching and is great for VoIP/VTC....

        The Internet is neutral with respect to applications and to location ... the content provider/customer is paying for the bandwidth and QoS; So, how/what they use to send and receive content is of no damn business to any Cableco/TelCo/... IAP who are being paid to provide QoS access to bandwidth for the content sharing industry and their home/biz customers.

The internet is not neutral with respect to QoS bandwidth ... if you cannot provide, then content/service providers and their customers can use a different IAP ... if thee is another IAP in their IAP's access area. Stupid IAP investment and poor infrastructure architecture providing far less than optimal QoS bandwidth causes gross inefficiency (in the USA for many urban and rural communities), as we move into the large-scale transfer of HDTV over the Internet will the FCC, FTC, and politicians (Fed&Local) tell the IAPs to improve (wire & wireless) access or risk losing in an "Open" market economy to some the real capitalist competitors that perform as needed (with QoS bandwidth) for the ISP customers.

Under IPv4 (IPv6 is good and needed, but...) Public domain (10.0.0.0 and 192.168.0.0) IP addresses for private-networks behind a router/switch proxy NAT server ... can be used by anyone in the world. Using the 10.* address block, I have enough (over 16M) IP addresses to cover (or very close) the US Government including DoD, but I would need one hell of a firewall and NAT server capability to handle the private-network bandwidth access to the global internet. Also, even without 10.* and 192.168.*, if internet IPv4 routable addresses were just assigned to corporations (including all IAPs and ISPs), and countries, then there is about Three (3) Billion usable addresses, but it would require architecture and infrastructure investment.

Final: The difference between a politician and corporate minion will always be the creditability of the BullShit, because the spin-truth from both will always sounds about the same.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (2, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802657)

QoS doesn't work well because it can only be implemented in a few ways:

1: By discarding any QoS information in the packet as it crosses your perimeter, and replacing it based on a guess done by deep packet inspection. Not only is this modifying data that wasn't meant to be modified, and thus legally no different from the dubious practice of rewriting HTML pages to show your own ads, but it also opens the question of whether you can claim to be a common carrier as long as you open every envelope to look at the first few lines of every letter. Never mind the extra latency and routing costs.

2: By accepting already existing QoS values at face value. While this might have worked 30 years ago, it will not work where there are commercial interests. Every spammer and spitter will prioritize his own packets as high as they can go, no matter what the consequences are to other traffic.

3: A combination of 1 and 2, where deep packet inspection assigns QoS priorities on packets that don't already have them. This is the worst of both worlds, and only an idiot would do such a thing, so this is what's generally happening out in the real world.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (2, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802873)

Why wouldn't you use or discard the QoS information based on the source and/or destination of the packets?

If my company wants to use VOIP telephony between our branch offices and we want to pay extra for it to actually work right, but we don't want fully-private lines because it's wasteful and more expensive, then an ISP could offer us QoS on that basis. But they don't.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803017)

Because it's not all that useful. QoS is really only useful to prioritize packets going in the same direction, and packets that really are timing sensitive. If you have packets going to and from twenty different perimeter gateways, but colliding at central hubs, it won't help much to base QoS simply on source/destination. Prioritizing all the packets when someone is downloading a huge file might then break streaming audio arriving at the same hub. That's not really useful.
All it ends up doing is making a mockery out of peering and providing hopefully-but-not-guaranteed less deteriorated service to those who pay more.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803591)

I'm not understanding your argument, I guess.

QoS is really only useful to prioritize packets going in the same direction, and packets that really are timing sensitive.
That's why I want to buy it for my VOIP packets between my branch offices.

If you have packets going to and from twenty different perimeter gateways, but colliding at central hubs, it won't help much to base QoS simply on source/destination. Prioritizing all the packets when someone is downloading a huge file might then break streaming audio arriving at the same hub. That's not really useful.
That's why I want to pay extra. So my VOIP packets get priority. I wouldn't prioritize download packets. The ISP would presuambly offer me a service to just allow a certain amount of prioritized VOIP traffic on a connection from a well defined source and destination. I'd configure QoS for those packets and ask the ISP to honor it and use it. I'd pay an extra fee.

I still don't understand why this wouldn't work other than a claim that I'd try to cheat the ISP. They could simply cap the amount of QoS traffic and charge me for overages if I did.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802957)

QOS:

4: By accepting already existing QoS values at face
value up to preagreed/contracted limits. If the sender exceeds those limits then randomly(?) remark
to enforce them on entry to your network.

Re:I hope he's not referring to QoS... (1)

ffejie (779512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802859)

Yeah, nothing is quite so easy as adding another multi-million dollar router and new long haul optical gear and then provisioning the whole thing.

It's much harder to configure QoS.

I think you have it backwards.

Net Neutrality vs. Technical Reality (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802049)

How about Net Neutrality vs. MY BALLS IN YOUR MOUTH, you fucking nerd fags!

Re:Net Neutrality vs. Technical Reality (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802537)

And after I'm done with your olive-sized balls I'll finish off with using your dick as dental floss.

Since this is Slashdot: Floss, not FLOSS. Cheers!

hmm (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802057)

Elvis Parlar
eapdjinn@gmail.com

Complete and utter BS (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802127)

1) ISPs are simply oversubscribing betting on people not using the bandwidth they are paying for.

2) Throttling is one thing, what Comcast was doing was essentially criminal. They were hijacking the communications and injecting malicious resets or other packets to kill a connection.

3) If they just properly implement QoS then things like VOIP and IPTV would work just fine.

Malicious ISP behavior vs governance (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802541)

Throttling is one thing, what Comcast was doing was essentially criminal. They were hijacking the communications and injecting malicious resets or other packets to kill a connection.

What concerns me is if governance systems move to the internet [wikipedia.org] . Even if it is just for online voting -- who will keep the ISPs from manipulating the governmental processes?

In any event, it is good to know that open source governance [wikipedia.org] is trying to muscle in on the action. At least the I.T. departments of the ISPs should be in favor of "open sourcing" the government, right?

Multicast? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802145)

AFAIK services like FiOS and U-verse handle HDTV over IP by making the breakout box an IP multicast client.

He completely ignores multicast in the paragraph about HTDV being trouble for the Internet, and someone should at least explain why it's not relevant. Otherwise it kind of sinks his battleship w/r/t that argument, IMO.

Re:Multicast? (4, Interesting)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802275)

He completely ignores multicast in the paragraph about HTDV being trouble for the Internet, and someone should at least explain why it's not relevant. Otherwise it kind of sinks his battleship w/r/t that argument, IMO.

Multicast only works if internet TV is going to be like regular TV where a show is aired at a particular time. If it's going to be more like youtube on steroids multicast doesn't help.

Re:Multicast? (3, Informative)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802449)

YouTube on steroids is geographic caching. But even if two people on the same network are watching the same video, it should be an option to receive the networkdata that is for the position the other person is currently watching.

But the problem with multicasting is not that there are no tools, but it is not 'neutrally' implemented across different carriers that deploy access networks.

Re:Multicast? (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802783)

I don't get how it would work for 2 people to watch the same video simultaneously without A) depriving Google of hits thereby decreasing profit by ads B) Ignoring cookies C) Invading privacy. For example, how would ads work? When I go to Youtube to watch a video (and have disabled AdBlock and my /etc/hosts file) the ad sees that I am *insert IP address here* and Google can charge the maker of the ads say $.01 per view, so Google gets a penny richer and the company gets a penny poorer. So when I get this from what I can assume to be the ISP's servers, it ignores or displays the ad data without giving Google the stats to get the money. So if I see the ad, Google doesn't get the $.01 and then the company gets a free ad. I just don't think this can work without Google or other ad companies complaining due to lost revenue, and unlike AdBlock this would be widespread.

Re:Multicast? (2, Interesting)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802977)

I don't get how it would work for 2 people to watch the same video simultaneously without A) depriving Google of hits thereby decreasing profit by ads B) Ignoring cookies C) Invading privacy.
Player A uses multicastable flash video tool.
Player A requests a video using this tool, and subscribes on a multicast stream that is returned by the server.
Player A is watching, stream starts from 0.

Player B uses the same flash video tool.
Player B requests a video using this tool, and subscribes on an exciting multicast stream, and a new one starting from 0.
Player B now receives the data that is transmitted for player A. And the new data starting from 0.
Player B is watching, using the available streams on the network.

Now you could even implement this as if someone skips to another position, this would influence the other players ;) So you see that the factual request is still made, the 'flash' app that downloads it just gets the network traffic in multiple streams.

I have an idea, let's call it Web 3.0!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802457)

No, listen, really, it'll be great. What we need is for ISP to host a single system that stores content. This system then talks to the systems of other ISP's and propagates that data so that it is stored very closely to the user base... solving the Multicast timing issue... Oh, wait... that was Web 0.1 and ISP's are now dropping the protocol [slashdot.org] because Andrew Cuomo's been wackin' it to 88 kiddy fiddler newsgroups. He feels so guilt ridden about it, he wants the entire Usenet shut down. You know it's true. I'll bet if you searched his computer, he's saving all the 'evidence' just in case he ever needs to refer back to it.

Re:Multicast? (2, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803613)

More and more bandwidth providers are switching to charging based on usage rather than a flat rate for access. If this trend continues, multicast could become very attractive.

Suppose you have two ways to watch shows: one is on-demand, click-and-get-it-this-second access. This option will never go away, but you can expect to be charged full bandwidth price for this option. The second choice is to select a few shows ahead of time. You would then subscribe to the multicast broadcast (which might be repeated every couple of hours), download the show to your local cache, and watch it at your convenience. Your bandwidth provider would reward you for the small effort of planning ahead by not charging you for the transfer, or only charging you a small fraction of the regular rate.

In theory, this could allow greater utility from the existing network capacity, and bring down costs for everyone.

Re:Multicast? (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802293)

And maybe I don't understand how multicast really works ... but it seems to me that multicast made a lot of sense as a solution back when everybody was used to watching the same show at the same time every week and then waiting for the reruns to see it again. These days everyone is getting more and more used to watching their shows anytime they feel like it, and On Demand is one of the top selling points of a lot of digital cable packages. It doesn't seem like multicast is going to be much help if you're committed to letting each individual viewer start and stop the show at the precise second they choose.

Re:Multicast? (2, Interesting)

Antity-H (535635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802833)

that is not a problem in itself : you are already used to wait while the system buffers the stream. If multicast allows a more efficient management of the bandwidth all you have to do is schedule sessions every 30 seconds or say 50 users and start the multicast.

This should already help right ?

Re:Multicast? (3, Interesting)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802835)

No, but can do more complex scenarios. Let's say that we pipe the first sixty seconds through unicast. If the bandwidth of your end pipe is really four times that, you could pick up a continuous multicast loop being anywhere within three minutes of the start, and then just keep loading from that one, buffering locally. You need your local pipe to be wide enought that you can buffer up material while playing the current part, but even if the multicast is just done in realtime video speed, and there is a single one looping contiuously, you should have the expectation value of being able to switch from the multi feed from unicast after half that time.

If you want on-demand, and NO local storage, then you are indeed in trouble.

Re:Multicast? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802731)

AFAIK services like FiOS and U-verse handle HDTV over IP by making the breakout box an IP multicast client.

FiOS TV service is standard cable TV that runs over fiber right up to the customer's home - thus, it works with analog tuners, unencrypted QAM tuners, and CableCard devices.

I would guess that Verizon went this route (instead of going over IP, like U-verse) for a good reason. AT&T didn't, and the service is limited in the amount of simultaneous streams.

Re:Multicast? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803005)

IP multicast doesn't actually work on todays internet - most networks don't support it as it's hard to figure out how to manage billing.

I Oppose The Argument Against Net Neutraility Laws (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802161)

I am in favor of Net Neutrality regulations and laws, not because I like regulations and laws (I don't), but that I am finding them necessary in this case.

We supposedly have Truth in Advertising laws already on the books, but super-fast, all-you-can-eat, Internet connections are still being advertised. I'd start by applying the existing law to those claims.

I'd like to be sold a truthful amount of bandwidth (DSL tends to be more honest in this area than cable), and not some inflated peak amount that I can only hit when going to the cable sponsored local bandwidth tester site. And when I have that honest amount of bandwidth available to me, I want to be the one to set the QoS levels of my traffic within that bandwidth amount - not the cable company. When I know what I have available to me, then I can best allocate how to use it.

First the cable companies started killing BT, and other filesharing apps to some lesser degree. I believe that to have been a Red Herring. When that was complained loudly about they offered to just cap usage in general, instead of limiting certain bandwidth-intensive applications.

Who does this benefit? The cable companies, of course. Think of the business they're in. They deliver video. But so do a lot of other people on the Internet. Kill everybody else's video feeds because that is the high bandwidth application for the rest of us and pretty soon you'll only be able to receive uninterrupted HD video over your broadband connection from your local cable company. They will become a monopoly in video distribution (and charge every provider for distributing their videos), and all because we insisted that they throttle all traffic equally on their vastly oversold networks.

All they're waiting for is DOCSIS 3.0 to roll out so that they can promise us even more bandwidth that we can't use since they won't even let us used our promised current bandwidth under DOCSIS 2.0. A royal screwing is on its way if your cable ISP in particular isn't clamped down on hard by the federal government by way of the FCC.

And why does it have to be the federal government and the FCC. Because the cable companies have already managed to get all local regulation preempted by the federal government to avoid more stringent local rules, so the feds are the only ones left who are allowed to do it!

Re:I Oppose The Argument Against Net Neutraility L (3, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802543)

We supposedly have Truth in Advertising laws already on the books, but super-fast, all-you-can-eat, Internet connections are still being advertised. I'd start by applying the existing law to those claims.


It wouldn't do any good, because of the weasel words in the advertisements. You see, they don't say you'll get N Mbits/second, they say, "...up to N Mbits/second." And, what they say is true, because your equipment is capable of handling that much bandwidth and your cable connection can carry it if it's provided. Of course, what they don't tell you is that they don't have enough bandwidth available to give every customer a connection like that, so the fact that your equipment could handle it is irrelevant. It's just like a car manufacturer telling you that their newest line can go from 0->150 mph in X seconds, but not reminding you that the legal limit is 65. What they say is true, even though they don't tell you all the truth.

Re:I Oppose The Argument Against Net Neutraility L (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802703)

But, the legal limit of 55, 65, 75, 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 depending on road IS clearly posted just after many intersections and is common knowledge of the "unwashed masses". The internet is still magic of the second order to them(Vegas is magic of the first order) and while we technical people can see the speed limit signs, the "great unwashed" only see the open road(not even the street signs make it through).

Re:I Oppose The Argument Against Net Neutraility L (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802883)

It's just like a car manufacturer telling you that their newest line can go from 0->150 mph in X seconds, but not reminding you that the legal limit is 65. What they say is true, even though they don't tell you all the truth.
Uhhh ... no! It'd be more like saying that a car can go from 0 to 150 in X seconds, but then admitting that there is only X/2 seconds worth of road available to you.

Re:I Oppose The Argument Against Net Neutraility L (2, Funny)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803025)

Bad analogy. It's more like getting you to pay for a car that can go 0-150 in X seconds, then trying to fob you off with you a bus pass.

Re:I Oppose The Argument Against Net Neutraility L (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803555)

We supposedly have Truth in Advertising laws already on the books, but super-fast, all-you-can-eat, Internet connections are still being advertised. I'd start by applying the existing law to those claims.



It wouldn't do any good, because of the weasel words in the advertisements....What they say is true, even though they don't tell you all the truth.

Very good points. Unfortunately, the legal reality also keeps plainly false advertisements from being pulled off the air. If you read the laws about false advertising, apparently you can only take a company to court about plainly false advertising if you are a competitor in the same field. In some states, "aggrieved consumers" can bring false advertising claims to court, but that is only if you they dumb enough to buy the false product first, and companies often get around class action suits by satisfying consumers on a one-off basis, or just dominating them each with legal muscle.

In the case of ISPs, and most modern media industries, consolidation has lead to Trust relationships (we have laws against those too, but our lobby-puppet politicians never enforce them), where "competitors" will rarely sue each other over their lies. You tend to get broadly accepted industry-wide lies, out of the current enforcement system. It gets to the point where the consumers are just expected to know that they are being lied to. The important thing is that you are lied to consistently, by all competitors in a given industry.

So, the article boils down to... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802183)

...let the engineers do their job? He makes no mention of how he thinks it would be best resolved, just that it shouldn't be done via legislation? I agree with his point, but for anyone who knows has even half paid attention to the net neutrality issues, this article holds nothing new.

I guess I don't understand. (5, Interesting)

Yxven (1100075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802187)

I think the article has some valid points regarding the technical aspects of the Internet, but I don't understand why those aspects make net neutrality legislation a bad thing. My understanding of net neutrality is that people want the Internet to remain neutral. They do not want providers to charge favorable rates to their friends and extortionist rates to their competitors. They do not want small ISPs forced out of the market. They do not want websites and users to be double-charged for the same use. I don't see how any of these issues are technical. I don't see how legislation that would keep things fair also would eliminate an ISP's ability to improve the performance of jitter sensitive applications as well as jitter insensitive applications. I mean you could argue that it'd be legislated wrong, and you'd probably be right. But from a technical standpoint, assuming it's legislated correctly, why is net neutrality technically impossible? Or am I completely misunderstanding the net neutrality issue?

Re:I guess I don't understand. (4, Interesting)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802549)

Or am I completely misunderstanding the net neutrality issue?

No, it seems to me you understand it perfectly. However TFA seems to be blurring the lines between net neutrality and treating traffic differently. For instance if it were technically necessary to treat all Voice packets as high priority (it seems it isn't as VoIP works, but for the sake of argument) then there's nothing to stop a standard being agreed and implemented on a neutral internet, just so long as the voice packets are treated the same no matter who is sending and receiving them.

Bang-on. (4, Insightful)

weston (16146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803167)

This is the important distinction. It's not traffic type neutrality that's the essential character of an appropriately neutral net, it's source-destination neutrality.

(A non-type-neutral net has some of its own problems, but not the same ones as a non-source-destination-neutral net, and there's a good argument that the latter is more important.)

Missing the point? (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802211)

His analysis is in many ways good... but seems ridiculously idealistic. He emphasises:

Where do we turn when we need enhancements to Internet protocols and the applications that use them? Not to Congress, and not to the FCC. ... Engineers solve engineering problems.
(Emphasis in original.)

Probably most of us agree with that statement in principle. The problem is that the various players in this (users, content providers, and network operators) do not have their objectives aligned. Thus, the engineers for the network operator will come up with a solution (e.g. throttling) that solves the network company's problem (users using too much of the bandwidth they (over)sold), but the engineers working for the users (e.g. people writing P2P apps) will engineer for a different objective (maximum transfer rates), and will even engineer workarounds to the 'solutions' being implemented by the network.

The problem is thus that everyone is engineering in a fundamentally adversarial way, and this will continue so long as the objectives of all parties are not aligned. Ideally, legislation would help enforce this alignment: for instance, by legally mandating an objective (e.g. requiring ISPs to be transparent in their throttling and associated advertising), or funding an objective (e.g. "high-speed access for everyone"), or by just making illegal one of the adversarial actions (e.g. source-specific throttling).

This is not purely an engineering question. The networks have control of one of the limited resources in this game (the network of cables already underground; and the rights required to lay/replace cables), and this imbalance in power may require laws to prevent abuse. It's not easy to create (or enforce) the laws... and ideally the laws would be informed by the expertise of engineers (and afford ways for smarter future solutions to be implemented)... but suggesting that we should just let everyone 'engineer' the solution misses the mark. Whose engineers? Optimizing for what goal? Working under what incentives?

Put more simply: engineering is always bound by laws.

Re:Missing the point? (2, Informative)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802565)

Parent post has to be one of the most clear, cogent, and effective rebuttals of the arguments made in the original article. One must always be mindful to consider the social, economic, and regulatory environment in which engineers--and by extension, the technologies they create--operate. And the author of the article simply fails to do this by viewing the problem as (in the words of parent post) "purely an engineering question."

I had mod points a few days ago but they expired. So this is my way of making up for not being able to mod the parent up.

Re:Missing the point? (1)

Redfeather (1033680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802655)

If engineering is bound by laws, we're all tanked. Law is always (I must stress this, ALWAYS) written in hindsight. If anyone, under any objective engineers around expected law, or with the paranoia over future legal distinction that some people work under, nothing is ever going to get done.

Adversarial programming may be a bore, but it's better than nothing. Recall how many advances are made in wartime, versus complacent progress during peace. Now, this is not to say that war and peace can be equated easily with any kind of format war, but with the majority of commercial developers striving to find some kind of hook by which to hoist the quality of their products, advances are tumbling over each other. HSDPA roll-out for wireless here in N.America - 1.8mbps, then 3.6mbps and now (golly gee) 7.2mbps! Less than a year from roll-out, and some providers are still struggling with level1 launch dates! It's an amazing thing!

Net Neutrality is a hot-button issue for a lot of people. But I can't help thinking that without a very tough adversarial system, none of these concerns would ever have come up. What we need is not less competition; it's less sore winners and losers. We might be going about things differently, but the goal is still the same: advancement over stagnation.

Re:Missing the point? (1)

slysithesuperspy (919764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802749)

ideally the laws would be informed by the expertise of engineers

Just let the biggest lobbyists send their engineers to 'help' write the laws, oh wait, I guess that's what happens now. Whose lobbyists? Optimizing for what goal? Working under what incentives?

These kind of laws are what got the system into the mess in the first place.

Re:Missing the point? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803077)

I would also mod you up if I had the points. Engineers will solve the engineering problems, but we can't expect them to solve their employers' conflicts of interest.

Multicast and more bandwidth (1)

wendyo (168574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802215)

Multicast and increase bandwidth. VOIP has been fine as of late. And if it starts breaking again, let the deployers fix thier apps wtihin the parameters of TCP and/or UDP. If we let ISPs throttle, mangle, and sort packets, it will not be to anyone's advantage other than their own.

No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant... (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802271)

No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant ... what exactly? What is the horrible problem we've all had to endure because the government hasn't forced ISPs (against their will) to operate in "the preferred way"?

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802503)

>we've all

We've not all been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. That doesn't mean it's acceptable for anyone to be imprisoned there.

Some of us have been affected by this non-neutral network. I now have the "opportunity" to subscribe to my ISP's (sister division's) offerings (such as "digital home phone"! hah!), since I can no longer VoIP over my internet.

Please also remember that people outside your country, but still within its sphere of direct influence, also get anally raped by proxy when your market fails like this (ie the failure is quickly exported as a "success").

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802707)

Some of us have been affected by this non-neutral network
Who? Affected how?

I now have the "opportunity" to subscribe to my ISP's (sister division's) offerings (such as "digital home phone"! hah!), since I can no longer VoIP over my internet.
Did you read the article? I don't think you read the article.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23803015)

Who? Affected how?
Did you read the comment? I don't think you read the comment.

Did you read the article? I don't think you read the article.
Why not? Is this an argument? How so?

To save time later, I'll assume you think "VoIP" is not being throttled, etc, but merely that this used to be a problem that was "fixed". I assure you the throttling is a new development chosen by my ISP.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802689)

ISPs have been operating "the preferred way" out of convention, in keeping with the norms of the Internet, for some time now. But they have only recently signaled their intent to deviate from historical principles in order to pursue additional sources of revenue.

Their intended path optimizes the Internet in their own favor, and works against the Internet as a whole. They're saying, "Yes, we like the Internet. But you're going to like our take on the Internet even better, want it or not." They're bundling "their way" over what should be a common carrier type situation.

So, it is like asking, "No net neutrality for telephone calls over the past 5 years has meant... what exactly?" Nothing, because the telephone companies have kept with the status quo, and not introduced 'features' that degrade the overall value of the network. Were they to announce an intent to do this, you'd see telephone neutrality legislation bounced around.

"But we don't need telephone neutrality legislation! If you legislate the telephone system, then it will kill innovation!" See? We're blaming the wrong folks here. It isn't the customers or the legislators. It is the carrier rocking the boat, and then crying foul when people try to address their money making schemes.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (0, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802763)

No. Clearly the point is that waiting a few years has caused many/some/zero problems -- depends on the answers to the question.

If there's no problem so far then waiting a few more years might not hurt. And we could have freedom until then and ISPs and taxpayers and governments could use their resources to do something besides maintaining and complying with a regulatory regime.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23803707)

"It is the carrier rocking the boat, and then crying foul when people try to address their money making schemes."

Er, what schemes?

Verizon needs to reserve a portion of its FiOS pipe for IP-TV. It does so without violating any "neutrality". There would be no business case for any fibre investment if you allowed Joe Schmoe equal access.

Any ISP that tried to block access to GooTube would have no customers within 12 months.

It sounds like you feel the need bullying someone, and in order to justify the bulling, you need to say you were bullied first.

 

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802915)

ISPs haven't tried much yet. You could as easily say "India and Pakistan's nuclear missiles have meant... what exactly? What is the horrible problem anyone has had to endure because they have nukes?"

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (4, Insightful)

Lunatrik (1136121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802995)

Comcast and Bittorrent [torrentfreak.com] ? Deep Packet Inspection [p2pvine.com] commencing by Time Warner and Comcast? And, Today on slashdot, Verizon preventing access [slashdot.org] to a chunk of usenet?

Either your trolling or live in a cave.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803285)

Verizon isn't preventing access to anything, they are only not carrying alt.* themselves - nothing preventing you getting it from another provider.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1)

Lunatrik (1136121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803327)

Correct, good catch. I should have written "Preventing access to their own customers". The point still remains valid, however.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803543)

Again, no - their own customers can still go elsewhere to get alt.*, Verizon is not stopping them doing so, they just aren't carrying the branch themselves.

Re:No net neutrality these past 5 years has meant. (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803711)

Comcast and Bittorrent?
Did you read the article? I don't think you read the article.

Also, I thought net neutrality was supposed to treat everyone's comparable traffic that same and not to charge extra for preferred delivery of packets. Is there any evidence that Comcast is treating one type or one company's Bittorrent traffic differently than some other type? Are they charging someone extra for preferred delivery? I have not heard that allegation. Are you making it now?

I'm not sure what you're saying about deep packet inspection other than you seem to be offended that it exists. Does net neutrality prohibit it?

And Verizon has full discretion on what news it stores on its news servers. Are you saying net neutrality governs the precise operation of news servers at an ISP? I don't think it does.

It sounds like "I feel bad, therefore we should pass a law". Shouldn't you have to, at least, show some kind of harm and show precisely how the law would have prevented the specific harm?

I'm not sure if I like his alternative (4, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802279)

While some good points are made about the current state of the internet and how technical improvements could be made - his article lost credibility at the point where he states that the proper way to correct the problems is for "industry" to do it.

Of course, the "industry" he's talking about are the corporations that control large chunks of the infrastructure. As we've established time and time again, those corporations aren't acting in the public interest. Their only interest is in what makes their corporation the largest profit. To those interests, blocking competing services or forcing popular websites to pay more to stay online are quite reasonable things to do.

This is why net neutrality is such an important idea. Look at what has been accomplished so far with our "ad hoc" arrangement of computers connected to a crazy quilt of networks. All that you see is just the beginning - but a better future will never come to pass if the corporate interests are allowed to filter / segregate / block network traffic.

Think about it for a minute: consider AT&T. They own a substantial amount of internet infrastructure and they're also the major telephone company. When they look at Skype and discuss how to limit the loss of business to this competitor - you'd better believe they consider blocking VOIP on the backbone. Call it a benefit to the customer and put a competitor out of business; another good day in corporate headquarters.

Re:I'm not sure if I like his alternative (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803719)

And what does it say, if customers are willing to pay for such an internet? Maybe you aren't, but Joe Schmoe could probably care less; why is what you want more important than what Joe Schmoe wants...?

I actually agree with you, but when you start saying the government should control the market in instances like these you're really saying the government should force ISPs to behave in the way you want them to behave without having to shop around or make informed decisions like everyone else. Fair is what the customer agrees to, not what you personally feel is right. The problem isn't net neutrality, it's that ISPs can get away with misleading advertising.

Yes, you can you say they are government-supported monopolies, but that's another problem... Other than that problem, however, you in fact do NOT own the ISPs and they can, or at least should, be able to do what they want on their ends of the network.

Companies can't be trusted (4, Insightful)

kherr (602366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802295)

Yes, there are technical reasons to shape traffic to optimize network flow. But the problem is that the large ISPs are using business, not technical, reasons to determine the network traffic policies. If companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Virgin Media could be trusted to base network design on technical issues, that'd be a nice utopia.

But we know these companies are instead targeting packets that they see as business competitors, so they are not making sound technical decisions. I say it's better to make it harder for a perfect network than to allow corporate interests to balkanize the internet for their greedy purposes.

Companies can't be trusted/Nobody CAN be trusted (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803159)

It's not necessarily that companies can't be trusted, it's that one entity can't be put in charge and trusted to remain true and pure while doing it. We need a checks and balances system in place to ensure that all interests are being met to the best degree they can as a whole. Some kind of Gvt/private sector/user advocacy setup. Maybe Fed/Industry Group/EFF kinda deal? I dunno. Putting one body in charge of this stuff might end one set of problems, but open up new can of worms. I guess the same could be said of any solution.

Actually, we need legislation (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802303)

Without, the one with the bigger muscle is right. And that is usually not the customer of an ISP when there is (often) only one left.

Engineers solve engineering problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802305)

This article says a lot of things that I do not disagree with, but I think it failed to make a connection between what it was saying, and net neutrality.

The summary I got was: "The Internet is broken, so we should allow the companies at the last mile to fix it. Except, I'm going to say that it is the engineers driving the show."

Well, Engineers do solve engineering problems. Fine. But the corporations who hire these engineers give them the problems that they want them to work, and point them in the general direction of the solution they want.

One such corporation may say, "Metered broadband for all my users! Engineer it!" Okay. So now you've got an engineering problem. But the talk of engineering problem or not has nothing to do with Net Neutrality. It isn't the engineers pushing against Net Neutrality. It is the organizations that they work for that are pushing against Net Neutrality.

So, you claim that Net Neutrality is needed because 'the Internet is broken'. Well, if the Internet was working well, wouldn't you still rail against Net Neutrality? Perhaps even more so?

So, you say a lot of interesting things, but I just don't think they do anything to sell much of a point about Net Neutrality.

So Non-Neutrality solves problems ?! (3, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802349)

Over-the-air delivery of TV programming moves one copy of each show regardless of the number of people watching, but the Internet transmits one copy per viewer, because the transport system doesnâ(TM)t know anything about the content.

One word: Multicast [wikipedia.org] .

Re:So Non-Neutrality solves problems ?! (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803349)

This would be a great idea, if not for the fact that the people who run most of these ISPs are about as smart as the average fast food burger-flipper.

Net neutrality is a matter of antitrust (5, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802373)

The main issue here is not weather companies double charge for bandwidth or if they charge per use or don't offer this or that service, the issue is that if you allow a situation where a company like AT&T can make a deal with Microsoft to prioritize their traffic, then it will eventually end up in a situation where you get a cartel of companies controlling that keep competing smaller ISPs and content providers out of the market by artificially degrading their connections.

Furthermore because the communications infrastructure is partially government funded, and as the radio frequencies are government controlled through the FCC , the "free market" argument doesn't hold water. There are numerous barriers to entry into the ISP market, both government imposed as well as technical ones, and thus coercive monopolies will be able to form unless actively restrained by the government.

This doesn't necessarily say much about HOW you should regulate the market, but it pretty much implies that simply leaving ISPs to screw over customers and smaller competitors is a big no-no. Completely free unregulated markets only work when there are low barriers to entry, many suppliers, no external costs or benefits, perfect customer insight into the market, completely homogeneous and equivalent services being offered, zero cost of switching supplier, and no barriers to trade. The number of markets in which that applies can be counted on fewer hands than most people have.

Re:Net neutrality is a matter of antitrust (0, Offtopic)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803727)

Completely free unregulated markets only work when there are low barriers to entry, many suppliers, no external costs or benefits, perfect customer insight into the market, completely homogeneous and equivalent services being offered, zero cost of switching supplier, and no barriers to trade. The number of markets in which that applies can be counted on fewer hands than most people have.

This only holds true if your initial assumption is that business should benefit the customer more than the actual businesses themselves.

It's not gonna happen, sadly. (1)

Annoid (1160621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802445)

In an ideal world, network operators would be required to just pass the traffic, whatever it is. No throttling, no playing favorites for VOIP, etc., just pass whatever it is along.

But, that's not gonna happen. People with dollars make the rules, and they can make more dollars playing favorites. So they're gonna play favorites.

I'm generally a conservative, who believes in as little govt. regulation as possible, but in this case, the private market has demonstrated that they cannot regulate themselves, so the govt. should step in.

Pity that it won't.

Re:It's not gonna happen, sadly. (3, Insightful)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802855)

Being a dumb pipe is every ISP's worst fear. It means they have to deliver bandwidth, not content. It means they don't throttle based on protocol or content, just pass packets along.

It means they have to provide *gasp* an INTERNET CONNECTION! No ISP wants that, what with all the upgrades to existing equipment they'd have to make to make as much bandwidth as a customer bought available to them AT ALL TIMES.

It means smaller profits and higher customer satisfaction, which seems to be the seventh circle of hell to any large company in the US, and most other places.

Confused? (1, Interesting)

Sniper98G (1078397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802513)

I think this guy is confused over what most net neutrality advocates are trying to achieve. We don't want to say that you can't give voice packets priority. We are trying to ensure that all packet of the same type receive the same quality of service; that certain people don't receive better service while the rest of us get shoved into the slow lane.

Neutrality means different things (2, Insightful)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802521)

I can understand charging for lower latency time, higher bandwidth or other aspects of higher quality of service, and even at reasonable prices for large amounts of data exchange usage. What should not be permitted are corporate level deals that create content favoritism based on the source and nature of the content, whether from direct monetary consideration or corporate partnership or favoring in-house content or services.


Especially offensive is any sort of attempt at frustrating the dissemination of content based on political bias. The cable companies that own most of the broadband ISP's would love to model the Internet after their cable TV business. They have a news product that has done just a terrific job at political neutrality, and they would love to extend that model to Internet services.

300 baud (3, Insightful)

Haxx (314221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802533)

Those of us that have been here a while, the people that used to watch the blocks move across the screen at 300 baud, can see a another of many drastic changes coming in the way the huge ISP's will handle content. There was a time when ISP's were everywhere. They were small companies with access to local dial-up node sites. Then AOL had 10 million people convinced that they were actually the whole internet. Today high speed internet has given birth to bohemoth ISPs that were huge cable/telephone/satelite companies years before. These companies may eventually package web access the same way they package movie channels. After a few years of this the smaller ISP's with open access will be back and the cycle will repeat in new and strange ways.

What crap (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802593)

"I know that's not true. The Internet has some real problems today, such as address exhaustion, the transition to IPv6, support for mobile devices and popular video content, and the financing of capacity increases. Network neutrality isn't one of them."

  The effen telcos already got paid 200 billion dollars to do something about getting fiber to the premises and blew it on anything but that. Where's the "political engineering" solution to look into that to determine where the "QOS" broke down at ISP intergalatic central? Where are the ISP and telco fatcats sitting in front of congressional hearings explaining what happened to all that freekin money? Where did it go, real facts, real names, real figures.

  And why in the hell does the bulk of the public air wave spectrum only go to the same billion dollar corporations, year after decade after generation, instead of being turned loose for everyone-you know, that "public" guy- to use and develop on? Why the hell do we even *need* ISPs anymore for that matter? This is the 21 st century, there are tons of alternative ways to move data other than running them through ISP and telco profitable choke points, and all I am seeing is them scheming on how to turn the internet into another bastardized combination of the effen telco "plans" and cable TV "plans". Really, what for?

    Where's the meshnetworking using long range free wireless and a robust 100% equal client / server model that we could be using instead of being forced through the middle man of isps and telcos for every damn single packet? And what mastermind thought it was a good idea to let them wiggle into the content business? That's a big part of the so called problem there, they want to be the tubes plus be the tube contents, and triple charge everyone, get paid both ends of the connection and a middle man handling fee for..I don't know, but that is what they are on the record wanting, and industry drools like this doofus are providing their excuses. Not content with hijacking all the physical wired reality, for 100 years now, they get to hijack all the useful wireless spectrum, and no, WIFI DOESN'T CUT IT. That's at the big fat joke level in the spectrum for any distance.

Net Neutrality is about censorship, not QoS. (4, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802615)

Look, the fact is that the telcos are engaged in criminal conspiracy to censor the Internet. Of course tiered rates for bandwidth usage will always be there. Thats been the way of the world since Broadband began. Anti-Net Neutrality is about WHAT you can access, not how fast you can access it, people who advocate against net neutrality are advocating FOR Internet censorship.

Language Issue. (1)

beringreenbear (949867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802701)

Interesting... but isn't what this really means is that we have two arguments here? The first is technical: What can the equipment do? The second is entirely content-driven. Who gets to control the content? I have no trouble with letting the technology determine what can be done with the equipment. If the capacity is there, it will be used. The entire problem, and the whole point of Network Neutrality as far as I'm concerned is that argument over content. I think that it's a matter of Freedom to keep the barriers to being able to place your personal creative content on the Internet. I should not have to contact with, say, Time-Warner to put up a web page. I should be able to use the free market and find a host with terms that I like, where ever said host might be. So maybe what is needed here is a language delineation of the debate. Let's call int "Net Neutral Access", and let the technical problems and engineering work themselves out without laws hindering them.

This is Crap. (0)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802771)

"Net Neutrality", referes to "social" freedoms. That is, the "net" should not have deliberately build in social restrictions on it's use, that are beyond your control.

This guy, Richard Bennett, is referring to "technical" freedoms when he says that protocols such as UDP has way more "freedom" than TCP.

u face (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23802909)

net nutraletee r stoopid.

Engineering Decisions....etc. (1)

hackus (159037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23802975)

His opinion.

Personally, I do not see any problem with modifying traffic for whatever reason THE CUSTOMER WHO IS PAYING THE BILL has.

For the provider to do so smacks of WAY too much power in the hands of a few people to manipulate information.

I mean, look at what they are doing to people now with that power, such as injecting banners and adds into html streams and other extra crap that actually creates MORE problems.

With all due respect, traffic should be managed at the end points by the customer and the ISP's should concentrate on providing as much bandwidth as possible upstream.

Not trying to restrict it so they do not have to be competitive with other providers.

Which, if you live in the US, this whole situation is very dangerous as there are not only a VERY LIMITED choice of ISP's to pick from.

Free markets work when the customer really DOES have a choice.

In the USA anyhow, this is increasingly not the case, and in response the providers are starting to put all sorts of things in the service architecture that businesses do not want, do not need.

This is a dangerous trend, and if it continues the result is going to be exceptionally high prices, very low service quality due to filtering by the ISP to maximize profit.

How can an idiot like this write a response to these issues like this when this stuff is already reality in some areas?

-Hack

Is is really? (2, Interesting)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803057)

What do we need a new laws for? Most of the existing problems, false advertising or anti-competitive behavior, could be solved with existing laws, if the right people would bother using them. If and only if those attempts fail, will we need new laws.

If all else fails, we simply need competition, look at what Version FiOS has done.

Net neutrality would work if the ISPs... (2, Interesting)

kandresen (712861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803169)

If ISPs offered their true bandwidth limits, latency limits, and so on from the beginning and not false offers like "unlimited".

I have always had throttled connection - I used to throttled at 256kbps down and 56kbps up.
Then I paid more and I with the exact same connection now got 512kbps down and 128kbps up.
Then I got a better service and I with the exact same connection got 2Mbps down and 512kbps up..

They have throttled the connection all the time. The total use is irrelevant. What is is whether all users use the bandwidth at the same time or not.

The providers could simply offer what they not under the assumptions we only will use 0.1% of it, but actually use what we buy.

What is worse for the ISP:
- if you download 2 GB a day (~60 GB a month) spread out evenly (continuously ~90kbps)
- if you download only during peak hours one hour a day 0.5GB (~15GB/month) (continuously 1110 kbps)

What happens if the bandwidth is not used ? Do the ISP loose anything? It is their ability to provide to multiple people at the same time that matters; it is clearly worse for the ISP in the second case were one person downloaded only 15GB a month than in the one with 90GB.

The entire issue could be resolved by ISP's offering the valid numbers for upwards and downwards bandwidth and expected latency for the connection.
Don't blame the customers for using what they paid for.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23803201)

This sounds an awful lot like regional oil companies and NYMEX oil traders stating demand is up dramatically when in actuality it is not.

Dick and I Had it out on Tech Dirt a While ago (2, Interesting)

ScaredOfTheMan (1063788) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803233)

Richard and I got into a Net Neutrality 'Discussion' in the comment section of Techdirt last year. I have a feeling he is some how benefits from the Pro Net neutrality side of the debate, although I have no proof. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070319/121200.shtml [techdirt.com] Judge for yourself. I did turn into a screaming little douche at the end though...but it was for the Love of a Free Internet.

Im for sale too (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803299)

like this guy, i have been a staunch defender of net neutrality in the small forums i run and in my friend circle, but given the right price, say, like 200 bucks or 250, i can invent many reasons why we should hand the fate of freedom of information for billions to the hands of verizon, comcast, at&t et al. i may be cheap, but i talk much.






NOT.

Net neutrality isn't a means of protecting freedom (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23803329)

It's easy to forget (or if you aren't from the slashdot crowd, to not even realize) that the internet consists of nothing more than a big collection of computers and wires connecting them all together, and a few standards that are *fairly* widely agreed upon re how those computers communicate. ISPs are companies that provide individuals without the technical knowledge or the means to otherwise access the internet with a marketable, easy to use, idiot-proof way to plug into a network that happens to have a huge number of computers connected to it. ISPs have invested a ton of money, R&D, risk, time, etc., into developing the internet infrastructure that we have today in the U.S.

Net neutrality is a bunch of people deciding that the "internet" (remember, just computers and wiring) is public property, and asking the government to forcibly take control of the infrastructure in this country. Net neutrality legislation would create rules about what kind of traffic ISPs are required to transmit over their infrastructure.

Censorship is governmental dictation over what data can be shared. Net neutrality does not stop censorship: ISPs are private corporations (corporations being treated as individuals in this country, as I understand it). If you run a magazine, you're allowed to run whatever ads and articles you want. What would analogous legislation to net neutrality for magazine presses do?

If you don't like your ISP, stop patronizing it.

If you're of the mind that the "internet" should be regulated by the government to ensure that every person has equal access to it (whatever that means), then have the government actually take a primary role in internet maintenance and development: create a government organization to install fiber optic infrastructure, review and change if necessary the protocols and standards we use, etc.

Fiber Optic Cable (1)

vimm (1300813) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803353)

Net Neutrality Engineer: "HDTV and VOIP can't live together.. the internet is congested.. we need to use smart traffic shaping.."

Lawrence Lessig, 10 years ago: "Install and use fiber optic cable instead of repairing copper core, and your bandwidth problems will disappear.. it will be expensive.."

Get the gub'ment out of technology (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23803553)

Everything the government touches turns to shit. It's like that guy in the Skittles commercial, but with little rabbit turds instead. If the government had been making technology decisions twenty years ago, we would all be stuck on ISDN. Net Neutrality assumes a static technological world that only changes in predetermined ways.

People like to pretend that the only problem wrong with government is that the right people are not in charge. But that's fantasy. Obama can no more write a routing protocol than McCain. This is the gang of fools that gave us the DMCA, and now you trust them to run the internet? Hah!

I say get the government out of technology. This is a problem we can solve without their help.
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