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Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

Drakonblayde Maybe this is Microsoft's way of saying.... (365 comments)

they can't afford Apple products either. After all, if I had a Surface Pro 3, and I could sucker someone into giving me a Macbook Air for it, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

about a month ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Drakonblayde Re:Its all about sales (337 comments)

While Cisco is primarily concerned with selling network gear, that doesn't make them wrong.

Believe it or not, every once in awhile, you can tell the truth and it will actually further your own agenda.

about a month and a half ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Drakonblayde Re:TFA is a lie (337 comments)

I got here late, but TFA is a lie. Stating the obvious (voice and HTTP are not "equal" to the client nor provider), doesn't make an official Cisco stance against Net Neutrality. In fact, most Net Neutrality proposals (every one I've seen officially submitted in Congress), would have allowed for such action. No Net Neutrality has yet prevented reasonable traffic grooming. It's designed to prevent Comcast from running a VoIP service with premium QoS and deliberately lowering the QoS of all other competing services. To keep all competing services at the same level is "neutral".

Net Neutrality is not "traffic neutral" It's "provider neutral" at least so far in every bill I've read. And that's the best way. Why force every packet to be the same when we know they are inherently not?

I wish I could mod you up. You have a proper understanding of what net neutrality is about, rather than what it's been perverted into.

about a month and a half ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Drakonblayde Re:Title is a bit sensationalist... (337 comments)

There is a difference between intra-domain and inter-domain prioritization and the operational futility of the latter.

inter-domain prioritization is hardly futile. ISP's don't own the entire world, nor is the entire world directly connected to one network. Customers use applications that are time sensitive and not owned by the provider. Customers expect that, if they want to view a video, for example, that the video actually plays and isn't choppy, or doesn't stop to buffer every 5 seconds. This is a crapload more important than how fast your Google search results load.

In this case they are warranted. Cisco's statements cannot possibly be applied to the real world without picking winners and losers.

In what way? Cisco is not saying Comcast should prioritize Netflix over Hulu, or vice versa. Cisco is saying that, yeah, ISP's should be able to prioritize Hulu and Netflix over, say, Facebook.

Let me put it this way - by insisting you treat everything the same, you're also picking winners and losers. Services and applications which need priority access (ie, very low latency and/or jitter) in order to work correctly or reliably are losers in the 'all should be equal' philosophy.

Or, let's illustrate this a little more colorfully - since the interent is often compared to a highway, that analogy will fit. Let's say you've got a gunshot victim in the back of an ambulance and he needs to get to a trauma center immediately. Do we expect the ambulance to follow the posted speed limits?

Or let's go another way - I have a limited amount of money. Tomorrow, I have to make the decision to pay the rent, or to pay my internet bill so I can make that nights World of Warcraft raid.

We already recognize the intrinsic need for priority in our everyday lives in order to get things done.

Some things are more important than others. The same concept applies to network operations, and trying to deny that is what's operationally futile.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Drakonblayde Re:Who owns them? (474 comments)

That's actually easy to answer - QoS markings. They're not just for traffic prioritization. It's pretty easy to use them for access control and accounting as well. Pubic WiFi traffic is marked one way, subscriber traffic another. Setting your own QoS markings won't get around that either - the modem will just strip them and set the proper ones.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Drakonblayde Re:In addition (474 comments)

The flip side of that is that you have access to the wireless mesh as well if you want it. You're not only providing it, you can consume it as well.

And Comcast is not charging you for power. You have to provide power to the cable modem in order to use it, and you're paying that fee whether you provide your own, or you take theirs.

I do agree, however. Leasing a modem is stupid. A Motorola SB 6121 costs about 80 bucks at your local big box store and is fully compatible with the Comcast network (do not believe the sales people or the install techs when they try and make you doubt whether or not the modem will work with the Comcast network - it will. Comcast supports every cable modem vendor you can find in Best Buy and it's like). It'll pay for itself in under a year. Now, if you're using one of the Wireless gateways, then the cable modem is also acting as a router, so you'll need to buy one of those as well if you don't already have them, which takes you a little longer to reach your break even point. However, most folks only change service providers when they move, and most folks don't move frequently, so chances are you'll hit the break even point before then.

If someone has been paying a cable modem rental fee for like 5+ years, then that person is terrible at math.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Drakonblayde Re:Who owns them? (474 comments)

Ehh, Comcast's business practices tend to suck, but their technical people do a good job. I think they were the first large-scale residential provider in the US with DNSSEC and IPv6 for example.

In any case, they are already doing separate channels for separate services (I believe that's how they implement voice service for example), so this will just be turning up another channel.

Nope. Comcast Digital Voice is straight IP, straight VoIP. It's not another service channel, the modem just has a priority queue for VOIP traffic.

There are separate RF channels for different products in the sense of video and VOD, but that's because they travel over different infrastructure at the hubsite/headend (it's not combined until it heads down to the customer facing nodes).

The one exception to that is the new X1 boxes. The channel guide is delivered through the CMTS rather than through a small freq OOB channel like it's been traditionally done (this is why if you reboot an X1 box, you don't have to wait for hours for the channel guide to repopulate). But even this isn't coming in via your internet cable modem - the X1 boxes simply have another cable modem inside of them that ranges up just for that information.

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Drakonblayde Re:Who owns them? (474 comments)

This is accurate. How fast your speeds can go depend on three things -

1. How many channels are turned up on the CMTS side. Each DOCSIS 3.0 downstream supports ~42mbit/s and each upstream supports ~30mbit/s

2. How many channels your modem can bond. For example, if your cable modem can bond 8 downstreams, and 4 upstreams (which is pretty common with modern cable modems), you can have a theoretical maximum of 383 Mbit down and 122 Mbit up. Your modem will bond to as many channels as it can (ie, however many the CMTS offers, or the maximum amount it can bond to if the CMTS offers more than that)

3. The modems bootfile. This is where the rate limiting comes in. If you're bonding 8 down and 4 up, but you only purchased 30 down and 4 up as part of your plan, this is where they enforce that - the bootfile will have the QoS settings that the modem enforces.

There's a 4th factor that those who purchase top tier internet quickly find out - their router (assuming they haven't leased a cable modem that's also acting as a gateway). The shitty little Linksys you bought ten years ago is *not* going to be able to handle 100mbs of downstream, since the packets are all forwarded in software, and they didn't exactly put powerful procs in those things.

about a month and a half ago
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

Drakonblayde Title is a bit sensationalist... (337 comments)

Of course a network vendor is going to point out that some packets needs preferential treatment over others. It's something they've worked to engineer into their product lines because their customers demand the capability to do so. For an ISP, 911 VoIP packets are a much higher priority than World of Warcraft packets.

Too many folks are caught up in the idea that prioritization is bad. There's a difference between between the philosophy of Network Neutrality and the operational reality of packet prioritization.

Saying Cisco opposes Net Neutrality just because they're pointing out some simple truths on how network operate today is like saying Glock supports terrorism just because they make guns.

Of course, if the title weren't sensational, no one would probably read it.

It saddens me that Slashdot seems to have decided that they need to resort to the same tactics as the National Enquirer

about a month and a half ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Drakonblayde Re:Truth in labeling, truth in advertisement law. (343 comments)

Yes, they did.

Why? Because there was no benefit for Comcast to do so.

This isn't like Comcast refusing aid to vets, the homeless, or kicking kittens, or anything like that.

The colocation appliance *only* helps Netflix. For Comcast, it increases OpEx for no benefit. That tends to make shareholders mad.

So what responsibility does Comcast, a for-profit entity, have to help another for-profit entity (and a direct competitor to Comcast's own streaming service) contain their operational costs. Would it be nice? Sure. But Comcast isn't in business to be nice. It's in business to make money.

The idea that Netflix is some sainted company that deserves to be treated better than any others mystifies me.

about 2 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Drakonblayde Re:He also forgot to mention... (343 comments)

I actually know quite a bit about routing. Enough to know that you don't call an interconnect a 'route'. A route is a destination prefix with a valid next-hop. But go right on ahead and think you know all about internet routing just because you read a blog entry or two.

And yes, you do let interconnects get congested if there's no business case for upgrading them.

I'm not saying I disagree with your opinion. As an operations wonk, it pains me to see capacity issues and my natural inclination is to fix it.

However, that shit costs money, and not lunch money either. This is when the business side interfered with the tech. Unless there's a good business case for it, those links aren't getting upgraded until there is.

In this case, there was no business case to do so. If Netflix was complaining about the quality of service because of the saturation on the Cogent interconnect, all they had to do was alter their routing policy to send the traffic for Comcast's prefixes out their Level 3 links instead. It's a trivial and often performed piece of BGP traffic engineering. Netflix decided not to do so (because Level 3 is a crapload more expensive than Cogent) and make a public stink about it.

Even after the public stink failed, Netflix *still* decided not to send the traffic out Level 3, opting to purchase direct links into the Comcast network (and, shortly thereafter, into AT&T's network as well. Strangely enough, people don't seem to have an issue with AT&T telling Netflix to go fuck themselves, just Comcast). That decision should tell you a couple things - Bandwidth ain't cheap. It's cheaper than it was 10 years ago, on a per mbit/gbit cost, but the amount of traffic crossing has scaled up even while prices have been scaling down. And it should tell you just how expensive Level3 is to actually use.

You're basically saying that, just because the Cogent link was saturated, Comcast should have instantly gone ahead and upgraded their links with Cogent, nevermind that the guys doing the complaining had links to another Comcast transit provider, who's links *weren't* saturated.

When bandwidth costs are the clear majority of your OpEx, you think twice about doling out CapEx and additional OpEx if there is another option. You would make a horrible network operator.

about 2 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Drakonblayde Re:He also forgot to mention... (343 comments)

In a sane world, the up side would be that they got to keep their customers, who would leave and go to someone else if Netflix didn't work properly. In our world, they often have a monopoly on high-speed internet access within a market, and so their customers will simply have to suckit.

Ok, and how many customers do you think are cancelling their internet service with Comcast just because of Netflix? I'll give you a hint - before Netflix agreed to pay for their peering links, the effect of Netflix performance had a negligible effect on customer churn. By and large, Comcast was keeping it's customers without having to colocate Netfix apps onto it's network. IE, no upside at all for Comcast. By saying no and letting Netflix come to the conclusion that it was better business to just pay for the links, Comcast's upside is more revenue. Netflix sure are being crybabies about it though.

And they and all other internet service providers should be prohibited from engaging in that kind of behavior. Content should be separate from transport. It is long past time to force ISPs to behave as common carriers. We forced the telcos, we can force the ISPs.

Why? You're making assertions, but not backing it up.

You realize this is how the internet has worked since the NSF stopped off, yes? All transit providers double dip. You do understand that Comcast is not a tier 1 provider, and to my knowledge, has no settlement free peering agreements. That means Comcast pays every single one of it's transit providers for the traffic that comes in. Which means that, prior to Netflix establishing it's own links, Comcast was paying Cogent to receive Netflix traffic. And Netflix wanted Comcast to upgrade it's links with Cogent so that Netflix could send it more traffic. Netflix wanted Comcast to pay more money to deliver Netflix's products to Comcast's customers.

So somehow it's ok for Netflix to do that, but when Comcast turns it around and makes Netflix pay instead, it's a bad thing?

You can hate on Comcast all you want, but don't even try to pass this off as Comcast not being fair or being mean. This is just business, and Comcast had more leverage than Netflix. Welcome to the world.

about 2 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Drakonblayde Re:He also forgot to mention... (343 comments)

Then Netflix would lose all revenue from Comcast customers.

I strongly suspect the loss of revenue is larger than the fee Comcast wants to charge to link them directly to the network.

Comcast is basically acting like Wal-Mart does for alot of it's vendors. They're so big that they can dictate terms, and the vendors have no choice but to comply because losing access to that market has dire effects on their bottom line.

about 2 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Drakonblayde Re:The Universal Postal Union (343 comments)

You misunderstand the problem entirely.

Comcast is not charging Netflix to deliver packets on it's network that come in from a transit provider. Comcast was not sitting there and saying 'Hey Netflix, we're going to drop or degrade your inbound traffic at our border if you don't pay us'.

Netflix wanted direct connections into the Comcast network to help them save on transit costs. And they wanted them for free, arguing that Comcast was already making money off the customers they'd be delivering the traffic to.

Comcast said we'll give you direct links into our network, but it won't be free. If you want direct access, you pay for direct access

Situations are a bit different.

about 2 months ago
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Drakonblayde Re: He also forgot to mention... (343 comments)

Comcast then gets this awesome idea, instead of paying for bandwidth, they should get paid for it! So not Comcast is making even more money, but making money isn't a bad thing in itself. So, what's wrong about Comcast wanting to make more money? Because Comcast is having their customers foot the bill for the infrastructure, then Comcast outright refuses to allow the customers to use the infrastructure to its fullest, then Comcast turns around and resells that same infrastructure for more profit to another company, while making no additional investments into the infrastructure.

You have woefully misunderstood the nature of your subscriber agreement.

You are not paying for a piece of the infrastructure to use to its fullest when you pay your fee. Since we're talking about Netflix, we're talking about the internet side. What Comcast gives you in exchange for your money is internet service with a specified downstream/upstream _UP TO_ the stated speeds, and it's all best effort (for residential access, anyway. Business Class has different parameters).

That's it. You don't get to claim a piece of the infrastructure and use it however you please. You send packets, Comcast does it's best to deliver them. You request packets, Comcast does it's best to deliver them. How you think it is, or how you think it should be is irrelevant. The only thing that *is* relevant is what was agreed to when service was established. If you think the legalese matches your opinions, you're in for a very sad revelation.

about 2 months ago
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Amazon Uses Robots To Speed Up Human 'Pickers' In Fulfillment Centers

Drakonblayde Re:Dice Strikes Again... (184 comments)

You're kidding right? Books are freaking heavy.

about 7 months ago
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Court: Homeland Security Must Disclose 'Internet Kill Switch'

Drakonblayde Re:I'm not sure how they'd do it physically (228 comments)

There are no man in the middle machines. The taps they use for monitoring are passive, not active. If the tap goes down, it has no effect on the data transferring across the wire that's being tapped.

about 8 months ago
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Court: Homeland Security Must Disclose 'Internet Kill Switch'

Drakonblayde Re:I doubt it (228 comments)

Most providers will simply capitulate to a request and turn down the links and/or bgp sessions instead of actually having their gear powered off. Cutting power to a datacenter, or even a floor of a datacenter, can have a major impact in the ability to recover. If the government is going to shut me down anyway, I'd rather kill the peering sessions myself rather than risk additional loss of revenue due to equipment becoming unrecoverable.

about 8 months ago
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Blockbuster To Close Remaining US Locations

Drakonblayde Re:Wait, what? (419 comments)

Ah Waldenbooks, how I miss thee. many hours of a misspent youth in malls with Waldens...

about 8 months ago
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Blockbuster To Close Remaining US Locations

Drakonblayde Re:Wait, what? (419 comments)

Different service.

DirectTV has their rental service, in which you pay 3 to 5 bucks for a movie, and that streams from the sat feed. It is, essentially, pay per view, though the terms of the rental may let you watch it more than once over a day or so, and it also gives you the ability to watch relatively recent movies in your home for alot less than theatre.

Traditional Video on Demand is stuff like your weekly television shows, or older movies which are long out of the theatre and not currently being hyped for DVD sales. That kind of Video on Demand, as delivered by DirectTV, does stream over your internet connection, as the sat feed doesn't have nearly enough bandwidth to handle that level of VOD. I work as a network engineer for one DirecTV's competitors, and the bandwidth that VOD consumes is one of our biggest hogs, easily outpacing linear video.

about 8 months ago

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