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A thought about net neutrality


Garda
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I was thinking about net neutality and came up with an idea. Tell me what you think.

The idea about NN is that the ISPs are going to throttle bandwidth to allow faster connections from some people and slower connections to people who don't pay up.

The argument can be simplified to "if you're using bittorent, your internet connection will be too slow for somebody wanting to watch video from youtube"

I was thinking that the best and in my view easist way of dealing with the problem would be at the level of the home user. How about letting the home user themselves control the traffic as it enters their home. Have routers, only slightly smarter than what we have now, decide the speed at which they want to download content.

For example, eveything on ports 80, 81, 8000, 8080 can go at max speed. Web traffic needs to be fast, but doesn't usually need that much data. HTML pages are small but to have to wait more than a few seconds for a page to load is really annoying.

Anything on the usual bittorent ports can be allowed through only AFTER the other ports are considered. If people want to watch HDTV, the router would know to guarantee at least 1.5MB/s of bandwidth for the HDTV ports.

These are just examples, but i think you understand what i mean by this. I don't think that it would even require any special technical knowledge from the user because the idea is pretty simple and could easily be built into the router assuming that there is some sort of agreement on port numbers and the amount of bandwith that they will use, so that the router can be delivered pre-configured and only power users like us for example who would actually want to would need to change anything.

IMO this is a way of fixing the problem that ISPs are complaining about. Their argument is that some media needs a special "tube" of its own so that other traffic doesn't interfere with it. If you don't get enough bandwidth for video it will look really shit.

I personally believe that this is just a facade behind the real reason for this, which is to charge people to have an internet connection, then charge people to use their internet connection.

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I think the main issue is routing traffic at the ISP level. If we go 100% VOIP then you don't want your 999/911 call dieing because the guy down the block is swapping your local net traffic. If you think of it in the terms of your ISP has you on a router on there network, and then think about performance of your network while your downloaded via BitTorrent, you can see why traffic shaping is inevitable.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/17/ne...eath/print.html

Anyone whos managed a network, even a small home one with heavy users, will know why you need to use QOS. If you don't, you can basically set traffic priority levels and tier traffic off to keep everything running smoothly. For instance i have all p2p traffic set to bulk (it uses bandwidth when its there, when people browse the web it gets cut back), and have the http and ftp stuff high priority. Without that, the connection is unusable if 2 people torrent at the same time, and with 3 people can download at ok speeds and the 4th can still use gmail without timeouts. Throw VOIP, IPTV, SOIP etc into the mix, and you can see why the engineres want this. Without it, all the new services people want to bring to the internet will not work.

But, considering that US tax payers have already forked out for fiber optic to the curb for the entire country, which were never laid, I find there demands for yet more money abhorent. By rights verizon, comcast et all should be paying you to use there internet.

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I get what you mean, that other people connected to your network will mess with the traffic.

While not the only one, the biggest problem that i see happening is; suppose there's a fictional ISP called Horizon. Well, Horizon could mess with the DNS of their customers, so that anybody going to google.com gets redirected to msn.com. Or that video packets from youtube.com are forced to go much slower than video packets that come from video.google.com

i don't think the above situation sounds very nice, where some providers get faster access to an ISP's customers for paying, while others miss out.

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If they start fucking with the DNS to do redirects they will be sued into a red hole within days. Customers will scream bloody murder at them, and anyone in the know will use openNIC dns or something. If people start traffic shapping major sites like youtube, again, legal action and loss of revenue. If they hit someone like google, which to many *is* the internet, with traffic shapping that server, the swat lawyers will be released...

There is an enormose amount of FUD being genorated about net netraity by both sides. Its not about websites anymore, its about content. Most websites are fairly small, and require a small amount of bandwidth. It also can be a fairly high latentcey connection without causing serious issues. Bittorrent kills network latantcey, which is what SOIP needs to work. So without traffic shaping at the ISP level, things are going to stagnate on the internet.

Right now, I can't see who will win this argument, but i garrentee that the end user in the US will lose it. There needs to be clear rational and most importantly pragmatic debate on the subject, rather than emotional over the top suggestions of impending doom from the various partys involved. As geeks we need to actually look at the technical issue at hand, rather than lowering ourselves to the level of the mewling overly self-important bloggosphere.

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But, considering that US tax payers have already forked out for fiber optic to the curb for the entire country, which were never laid, I find there demands for yet more money abhorent. By rights verizon, comcast et all should be paying you to use there internet.

That's the part that gets me in this discussion. The isp's want to create a tiered system to fend off the bandwidth consuming apps like bittorrent and create an internet-wide qos to better serve their other customers. That's fine by me (in a way). But, this would not be necessary (to a much lesser degree anyway) if we had what we, the american tax payers, have essencially paid for already: fibre to every home. Why should we start shoveling out more money for the higher tier bandwidth when we should already have 100+ mb/sec connections to our homes?

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Thats the problem. We need this QoS because the ISPs havent upgraded their networks on a whole. The problem lies around the fact that we need more bandwidth now, but they havent upgraded to support this. What we really need is for the US government to lay ALL the major fiber, and let the ISP's lay down that in *small* areas. Japan, for example has lines that are good for at least 50 mb/s just about everywhere, and lots higher in cities. Ya, they are tiny compared to the entire US, but our bandwidth here is still pitiful. The best you can get for the average user is 5 megs, for a cable connection, and 2 for most DSL connections.

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