Is anyone actually USING IP QoS?

Prabhu Kavi prabhu_kavi at
Mon May 17 22:43:55 UTC 1999

It's amazing that people continue to spout this "bandwidth is free" notion over
and over again. Based upon economics, could someone please explain to me how
service providers can run a business by giving away bandwidth?

I work at a small networking startup, with a moderate speed connection to the
Internet. If bandwidth was essentially free, our company would have an OC48c
connection to the service provider. Our company would perform all of its backups
over the network to an offsite data center. I would be downloading movies from a
new "electronic online video rental" company so I could watch it at home (until
my home received an OC48c and I streamed it directly). I would install cameras
at home that I can login into from work and watch constantly as a security
measure. Using these simple examples, I estimate that I could easily consume
several Mbps on average. So could everyone else. Is bandwidth still so plentiful
that it could be given away and QoS is not needed?

Let's compare bandwidth to another product that is getting cheaper: PCs. PCs
continually offer much better performance at the same price, but are not free.
The "free PCs" model is simply a way of offsetting the cost to another party
that sees value in getting captive long-term clients. The PC maker still gets

Likewise, bandwidth will continue to cheaper, but will not be free. As with
PCs,  the cost of bandwidth may be offset by a third party, but that is not
"free bandwidth". The service provider still gets paid. How much depends upon
factors like the QoS, the bandwidth, and the service availability.

Well paid (read profitable) service providers are good for all of us. This
includes the end customers, who need a service provider that can investment in
good facilities, equipment, and most of all, talented people to run the network.


"Steve Riley (MCS)" wrote:

> Nice to see that I'm not the only one believing in the foolishness of QoS
> hype. Bandwidth is essentially free, and will always be cheaper than QoS.
> And since in the end nearly all decisions are based on economics, it should
> be apparent which is the more logical decision.
> Allow me to point you to an interesting paper called "Rise of the Stupid
> Network." Many of you here may have already seen this. It was written back
> in 1997 by David Isenberg, then a reasearcher at AT&T Labs (Isenberg is now
> an independent consultant). His paper profoundly changed my views on QoS and
> made me realize that networks perform best when we limit how smart they get
> and ensure that networks focus on transport only. I urge everyone to read
> it.
> Paper:
> Isenberg's site:
> _________________________________________________________
> Steve Riley
> Microsoft Telecommunications Practice in Denver, Colorado
>     email: mailto:steriley at
>     call: +1 303 521-4129 (cellular)
>     page: +1 888 440-6249 or mailto:4406249 at
> Applying computer technology is simply finding the right wrench to pound in
> the correct screw.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vadim Antonov [mailto:avg at]
> Sent: Monday, May 17, 1999 12:28 PM
> To: nanog at; pete at
> Subject: Re: Is anyone actually USING IP QoS?
> Yep.  Altough not _all_ QoS schemes are broken-as-designed.  The
> most trivial per-packet priority combined with ingress
> priority mix shaping works.  Ths idea of end-to-end
> whatever reservations or guarantees is usually propounded
> by people who either neglected their CS courses or those
> who are trying to sell it.
> Yep.  The biggest QoS secret is that nobody actually needs
> it.  Bandwidth is cheap and is growing cheaper.  The
> manpower needed to deploy and maintain QoS is getting
> more and more expensive.
> --vadim

Prabhu Kavi                     Phone:  978-264-4900 x125
Tenor Networks                  FAX:    978-264-0671
50 Nagog Park                   Email:  prabhu_kavi at
Acton, MA 01720                 WWW:

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