Is anyone actually USING IP QoS?

Steve Riley (MCS) steriley at
Tue May 18 20:02:28 UTC 1999

Hmm. It was interesting to read the various replies both on the list and
personal. A number of people pointed out, rightly, that I'm thinking of the
USA. That's true. They further gave examples of the exhorbitant costs that
people elsewhere in the world pay for connections. While I certainly
understand the desire to use some form of QoS to squeeze every bit of
capacity from expensive skinny pipes, I believe that it is wrong to try to
use a technological solution (usually poorly understood and implemented) to
solve what is primarily a political problem. There is absolutely no
technological reason why international rates are so much higher than
domestic US rates.

Regarding the idea of "free bandwidth," that's not what I said. I said that
bandwidth is "essentially free." Of course there will always be a cost for
bandwidth. But consider for a moment what's happened to disk storage. In
1990 I purchased my first PC. I paid $550 for an 80 MB hard drive -- that's
$6.875 per megabyte. Today you can purchase a 25 GB hard drive for $450 --
that's $0.018 per megabyte. That's a 31,250% increase in capacity
accompanied by a 99.73% reduction in price per megabyte. So you see, on a
per megabyte basis, storage is "essentially free." The same thing has
happened to CPU and memory. It will happen to bandwidth, too, and in many
cases already has.

For a time I worked in information technology architecture. One of the
tennents of that field is that it's always cheaper to trade capacity for
staff. You can overbuild now, while planning for growth, and save money over
the alternative of continually tweaking and making minor improvements and
upgrades which requires expensive time and personnel. QoS is an acceptable
idea which in certain specific situations might be suitable for solving an
existing problem. But since QoS is expensive to manage it simply is not
viable in the long term. We in the networking and telecommunications
industries need to redirect our energy away from bandages and instead toward
making abundant bandwidth readily available to everyone.

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 4:29 PM
To: nanog at; Steve Riley (MCS)
Subject: RE: Is anyone actually USING IP QoS?

Steve Riley (MCS) <steriley at> wrote:

>Nice to see that I'm not the only one believing in the foolishness of QoS

Er... me, agreeing with someone from Microsoft?  Yeech!  (just kidding :)

>Allow me to point you to an interesting paper called "Rise of the Stupid

Unfortunately that paper oversimplifies the whole congestion control
issue by completely ignoring the fact that data traffic has a
heavy-tailed distribution.  Which pretty much means that no matter
how much capacity is there, as long as there's oversubscription
there will be at least transient traffic jams.

Which means that the issue of what to do with different types
of traffic when there's a congestion cannot be just pooh-poohed.

The big problem with G.711 and its progeny is the lack of effective
cooperative congestion control which would guarantee network stability
(like TCP does).  Fortunately, the bulk of network traffic is
"canned" content, which can (and should) be transmitted with TCP.


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