More on Vonage service disruptions...

Church, Chuck cchurch at
Wed Mar 2 15:46:05 UTC 2005

Those are good points.  Someone last week mentioned what I thought was a
great list of priorities for an ISP:
1.  Keep the network running
2.  Remove those violating policies
3.  Route packets
(or something along those lines)

	A 30/50/90 kbps unicast stream isn't going to affect #1.  I
don't think any policies involved in #2 would cover a VoIP service
either.  That should leave #3 as the default for this traffic.  I can
picture a DDOS where infected Windows machines could send bogus SIP
traffic to Vonage servers; in this case temporary blocking might be
needed/justified.  But until that happens, blocking SIP is just wrong.
Another thing for an ISP considering blocking VoIP is the fact that
you're cutting off people's access to 911.  That alone has got to have
some tough legal ramifications.  I can tell you that if my ISP started
blocking my Vonage, my next cell phone call would be my attorney... 

Chuck Church
Lead Design Engineer
Netco Government Services - Design & Implementation Team
1210 N. Parker Rd.
Greenville, SC 29609
Home office: 864-335-9473
Cell: 703-819-3495
cchurch at
PGP key: 

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-nanog at [mailto:owner-nanog at] On Behalf Of
Fergie (Paul Ferguson)
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 9:46 AM
To: nanog at
Subject: More on Vonage service disruptions...

advancedIPpipeline is running another article this morning
in their series of articles covering the Vonage service
disruptions that [allegedly] invlove an ISP "port blocking"
SIP connectitity between Vonage's client equipment and
Vonage's servers. While there is a bit more decriptive
detail in this article involving the nature of the service
interruptions, Vonage's CEO, Jeffrey Citron, is trying
to make a [in my opinion] weak argument that this type
of traffic blocking is akin to censorship.

The silliness of the "censorship" argument aside, an
interesting snippet within this article started me
thinking abut the "slippery slope" which might
ensue if any type of legislation is enacted which
would attempt to prohibit an ISP from blocking
traffic in an effort to keep it [unwanted traffic]
from traversing their network:

 "'It'd be unfortunate to have to pass a law [against
 port blocking and other types of interference], but
 we may have to,' Citron said. Though he said he has
 previously testified against the need for port-blocking
 regulation, Citron may now change that tune, especially
 if more network operators start using port-blocking or
 other techniques to selectively control Internet

It looks to me like this is going to open up a huge can
of worms. On one hand, you have ISP's who own their own
infrastructure and have every right to prohibit traffic
from traversing their network which does not conform to
their AUP, business practices, technical standards, etc.,
or provide revenue. By the same token, and specifically
when it comes to things like VoIP, we have these issues
involving PUC's, FCC regulations, "equal access" rights,

IANAL (or a policy wonk), and I hope I'm wrong, but it
certainly looks like things could get pretty ugly.

- ferg

"Fergie", a.k.a. Paul Ferguson
 Engineering Architecture for the Internet
 fergdawg at or
 fergdawg at

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