Home media servers, AUPs, and upstream bandwidth utilization.

Thomas Leavitt thomas at thomasleavitt.org
Mon Dec 25 08:25:21 UTC 2006

Check the AUP and TOS for that EVDO connection - my guess is that by 
viewing stuff from your Slingbox, you're risking termination of service. 
I don't have an EVDO connection myself (still toodling along with my 
Sidekick's GPRS), and part of the reason why is that they have a lot of 
what I think are unreasonable restrictions on how these services can be 
used -- this is based on what I've read on the various mailing lists I'm 
on (Dave Farber's IP, Declan McCullagh's Politech, and Dewayne 
Hendrick's Dewayne-Net).

I don't know how significant restrictions like this are from a 
competitive perspective, but my broadband ISP also has a very liberal 
TOS... and that's one of the reasons I use them. I suspect that as items 
like the Slingbox become more common, folks will start paying more 
attention to what they're permitted to do with their upstream bandwidth.


Roland Dobbins wrote:
> I recently purchased a Slingbox Pro, and have set it up so that I can 
> remotely access/control my home HDTV DVR and stream video remotely.  
> My broadband access SP specifically allow home users to run servers, 
> as long as said servers don't cause a problem for the SP 
> infrastructure nor for other users or doing anything illegal; as long 
> as I'm not breaking the law or making problems for others, they don't 
> care.
> The Slingbox is pretty cool; when I access it, both the video and 
> audio quality are more than acceptable.  It even works well when I 
> access it via EVDO; on average, I'm pulling down about 450kb/sec up to 
> about 580kb/sec over TCP (my home upstream link is a theoretical 
> 768kb/sec, minus overhead; I generally get something pretty close to 
> that).
> What I'm wondering is, do broadband SPs believe that this kind of 
> system will become common enough to make a signficant difference in 
> traffic paterns, and if so, how do they believe it will affect their 
> access infrastructures in terms of capacity, given the typical 
> asymmetries seen in upstream vs. downstream capacity in many broadband 
> access networks?  If a user isn't doing something like breaking the 
> law by illegally redistributing copyrighted content, is this sort of 
> activity permitted by your AUPs?  If so, would you change your AUPs if 
> you saw a significant shift towards non-infringing upstream content 
> streaming by your broadband access customers?  If not, would you 
> consider changing your AUPs in order to allow this sort of upstream 
> content streaming of non-infringing content, with the caveat that 
> users can't caused problems for your infrastructure or for other 
> users, and perhaps with a bandwidth cap?
> Would you police down this traffic if you could readily classify it, 
> as many SPs do with P2P applications?  Would the fact that this type 
> of traffic doesn't appear to be illegal or infringing in any way lead 
> you to treat it differently than P2P traffic (even though there are 
> many legitimate uses for P2P file-sharing systems, the presumption 
> always seems to be that the majority of P2P traffic is in 
> illegally-redistributed copyrighted content, and thus P2P technologies 
> seem to've acquired a taint of distaste from many quarters, rightly or 
> wrongly).
> Also, have you considered running a service like this yourselves, a la 
> Vidoeconferencing is somewhat analogous, but in most cases, 
> videoconference calls (things like iChat, Skype videoconferencing, 
> etc.) generally seem to use a less bandwidth than the Slingox, and it 
> seems to me that they will in most cases be of shorter duration than, 
> say, a business traveler who wants to keep up with Lost or 24 and so 
> sits down to stream video from his home A/V system for 45 minutes to 
> an hour at a stretch.
> Sorry to ramble, this neat little toy just sparked a few questions, 
> and I figured that some of you are dealing with these kinds of issues 
> already, or are anticipating doing so in the not-so-distant future.  
> Any insight or informed speculation greatly appreciated!
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Roland Dobbins <rdobbins at cisco.com> // 408.527.6376 voice
>         All battles are perpetual.
>                -- Milton Friedman

Thomas Leavitt - thomas at thomasleavitt.org - 831-295-3917 (cell)

*** Independent Systems and Network Consultant, Santa Cruz, CA ***

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