Creating a crystal clear and pure Internet

Fred Reimer freimer at
Tue Nov 27 15:18:47 UTC 2007

No offense, but I think this is an overly political topic, and we
just saw that politics are not supposed to be discussed.  There
is a huge political debate on what ISP's should and should not be
doing to traffic that flows through their systems.  There are
other groups, like NNsquad, where these types of conversations
are welcome, but even there on the forums, not the mailing list.

But, if it's not viewed as political then...

Your analogy is flawed, because the Internet is not a pipe system
and ISP's are not your local water utility.  And, there are many
different ways that water utilities are handled in different
parts of the world.  In the US, most if not all water utilities
are handled by the government, usually the county government
where I'm from.  ISP's are not government run, and can't be
compared to a water utility for that simple reason.  They don't
have the same legal (again, an issue that is not supposed to be
discussed, according to the AUP) requirements nor the legal
protections available to governments (you can't sue most

And my personal opinion is that ISP's should not do anything to
the traffic that passes through their network as far as
filtering.  The only discriminatory behavior that should be
allowed is for QoS, to treat specific types or traffic in a
different manner to give preferential treatment to specific
classifications of traffic.  My definition of QoS for the
purposes of this discussion, if it is allowed to continue, would
not include shaping or policing.  If an ISP says you have a 5Mb
downstream and a 512K upstream, you should actually be allowed to
send 512K upstream all the time.  However, that's not to say that
an ISP should not be able to classify traffic as scavenger over a
particular threshold, and preferentially drop that traffic at
their overprescribed uplink if that is a bottleneck.  The end
user should also be allowed to specify their own QoS markings,
and they should be honored as long as they don't go over specific
thresholds as imposed, and documented, by the ISP.  For example,
the customer should be able to self-classify certain traffic as
high priority (VoIP) and certain as low (P2P), but if the
customer classified all traffic as high priority the ISP is free
to remark anything over a set threshold (say 128K) as a lower
priority, but NOT police it.

If you want to use an analogy, ISP's are more like >private< road
systems and owners, using >public< lands that have been given a
right to use said >public< lands for >private< profits with
specific restrictions.  Some restrictions may be that you can't
discriminate on the payload (and kind of identifying category for
passengers, such as race, ethnicity, gender, etc, which in the
network world would map to type of protocol or payload content,
such as P2P traffic or email), but that you can create an HOV
lane for high occupancy vehicles (QoS).  Of course, ISP's are
allowed to make sure the vehicles are in proper working condition
(checking that various layer headers are in compliance).  Much
like with the self-marking of traffic with QoS tags, the customer
should also be able to make their own decision and pack two other
people in the car in order to get into that HOV lane.  However,
if the users of the road try and pack everything into the HOV
lane, they can be reclassified (busses may have to pay a higher
fee to use the road).

However, in this world of religious warfare (another banned
topic, I'm sure!) it is recognized that a certain level of
profiling is acceptable.  So, it may be O.K. for ISP's to profile
and deny traffic depending on the payload only for specific types
of traffic that have been shown to cause issues, and/or only be
present for nefarious reasons.  Examples may be known signatures
for virus attacks, worms, or Trojans.  Other examples may be
identifying characteristics for SPAM (I'm reluctant to say
"excessive email traffic" because I don't believe that is a
proper identifying characteristic, I should be able to run my own
SMTP server and send out as much legitimate email as I want).

I realize that my views probably won't be shared by the vast
majority of ISP's, and hence are overly political for this group.
That's why I think any discussion is not necessarily on-topic.


Senior Network Engineer
Coleman Technologies, Inc.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-nanog at [mailto:owner-nanog at]
> On Behalf Of Sean Donelan
> Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:39 AM
> To: nanog at
> Subject: Creating a crystal clear and pure Internet
> Some people have compared unwanted Internet traffic to water
> pollution,
> and proposed that ISPs should be required to be like water
> utilities and
> be responsible for keeping the Internet water crystal clear
> and pure.
> Several new projects have started around the world to
> achieve those goals.
> ITU anti-botnet initiative
> D/cyb/cybersecurity/projects/botnet.html
> France anti-piracy initiative
> olivennes231107.htm
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