Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?

Chris Woodfield rekoil at semihuman.com
Fri Sep 17 10:17:59 CDT 2010


On Sep 17, 2010, at 6:48 02AM, Jack Bates wrote:

> On 9/17/2010 4:52 AM, Nathan Eisenberg wrote:
>>> True net-neutrality means no provider can have a better service than another.
>> 
>> This statement is not true - or at least, I am not convinced of its truth.  True net neutrality means no provider will artificially de-neutralize their service by introducing destination based priority on congested links.
> 
> This is what you want it to mean. If I create a private peer to google, I have de-neutralized their service(destination based priority, even though in both cases, it's the source of the packets we care about) by allowing dedicated bandwidth and lower latency to their cloud.
> 

Practically, this is not the case. These days, most congestion tends to happen at the customer edge - the cable head-end or the DSL DSLAM, not the backbone or peering points. 

Also, Google, Yahoo, et al tend to base their peering decisions on technical, not business, standards, which makes sense because peering, above all other interconnect types, is mutually beneficial to both parties. More to the point, even the likes of Comcast won't shut down their peers to Yahoo because Google sends them a check.

> Also, let's not forget that the design of many p2p programs were specifically designed to ignore and bypass congestion controls... ie, screw other apps, I will take every bit of bandwidth I can get. This type of behavior causes p2p to have higher priority than other apps in a network that has no traffic prioritized.
> 
> While I agree that traffic type prioritization would be preferred over destination based priorities, it often isn't feasible with hardware. Understanding the amount of traffic between your customers and a content provider helps you decide which content providers might be prioritized to give an overall service increase to your customer base.
> 
> The fact that a content provider would even pay an ISP, is a high indicator that the content provider is sending a high load of traffic to the ISP, and bandwidth constraints are an issue with the service. Video and voice, in particular, should always try and have precedence over p2p, as they completely break and become unusable, where p2p will just be forced to move slower.
> 
>>> From a false assumption follows false conclusions.
> 
> Not really. It's not a neutral world. Private peering is by no means neutral. The provider that does enough traffic with google to warrant a private peering will have better service levels than the smaller guy who has to take the public paths. You view net neutrality as customers within an ISP, while I view it as a provider within a network of providers.
> 

It may not be neutral, but it's hardly discrinatory in the ways that I've seen many of the Non-net-neutrality schemes play out, which seems to be all about *deliberately* - either proactively or via actively deciding to not upgrade capacity - creating congestion in order to create a financial incentive for content providers to have their traffic prioritized.

And I do agree, a private peer is definitely one technical means by which this prioritization could happen, but that's not the practice today. 

> The levels of service and pricing I can maintain as a rural ISP can't be compared to the metropolitan ISPs. A west coast ISP won't have the same level of service as an east coast ISP when dealing with geographical based content. We could take it to the international scale, where countries don't have equal service levels to content.
> 
>> 
>> Why do you feel it's true that net-neutrality treads on private (or even public) peering, or content delivery platforms?  In my understanding, they are two separate topics: Net (non)-neutrality is literally about prioritizing different packets on the *same* wire based on whether the destination or source is from an ACL of IPs.  IE this link is congested, Netflix sends me a check every month, send their packets before the ones from Hulu and Youtube.  The act of sending traffic down a different link directly to a peers' network does not affect the neutrality of either party one iota - in fact, it works to solve the congested link problem (Look!  Adding capacity fixed it!).
>> 
> So you are saying, it's perfectly okay to improve one service over another by adding bandwidth directly to that service, but it's unacceptable to prioritize it's traffic on congested links (which effectively adds more bandwidth for that service). It's the same thing, using two different methods.
> 
> If we consider all bandwidth available between the customer and content (and consider latency as well, as it has an effect on the traffic, especially during congestion), a private peer dedicates bandwidth to content the same as prioritizing it's traffic. If anything, the private peer provides even more bandwidth.
> 
> ISP has 2xDS3 available for bandwidth total. Netflix traffic is 20mb/s. Bandwidth is considered saturated.
> 
> 1) 45mb public + 45 mb private = 90mb w/ 45mb prioritized traffic due to private peering
> 
> 2) 90mb public = 90mb w/ 20mb prioritized traffic via destination prioritization (actual usage)
> 
> It appears that the second is a better deal. The fact that netflix got better service levels was an ISP decision. By using prioritization on shared pipes, it actually gave customers more bandwidth than using separate pipes.
> 
>> The ethics of path distances, peering relationships and vector routing, while interesting, are out of scope in a discussion of neutrality.  An argument which makes this a larger issue encompassing peering and vector routing is, in my opinion, either a straw man or a red herring (depending on how well it's presented) attempt to generate a second technoethical issue in order to defeat the first one.
>> 
> 
> It's a matter of viewpoint. It's convenient to talk about net-neutrality when it's scoped, but not when we widen the scope. Customer A gets better service than Customer B because he want to a site that had prioritization. Never mind that while they fight over the saturated link, Customer C beat both of them because he was on a separate segment that wasn't saturated. All 3 paid the same amount of money. C > A > B, yet C doesn't fall into this net-neutrality discussion, and the provider, who wants to keep customers, has more C customers than A, and more A customers than B, so B is the most expendable.
> 
> My viewpoint is that of an ISP, and as such, I think of net-neutrality at a level above some last mile that's saturated at some other ISP.
> 
> Jack
> 
> 





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