Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?

JC Dill jcdill.lists at gmail.com
Fri Sep 17 19:18:50 UTC 2010

Jack Bates wrote:
> Is consumer grade bandwidth not deprioritised to business grade 
> bandwidth? 

No.  Today a provider doesn't move packets *within their network* faster 
or slower based on if the recipient is a consumer or business customer.  
Today, all providers move all packets as fast as they can be moved on 
the links each customer has contracted for service on.  (If you know of 
an exception to this practice, today, I'd love to see cites.) 

The usual congestion point is the end-user customer's line, and the 
customer can only receive packets as fast as their line allows but all 
packets are allowed over the customer's line with equal priority.  There 
may also be congestion on backbone ingress lines, but again all packets 
are allowed over each of those lines with equal priority.  Rarely, there 
is congestion within the network - not by design but (usually) due to 
equipment failure.  Even then, all traffic is (usually) allowed thru 
with equal priority.  I don't know of any networks that intentionally 
design their networks with interior systems that prioritize traffic thru 
their network.  It doesn't pay.  In the long run it's cheaper and easier 
to simply upgrade capacity than to figure out some way to delay some 
packets while letting others thru.

Prioritization necessarily involves moving some traffic slower (because 
you can't move traffic faster) than some link (within the provider's 
network) allows, to allow "priority" traffic to more fully utilize the 
link while the other (non-priority) traffic is slowed.  It effectively 
creates congestion points within the provider's network, if none existed 
prior to implementing the prioritization scheme.  "I encourage all my 
competitors to do that."


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