Daily Neutrino Spin

Ethan Zuckerman plays the typical “what if” game that neutrinos like so much, and enhances it in his comments with one of the biggest lies ever told:

Right now, no major ISPs give preferential treatment to one type of traffic over another.

Lippard sets him straight:

Again, not true in the backbone world–Global Crossing, Level 3, AT&T, MCI, Qwest, and others offer products that use QoS and separate MPLS VPNs for certain types of traffic (and permit customers to do the same with their own traffic). At least one of the above-mentioned bills (HR5417) will classify backbone providers as broadband providers and make these products illegal or of questionable legality, which makes no sense.

as do I:

The cable company access lines carry voice, video, and packet traffic on different channels and with different QoS. The DOCSIS protocol that carries packet traffic on this network is isochronous, and it most certainly prioritizes based on QoS. The telco lines that carry DSL carry analog voice in a different FDM domain, and apply completely different rules to it. And it’s always been legal for any ISP to prioritize traffic any way he sees fit; common carrier rules didn’t address ISP filtering and forwarding. WiFi networks also prioritize based on QoS requirements through a little feature called 802.11e.

VoIP doesn’t inherently work well on a packet network, with first-come, first-served queuing when load is reasonably high. Providing priority queuing is the most efficient way to combine VoIP with the heavy demands for bandwidth that HDTV poses. Simply throwing bandwidth at this problem doesn’t solve it, and when the bandwidth has to be bought with somebody else’s dime, your solution is a non-starter.

Every net neutrality argument I’ve seen relies on spin and misinformation, and yours is no exception.

Some of these neutrinos are simply uninformed, but others are deliberately lying.

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8 Responses to Daily Neutrino Spin

  1. directorblue says:

    What you seem to be describing are “backbone reservation systems” in which a backbone parcels out dedicated bandwidth to public Internet traffic, MPLS for private networks, and the like. You know as well as I do that 5417 will likely never impact this sort of arrangement.

    I’m more concerned with this question:

    Has tiering ever worked in a multidomain environment?

    When the best and brightest worked on Internet2 (and, as Lippard says, “Internet2 is a massively overengineered research network–the way it is operated is quite different from the way a commercial network is run, and they have the ability to spend a lot more capital per user than a commercial network”).

    Okay, then why couldn’t Internet2 get QoS to work in their controlled, overengineered environment? May I quote from the Abilene documentation?

    ” The utter simplicity of the best-effort service model is one of the essential reasons for the success of the Internet. It has allowed IP to be implemented over every conceivable link-layer and has… enabled a fast, dumb, cheap, and wildly scalable internet.

    The greatest challenge for internet QoS is to find lightweight traffic differentiation schemes that add value without adding significant additional operational complexity or endangering the principles that have made the Internet so successful…

    After several years of experience attempting to deploy an interdomain, EF-based, virtual wire service in the Internet2 environment, the Internet2 QoS working group has concluded that any reservation-based form of QoS faces prohibitively difficult deployment obstacles…

    D’ya think the carriers might want to prove out an interdomain tiering model in a controlled, over-engineered network before unleashing it on the Internet? Or am I missing where such a model that has already proven itself?

  2. Richard says:

    The comment you quote doesn’t condemn QoS, it only addresses one of two ways of providing it, the “reservation-based” model that’s used by RSVP and IntServ. The other approach is a priority-based model used by DiffServ WiFi WMM. The phone and cable company have used reservation-based QoS for rather a long time, and every time you make an overseas call you’re using interdomain reservation-based QoS. It clearly works.

    Wireless LAN systems use priority-based QoS and that works too. Internet2 has apparently gotten bogged down in religiosity and lost sight of the fundamentals of networking. That’s sad for all the taxpayers who funded that experiment.

  3. watcher says:

    Is there any reason why we can’t allow the ISPs to develop and use whatever business model they think will work best? I’m not as well versed in this subject as either of you, but it seems to me that these companies should have a good understanding of how the Internet works and should be able to come up with a good plan. The government can always be brought in to regulate later, but once we let them in, it will be tough to get them out if we decide we jumped the gun.

  4. Luv2Box says:

    YES! Finally someone getting it right! Great post debunking all the muck that is flying around regarding NN. Let’s just hope people will see past Moby and REM and get this one right – the Internet as we know it depends on it!

  5. Net Chick says:

    Why in the world is REM and Moby involved in the technology war? Reputable companies like Verizon are the ones we should be looking to for the right answers, not has-been musicians. Look at the source, people.

  6. frank04 says:

    Spin on this issue is everywhere, as you point out. Google is playing the principled card here while violating the principle abroad as well as here by differentiating search engine results for profit. Thanks for cutting throught the garbage on this issue.

  7. MRT says:

    I just don’t see how handing the reins of the internet over to the government is the best course of action for issues that don’t exist yet. As people have said, prioritizing content has already happened on smaller levels before. We should wait and see how a new tiered internet works before we make legislation we can never take back.

  8. lemon_lyman says:

    RIGHT! how could we possibly let Moby and REM inffluence the way we think about NN, an issue that certainly plays a bigger role in our everday lives as consumers than theirs. Let’s look at the facts and wait for a problem to actaully exist before we allow government regulations to hamper the internet.

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