The great debacle

The Register has published a number of reader comments on the Net neutrality debacle, er, debate, one of whom takes me to task:

TCP/IP’s ‘end-to-end’ nature (what used to be called a “connectionless network layer”) – far from being the consensual fashion of the time – was ferociously denounced by communications experts. They basically said it was just the sort of rubbish you’d expect with a communication system invented by computer people: it obviously wouldn’t scale.

Indeed, there have always been protocol wars, and they’re generally pitted computer people against networking people. The TCP Internet was a radical departure from networking principles as they were understood in the 1970s, and it turns out most of the criticisms from networking people were sound. The TCP Internet is great for handling one type of traffic – store and forward file transfers – and not so great for handling other types of traffic, such as real-time voice and video. As the latter is now more important than the former, the Internet needs to be tweaked again, and not for the first time.

Read the comments at The Reg, some are quite interesting.

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3 Responses to The great debacle

  1. Sigivald says:

    Just a quibble – in what way are video and voice “more important” than file transfer (ie, everything else that isn’t gaming)?

    More interesting to cable and phone companies who want to make money off VOIP or on-demand video, yes.

    But “more important” in general? To whom or to what?

  2. MnZ says:

    But “more important” in general? To whom or to what?

    To whom? How about a guy who’s VoIP connection degrades everytime some kids on the block decide to download the latest-teenie pop video?

  3. Richard says:

    I mean “more important” as “representing the fastest growing part of the traffic mix”. When we’re designing protocols, we try to optimize the typical case, and it seems reasonably clear that the future of multi-use IP networking is going to be voice and some form of video streaming.

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