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[ NNSquad ] Re: Is the bandwidth hog a myth?
- Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Is the bandwidth hog a myth?
- From: Wes Felter <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 03 Dec 2009 15:37:19 -0600
- Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
Benoit Felten of the Yankee Group challenges the "myth of the bandwidth
hog" used by ISPs to fight network neutrality:
He argues that TCP is inherently fair (though he does not address UDP).
This is definitely not true; TCP implements a pretty weak form of
"fairness" that is different (and worse) than the common sense
definition of the term. George Ou and Lawrence Roberts have explained
this several times.
Even assuming fair bandwidth sharing, it's questionable whether it's a
good idea for an ISP to run a link at 100% utilization which tends to
I agree that we should be worrying about actual congestion rather than
just assuming that the customers who transfer the most data are likely
to be causing any congestion that may exist. (To throw in an anecdote, I
have noticed virtually no congestion on my broadband for years; perhaps
none of my neighbors are "hogging" and thus no one in my neighborhood
should be punished.) This type of monitoring will likely be more
expensive than simply counting bytes, so we should be careful not to add
too much cost here (I wouldn't want the Internet to becoming like the
PSTN, which is a giant accounting/billing system that also completes
Interestingly, the much-reviled Comcast is actually a leader in this
area, with their protocol-neutral bandwidth management that tracks
actual congestion (or "near-congestion"). Perhaps once this system has
been improved with experience (I hesitate to say "perfected") Comcast
will find that caps are unnecessary and do away with them.