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[ NNSquad ] Re: Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet neutrality"-- the dangers of baking in our naive assumptions
I just posted http://rmf.vc/?n=unbaked which goes into more details about why baking in some services does real harm and why it betrays the generativity of the Internet. Let's be careful about demanding mathematical models because it's about the assumptions. If the assumptions are wrong or not captured in the math all the spreadsheet calculations do is give an aura of false authority to the numbers and that can have very foolish consequences -- like derivatives. And let's be extra wary of any system that requires gaming gamers in order to prevent gaming. What if I use up my allocation on cute kittens and then have a heart attack? Baking in services is problematic in the first place -- who is the intelligent designer? You need all sorts of complicated mechanisms in order to implement let alone enforce any policy. Who provides allocations and assigns priorities? Where do you do your measurements? And what is the entity that loses privileges -- an application, a user, a machine, a corporation, a family, a phone account? If ISPs set the rules then what is a valid purpose other than maximizing their revenue and preventing disruption to customers who dislike the newfangled applications. The more fundamental problem is that such policies miss the point of why the Internet is so generative -- it's because we can discover what we can do with what is available rather than waiting from 1970 to 2010 until someone sells us HSI (High Speed Internet). We didn't wait -- in 1993 we could do the web using dial up modems at a time when 1200bps was fast. And it was exciting and wonderful. Yes, today have lots more glitz but that's because it is available so we gravitated to use it. If we had more availability and less speed the applications you are starting to use on your portable devices would have already been far more common because they are useful and voice (telephony) would've been just another app. It's just that we couldn't assume availability. Even today carriers are telling us we're using up their cellular bits and that we each need to help out ATT by getting Wi-Fi from someone else. That's pretty extreme QoS -- where I'm maximizing their service not mine. As I keep saying we need to be careful about assuming bits have an intrinsic purpose (as I said in http://rmf.vc/?n=IPPvD). We shouldn't be trying to harden today's Internet as if history is at an end. We haven't begun to learn what is possible. -----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Barry Gold Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2010 13:07 To: nnsquad Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet neutrality" Lauren Weinstein wrote: > > 1) Confusing RFCs that are explicitly "informational only" with IETF > standards is sloppy and not recommended. > > 2) Dan Bricklin's essay: "Why We Don't Need QOS: Trains, Cars, and > Internet Quality of Service" is still very good reading: > http://bit.ly/bL1W1J (Dan Bricklin's Web Site) I found Bricklin's essay interesting, but was bothered by the lack of either hard data or a well-founded mathematical model to back up his assertions and figures. > My own view is that there may be some role for carefully crafted QoS > -- but that a) it's critical that it not be capable of being unfairly > "gamed" - b) its use should be as limited as possible - c) if used at > all, it should generally apply equally to all traffic of the same > class - d) you should not be able to "buy" higher priority for > arbitrary data across the public Internet - and e) I'd much prefer to > see bandwidth capacity increases avoid the need for QoS at all. I'll reassert my proposed solution: each customer is allocated up to X amount of "high priority" traffic per time period (second? minute? hour? month? -- maybe different levels for each?), up to Y amount of "medium priority." The user chooses which packets will have what priority (well, actually the application chooses, but the user chooses which apps to use). If a user tries to exceed his allocation, his "high priority" traffic is automatically downgraded to "medium" and then to "low". This is, I believe, self-correcting. Yes, BT can try to "game" the system by marking its packets high priority -- except that after the first few Kb (in a second) or GB (in a day or month), those packets will be downgraded. And if the user is trying to use VoIP and has a BT client using up his high-priority allocation, he'll see really lousy performance on his VoIP. Then he calls up support and is told, "Your BT(*) traffic used up your high-priority allocation. If you'd like to uninstall that, I can then give you a temporary allocation so your voice traffic (or gaming traffic) will work better.:" (*) Or whatever app is trying to game the system for more bandwidth -- and the chances are the ISP can figure out what app that is, either by looking at the packets as they go by, or by traffic analysis.