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[ NNSquad ] Re: Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet neutrality"

RFC 2475 is an architecture document that was written to explain the thinking behind the standards track RFC 2474, the RFC that defined the use of the DSCP field. Architecture documents are always informational, so there's no knock on it for that.

QoS is implemented at Layers 1 and 2; the mechanisms above Layer 2 that relate to QoS tend to deal with means by which the applications specify their desired QoS from Layer 2 rather than with the implementation. QoS for Internet protocols is simply a question of whether IP should utilize the QoS that Layer 2 implements. IP engineers therefore don't need to know much about QoS; IP is essentially a consumer of the network services provided by Layer 2.

Having worked in Layer 2 networking since before the Internet was designed, I can tell you that QoS is not a controversial feature in that field, and that there's always been a lot of head-scratching among network engineers about the reluctance of internetwork engineers to use the features that networks provide. The discussion of QoS among internetwork engineers, especially those whose familiarity goes back to the ARPANET days tend to be of a more hand-wavy nature than it is among the people who design, model, and implement the QoS control mechanisms in Layer 2 networks, but it's a different discussion. Layer 2 QoS engineers are solving an engineering problem, while Layer 3 people are consumers making a buy-or-don't-buy decision.

Layer 2 deals with issues on a very different time scale than Layer 3 does. Prioritization as a form of QoS is typically managed across congestion periods of less than 1 second. It doesn't address the problem of chronic under provisioning, but it does address TCP's aggressive behavior in terms of constantly seeking to consume all available bandwidth. Regardless of the amount of bandwidth provisioned, when most flows are governed by TCP, the network will oscillate between periods of light use and overload. This is baked-in to the TCP metrics, and DiffServ is simply a means by which real-time applications can succeed in the face of it.

Fred Baker tells a story about a network segment that Bell South used to operate. The admins noticed 25% packet loss on the segment, so they upgraded it from OC-3 to OC-12. That's a 4 x increase in bandwidth. What do you suppose happened to the network? Packet loss declined, but not all the way to 0: they still about 5 percent. That's TCP for you, it wants to get all the bandwidth that's available, even though its applications are flexible in terms of their completion time.

Internets of the future need to accommodate diverse and heterogeneous applications. Layer 2 networks are constantly tweaked, tuned, and provisioned for the application mix. This isn't evil, it's network engineering.

Let network engineers do their jobs, with appropriate oversight, and consumers will benefit.


On 8/14/2010 9:05 AM, 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)

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.

Note that QoS under these terms does not make it impossible (in
theory, anyway) to associate a higher class of service for designated
real-time public safety data, but would (thankfully) make it difficult
to buy high priority for spam.  But again, the Internet user community
overall is best served by increases in bandwidth that potentially
benefit everyone.

NNSquad Moderator

  - - -

On 08/14 00:42, George Ou wrote:
Acceptance by who?  RFC 2475 says:

"Service differentiation is desired to accommodate heterogeneous application
requirements and user expectations, and to permit differentiated pricing of
Internet service."

Furthermore, this is already an accepted practice on the Internet.  ISPs
like TeliaSonera already sell access to Blizzard with enhanced priority.
Business connections routinely have enhanced priority.  Global Crossing
sells enhanced priority to business customers and they even extend that
priority to partner networks in Asia and this has been happening for a while
now.  Who is Google or anyone to say this is wrong?

The FCC's NPRM proposal bans charges for "enhanced or prioritized" access to content/application/service providers and that is a pretty broad paint brush. That potentially outlaws a number of beneficial models I outlined here http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/01/preserving-the-open-and-competitive-ba ndwidth-market/.

If you're a content provider, why are you no longer a "business"?

Furthermore, a ban on Paid Peering harms smaller websites that can't build
their own infrastructure and negotiate free peering.  Is it a coincidence
that this harms Google's competitors?  Wait, I thought Google cared about
the "two guys in a garage"?  Oh wait, that was just lip service and Google
actually doesn't care.

Lastly, Net Neutrality doesn't even allow for user-approved prioritization. If a user explicitly gives an ISP permission to prioritize a particular website or a general class of applications, who are you or anyone else to say no? Would you suggest that user isn't smart enough to know what's good for himself or herself? As far as I'm concerned, a user should be allowed to discriminate in favor of content he/she likes or against content they don't care about when it comes to their own broadband service. They should be allowed to implement this discrimination themselves or authorize someone else (like the ISP) to do it for them.

George Ou

-----Original Message-----
From: Vint Cerf [mailto:vint@google.com]
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 6:59 PM
To: George Ou
Cc: Lauren Weinstein; nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: Re: [ NNSquad ] Re: Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet


I think that there is acceptance that charging more for more capacity
(bits/sec) but that differential charging for priority, regardless of
the type of traffic (eg real time, low delay or file transfer, or
...), could lead to anti-competitive consequences in which established
competitors might prevent new competitors from gaining adequate access
simply by consuming available capacity at high priority to squeeze out
the competition.


On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 1:47 PM, George Ou<george_ou@lanarchitect.net>
"You pay your service provider a fixed charge, and it mostly keeps no eye
who you connect to, or who connects to you. In a non-neutral world, the
could block your access to a popular website until you paid an extra fee
(like extra satellite or cable channels)"

That is clearly a clueless and misleading statement for anyone that's even
semi up to date on the actual policy debate. ïThe FCC's net neutrality
proposal actually doesn't prohibit broadband providers for charging
customers for higher priority; it prohibits broadband providers from
offering "enhanced or prioritized" services to content/app/service
on a truly voluntary basis. ïThat's the real sticking point that many
reasonable people have a problem with.


-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+george_ou=lanarchitect.net@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+george_ou=lanarchitect.net@nnsquad.org] On Behalf
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 8:56 AM
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet

Irish Times: "A modest proposal on internet neutrality"

http://bit.ly/bm2rw7 ï(Irish Times)

NNSquad Moderator

-- Richard Bennett Senior Research Fellow Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Washington, DC