mailing list archives
Re: New Short Video: "Network Neutrality in 30 Seconds" (Part 1)
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:52:55 -0400
Begin forwarded message:
From: Barry Gold <bgold () matrix-consultants com>
Date: August 27, 2008 11:25:54 AM EDT
To: "Patrick W. Gilmore" <patrick () ianai net>
Cc: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: New Short Video: "Network Neutrality in 30
Seconds" (Part 1)
Patrick W. Gilmore wrote:
I have a couple questions regarding your assumptions.
First, why does the broadband provider have to pay a "backbone"?
Most of the filtering, capping, limiting, etc. is centered around
the P2P debate. Cable-cos and DSL providers almost all have free
peering with one another, and P2P is almost exclusively traffic
between end users on these networks. Where did the "backbone" come
First, the ISP has to pay somebody else (a backbone provider) for a
"hose" (water main) to transmit their packets to the rest of the
internet. If their customers demand more bandwidth, they have to
bigger water main. And that needs to be paid for somehow: either by
raising rates for all their customers, by charging the heaviest users
extra, by imposing bandwidth "caps" to encourage the heaviest users
buy a higher service tier, or some combination.
OK, having read the Wikipedia article on "Tier 1 networks," I'm
inclined to agree with you. It appears that most large cable ISPs are
probably "Tier 2" but peer with each other and hence don't pay transit/
What that means for this discussion is that most large ISPs (cablecos
and telcos) really don't have external charges as an excuse for
limiting user traffic. There's still the other issue I raised, however.
Also, Verizon and SBC both own Tier One providers, who pay no one.
They are what you would cll the "backbone". (Leaving aside how very
wrong that word and its connotations are in this discussion.) And
what do you think the chances are the large MSOs aren't thinking
about buying a Tier One or becoming one themselves?
Yes. I was talking about cablecos, not telcos. I agree that Verizon
& SBC/AT&T own their own "backbones" and, as such, any settlements are
purely "funny money" (internal funds).
Second, the current system is asymmetric(4). The installed fiber/
base can carry multi-terabits downstream (CO to customer) but only
gigabits upstream (customer to CO). This usually applies to the
First, you admit DOCSIS 3.0 is symmetric, and you ignore the DSL
they buy from backbone providers too: a gigabyte of outgoing packets
costs significantly more than a gigabyte of incoming packets.
Yes. I was specifically talking about cablecos. There is no
asymmetry for telcos and other DSL providers, and _over the next few
years_ the assymetry will disappear for cablecos as well. So my
analysis applies only right now, not 2-3 years from now.
But even granting the idea that upstream bandwidth is
limited, there is no cost associated with it. The "backbone"
providers charge on the greater of in or out, not the sum of the
two. Since you admit downstream capacity is greater than upstream,
the cable-cos will not be charge for outgoing bits and realistically
never will be.
Again, this is probably true of cablecos/telcos. Brett reports buying
asymmetric connections from larger providers, and while I think he is
biased, I have no reason to disbelieve his first-hand reports.
Assuming Brett is telling the truth, it seems likely that most other
small providers will do something similar: pay less for an asymmetric
connection because it _costs_ significantly less than one that can
carry the same bit rate in both directions.
Or maybe not. Perhaps Brett is in an unusual position, having to buy
his connection "retail" from a cableco rather than directly from a
Tier 1 or even Tier 2 provider. In which case, the problem affects
only him and other similarly-placed (semi-)rural providers. In which
case, regulators could (and IMHO should) make appropriate exceptions
for smaller providers like Lariat and only apply NN rules to larger
Remaining, however, is the congestion problem. If a cableco is
currently running DOCSIS 2, they have a lot more bandwidth available
for downloads than for uploads, and customers who make a more
symmetric use, uploading nearly as much as they download, can cause a
congestion problem for other users who share the same cable node. I
think that is sufficient reason for them to "cap" or at least delay
upward traffic for the heaviest users.
But, repeating what I said earlier: I think any such limits should be
based on _quantity_, not on _protocol_. Just count the packets and
the bits, and don't worry about what's inside them. (These aren't the
bits you're looking for. They can go about their business. Move
RSS Feed: https://www.listbox.com/member/archive/rss/247/
Powered by Listbox: http://www.listbox.com