Net Neutrality In EU Could Be At Risk With Next Week's Vote

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InvalidError

Titan
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Network Neutrality sounds nice in theory but it has its downsides as well: some types of services, such as VoIP and competitive gaming, can genuinely benefit from special treatment. Similarly, the IP protocol has provisions for managed QoS and congestion which people and applications could also benefit from if ISPs implemented proper support for them.

Preventing service providers from experimenting with such new opportunities in the name of network neutrality may ultimately turn into a disservice.

For example: with real DiffServ QoS, you can floor your connection 24/7 and never worry about running out of bandwidth for VoIP because your VoIP stream has a real-time priority QoS tagging which makes it jump the queue through the network on hops that (try to) honor QoS tags. No need to do ghetto-QoS by reserving a chunk of your typical net bandwidth to make sure you always have at least that much spare bandwidth - at least to the best of your ability from your end of the network.

Under strict NN rules, such service enhancements which would come a long way towards stabilizing the performance of certain applications during times of heavy network loads become impossible. Seems like it would be a shame to me.

NN rules may restrict the extent to which "fast lanes", special services, sender-paid/sponsored bandwidth, congestion management, etc. can be used but they should not ban them outright since many of them have very practical legitimate uses.
 

skit75

Splendid
....Just like toll lanes improve automobile traffic?

Oversimplifying, you bet. The toll lanes sounded good in theory and study after study says they have only made traffic worse, evidenced by 6 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 or 110 while two full lanes go nearly unused.

Let the fast lane proponents fund and build their own lanes if that is what they want. Keep the ISP out of it. We need all of our lanes even if we don't use all of them, all of the time. When we need them, we REALLY need them.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator

The proper way to go about it would be to have companies, ISPs, service providers and other network operators who want fast lanes to build them but then require them to make whatever under-used capacity there is on it available for all other traffic. This way, the prioritized/fast-lane traffic is always fast and other lanes get some relief when the fast lanes are not full. This way, even the "toll lanes" get packed during rush hours and people who paid for the toll lanes still get to spare their brakes.
 

3dhoc

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The "fast lanes" sound nice in theory, but are they really needed? I've got just a DSL connection and stuff works JUST FINE. Plus, letting the government decide anything about our information during such political crisis is a bad idea. In the end, the ISPs probably just figured that they are too lazy to actually try offer such a service and went directly for the parliament to FORCE us in such a service. If I want fast lanes, I want it to be in my contract. I paid for a plain connection that should allow all services to work. Instead of wasting our time on QoS we should be researching and installing new lanes... QoS was created during the times of modems and barely makes sense now, except for specialized scenarios. At my home I do not want it, do not need it.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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QoS capabilities are already built into all network equipment more advanced than SOHO router and switch. It has been used by networks and service providers for to guarantee the performance of certain traffic, such as phone calls, over mixed networks for decades in one form or another.

Adding capacity is not enough to guarantee the performance of a timing-critical stream over the internet: internet traffic comes and goes in bursts. It is impossible to guarantee that no buffers anywhere between A and B won't get backed up by a burst even if you have 10X more capacity than normally needed. It only takes a few milliseconds of jitter to severely degrade the quality of a VoIP call.

Brute force can only get you so far and gets real expensive real fast. With QoS, networks could work smarter instead of harder.

QoS is not really that specialized: if you have FTTH, the service provider relies on QoS to make IPTV, voice and data play nice on the shared fiber. Without QoS on the fiber, they would be unable to guarantee POTS-equivalent call quality.
 

3dhoc

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NOTE: Tom's, the commenting usability is abysmal. I just double-posted while being totally blinded by the wind from scrolling around while looking for buttons to do simple things.

Now, I know the technicalities. Still, thanks for the Informatics lesson. IPTV you say? Are you serious? I want all my streams encrypted. QoS only works if packets can be analyzed. This legislation is scary, because it would allow my privacy to be de-prioritized amongst various other dumb services. The parliament is wasting our time and money.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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DiffServ QoS does not need to know anything about your packets other than the QoS field in the IP headers and (optionally) source/destination IPs if the network needs to enforce use of a specific QoS tag for a specific service or source/destination. Everything QoS-based forwarding absolutely needs is part of the basic IP headers. In older versions of the IPv4 header definition, it used to be called Differentiated Service Code Point or DSCP.

How do you do blind QoS? You assign bit buckets, peak and sustained data rates and a priority level to each supported QoS tag (managed switches, enterprise/carrier-grade routers and converged network modems/ONTs already have all of this built-in) and then all you need to do is tell your application to set the DiffServ field to the appropriate value. For networks that follow the recommended DiffServ definitions, VoIP traffic for example would typically be tagged with code 46 (x2E) which should correspond to Expedited Forwarding. If you ever configured a VoIP device, you may have noticed an option to set the DiffServ field that defaults to 46, that's what it is for.

If you try pushing more bits through a given QoS channel than what you or your upstream provider(s) paid your ISP for and your ISP set your limits at, your QoS bit bucket for that QoS tag dries up and congests, preventing you from using the QoS channel for anything that uses more bandwidth than what it has been provided and intended for. You can VPN through your 200kbps VoIP QoS channel all day if you want.
 

QSV

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Network Neutrality sounds nice in theory but it has its downsides as well: some types of services, such as VoIP and competitive gaming, can genuinely benefit from special treatment. Similarly, the IP protocol has provisions for managed QoS and congestion which people and applications could also benefit from if ISPs implemented proper support for them.

Preventing service providers from experimenting with such new opportunities in the name of network neutrality may ultimately turn into a disservice.

For example: with real DiffServ QoS, you can floor your connection 24/7 and never worry about running out of bandwidth for VoIP because your VoIP stream has a real-time priority QoS tagging which makes it jump the queue through the network on hops that (try to) honor QoS tags. No need to do ghetto-QoS by reserving a chunk of your typical net bandwidth to make sure you always have at least that much spare bandwidth - at least to the best of your ability from your end of the network.

Under strict NN rules, such service enhancements which would come a long way towards stabilizing the performance of certain applications during times of heavy network loads become impossible. Seems like it would be a shame to me.

NN rules may restrict the extent to which "fast lanes", special services, sender-paid/sponsored bandwidth, congestion management, etc. can be used but they should not ban them outright since many of them have very practical legitimate uses.
Its funny how few people really understand net neutrality. Even here. Its really simple: It means that it is as fast as possible in any case, no matter what you do with your connection. Youre starting at a base that has no net neutrality!
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Being fast is one thing, being predictably and reliably fast are another.

Even with a proper DiffServ PHB setup, you still need 3-5X the QoS'd bandwidth to guarantee with reasonable certainty that there won't be much priority traffic backlogs (buffering) when packets from multiple QoS'd streams try to cross the same links between routers at the same time.

Building the whole internet in such a way that all traffic can be treated as priority would be prohibitively expensive.
 

okenny

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Fantastic article......but roaming applies to data too...?
I find I tend to use less and less of my talk time but more and more data exactly for the reasons mentioned...
I still however have the same roaming issues with data.
 

sicom

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I am so sick of hearing about net neutrality. Every other week it's, "net neutrality is in danger", and has been for years. Fucks sakes.
 

cats_Paw

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Every time governments impose regulations over something "to make it better" it gets worse.
Its no surprise: Governments benefit from big corporations since they pay taxes, so its in their best interest to create monopolies that will charge extra fees to consumers and increase Tax revenue.

There are other problems as well like lack of knowledge (try asking any of the regulators about internet, and you will find they mostly know very little about it).
This becomes especially problematic when regulators follow the advice of some "experts" and use their claims as facts.

So, while the article might be interesting in itself, it will be the real life application what worries me.

Allow me to give you an example of how this sort of laws can be used improperly:

Lets say that a small new competitor wants to start providing internet access. But since the law says "you have to have low roaming fees" and that small provider does not have "low roaming fees" (Because in his case he does not even have that service) then technically he is not following the new regulations so he is not allowed to provide internet.

It might sound a bit crazy but its actually fairly common that to open any business now days you need to comply with dozens of regulations that do not even apply to your particular business, but since the administrative branch requires you to fill those positions, you cant operate within the law.

So.... Im afraid the idea is good, but it will be used for bad.
 

Draven35

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"Imagine what $0.5/minute costs when calling into another U.S. state would be like.Imagine what $0.5/minute costs when calling into another U.S. state would be like."

The 1980s.
 

toadhammer

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Using bits in the IP header to make QoS decisions is basic networking. It means whatever creates the packet decides how it is handled. Things like email and surfing say they want to be handled one way, things like VOIP get handled a different way. QoS-based decisions mean if I get backlogged processing streaming voice/video packets, the ones that fall out of sequence/listening chronology are no good to me so I drop them.

This is not a threat to net neutrality.

The threat comes when the ISP wants to categorize the packet, not the packet creator. When the ISP decides they want to handle VPN streaming packets different than other streaming packets, or packets sourced from YouTube vs Hulu.

The threat to net neutrality is when the ISP is acting on other than how the creator of the service/packet says they should be treated, or treating one creator different than another, for exactly the same types of packets.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator

Someone still has to pay for that differentiated treatment though due to the additional capacity and network management required to meet any such commitments. By default, traffic on the internet is at default priority with no delivery guarantees, which is the main reason why general-purpose transit is much cheaper than any sort of point-to-(multi-)point link which may go over some of the same equipment and links as general transit with performance SLAs.
 

toadhammer

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Streaming services don't need every packet to get delivered, downloads do. So the delivery guarantees aren't meaningfully different from each other. No one *has* to pay. If skype or big downloads work for you, great. If you as a consumer need a bigger pipe to get skype working alongside a bunch of downloads, that's your choice. You get to pick the trade-off between sound/visual quality you are willing to live with, and what you are willing to spend.

And if a provider is giving all its customers nice high speed plans, but never builds network bandwidth to match, they don't *have* to pay any money. But they should be prepared for the customers to complain and go elsewhere (if possible). I personally think they're pissy and evil to demand more money if they upsell the speed, take the profits, and never upgrade the backend.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator

VoIP and competitive gaming need every packet to be delivered on-time, downloads and most video streaming don't because they can get around occasional packet loss, jitter, latency and other issues by using buffering.

Having 1Gbps internet does you no good jitter-wise if a link somewhere between A and B over the internet periodically has buffer backlog. Buffer backlog won't affect download or streaming but it will ruin VoIP and online gaming quality.
 
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