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Introductory Remarks from Innovation '08

Here's my opening remarks from Media Access Project's Innovation '08 in Santa Clara this morning. A DVD will be available shortly. This was a lively discussion, with Google and Vuze on the case. Good morning and welcome. My name is Richard Bennett and I'm a network engineer. I've built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi... I'm opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we're going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain. more»

Has the FCC Created a Stone Too Heavy for It to Lift?

After five years of bickering, the FCC passed an Open Internet Report & Order on a partisan 3-2 vote this week. The order is meant to guarantee that the Internet of the future will be just as free and open as the Internet of the past. Its success depends on how fast the Commission can transform itself from an old school telecom regulator wired to resist change into an innovation stimulator embracing opportunity. One thing we can be sure about is that the order hasn't tamped down the hyperbole that's fueled the fight to control the Internet's constituent parts for all these years. more»

DPI is Not a Four-Letter Word!

As founder and CTO of Ellacoya Networks, a pioneer in Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), and now having spent the last year at Arbor Networks, a pioneer in network-based security, I have witnessed first hand the evolution of DPI. It has evolved from a niche traffic management technology to an integrated service delivery platform. Once relegated to the dark corners of the central office, DPI has become the network element that enables subscriber opt-in for new services, transparency of traffic usage and quotas, fairness during peak busy hours and protection from denial of service attacks, all the while protecting and maintaining the privacy of broadband users. Yet, DPI still gets a bad rap... more»

Comcast is Right, the FCC is Wrong

A fellow named Paul Korzeniowski has written a very good, concise piece on the Comcast action at the FCC for Forbes, Feds And Internet Service Providers Don't Mix. He manages to describe the controversy in clear and unemotional language, which contrasts sharply with the neutralists who constantly use emotionally-charged terms such as "blocking," "Deep Packet Inspection," "forgery," and "monopoly" to describe their discomfort. more»

Hunting Unicorns: Myths and Realities of the Net Neutrality Debate

In many ways, the emotionally charged debate on Network Neutrality (NN) has been a lot like hunting Unicorns. While hunting the mythical horse could be filled with adrenalin, emotion, and likely be quite entertaining, the prize would ultimately prove to be elusive. As a myth, entertaining; but when myths become reality, then all bets are off. The Network Neutrality public and private debate has been filled with more emotion than rational discussion, and in its wake a number of myths have become accepted as reality. Unfortunately, public policy, consumer broadband services, and service provider business survival hang in the balance. more»

No Fines for Comcast

Note: this is an update on my earlier story, which incorrectly said that the AP reported that Chairman Martin was seeking to impose "fines" on Comcast. In fact, the story used the word "punish" rather than "fine," and a headline writer at the New York Times added "penalty" to it "F.C.C. Chairman Favors Penalty on Comcast" (I won't quote the story because I'm a blogger and the AP is the AP, so click through.) Much of the initial reaction to the story was obviously colored by the headline. more»

In Praise of Relatively Dumb Pipes

Comcast's furtive and undisclosed traffic manipulation reminds me of a curious, red herring asserted by some incumbent carriers and their sponsored researchers: that without complete freedom to vertically and horizontally integrate the carriers would lose synergies, efficiencies and be relegated to operating "dumb pipes."... Constructing and operating the pipes instead of creating the stuff that traverses them gets a bad rap. It may not be sexy, but it probably has less risk. But of course with less risk comes less reward, and suddenly no one in the telecommunications business is content with that. So incumbent carriers assert that convergence and competitive necessity requires them to add "value" to the pipes. more»

Net Neutrality: A Net-Head View

Net neutrality is a complex issue with some strongly opposed views that at times sound more like religion than sensible argument, so this article is an attempt to provide some sense for those still not completely sure what it is all about. Be warned though, that this article is not an unbiased appraisal of the arguments, it is written from the perspective of a confirmed net-head. more»

U.S. Internet Providers Seek Low Broadband Bar

Fergie writes: A Reuters newswire article, via Forbes.com, reports that: "The biggest U.S. Internet service providers urged regulators to adopt a conservative definition of 'broadband,' arguing for minimum speeds that were substantially below many other nations. The submissions were filed with the Federal Communications Commission which had sought comments by Aug. 31 on how the agency should define broadband for a report to be submitted to Congress early next year..." more»

Vint Cerf Caught Off Guard, Nevertheless Says What Needs to Be Said About Our Misguided Policy

This morning's mail brought news of a 3 minute 45 second video clip of very candid and very outstanding remarks from Vint Cerf. Vint says very clearly what needs to be said and what needs to be grasped and acted on by the new president and congress next year... My observation is that in my opinion it is not the lighting that is unusual but rather the camera angle. It looks like interviewer is seated with his camera pointed up. The camera is looking at Vint's chin. Consequently I sent Vint an email: "you knew you were being recorded - surely? I hope: in any case the good deed is done... thank you sir." Vint replied with permission to quote... more»

The Internet: Missing the Light

Today's Internet is wonderful for solving hard problems such as connecting to Amazon to buy goods or for using Netflix. Amazon and Netflix, among others, demonstrate what is possible if you put in enough effort. Yet if we are to understand the Internet we need to look beyond those applications to the simplest application such as sending one bit of information from a light switch to a light fixture. more»

Dr. Peering Commits Malpractice on Net Neutrality

At Tier1 Research, we hate to call out individuals for wrongdoing, but once in a while, it's absolutely necessary. At the moment, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the middle of the rulemaking process for network neutrality, a complex endeavor. While Tier1 is against interference from regulators as a concept, the proposed rulemaking document from the FCC, while vague, is not completely unreasonable... more»

IPv6 and LTE, the Not So Long Term Evolution?

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T saw wireless networks about to drown under a deluge of data. To see YouTube content uploaded form an iPhone or Slingbox rerouting a favourite television program to your smart phone gives mobile network operators the shivers. Skype over 3G in the meantime gives sleepless nights, not because of surging megabyte floods but due to nightmares of considerable voice and roaming revenues washing away. Not easy to plan and engineer "managed transitions" under those circumstances. more»

Paid Peering: Issues and Misunderstandings

Recently I was asked for my opinion on Google paying France Telecom (FT) to deliver traffic into FT's network, i.e. Google paying to peer with FT. I wasn't aware Google pays FT. I don't even know if it's true. But I do know this is a topic fraught with misunderstandings. Also, if there is a "problem" here, the problem is one of competition (or lack thereof) in portions of the French broadband access market. It is not a problem that can be or should be fixed by "network neutrality" regulations or legislation. more»

"It's The Internet Stupid" …I Respectfully Disagree

Today, in response to "It’s The Internet Stupid", Richard Bennett highlights (on the IP List) something I've noticed even among other advocates of 'Net Neutrality' (and how I've come to detest the term after its widespread and misguided overuse). Legislating against the concepts of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) or other preferential treatment of packets is not the brightest thing to do. I've seen others draw analogies to gun control using the 'guns don't kill people' argument... more»