In the beginning was the command line..

traffic management and net neutrality

, posted: 22-Nov-2006 15:57

I was hoping New Zealand ISPs wouldn't go down the same bumpy road as overseas ones but, it looks like they have. "Traffic Management" is an oxymoron for technical reasons that I hope to make clear to you.

Why would an ISP use traffic management or L7 filtering instead of providing an un-adulterated connection?
I hazard a guess that they consider 99% of their users are only interested in browsing websites and using email and exploit this knowledge to increase profit without upgrading the infrastructure. This assumption is an insult to the technical brilliance of Inter-networking - not to mention a majority of Internet users. The Internet Protocol is designed to carry a payload of data to and from an IP address and layer 7 filtering threatens the agnostic nature of this fundamental mechanism for transferring data.

Because L7 filters can detect which application sent which packet it is within an ISP's power to limit ("manage" some might say) the usage of specific desktop computer applications. When a decision is made to do this type of traffic policing, obviously, no consideration is given to users of that policed traffic and this ignorance is clearly exhibited by ISPs today.

The Internet is by it's very nature agnostic to what data it is transferring and this agnosticism is what has allowed the Internet to grow and diversify into useful technologies. When ISPs are only letting you use certain, selected applications and if we can't rely on a P2P network being available to use without restrictions what technology is going to be subject to choking and throttling next?

Net Neutrality was lost the moment L7 filtering was installed.

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Comment by sbiddle, on 22-Nov-2006 18:28

"Net Neutrality was lost the moment L7 filtering was installed."

I don't agree entirely - L7 filtering has a place but it should be used to ensure that critical apps (such as VoIP) are given priority over non crital traffic rather than the opposite approach which is to throttle anything that might use bandwidth..

Author's note by barf, on 23-Nov-2006 18:16

thank you for your comment sbiddle. I believe traffic engineering is essential but traffic policing at the ISP level is harmful.

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Stuart MacIntosh
New Zealand

Hello world.