Network Neutrality Recommendations Needed

by on March 30, 2007 · 18 comments

I’m starting a research project on network neutrality, and I’m hoping some of our smart readers can point me to stuff I ought to be reading. Below the fold I’ve got a brief summary of what I’m looking for. If you’ve ever studied the technical, economic, or political aspects of Internet routing policies, I would be eternally grateful if you could click through and give me your suggestions.


I’ve got a fair number of papers covering the network neutrality issue in broad strokes. What I’m looking for is some more in-depth materials covering some of the specifics.

First, I’d like to figure out what the state of research is regarding the utility of prioritization and packet shaping in routing protocols. I’ve expressed skepticism in the past about whether prioritizing technologies are necessary or helpful, but these have all been second or third-hand, and I’d like to go to the source. So I’m looking for good papers making the case for and against network designs that depart from the end-to-end principle. A literature survey would be especially helpful. Also, if anyone can suggest a good book that gives an in-depth explanation of modern routing technologies, that would also be helpful.

Secondly, I’d like to find some works that explain the structure of the Internet and the economics of peering. PFF had a pretty good study giving four case studies on the economics of network industries, but I’d like to find a more theoretical treatment, as well as some works looking in more detail at the dynamics of negotiations among network owners on the Internet. My sense is that the Internet is special—that because Internet routers are able to reconfigure themselves dynamically, the danger of any one network owner obtaining a dominant negotiating position is greatly reduced. So I’d be very interested in finding works that help me to flesh out that institution.

Finally, I’m interested in good regulatory capture stories. The ICC, FCC, and CAB are canonical examples of captured agencies, but I’m sure there are others. And if you’ve got a favorite book on the history of these or other agencies, that would be very helpful. And for balance, if you’ve got good examples of regulatory agencies that have resisted capture, I’d be interested in works about those too.

For all of these, bonus points for stuff that I can find for free on the Internet.

Thanks!

  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard
  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

    Whoops, misplaced a tag there, but both links should work.

  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard
  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

    Whoops, misplaced a tag there, but both links should work.

  • http://dsgazette.blogspot.com False Data

    If you’re looking at packet shaping and prioritization as a handle on the smart network/dumb network debate, you might also consider a third technique which proved effective in practice: have your company connect to multiple service providers and steer outbound traffic down one link or the other. It takes advantage of the fact that traffic tends to be asymmetric, with most of outbound from the company. (Picture someone like YouTube using this stuff.) Routescience used to have some stuff called Adaptive Network Software that did that. (You can find a quick overview here, but it helps if you speak NANOG :-) . They’ve since been acquired by Avaya but might be willing to furnish whitepapers. I think Sockeye had something similar, too. A good general lesson to draw is that getting good performance across a wide range of applications without embedding intelligence in the network can be a difficult technical challenge.

    For other references, I assume you’ve already gone trundling through the cites in Rob Frieden’s Network Neutrality or Bias paper?

  • http://dsgazette.blogspot.com False Data

    If you’re looking at packet shaping and prioritization as a handle on the smart network/dumb network debate, you might also consider a third technique which proved effective in practice: have your company connect to multiple service providers and steer outbound traffic down one link or the other. It takes advantage of the fact that traffic tends to be asymmetric, with most of outbound from the company. (Picture someone like YouTube using this stuff.) Routescience used to have some stuff called Adaptive Network Software that did that. (You can find a quick overview here, but it helps if you speak NANOG :-) . They’ve since been acquired by Avaya but might be willing to furnish whitepapers. I think Sockeye had something similar, too. A good general lesson to draw is that getting good performance across a wide range of applications without embedding intelligence in the network can be a difficult technical challenge.

    For other references, I assume you’ve already gone trundling through the cites in Rob Frieden’s Network Neutrality or Bias paper?

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    The patron saint of network diversity is Larry Roberts, one of the fathers of the Internet. His paper Changing the internet to support real-time content supply from a large fraction of broadband residential users is very instructive.

    Also, anything you can find on 802.11e should be helpful. This amendment to the 802.11 standard incorporates priority-based QoS as well as parameterized QoS, and it’s very widely used.

    On the economics, your best source is Chris Yoo.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    The patron saint of network diversity is Larry Roberts, one of the fathers of the Internet. His paper Changing the internet to support real-time content supply from a large fraction of broadband residential users is very instructive.

    Also, anything you can find on 802.11e should be helpful. This amendment to the 802.11 standard incorporates priority-based QoS as well as parameterized QoS, and it’s very widely used.

    On the economics, your best source is Chris Yoo.

  • http://www.telco2.net/blog/ Martin Geddes

    You might find my article on Paris Metro Pricing relevant: http://www.telco2.net/blog/2007/01/rethinking_qos_paris_metro_pri.html

    It’s a “dumb QoS for dump pipes” method that preserves end-to-end.

  • http://www.telco2.net/blog/ Martin Geddes

    You might find my article on Paris Metro Pricing relevant: http://www.telco2.net/blog/2007/01/rethinking_q

    It’s a “dumb QoS for dump pipes” method that preserves end-to-end.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Paris Metro Pricing on a packet network has some interesting side effects, and it’s already quite popular; overlay networks such as WebEx use it, for example.

    Preservation of end-to-end, if it’s important, isn’t really affected by a QoS menu, however. End user packet streams choose from several transport options rather than being forced into one class all the time.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Paris Metro Pricing on a packet network has some interesting side effects, and it’s already quite popular; overlay networks such as WebEx use it, for example.

    Preservation of end-to-end, if it’s important, isn’t really affected by a QoS menu, however. End user packet streams choose from several transport options rather than being forced into one class all the time.

  • MG

    Whatever you do, model the scenario correctly: i.e., the broadband providers are gatekeepers for the content, and are not content providers themselves. So, it is a two-way market, which most studies ignore.

  • MG

    Whatever you do, model the scenario correctly: i.e., the broadband providers are gatekeepers for the content, and are not content providers themselves. So, it is a two-way market, which most studies ignore.

  • http://dsgazette.blogspot.com False Data

    OK, I had a chance to do a lot of reading about the economics over the weekend. I’ve published an annotated bibliography.

  • http://dsgazette.blogspot.com False Data

    OK, I had a chance to do a lot of reading about the economics over the weekend. I’ve published an annotated bibliography.

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Thanks, that’s helpful!

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    Thanks, that’s helpful!

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