QoS for ADSL customers

Sean, I think your post highlights a major, yet very seldom discussed, distortion of some of the more recent issues that surface when discussing neutrality. And these are widely shared in the industry, imo. IMO, you have adequately characterized the matter, as many would regard it today. But I, along with a growing number of others no longer see neutrality in the abstract. Rather, it’s about choices that both end users and non-dominant competitors have – or more to the point, don’t have-- in invoking their own desires for isochronous-like performance, or whatever performance profile they wish, when they need it, and relegate best effort to other times OR, in fact, maintain only a best-effort environment, as the case may be.

Given the unpredictable nature of end-to-end over Internet resources, focus generally shifts to the part of the experience that is most predictable and controllable. And that part is the end user’s access loop section to his or her ISP. Beyond that point of interconnection it has always been assumed that, within acceptable percentile ranges, transit and core resources were more than adequate to support whatever the user had to throw at it. In fact, this may have been true in the majority of cases in the past, but today, with speeds being what they are in broadband I’m sure that the tide has reversed itself for some domains of networking, or in some percentage of all cases. But let’s assume that it hasn’t for a moment.

As I see the problem today, the neutrality issue has more to do with whether end users themselves are empowered to add to the print sizes in their yellow page ads, when they so choose. Short of this capability, at the very least users do not want their own applications de-prioritized by vertically integrated providers of pipe.

Users are becoming more educated and skilled in the ways of networking all the time. And where they are lacking, the state of the art makes it possible through auto-config, self-healing and auto-negotiation for the end user to begin invoking their own preferences of infrastructure and traffic shaping through the use of residential gateways and home servers, for example, which capabilities would be extended even further if head end terminal gear were designed for such purposes, as well.

Increasingly, I think we’ll find over time that the issue over neutrality is not only about the top-down perspective, but about the bottom having a say in the shaping of channel facilities, too.


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