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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality 337

angry tapir writes: All bits running over the Internet are not equal and should not be treated that way by broadband providers, despite net neutrality advocates' calls for traffic neutral regulations, Cisco Systems has said. Some Web-based applications, including rapidly growing video services, home health monitoring and public safety apps, will demand priority access to the network, while others, like most Web browsing and email, may live with slight delays, said Jeff Campbell, Cisco's vice president for government and community relations. "Different bits do matter differently. We need to ensure that we have a system that allows this to occur."
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Cisco Opposes Net Neutrality

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  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:08AM (#47208955) Journal
    Somehow in my mind Cisco and Oracle are the same company. Maybe I have reached my dotage, but when I see one mentioned the other may as well be there too. They are like Satan had identical twins separated at birth.
  • I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:11AM (#47208973)
    I prefer my bits non optimized than someone else deciding how they should be "optimized" for me. Thank you!
  • Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:13AM (#47208987)

    This means Comcast & TWC will be purchasing more network equipment from Cisco. They won't upgrade infrastructure to deliver better service, but they'll happily buy equipment that prioritizes traffic (slows down traffic coming from non-paying sources) for the purpose of double dipping by charging both you and Netflix/Amazon/Google/etc.

  • its a shame... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnsnails ( 1715452 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:13AM (#47208991)
    Its a shame they don't have a vested interest in hardware capable of making such a thing possible.
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:20AM (#47209023) Homepage

    Some Web-based applications, including rapidly growing video services, home health monitoring and public safety apps, will demand priority access to the network,

    Do health monitoring devices get priority access to electricity? Does the electric company get to decide which devices will be shut down first? Can they shut down your devices before they shut down your neighbor's, because you bought Sony instead of Samsung? Would it be good for the electric company to be allowed to negotiate priority access to electricity with the appliance manufacturers?

    Net neutrality is about protecting the more important free market -- the free market in information -- by requiring the carriers to compete only on price and overall performance of their network.

  • Re:I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:20AM (#47209031)
    Sure, but they don't have 3 second latency now and they won't have it ever if the ISPs invest the necessary amount of money in infrastructure. Japan and Korea ISPs do...

    I would rather prefer to open the market to anyone who wants to provide the service without unnecessary restrictions as government concessions. Failing that I can be satisfied with legislation that forces the providers to offer a service of reasonable quality to the user as a condition to their concessions.
  • by williamyf ( 227051 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:21AM (#47209035)

    The internet had, since IPv4, provisions for exactly this, and whole careers have been built by this. It goes by different names, Type of Services, QoS, Traffic Engineering. IPv6 has also provisions for this, so did ATM in its time. MPLS has a HUUUUGE component of this...

    Having said that:

    Video on Demand traffic from, say comcast, should have the same priority as video on Demand traffic from youtube or netflix (or some future cash strapped start-up).
    Videoconferencing traffic from skype should have the same priority as videoconferencing trafffic from google+ o Cisco (or some future cash strapped start-up).
    Web traffic from yahoo should have the same (slighty lower) priority as the web traffic from "mom & pop web server".

    You get the drift, not because some big company is willing to pay more, or the ISP wants to double dip you can play with the priorities.

    And THAT is net neutrality for y'all!

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:24AM (#47209049)

    Net neutrality is the idea that data from any provider (rich or poor, powerful company or a single guy, corrupt or honest) is treated the same way on the network.

    Cisco's comment concerns the prioritization of data depending on its type. I see nothing wrong with that.

  • Re:Of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:24AM (#47209051)

    Don't be ridiculous. Every network hardware supplier has QoS for their customers. What Cisco describes here, makes sense: some protocols are more urgent than others.

    What does not make sense is crap like Comcast is pulling: "Oh, these guys using HTTP didn't pay me more, but the other guys using HTTP did -- guess I'll have to employ some mafia tactics!"

    Please don't mix these two cases up...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:26AM (#47209063) Journal
    Architecturally, Cisco's point has merit (aside from being purely an excuse to sell higher-margin fancy-shaping hardware, rather than brutally commodified really-fast-switching hardware). Some applications are more latency sensitive than others.

    However, there's a serious complication that Cisco is either ignoring or doesn't have any reason to care about: the mechanisms for doling out 'priority access to the network' and 'slight delays' are more or less target agnostic. There is nothing magic about hypothetical VOIP-911, Granny Accelerometer, or whatnot that makes it easy to identify them as "justified" prioritization and leave everything else alone.

    If you have the system set up to promote and demote traffic based on type, origin, destination, (or any similar set of parameters sufficient to plausibly identify 'important' traffic, rather than just basic TCP congestion behavior), you can promote and demote whatever you feel like writing rulesets for. Given that the last-mile is pretty much buttoned up by a cozy oligopoly of incumbent telco and cable outfits, does anybody seriously expect the shaping to stop at making sure those 'public safety apps' get the message out in time, rather than paying lip service to ensuring that 911 calls go through and then moving on to the actually profitable business of chopping the internet up and attempting to reach optimum price discrimination and suppress competition?

    So, barring major changes in the competitive landscape, or some sort of regulation-indistinguishable-from-magic, agreeing with Cisco on architectural grounds;but still rejecting the idea on the balance, is a perfectly cogent position(you can argue that it isn't correct; but it's not contradictory): Yes, traffic prioritization will allow better performance of latency sensitive applications (if they are in fact prioritized) all else being equal. However, once you have the architecture in place for that, the economic incentives to go nuts with it are absurdly compelling. By comparison, 'just grow your way out of it' isn't architecturally elegant; but it provides a nice, aligned, incentive for ISPs to build out and people who want more performance to buy fatter pipes, rather than for ISPs to let the infrastructure rot and focus on squeezing every penny out of every user.
  • Re:At my own peril (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:28AM (#47209083) Homepage

    Always read the fine print, in this case pay attention to way he says. Slight delay, now what does that really mean. Like email, is the slight delay a reference to postal services, or the electronic transfer of data, so milli seconds or minutes to complete.

    I pay for bandwidth, I expect that bandwidth to be usable, what I do with that bandwidth as long as it is within the law is up to me not the providers choice. I do not accept the ISP monitoring, controlling and censoring my. I do not accept the ISP crippling my choices of content suppliers in preference for their own. I do not accept my ISP to purposefully crippling the services of companies who do not contract with them in preference for those that do.

    It is obvious laws are required to protect the provision of services to ensure anti-competitive monopolistic tactics can not be used to artificially inflate profit margins.

  • Well. . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:30AM (#47209109)

    If you're doing anything as critical as home-based life support system monitoring and you're literally trusting your life to your ISP, then you're already well past the point of screwed.

  • Re:I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jargonburn ( 1950578 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:31AM (#47209111)
    I thought the point wasn't that some bits should/shouldn't be prioritized, but rather that SOURCES shouldn't be prioritized. I'm fine with VoIP traffic being prioritized.
    I would take issue with, say, my ISP's VoIP application working fine while delays are introduced to Skype traffic. Prioritizing certain types of traffic make sense and can be provider-agnostic; prioritizing specific companies/sources, however, is chock-full of problems.
  • by Jack9 ( 11421 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:36AM (#47209139)

    Wait, Cisco wants to support a new network paradigm that would result in a market for new hardware, worldwide? This is America where lobbying new product lines into existence, is routine.

  • Re:I prefer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:37AM (#47209147)
    Realistically you can't have one without the other, and either way it should not be their decision what should be prioritized, they are selling the band, you should be able to use it as you wish and give priority to whatever you feel that deserves it.
  • Re:I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:48AM (#47209207)

    I'm not sure that I like having my web pages load slowly so that somebody else can watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians jitter-free.

    And without net neutrality, those web pages will load even slower unless they are coming from somebody who has given your ISP extortion money (in addition to the money you're already giving them each month) to not slow them down.

  • Re:I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @01:24AM (#47209357)

    Ya, this argument feels like an end run to provide an argument for Quality of Service in an attempt to discredit net neutrality, when those are different things.

  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @01:26AM (#47209371)

    This is abusing the internet architecture. The whole idea is that services don't rely on speed and delivery, but work with the network architecture to ensure that whatever service they provide is able te deal with delays. This means that if ISPs want happy customers and companies want their internet product to work properly, they have to ensure that there's enough room on the entire network to deliver those services adequately.

    Now some company that sells equipment that can prioritize packets of certain services so network providers can get away with saturating the data links more starts flipping the principle of the internet around. Sorry, no, that's not the *internet* you are talking about Cisco. That's a private network in which some company gets to say what they think is important.

    Every individual company owning a network will have different priorities. Try connecting thousands of private networks with different priorities and different technologies to achieve those and make that work. This is what Cisco is proposing we do to the internet and it will be a pain to try it and chances that it will ever work are close to zero. Part of why the internet works is because we have a global goal of just routing packets without prejudice. Don't mess with that, it will end in tears, unhappy customers and only a few rich C level executives at router producing companies.

  • Re:In that case (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @01:33AM (#47209403)
    Don't confuse quality-of-service in general for anti-net-neutrality in particular.

    Cisco is technically correct in that real-time or near-real-time services need higher priority than data transfers that don't need real-time synchronization or timing. If I'm watching a live TV program I need the network traffic carrying that program to get to me correctly, in real time, or watching the program live doesn't work. If I'm surfing the Internet to use web forums, mild reductions in performance won't really impact my experience. I do not have a problem with an ISP attempting to shape its traffic to give priority to content requiring real-time capability.

    Opposing "Net Neutrality" seems to be opposite-ville to me. I see the goal of ending net neutrality being for ISPs to force payment from large real-time content providers in order to keep that content flowing with enough priority to make watching it practical. Even though the customer is already paying for enough bandwidth to receive everything if the ISP doesn't intentionally break it.
  • Re:In that case (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @04:41AM (#47210161)


    QoS = Different types of application/service, with different latency/bandwidth/reliability requirements, being treated differently = Good.

    Net Neutrality = Similar applications/services, with identical latency/bandwidth/reliability requirements, being treated equally = Good.

    In my view, they're not mutually exclusive.

  • by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @05:57AM (#47210489) Homepage

    Cisco also knows where their income comes from.

  • by golodh ( 893453 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @06:27AM (#47210583)

    Before you lose yourself in flights of fancy, consider this. Cisco sells network gear, i.e. the stuff you need to implement multiple tiers of traffic. Only the more advanced, expensive, and high-margin gear will do that of course. Think: deep-packet inspection.

    And you were actually wondering why Cisco is in favour of an Internet that needs advanced kit and against an Internet that doesn't need special gear to implement multiple tiers?

    A bit slow at arithmetic, are you?.

  • Re:In that case (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @06:44AM (#47210641)
    And now you know how high frequency trading works.
  • Re:I prefer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @07:15AM (#47210781)
    I absolutely want my traffic optimised. Your Bittorrent traffic can wait, whereas my VOIP call cannot.

    That, however, is a quality of service issue. I'm very happy for their to be QoS on my connection. However, I don't want your Verizon StreamTV or whatever service getting priority over my Netflix service. That is a net neutrality issue.

    We should not dilute the issue by confusing the two, or even discussing the two together. They are not the same thing.
  • by therealkevinkretz ( 1585825 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @10:14AM (#47211989)

    Because several-second delays in video packets will make it unwatchable (or require a lot of buffering) and a drop of a significant percentage of a phone call's UDP will make it unusable, but the effects of neither of those will be noticed by the recipient of that business email.

    To me there's a significant difference between "Net Neutrality" and QOS.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @12:16PM (#47213149)

    Here's the difference, in two sentences:

    QoS is about prioritizing and filtering traffic based on type .
    Net Neutrality is about prioritizing and filtering traffic based on source .

    You could possibly say that QoS is layer 4-7 (port, application, transport) while Net Neutrality is layer 3 (address).

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @08:24AM (#47220999)

    To be blunt, you dont know what you are talking about.

    Video traffic isnt generally like voice, and doesnt need to be prioritized. It is NOT latency sensitive; it can be buffered. It would be classified as "bulk", unless it were part of a teleconference (in which case it would share several of the below characteristics, like being UDP).

    Voice traffic can come from any number of sources; whether it is Skype, or GoToMeeting, or WebEx, or a privately run Jabber server, it will share a number of characteristics:
      * The traffic needs to arrive quickly, and reliably, or not at all. If a voice packet takes longer than ~100ms to arrive, it might as well be dropped and just cause a slight blip.
      * It will almost always be UDP, because TCP is only useful for re-transmits; a missing packet in a webpage means the page doesnt render, whereas a missing packet in voice just causes a minor blip.
      * Latency will kill a connection. 500ms of additional latency means each side will perceive a 1 second delay in responses. That is completely unworkable, and means that theres a pretty hard cap on the amount of latency that is allowable. Bulk traffic does not have this problem; a 0.5 second delay just means a 0.5 second delay.

    QoS is about types of traffic that cannot fulfill their function if they are not reliably delivered; it is generally used for protocols that require fast response times. It also generally will have no perceivable impact on "everyone else".

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