Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Response to Google/Verizon fair Internet proposal

When there is congestion there has to be some algorithm to determine whose packets get dropped. There isn't any obvious "fair" way to do this. How about: Each source (/destination?) company gets equal throughput? That could be fair. The way to build a fair Internet that innovates is to have per packet (and/or byte) charging on each transit network, paid by either source or destination or some combination. Endpoints need to specify routes and need to ensure that intermediate networks have credit for packets matching the spec. For individuals and smaller organizations ISPs would handle this for customers. This is tough but doable. (Transit networks might charge based on sampled rather than all traffic). Update: To be more explicit. The idea of fairness they are pushing is that when you can't fit packets down the output link then packets are dropped at random. This strongly favours those (like google) with a big pipe leading to/from the point of contention. Another fairness scheme is to give all streams equal weight (assuming streams can be identified at all). This encourages people to break work into multiple streams, and this has been happening for a long time. To repeat: any scheme other than per packet charging will invite contrived workarounds and hit the small honest players.