Network Neutrality

Michael Torrie torriem at gmail.com
Mon Dec 1 10:58:24 MST 2008


Andrew McNabb wrote:
> Apparently uTorrent is switching from TCP to UDP for file transfers.
> This is rather frightening and might force me to rethink my opinions on
> net neutrality.  The following article is what brought this issue to my
> attention:
> 
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/01/richard_bennett_utorrent_udp/
> 
> We've all heard stories about the days before TCP congestion control,
> which made it possible for the Internet to scale.  Is there still a case
> for net neutrality if app writers abandon etiquette on the Internet?

I think the guy is either trolling or just doesn't understand things.

I just saw this article come up on slashdot and was all prepared to read
all kinds of entitlement-attitude comments.  Indeed there were a few.

But a number of very insightful posters mentioned that not only is
richard bennett being unnecessarily alarmist, but he's also dead wrong
in some areas.

For example, bittorrent's current abuse of tcp for something it was
never intended to do has caused all kinds of complaints on the part of
ISPs and commercial users looking to use bittorrent to distribute their
content.  Indeed the way bittorrent current abuses TCP/IP connections
makes it difficult existing flow control mechanisms to work at all,
unless they were somehow applied to an entire group of connections
together (treated as one bundle).  Consequently bittorrent dramatically
affects the latency and throughput of other connections sharing a pipe.
 And that's with the current tcp/ip model.  Bittorrent's new udp
protocol is an attempt to address the problems and make bittorrent more
palatable to business users and isps because it does have it's own
built-in controls now to make it coexist better with other forms of
traffic that were previously harmed.  I don't think they've done this
without thinking about the long-term consequences.  Nor is this an
attempt to somehow beat ISP throttling.



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