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Hands off my Router! Bad Government! — No to ‘Net Neutrality’!

Hands off my Router! Bad Government!
No to ‘Net Neutrality’!

From a discussion of “Net Neutrality” on

I am in general agreement with Peter’s comments regarding so-called “Net Neutrality”. I would add that for me as a system owner and administrator the issue is: who controls my router policy? Is it me, or is it the government? As far as I am concerned the Net by its historical process should be governed by “rough consensus and working code”.RFCs (Request for Comments, internet administrative documents) such as (more or less at random) RFC 2676 and RFC 2815 provide for quality of service (QoS) and other preferential routing.

So on the one hand, as a system owner and system administrator, I want to be able to offer highest quality service to say, medical service providers who may need real time telemetry and video on a priority basis. On the other hand, I want to be able to give spammers or large organizations backhauling their own IP traffic across my network, an arbitrarily low priority.

Any law about Net Neutrality is likely to be worded such that it will permit interpretations which will criminalize system administrators doing perfectly normal things in accordance with the RFC’s.

What we should ask for is “end-to-end” neutrality — that the QoS (Quality of Service) bits set by a user on one end of a transaction be transmitted intact to a willing receiver. How they are routed along the way is up to the people along the way… not just “a service provider” but sometimes 10 or more hops “in-between”. The whole internet depends on voluntary cooperation without government coercion or proscriptive enforcement.

Here’s a link showing some of the RFC’s relating to Quality of Service routing issues:

Not to mention other routing issues which would become involved in a government-mandated “neutrality” scheme, such as how routes are announced over BGP, or aggregated via CIDR.

In short, “net neutrality” is a slogan for having the government take over and begin prescribing and proscribing how we can set up our own routers and networking protocols. I think this is a Very Bad Idea, and something that Jon Postel fought against.

We shouldn’t be talking about this astroturfing term “net neutrality” we should be talking about “common carrier” status. The operators of the big network exchanges such as PAIX, MAE-East and MAE-West, are essentially “natural monopolies”. They should be granted both the privileges, such as immunity, and the responsibilities of other historic types of common carriers, such as to carry all traffic without discrimination. This however doesn’t mean without routing policies, simply that those policies as much as possible should be “Content-Neutral”.

So best effort, everyone work together, and if you can’t build it again from scratch, leave it alone. Hands off my router! BAD GOVERNMENT! lol

Network Neutrality (wikipedia)
John Postel (wikipedia)
MAE-East and MAE-West
Common carrier (wikipedia)

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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23 January, 2007 - Posted by | Ann Arbor, common carrier, internet, Jon Postel, Michigan, net neutrality, politics, scanlyze

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