Sunday, April 9, 2006

Caspian Counters Net Neutrality with Fair Use Framework

Caspian, a supplier of multimedia traffic management solutions for service provider, large enterprise, and government networks, entered the Net Neutrality debate by outlining a Fair Use Policy Framework aimed at bridging the interests of consumers, application providers, and network operators.

To date, the Net Neutrality debate has pitted major telcos against the larger Internet community of content providers and users, who have viewed any attempt to set-up IP traffic tiers as unfair toll-booths that threaten the essence of the open Internet.

The Caspian Fair Use Policy Framework proposes three increasingly granular techniques for managing traffic in IP networks. The Framework hierarchy includes:

  • Proportioning bandwidth equally among all active users without regard to applications or service levels;

  • Prioritizing bandwidth non-intrusively to ensure regulatory compliance, including emergency calls or requests under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA); and

  • Provisioning bandwidth in a dynamic, nondiscriminatory fashion to enable tiered service level offerings by network operators, and other content and service providers.

The Framework, which is currently implemented in Caspian's Media Controller product line, does not employ intrusive techniques that examine the packet's payload, thereby ensuring nondiscriminatory access to all Internet sites, services and content. Beyond a basic tier, tt does offer different levels of QoS to Internet-based content and service providers to accommodate various multimedia applications. For network operators, it provides a means to manage bandwidth without traffic filtering or port blocking. It also enables the network operator to charge for premium services. For regulators, the Framework provides a means to prioritize emergency traffic.

Caspian also noted that this concept is already being deployed as part of the eGov Korea project, managing traffic between KT, Dacom, SK Telecom and hanaro telecom.

A copy of the Caspian proposal, titled Fair Use Policy Framework: A Nondiscriminatory and Noninvasive Approach to Managing Internet Traffic in Full Compliance with U.S. Law and Federal Communications Commission Policy, is available online.

Use Networking: Leveraging Quality To Create Profitability
is “fair use�? of a service provider's network? Ideally, service
providers should be able to allocate capacity and be paid according to
what they carry over the network. While Internet access providers are
able to raise prices for customers who require more bandwidth, long-haul
backbone service providers pay the freight for growing volumes of
traffic from which they generate no revenue, and worse, rob capacity at
the expense of premium services

Today there seem to be two approaches to the problem of balancing
network traffic and revenue considerations. The first approach is to
simply let any customer transport any kind of traffic—and as much as
they want—over the long-haul backbone network. The second approach
available to service providers for managing bandwidth is to filter out
certain types of traffic or lock out traffic from certain content

See also