Network neutrality (NN) is the principle by which Internet providers should aссept all Internet communications on an equal footing. It doesn’t matter whether the subject is a website, content, user data, application, or platform.
Following this principle, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) has no right to restrict access to online content. Prohibited actions include blocking, reducing speed in order to obtain competitive advantages, attract customers or charge higher fees for access to specific websites. If net neutrality is not enforced, the internet service provider will be able to prioritize or degrade specific types of traffic, e.g. apply Traffic Differentiation (TD).
The debate over TD regarding NN is marked by the growing concern around the world. Among the “pioneers” of executive regulation are Japan, Norway, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, USA, India, and the European Union. Due to some adopted regulations, a part of traffic management techniques has changed the status from discriminatory to “reasonable”, which means it is beneficial for both the network and its users.
The US Supreme Court accepted a request from the Trump administration regarding repealing net neutrality. The president’s administration demanded a review of an earlier court decision, which provided open Internet in the Obama era. The Trump administration and the telecom industry has been planning to overrule the court decision since 2016.
On June 11th, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission repealed rules protecting net neutrality. Despite this, the battle for equity has not ended and there are TD practices which are still not covered by such regulations.
A state-by-state patchwork of laws adopted in California, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington has already created a set of troubles for ISP’s transparency because addressing net neutrality through executive order is a bit inadequate.
Large companies voiced their concerns too. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has repeatedly criticized the statement of the FCC and the final court decision. According to various statements made by Hastings, the consumer market itself has formed a type of equality, and the decision is meaningless. Nevertheless, the existing TD practices are needed to control congestion by throttling bandwidth-hungry applications, for example.
As Rohit Khanna stated, with net neutrality, consumers pay $54,99/Mo for video, email, gaming, and social media to get access to any site they want. Without neutrality, they should pay separately for video $17,99 + Netflix $8,99/Mo package, email $8,99/Mo, gaming – $14,99/Mo, social media $12,99/Mo + Facebook $8,99/Mo package. It means $72,94 monthly for the same number of services.
How Does the FCC Argue its Position?
The commission said the current situation with Amazon creates severe conditions in the labour market due to optimization. Plus, an official site Americans for Tax Reform claimed that “open Internet is bad for consumers.” Such statements they made referring to Gizmodo’s article.
It says that the Binge On service from the T-Mobile ISP violated NN principles. The service offered video streaming from 42 providers with no limitations, the problem was they didn’t take into account the monthly data caps (this practice is also known as zero-calling). Just after the T-Mobile, the Verizon ISP was also criticized for their mobile video service Go90, which didn’t account for the monthly data caps as well.
Centre-right political groups claimed that providers should have the possibility to close traffic on demand. Still, it should flow without political interference. If so, meddling does not contradict the principle of neutrality. Thus, in 2016, Public Knowledge, a well-known organization which protects user rights on the Internet, has made a complaint to the FCC, accusing the Comcast ISP of their Stream TV service zero-rating them.
How to Detect Net Neutrality in Mobile Networks?
Net neutrality concerns the optimization and prioritization of traffic over mobile networks. Mobile devices are subjected to data caps, hence the measurement in such networks can be affected by mobility or fluctuations in channel quality. The primary questions are “how to categorize traffic?” and “what criteria to choose?“.
Generally, traffic classification is made according to its TCP/UDP port, source, address, a destination address, application protocols, data obtained from deep packet inspection (DPI), the previous or the next AS from which the traffic came or to which it is going to be forwarded, and traffic performance. Once the class is assigned, the traffic is treated differently. Among commonly used mechanisms of TD are traffic shaping and traffic policing. The first one results in longer delays, while the second one in larger loss rates.
The way how traffic will be classified is predetermined by the ISP itself, it could be done by a person or automatically according to predefined criteria. For instance, SND is one of those technologies which deals with complex classification along with differentiation mechanisms.
Considering mobile networks, VPN encrypted tunnels should be mentioned. This technique captures traffic in two ways: using an encrypted tunnel and using a conventional non-encrypted channel.
The difference between the results shows whether a TD was applied to a particular website. A VPN server detects a TD only when the actual rate is lower than the sending rate of the application, somewhat it results in false-negatives. What’s more, false-negatives may also occur as the solution was designed assuming that TD is operated by IPS’s, while actually there are various ways of its implementation.
Focusing on mobile networks, bona fide should be considered. This alternative solution for monitoring network neutrality was designed like a mobile version of Glasnost. As the last one operates with the traditional Internet, BonaFide complies to all restrictions of mobile devices.
The absence of data on net neutrality in some cases can seriously affect the possibilities of traffic optimization. In this case, some Internet providers can freely change the speed of connection to websites, restrict access to websites or personal materials. The role of the Internet user, in this case, is not levelled.
That’s why today a “citizen observatory” of net neutrality for mobile networks is highly advocated. The open data paradigm presumes the measurements gathered from smartphones’ or tablets’ traffic will be publicly available. Using a crowd sending approach the transparency of mobile networks could be increased significantly, which will result in general facilitation of traffic optimization.
As for smartphones, we spend too much time using our gadgets, sometimes, we always forget about more essential items such as education or spending time with friends. Usually, students tend to learn more without wasting time on useless subjects that do not play any role in their future profile occupations. They tend to use some services which can assist their studying process, like https://essaypro.com/write-my-essay.html or other ones. It definitely helps to save time and not to devote themselves to friends or relatives. For sure, sometimes these helpful items do not work if you are constantly watching your mobile phone. Well, let’s dig into our topic further!
Comcast is the owner of NBC. Thanks to net neutrality, access to direct competitors (CBS and ABC) cannot be restricted. The company also cannot raise the priority of NBC concerning its competitors, increasing the speed of the site. Thus, the traffic remains optimized. Nevertheless, in 2014 the user from the Reddit reported about traffic throttling while using a VPN service.
Other users claimed that if another port was employed, the traffic was not throttled. Netflix didn’t offer any analysis of why performance would have dropped. This can be explained due to net neutrality ruling, and a particular set of steps made by Verizon to degrade Netflix performance.
Several non-commercial resources still have a specific priority in the distribution of connections. The preferences are given to resources that control cars on autopilot, smart homes, telemedicine, and others.
An excellent example of how neutrality works individually is the death of MySpace. The company could have made a deal causing a lowering of the Facebook’s and other social networks priorities, thereby destroying market freedom. MySpace would become a monopolist among social networks. It did not happen, and better product led the market.
Search Engine Optimization may also face a tangible impact without net neutrality. Such tasks like conceptual analysis and semantic analysis can stop be relevant. Websites who paid the most would be at the top of Google search.
Besides, network neutrality prohibits Internet providers from giving paid access to sites. Netflix accounts for 20% of US traffic. In the absence of net neutrality, providers may charge a fee for visiting the resource, with each provider indicating their price. It could apply to any platform. Still, it may receive an access fee due to ISP. Such fees would increase the businesses’ handicaps as their services are already prohibited in some countries.
How to Protect Traffic Without Network Neutrality?
The only way for a particular site to “survive” and “compete” with others, while several TD mechanisms are operating is to make a commercial agreement with ISPs. Paying some extra fees to ISP one may prioritize the traffic coming from a certain content provider or a neighbour AS (also called “fast-lanes“). According to this, the provider could have a significant impact on the market.
Network neutrality keeps the Internet in the form we are used to. In other words, traffic goes to those resources that attract users. It is a free competitive market in which innovation is constantly stimulated. In the case of the cancellation, the power of the Internet will be split by a few provider companies.
Mary Hampton is a qualified technical writer. She works as a contributor to various platforms. Mostly writes about marketing practices and topics involving general research of the Internet. She also works as a text editor, and you can see her most brilliant work on Twitter.