Akamai Does Not Violate Network Neutrality

from the end-to-end-vs-end-to-middle dept

Many supporters of AT&T's plans to double dip in internet charges by ending neutrality claim that the internet has never been neutral, and point to systems like Akamai as an example of this. However, as we've explained in the past, this is simply untrue. It's purposely stretching the definition of network neutrality to make a point that isn't supported by the facts. Services like Akamai help make the internet faster for everyone. It doesn't discriminate. It holds to the "end-to-end" principle that a connection you buy to the internet entitles you to reach any content across that entire network. That's not what AT&T is looking to do. It's claiming that you really only have access to the cloud in the middle, and someone needs to pay for the second half of that connection from the middle out to the server you're accessing.

Tim Lee (who, like me, does not support net neutrality legislation) has ripped apart a paper that claims that Akamai is an example of why the internet is not neutral. Lee notes that the author of the paper doesn't even seem to understand how Akamai works, and provides a nice (more technology focused) explanation for why content caching systems have little to do with the network neutrality discussion: "A network is neutral if it faithfully transmits information from one end of the network to the other and doesn't discriminate among packets based on their contents. Neutrality is, in other words, about the behavior of the routers that move packets around the network. It has nothing to do with the behavior of servers at the edges of the network because they don't route anyone's packets."
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Filed Under: cdn, end to end, net neutrality
Companies: akamai


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  1. identicon
    Overcast, 18 Jan 2008 @ 7:42am

    I don't use Akamai... I found a nice little host file that blocks them along with doubleclick.net.

    Along with that, I use FireFox and the NoScript Add-on. It's amazing how many sites GoogleSyndication, Akamai, and some others are trying to run scripts from. I don't allow them - sorry, tough... it's my PC.

    I truly love NoScript for FireFox - unless I specifically tell it to - it refuses to run any script.

    Akamai never sat right with me, all too many times, I'd run a 'Netstat -A' and see them connected to my machine, even if all browser windows were closed. A bit of googling and I managed to find a host file that pretty much re-directed most of their known servers, along with a host of others to 127.0.0.1

    And you know - you'd be amazed how well everything still works. It could be said it makes things work faster - but I can go from page to page lightning fast without all those scripts running.

    And that's network neutrality - me choosing who can and cannot connect to my machine :P

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