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, 19 Jan 2008 @ 8:59am

    Yeah, it mentions it'll block Windows Update, etc..

    http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=host+file+block+Akamai&btnG= Google+Search

    There are plenty out there.
    And I don't have any issues. The question is not who initiated the connection, it's why it persists after all browser sessions are closed.. heh

    Those sites are still accessible, like others that no script blocks, but functionality can be limited.

    So, ok - I put the default hosts back for a while to check thier page. They just 'cache', huh?

    5. Akamai's services use a third party, WebTrends Inc., to collect non-personally identifiable information about end users, and provides our customers with the option to purchase the WebTrends On Demand service through Akamai. In addition to Akamai-provided network data, one of the primary methods used by this third party to collect anonymous data is the placement of cookies. Cookies are small information files that an end user's Web browser places on that user's computer when a Web site is visited. In addition to the session cookie, WebTrends uses other anonymous data collection methods such as appending query strings to an image request. These data collection methods are subject to change from time to time as technology develops. For additional detail on WebTrends policies regarding data collection and management, please visit

    http://www.akamai.com/html/policies/privacy_principles.html

    That's not... quite.. what it says until their 'privacy' statement...

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