BitTorrent Shows You What The Internet Looks Like Without Net Neutrality; Suggests A Better Way

from the change-things-around dept

If you've been following the whole net neutrality fight for a while, the following graphic may be familiar to you -- showing what a potential "cable-ized" world the internet would become without strong protections for net neutrality:
At some point, someone created a similar version, that was specific to AT&T:
A little while ago, however, someone took the joke even further, and set up a website for a fake broadband provider, asking people to Join the Fastlane!, and it was pretty dead on in terms of what such a site might look like:
I particularly like this bit:
It's now come out that this campaign (along with some associated billboards) has been put together by BitTorrent Inc., not all that different than the company's billboard campaign against the NSA. Along with this, BitTorrent has put out a blog post explaining, in part, how we got here, but more importantly how we need to start thinking about a better way to handle internet traffic to avoid the kind of future described above.

The key issue: building a more decentralized internet:
Many smart researchers are already thinking about this problem. Broadly speaking, this re-imagined Internet is often called Content Centric Networking. The closest working example we have to a Content Centric Network today is BitTorrent. What if heavy bandwidth users, say, Netflix, for example, worked more like BitTorrent?

If they did, each stream — each piece of content — would have a unique address, and would be streamed peer-to-peer. That means that Netflix traffic would no longer be coming from one or two places that are easy to block. Instead, it would be coming from everywhere, all at once; from addresses that were not easily identified as Netflix addresses — from addresses all across the Internet.

To the ISP, they are simply zeroes and ones.

All equal.
There's obviously a lot more to this, but it's good to see more and more people realizing that one of the fundamental problems that got us here is the fact that so much of the internet has become centralized -- and, as such, can be easily targeted for discrimination. Making the internet much more decentralized is a big step in making it so that discrimination and breaking net neutrality aren't even on the table.

Filed Under: centralized, decentralized, discrimination, fast lane, innovation, net neutrality, open internet, spoof
Companies: bittorrent


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  1. identicon
    Whatever, 11 Jun 2014 @ 4:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can't imagine many people considered what would happen, at least not as fast as it did.

    Netflix (and similar services) don't just require to send a lot of data, they also need to send the data at a speed level that makes streaming (in HD, of course) possible. What that means in practical terms is that you need something like 3 - 5 meg for upwards to two hours solid. Their 4K is 15mb a second:

    http://bgr.com/2013/09/26/netflix-4k-streaming/

    They also could not foresee or deal with the bottleneck that exists because most people want to watch things in prime time. So you aren't looking at average usage, it's peak usage from a significant number of users at the same time.

    Your road analogy (painful as it gets) is relevant: It takes a long time to build new roads to handle increases in traffic, it doesn't happen overnight. Putting 20 new lanes on the edge of town isn't going to help if it filters down to a single lane a half a mile in. For ISPs, only adding peering isn't enough to handle all of the problems they are facing. In order to handle the massive increases in demand, they have to grow all of their internal network as well to handle it, and it's a big jump.

    Netflix usage was not easy to foresee. The level of demand that it brings as a result is beyond the scope of any network planning out there, plain and simple.

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