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ISP Fights Causing Netflix Packet Drops 289

Posted by Soulskill
from the never-attribute-to-malice... dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We've been hearing more and more reports of ISPs throttling Netflix and other high-bandwidth services lately. The ISPs have denied it, and even Netflix itself seems to believe them. If that's the case, what's going on? Well, according to this article, the blame still lies with the ISPs. While they may not be explicitly throttling connection speeds, they're refusing to upgrade network connections as they demand more money from content distributors. For example, Netflix pays Cogent to distribute their internet traffic. Cogent has an agreement with Verizon to exchange traffic — which works fine until the massive amount of traffic from Netflix makes it a lopsided arrangement. Verizon wants more money from Cogent, and one of their negotiating tactics is simply to stop upgrading their infrastructure so that service degrades. 'There are about 11 Cogent/Verizon peering connections in major cities around the country. When peering partners aren't fighting, they typically upgrade the connections (or "ports") when they're about 50 percent full, Cogent says. ... With Cogent and Verizon fighting, the upgrades are happening at a glacial pace, according to Schaeffer. "Once a port hits about 85 percent throughput, you're going to begin to start to drop packets," he said. "Clearly when a port is at 120 or 130 percent [as the Cogent/Verizon ones are] the packet loss is material."'"
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ISP Fights Causing Netflix Packet Drops

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  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:09PM (#46306301)

    I've been streaming netflix and noticed a lot of stoppage & buffering. I ended up upgrading my wireless router thinking that was the problem. Nope, it's still happening.

    • Re:Can confirm (Score:4, Informative)

      by dave562 (969951) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:12PM (#46306339) Journal

      Oddly enough Netflix is running well for me on Time Warner in southern California. I am no fan of Time Warner, but House of Cards (the major hot button that people seem to be using as the yard stick for performance this week) is done buffering HD by about half way through the opening credits.

      The majority of the articles that I have seen all seem to mention Verizon, with little to no mention of the other ISPs. Maybe the real issue is a fight between Verizon and Cogent? If that is the case, what is the solution? Do we recommend allowing Verizon to acquire more content producers so that they stand to benefit by pushing their content back the other way, thereby restoring the in/out ratio?

      • Well that's interesting to hear, and I do have Verizon.

      • Re:Can confirm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by msauve (701917) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:35PM (#46306557)
        Why should Verizon expect to have an even in/out ratio? They sell the vast majority of their customers asymmetrical connections.
        • by raymorris (2726007) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:44PM (#46306621)

          They SELL connections to their customers. Cogent isn't paying Verizon. The peering they're talking about is an even trade with neither company paying the other. When it ceases to be an even trade, it's time for negotiations.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Yes, they SELL connections to their customers, so the incoming flood of traffic from Cogent has already been paid for by Verizon's customers that are trying to watch their shows on Netflix. Verizon is trying to double-dip. So what if the traffic is asymmetric? If it's that big of a problem, the continued performance problems caused by Verizon's intransigence could be solved by a massive reduction in the customer base once they find that they can't watch Netflix.

            • by 0123456 (636235)

              From what I understand, peering agreements are typically based on a similar amount of data going both ways, so both sides benefit from just connecting their networks together with no need for additional payments. But, if 90% more data is coming in than going out, then the network sending the data is going to have to pay the network that's receiving it. Which means Netflix will have to pay their ISP more so they can pay to deliver the data.

              • by i.r.id10t (595143) on Friday February 21, 2014 @06:24PM (#46306951)

                so my ISP should be paying me instead of vice versa? i certainly download much more than I upload....

                • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday February 21, 2014 @07:21PM (#46307447) Homepage

                  No, because the ISP owns the infrastructure and you're the intended recipient. They're not asking you to deliver packets to someone else on their behalf.

                  Logically, everyone should just pay for the packets they send, much like you pay (via stamps) to send an envelope. A company like Netflix would pay to have their content delivered to their customers, and would recoup the cost of "shipping" that content across the Internet in the form of subscription fees. Unfortunately, while that might work for Netflix, it would be problematic for sites serving small amounts of traffic to a large number of visitors—we still lack a practical and widespread means of micropayment.

                  Of course, one significant difference between the Internet and the postal service is that the postal service is required to deliver (or return) every envelope they accept—they can't just drop excess mail in the nearest incinerator when they become overloaded. At that, it would still be an improvement over the current Internet model, where not only do you have to pay for packets which were never delivered due to congestion or technical problems, you even have to pay for packets you never requested and had no opportunity to opt out of.

              • Why should there be a difference between sending traffic and receiving it?
                The only time there is a difference in data transfer between A and B is when one of them drops packets.

              • by sjames (1099)

                That's what they're doing, but the posts above explain well why it is brain dead.

          • by msauve (701917) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:59PM (#46306755)
            Customers PAY for those connections. Verizon's customers are paying to receive traffic from the Internet. Whether that's slashdot or Netflix doesn't matter, it behooves Verizon to deliver the service their customers are PAYING for.
          • by sjames (1099) on Friday February 21, 2014 @06:44PM (#46307153) Homepage

            Every packet coming from Cogent to Verizon is because a Verizon customer paid for it. It really is as simple as that.

            It only seems complicated because the kooky business people make it complicated trying to pass their costs off onto others.

        • Re:Can confirm (Score:5, Informative)

          by schnell (163007) <me&schnell,net> on Friday February 21, 2014 @06:09PM (#46306833) Homepage

          It has been a while since I was in the peering game - that was back when UUNet meant something and please get off my lawn - but here's the general idea:

          To provide access to the Internet - either as a content host or a content consumer - you need a full view of routes to get to all other ISPs where your sources or destinations are. To get the routes, you need "peering" with the other ISPs or you need to buy "transit" from some other ISP that gets their routes via peering or transit.

          Some ISPs are, frankly, more important than others because they provide access to more subscribers or more content than others - they used to be called "Tier 1" ISPs. Peering is valuable because it's traffic you're exchanging for free that you could otherwise be charging a lot of money for. Tier 1 ISPs generally agree to peer with each other because they all need each other, and it makes economic sense for them to say they're all on an equal footing - they were "peers." The economic rationale was because Tier 1 ISPs had to pay for large national or global networks, while Tier 2 or 3 ISPs had small or regional networks and that the Tier 1 ISP was bearing most of the cost of delivery. Traffic ratios were preferred to be equal (content vs. users) for peering, because if you're a content host with one datacenter and some outbound circuits, your cost is far less than having a big national network to serve end users - so web hosting/colo provider ISPs had a harder time getting peering with the big consumer/business access providers. The Tier 2 or Tier 3 ISPs would peer with each other freely because they had equivalent footprints, etc., but the big guys knew that access to their network was extremely valuable and it would be foolish to give it away for free.

          So if you're a smaller ISP, and *you* need the Tier 1 more than *they* need you, don't expect to get peering. The ISP will tell you to buy transit from them, or at least buy transit from someone else who does (and the fewer "hops" to get from you to them, the better for your customers). Cogent may host much of Netflix, but they are by no means a Tier 1. This may no longer be the case - like I said, I have been out of the Tier 1 ISP world for years - but at least historically Cogent was known as a bottom feeder of the industry. They charged dirt-cheap rates but ran a crappy network and skimped on their upstream connections to cut costs.

          So what's happening here most likely is that Cogent has either bought transit from Verizon and doesn't want to buy more and says "peer with us, we won't buy more." Or Cogent does have peering with Verizon but VZ has said, in effect, "you are not our 'peer'" and beyond a certain amount of peering bandwidth, you should start buying." Cogent is using Netflix to try to argue that "our content is more important to Verizon customers than the other way around," and Verizon is saying, "Um, nope." I won't say who I think is right or wrong here, but this is not the first time Cogent has had peering fights with other large ISPs [google.com] and I think you can see a pattern here.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by msauve (701917)
            If Cogent is using Verizon for transit, yes, they should pay for that. If the peering is strictly to deliver content to Verizon's customers, that bandwidth is already being paid for by Verizon's customers.

            The only time a payment for straight peering makes any economic sense is if the smaller ISP doesn't generate (either in or out) enough traffic to justify the equipment and maintenance costs of the interconnect. (Anti-competitive reasons are another thing). In the case of Cogent(Netflix)/Verizon, the exist
            • Does the fact I'm a Verizon internet customer obligate them to build arbitrary infrastructure to any computer I happen to want to access? If I want to download a file from Yrui the goatherder's machine, are they now required to lay new pipe out into the wilds of Romania to reach his machine?

            • by Spazmania (174582)

              Yes and no.

              In principle, you're right. Demanding payment for peering which exceeds the cost of establishing the immediate connection amounts to double-billing which is at the very least unethical.

              However, we're talking about Cogent here. They aren't just demanding the right to send lots of packets to Verizon's customers. They're demanding the right to send lots of packets to Verizon's customers interfacing at the Verizon locations of their choice.

              I'd have more sympathy for Verizon is they were offering to l

          • by Spazmania (174582)

            The currently accurate term for "tier 1" is "transit-free network." A network which purchases no Internet transit service is transit-free. All packets entering or leaving their network are to customers or to peers.

            The distinction between a "transit" connection and a "peering" connection is that a transit connection is to "the rest of the Internet" while a peering connection is only to "you and your customers."

      • by Spazmania (174582)

        The solution is: Netflix should know better than to rely on Cogent to deliver their data. Cogent has a long history of dropping packets, undersizing connections and blaming everybody else for it. Some folks will be able to stream data from Cogent and some won't. Without an alternative path to Verizon customers, this is 100% Netflix's fault.

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      We could also, you know, confirm by looking at packet loss stats from Cogent to your ISP's carrier
      http://internethealthreport.co... [internethealthreport.com]

    • by jest3r (458429)
      Same here. For the past week or two I have been experiencing all sorts of glitches, stoppages and buffering through Netflix. My local ISP on demand service is fine though. Before last week everything was awesome!

      Called my ISP about it - they said contact Netflix.

      Maybe Netflix should add net neutrality to the House of Cards story arc to get the word out???
    • by suutar (1860506)
      I haven't been getting stoppage/buffering with Netflix, but I've been thinking I was getting lower video quality than I'm used to, which could be a less severe result of packet loss. I have definitely been getting a crapload of buffering with Amazon Instant Video, though.
  • by future assassin (639396) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:10PM (#46306317) Homepage

    If companies provide network access they should not be be allowed to be a content provider. Too much conflict of interest and they can concentrate on properly managing and not OVERselling their network.

    • by dave562 (969951)

      In your mind, where does Cogent fall on the network provider / content provider divide? They are providing network access, but they are also (as far as I know) providing the infrastructure for Netflix's CDN.

      • by thule (9041) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:19PM (#46306397) Homepage
        Cogent likes to think of themselves as a pure bandwidth company. No frills bandwidth for a great price. No content, no VoIP, nothing. They have colocation data centers, but that came when they purchased a company for their network.
      • by suutar (1860506)
        I would put Cogent on the network provider side. They store bits, they shovel bits, they don't care whether those bits encode Star Trek or Futurama or Dale and Tucker Versus Evil. (Unless they have a stake in Paramount that I haven't heard of :)
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Technically, what's happening is peering agreements.

        Verizon and Cogent agree to carry each other's traffic. If the flows are roughly equal, then they usually come to a "free" agreement - Verizon carriest traffic from Cogent and Cogent carries Verizon's traffic for free.

        It's when flows are unequal that's when the fights happen - basically the one getting more traffic from the other starts demanding money because they're sharing more of the burden of the traffic.

        So what happened here is Cogent is passing more

        • by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Friday February 21, 2014 @06:25PM (#46306961) Journal

          >It's when flows are unequal that's when the fights happen - basically the one getting more traffic from the other starts demanding money because they're sharing more of the burden of the traffic.

          That makes no sense. Both sides are sharing the burden, regardless of the direction of the traffic. You still have the packets on your wires. It doesn't matter if they're going left or right.

      • by Spazmania (174582)

        Cogent is a network provider.

        The divide is based on the ownership of content or the rights to distribute that content. Netflix owns rights to distribute the content. Cogent does not.

        The OP was complaining about Verizon. Verizon's cable TV service is a content provider. Verizon owns the rights to distribute that content. Verizon is also a network provider, delivering Internet access service. OP implies that Verizon's conflict of interest leads them to intentionally impair Netflix's competing content service.

    • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:27PM (#46306489) Homepage

      That isn't even the real point, though I understand where you are going with it. The real issue here is that Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, etc all have agreed to provide their customers with X/Y data connections for a hefty monthly fee. They are refusing to do what it takes for those customers to be able to use what they have paid for. In effect, we are back to the early internet days of ISPs oversubscribing dialup lines except now it is oversubscribing routing equipment during peak hours.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Pinhedd (1661735)

        The congestion isn't on the customer-facing side of the ISP's network, it's at the peering exchange with Netflix's carriers. They make no promise about that.

    • We really missed the boat with not having local governments at the city/county level build the infrastructure. Where I grew up we had an electric coop. My Dad still lives there. Other than the main lines, it was all buried cables. Power outages were extreme rarities. His rates have been between $.08 - .11 per kilowatt hour. Hell a few years ago the rates went DOWN after the coop paid off some debt. In the city our rates are about .145 per kilowatt hour and increasing to .16 per kilowatt hour here soo

      • Studies show buried lines have more down time than overhead lines.

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        We really missed the boat with not having local governments at the city/county level build the infrastructure.

        No, we didn't, and this is not an example of that kind of problem anyway. It's an issue of a peering relationship that has changed from "peer" to a heavy bias towards traffic going one way. In the early days of the net peering companies decided not to try to charge each other for packets based on the idea that things would balance out. It was also harder to track that kind of stuff. It would cost more for accounting than any imbalance would cost. That's not true anymore since there are concentrated streami

        • >That's not true anymore since there are concentrated streaming video sources pushing large volumes of uncacheable content out.

          No there aren't. This content is being requested by the ISPs customers, not pushed on them. Either the ISP can provide their customers with an acceptable service, or the local municipalities should step in and replace the failed ISPs.
        • by sjames (1099)

          So the packets Cogent is sending into Verizon's network are not wanted by anyone who has paid Verizon to get them?

  • by Spazmania (174582) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:12PM (#46306335) Homepage

    Cogent has a long history of instigating peering disputes with other networks. Normally I'd complain about Verizon's behavior but this is Cogent we're talking about. They have -zero- credibility.

    • by ffsnjb (238634)

      Agreed, every time I look at any various looking glass to see why something is broken on the internet, it's Cogent dropping the ball... Remember this [slashdot.org]?

      Every time I have to troubleshoot a broken internet problem, and it goes up to Tier 1 land, check the looking glass... It's Cogent being stupid. As soon as this story hit... check. [internethealthreport.com] Sure enough, Cogent-Level3 has ~3% packet loss the last 24 hours, with stupidly high latency. Screenshot [imgur.com].

    • by Shinobi (19308) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:47PM (#46306657)

      Yeah, Cogent really is trying every dirty trick they can to go past any contract limits etc and freeload, and then they cry loudly to the media when they get told to stick to the contract.

    • Bingo.
      It shouldn't come as a surprise for them.
      Or perhaps they should hire someone who has been in the business for some time. I feel like it is almost common knowledge. :)

  • by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:14PM (#46306357)
    I have a 1st gen Roku, and a Chromecast. When I stream Netflix with the Roku, I seem to top out at 2, maybe three quality bars. While there's no on-screen metric for the same stream in Chromecast, the picture is noticeably better. Perhaps the Chromecast is getting a higher-quality, lower-bandwidth stream, or there's some sort of throttling based on the streaming device going on?
    • or there's some sort of throttling based on the streaming device going on?

      This wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Sometimes, they'll actively block certain devices. Just look at hbo go. I can stream on my computer or iphone app over wi-fi (or cellular), but, and this is the most retarded thing ever, it will not work on my roku because comcast and hbo go don't have a deal (which I don't get why they'd even have too, considering the previous 2 services work fine and both require linking my comcast and hbo accounts).

  • by thule (9041) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:15PM (#46306363) Homepage
    I've been saying this for ages! Even mentioned this here on slashdot. Peering is peering. They are not degrading performance by configuration, they just let the link get congested. How do any of the proposed net neutrality laws address this issue? Answer is, they don't. To me that means that Net Neutrality laws are about something different than neutrality. More likely with government regulation, it becomes Net Control. With that, increased stiffing and limiting reaction to market dynamics, not improving it.
    • by dave562 (969951)

      You are mixing apples and oranges.

      Peering agreements have been the same forever. As long as there is nearly a 1:1 ratio between the providers, everything is fine. The issue comes up when one side is using more bandwidth than they are giving in return.

      Netflix is breaking the long standing status quo. Last I checked, they accounted for ~30% of ALL of the traffic on the internet. Obviously that is going to skew the metrics, and that is why Netflix is trying to push their own CDN. I do not know the particu

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:28PM (#46306495)

        Netflix is breaking the long standing status quo. Last I checked, they accounted for ~30% of ALL of the traffic on the internet. Obviously that is going to skew the metrics, and that is why Netflix is trying to push their own CDN. I do not know the particulars there. IMO, if Netflix expects ISPs to pay for their CDN, they are on drugs.

        Why? A lot of people might only get internet, or faster internet anyway, BECAUSE of netflix.

        If I were not streaming stuff on Netflix I might very well just use a cellular internet connection and not get cable internet at all. Netflix is helping the ISP's make money, and Netflix should gain some benefit from that fact as a result.

        • by dave562 (969951)

          Do you have any hard data on how many people are actually purchasing high speed internet specifically for Netflix? I have not seen any data, but my gut feeling is that the number is a fraction of a percentage of people who have high speed connections. Would you agree that by and large, the majority of people viewing Netflix are people who already have high speed connections?

          Right now Netflix is getting to benefit at the expense of ISPs. Do not get me wrong here, I do not like the way the ISPs are handlin

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            Do you have any hard data on how many people are actually purchasing high speed internet specifically for Netflix?

            The only reasons I need megabit Internet are downloading games from Steam and GOG, and watching videos. Games, I don't much care if I have to leave the PC running overnight while it downloads, but streaming videos are either high enough bandwidth to play, or they're not, and will stutter and buffer or drop to low quality.

            So I suspect many people are buyig high-speed Internet just to watch videos, be that Netflix, Youtube, or pirate sites.

          • by vux984 (928602) on Friday February 21, 2014 @06:14PM (#46306873)

            Right now Netflix is getting to benefit at the expense of ISPs. [...] My issue here is that Netflix is not a good champion to use to make the case for ISPs being tightfisted when it comes to circuit maintenance.

            If the ISP cannot transfer me the traffic that I am paying them to transfer me, then they need to upgrade their circuits.

            If they legitimately cannot afford to do that, then they need to charge me more money.

            But if they cannot afford to do that, why is their investment news a string of "profits up 40% in 2013, ARPU up 9.4%, 14.7% year over year increase in FIOS revenues, 78c EPS 2013 vs 64c EPS in 2012, ... etc...

            Imagine if your neighbor turned his house / apartment into a concert venue because there were not any ordinances to prevent it. All day long, you could not find a place to park, could not have guests over because they could not park, suffered brown and black outs because the music equipment kept blowing out the local transformers, etc. How would you handle that?

            My neighbor and I both subscribe to Verizon to provide "parking and electricity" in this situation. So if Verizon can't provide
            "parking and electricity" to me per our agreement, because my "neighbor" is using too much, then Verizon needs to build more parking and provide more electricity. If they have to charge me and my neighbors more, so be it... but see above regarding large increases in revenues and profits... it seems Verizon is simply failing to upgrade our electricity and parking and pocketing the money we paid them to do that instead.

          • I have not seen any data, but my gut feeling is that the number is a fraction of a percentage of people who have high speed connections.

            Look at it this way:

            * Netflix has over 30 Million subscribers [cir.ca].

            * According to the US Census data, 75% of US households have internet [census.gov].

            * 115 Million Households in the US [census.gov]

            Some math:

            115 Million households * .75 = 86.2 Million households with internet.
            31 million Netflix Subscribers / 86.2 Million Internet users = 36% of households with internet in the US use Netflix. Yes, over a third.

            Now add the fact that cable companies are losing cable TV customers in the hundreds of thousands *each quarter* [google.com] and you

      • by Anrego (830717) * on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:32PM (#46306529)

        Yeah, but it's not like Netflix is using a free service. They are paying for that bandwidth. I assume they are paying quite a bit. More importantly, someone is selling it to them.

        • by firex726 (1188453)

          Also Netflix has made the offer available to setup CDN servers in the local providers facilities to ease the BW usage on their peers. Google uses this; but Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast do not, who then whine about the BW use.

      • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:41PM (#46306595) Homepage

        I do not know the particulars there. IMO, if Netflix expects ISPs to pay for their CDN, they are on drugs.

        All the peering details are here [netflix.com]. In short: they don't charge anything. They offer direct interconnects to Netflix's CDN for free, free peering at major internet exchange points, and free, Netflix-managed hardware caches to ISPs to avoid duplicate network traffic (the vast majority of traffic stays within the ISPs internal network). For the hardware caches the ISP needs only provide power and network connectivity.

        There's really no reason for ISPs to wrangle with Netflix -- there's plenty of options to avoid congestion.

        • by compro01 (777531)

          There's really no reason for ISPs to wrangle with Netflix

          Verizon has two [verizon.com] reasons [verizon.com] to wrangle with Netflix.

      • by H3lldr0p (40304)

        Except there has never been anything close to a 1:1 relationship. There couldn't have been because even since the IDSN days the up/down ratio of what we could get was always in favor of the down. So there's never been enough traffic coming from the ISPs to even approach parity.

        In fact, it's been the stupid ISPs have been using this as a club against the other players. It's of their own making, and now they're choking on it. In fact, Nexflix is even willing to give ISPs servers to take the congestion away fr

        • by dave562 (969951)

          Except there has never been anything close to a 1:1 relationship. There couldn't have been because even since the IDSN days the up/down ratio of what we could get was always in favor of the down. So there's never been enough traffic coming from the ISPs to even approach parity.

          Do you have any data to support that? On the last mile connections, there is an imbalance between up and down. On residential versus commercial, there is definitely an imbalance between up and down. But at the highest levels, the c

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Except there has never been anything close to a 1:1 relationship. There couldn't have been because even since the IDSN days the up/down ratio of what we could get was always in favor of the down.

          The peering relationship balance has nothing to do with your ADSL or cable modem data rates. The peering relationships are at a level where the assumption (a reasonable one for a very long time) was that the content providers and consumers were distributed around the net pretty evenly, so that a consumer on A's side of the peering connection talking to a provider on B's would be balanced out by a provider on A and a consumer on B.

          The 'A' in ADSL is because the assumption for residential customers (and oft

      • Netflix is breaking the long standing status quo.

        Here's what you don't understand: Cogent (on behalf of Netlix) wants to send packets to the ISP. The ISP (on behalf of their customers!) wants to receive those packets. No one is getting shafted. Both sides of the agreement are already getting what they should be wanting. Now the ISPs are coming along and saying that the peering agreements are only about upstream bandwidth? Why? The ISP's customers are the ones who requested the packets that Cogent is trying to deliver to them.

      • Isn't someone always using ~30% of ALL internet traffic? If it's not netflix, it's torrents or youtube. These 3 must use 99.999999% of all internet traffic from what people post here.
    • by kqs (1038910)

      Very logical. In related news, many things can make you ill, not just toxic waste. Therefore, any laws which discourage dumping toxic waste on your property are not about health, and are probably just about governmental control of companies.

      Peering limits are certainly used as a rough form anti-net-neutrality, but they're not ideal; they have the pinpoint accuracy of a sawed-off shotgun at 100 yards and they are very obvious. The proposed laws tend to target the subtler, better directed forms. Don't let

  • by bob_super (3391281) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:17PM (#46306385)

    Water, then gas, then electricity, phone, and now internet backbone are Natural Monopolies.
    Private companies should not operate in Natural Monopolies because they just add overhead cost as they operate for profit.
    Obviously, with the American public convinced of the lie that government is just waste, and that private companies magically reduce waste (at the bottom, for sure), we all keep on shelling massive amounts of cash for basic services. Cash that would better be invested in keeping the US moving forward, rather than lining the pockets of terrible profiteers like my 401k...

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:21PM (#46306423)

    Cogent has an agreement with Verizon to exchange traffic — which works fine until the massive amount of traffic from Netflix makes it a lopsided arrangement.

    I'm not quite sure I understand what's "lopsided" about that. It still flows through both of the two networks, and the companies of the receiving end are still the ones cashing in from end users, and they still very much like their users paying extra money for extra data transfers, don't they?

    • It's lopsided, Verizon is more and more and eyeball network where people "consume" bandwidth they got there by pricing themselves out of most of the transit market. That puts them in a somewhat unique position that there are a tier 1 peer but should not be. They are trying to leverage the you need access to the eyeballs more then we need access to your content. Regulating Tier 1's is not easy they never really have been anything but self regulated but as they expand/develop they have a conflict of inte

  • So how exactly is Network Neutrality going to fix the ACTUAL problems we are having instead of the problems we are pretending we have?

    It's not. You can't force a company to buy more bandwidth, unless you want to expand Obamacare to mandate ISP's by a "platinum" bandwidth package from back haul providers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:27PM (#46306487)

    Look, for years and years, peering agreements have been based on the idea that peering between partners would have roughly equal inbound and outbound traffic patterns. When one partner starts pushing more traffic out than in, it signals an imbalance in the connection, and actually the burden.

    Let me explain: internet routing is based on autonomous system (AS) hops. Cogent is an Autonomous System, so is Verizon, Level3, etc. If I'm connected to one AS, and I need to send a packet to someone on another AS, the router within my AS attempts to deliver that packet to the closest exit point for that AS. So for example, if I'm sending packets from Cogent to a user on Verizon, then Cogent will offload the transport of the packet to the closest point possible (usually in the same city). The idea being that Cogent doesn't know where the user is on verizon, so they just want to send it to verizon using an Exterior Gateway Protocol (e.g. BGP - which is AS hope based), and then verizon will use their Interior Gateway Protocol (e.g. something like OSPF) to deliver it most efficiently inside of their network.

    And therein lies the problem with unequal inbound and outbound peering situations. If Cogent is 80% inbound and 20% outbound with a specific peer, that is usually shouldering the burden for most of the transport distance and cost for that packet. If it's 50/50, then the burden is the same, and they're equal peers.

    In the internet routing world there are tier1 providers, tier 2 providers, etc etc based on how many peers they have. But of the tier 1's - not everyone is created equally. Cogent has Tier 1 status, and their POPs are all interconnected, but they don't have as many geographic POPs as say a Verizon. As a result, they dump packets to their peers as local as possible and those packets are routed across the internet by the peers. Their piers on the other hand, for the burden that *should* be cogents have fewer locations that they peer with cogent due to their limited # of POPs. So even for the outbound to cogent traffic, they end up shouldering a disproportionate amount of that traffic transporting it to one of cogent's pops.

    And then you have companies like netflix. Netflix buys bandwidth from these low cost tier1 providers, who are low cost because they don't share the transport burden with the real tier 1s. And when congestion happens, and the real tier1's tell cogent "sorry you're out of bounds withe contract because you don't have an even inbound / outbound ratio" cogent decides not to pay the penalties for the uneven traffic patterns. Instead, they let congestion and packet drops happen. The Netflix comes along, and says "Oh yeah, this provider, they're terrible for netflix traffic - they don't upgrade their pipes." They do this knowing full well the economics of internet peering. How do they know full well? Because they don't even want to pay cogent. All the while that they're letting the tier1 take the heat for the crap peering situation, they're approaching said tier1 saying "Hey, nice network you got there. It would be a shame if someone publicized bad information about its performance. Hey, you know how you can prevent that from happening? Join open connect! All you have to do is host our hardware, provide power, and data center space, and cooling, oh and connectivity for free and your network will look great for netflix customers who won't have to suffer through this peering situation you have going on with Cogent."

    And now, Netflix, not being a back bone at all, has managed to make you look bad and then tell you in order to look good you should host their hardware and give them free transport... And because /. is /. Netflix comes out looking like the victim here...

  • Cogent is to ISPs what UDP is to network protocols.
  • If I gave you a decentralized network capable of surviving nuclear war, routing packets around cities that vanished in moments, and you then built a World Wide Web of Data Silos then I'd be within my rights to call you all fucking morons!

    STORE AND FORWARD. How the hell can't you realize this is the decentralized solution that the Internet needed, not a centralized Server / Client cluster fuck? What is collocation? IT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR FREE WITH STORE AND FORWARD, idiots. Oh there's all that Youtube, Netflix, etc., bandwidth? Well, what if I told you I could reduce your peering bandwidth to ONE COPY of each resource? That way if your neighbor recently watched a show or cat video you could download it directly from them or the upstream cache they're connected to? A router should only ever have been one part of the node, the cache is an essential part, as part of any strategy for load distribution. Ah, but you don't need to keep a copy of each resource at each node if you index the data via distributed hash table -- it's not rocket surgery fools.

    How else do you think the Space Internet will work? NASA's DTN and even old-timey HAM Packet Radio are smarter about data than the fucking web! Unlike the WWW, they use Store and Forward. HTML allows lightweight dynamic pages to pull in heavy static resources, if only assets had a <... hash="SHA-512/Base64:MDVjMjg4YmY2ZGV...hMGEx==" hmac="Base64:..."> then secure pages could pull in unsecured static resources and browsers could verify their validity without "mixed content" warnings -- Oh but that would mean the architects would have to ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THEY WERE DOING. I'm surrounded by morons. I mean, you could even just use your HTTP-AUTH proof of knowledge to key your ciphers and eliminate the Certificate Authority MITM, but noooo... Morons, I Say! MORONS!

    • I really couldn't agree more. That would be a great way to do things. It wasn't built in from the beginning because it wasn't practical until recently - storage just cost too much. It isn't being built in now because the existing models work-ish, and no influential organization has been willing to lend their backing to deploying the new technology.

      I did have the idea of encoding the hash addresses as a 'magic directory' in HTTP - eg, http://your.server.com/CANary/... [server.com]//filename. That way any browser or softw

      • Slashdot mangled my example link. Huh. Here's another example:
        http://birds-are-nice.me/CANar... [birds-are-nice.me]
        Incidentally, if you can tell me what that song is, I'd be very grateful. If it's pre-1963 it's public domain in the UK and I can add it to me 'legal to use' collection.

    • by neo-mkrey (948389)
      Don't hold back now, tell us how you really feel.
    • In the degenerate case (one transmission of a piece of content to a local server) store and forward is indistinguishable from having local servers.

      Which is what Netflix is doing with the ISPs willing to partner with them.

  • Cogent sells transit for an average price of $1.31 per megabit, though large volume users like Netflix get discounts.

    Wut?

  • Netflix has a program where they'll colocate some servers containing a content cache on a segment of the ISPs network so that their peering connections aren't getting beaten to death--why wouldn't these companies get involved in such a program other than as a means to squeeze more money from Netflix, their subscribers, or both.

    • Netflix has a program where they'll colocate some servers containing a content cache on a segment of the ISPs network so that their peering connections aren't getting beaten to death--why wouldn't these companies get involved in such a program other than as a means to squeeze more money from Netflix, their subscribers, or both.

      Because you have to agree to Netflix's terms to host those things.
      Everything from physical access requirements to the ol' "By the way we may host other, non-Netflix content on these things in the future, and we'll charge people for the privilege, but you'll still have to treat it as Netflix data and not expect any money for carrying it on your network".

      Netflix muscled their way into favorable agreements (both with and without those storage boxes at the ISPs) when they trotted out Super HD. Now that they ha

  • Cogent has an agreement with Verizon to exchange traffic â" which works fine until the massive amount of traffic from Netflix makes it a lopsided arrangement. Verizon wants more money from Cogent, and one of their negotiating tactics is simply to stop upgrading their infrastructure so that service degrades.

    I'm a pretty rabid net neutrality guy, and as a disclaimer I've never worked for ISPs or long haul providers so I may have my head up my ass. But in this case, I'm tending to fall on the Verizon side

    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      My response would be that Netflix and Cogent aren't just sending unsolicited traffic to Verizon. It's Verizon's customers who're requesting the traffic by asking to stream video from Netflix. And Verizon's being paid by those customers to deliver the traffic from Netflix. That's what that bill that Verizon sends them each month is for, after all, to pay for that customer's connectivity. If their customers are demanding more traffic than Verizon's connection with Cogent can handle, why is the fact that Veriz

  • by careysb (566113) on Friday February 21, 2014 @05:52PM (#46306687)

    It seems that ISP's are so concerned with Netflix's bandwidth suck that they try to get away with throttling. What about Google? Supposedly Google's web crawlers account for the largest single chunk of Internet bandwidth. (Ok, educate me)
    --
    Sent from my IBM 360 mainframe

  • simply to stop upgrading their infrastructure so that service degrades.

    And who's going to pay for upgrading their infrastructure? Verizon might as well pass the costs upstream. And with net neutrality, we're going to see more of this.

  • Does anyone know if/why Netflix doesn't just have CDN servers located directly on Verizon's network?

    It seems a little moronic to stream stuff from far away, when Netflix's streaming content is a large but basically fixed quantity of data.

  • Yeah, that's still a thing, for a reason. They should seriously go the Akamai route... that way access ISPs can tout a "fully-Netflixed network!"

  • From doing some kind of opt-in peering arrangement, where movies were cached locally for a while after being watched on some devices with the storage capability to do so? While they're cached, they can help stream to peers on the same network along with Netflix's servers, in some type of arrangement similar to bittorrent. That way ISPs could degrade Netflix however they wanted but end user performance would still be acceptable in some cases.

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