Monday, April 5, 2010

The Basics - Part I

I'd like to start with a quick disclaimer:
I am not an expert (maybe someday, but certainly not right now), I expect that there will be errors throughout my posts.  Please prove me wrong and point out inaccuracies in the comment section.  If its a matter of opinion or it turns out your correction is wrong I will write about it in the weekly comment responses, however, if it is right I will alter the post to reflect the correct information and acknowledge the edits in the same comment response post.

Now, with that out of the way, let's start looking into what exactly Network Neutrality means and where it came from.  As it stands right now, net neutrality is nothing more than a idea or opinion of how things ought to be.  Nothing is set in stone as no official bills, laws or otherwise remarkably official writings have been created.  Because of this, to stay neutral (not intended to be a pun, sorry) I will be attempting to give equal attention to both sides of the argument rather than attempting to simply stay in the middle where official and factual bits would otherwise exist.

One of the first and probably most important concepts in network neutrality is Quality of Service (QOS).  QOS refers to resource reservation control mechanisms, not actual measurements in quality.  What this means is that QOS basically is a set of predetermined rankings for what kind of internet traffic gets priority over others.  While this could exist for any of a number of reasons, most believe it is supposed to exist as a way of dealing with congested traffic (essentially giving more important communication for a given network more bandwidth to work with when there isn't much to spare).

QOS can do more than just issue priority, however.  It can also be used to completely cut-down any service to certain sites or specific content online allowing customers of specific telecommunications companies (from hence froward to be referred to as telecoms by the way) access to only what the specific telecom deems suitable for their customer's eyes.

The real issue that has so many choosing sides here is that QOS isn't at all that its common practice, in fact what we in the U.S. operate under right now is more or less network neutrality as there is no real QOS from telecoms.  The problem for net neutrality supporters is there is no law stopping them from being able to do so. 

In the next post: Net Neutrality History (or politicians and CEOs bickering)

In the meantime, if you can stomach it, here are two links to net neutrality info on wikipedia:
net neutrality - general

net neutrality - US specific

No comments:

Post a Comment