Friday, February 15, 2008

Managed Networks

Earlier this week the FCC announced that a hearing would be held to gather input on managed networks. If you are unaware, Comcast has recently been derided by ISP subscribers and others for their network management practices. At issue is the delay of data, falsification of computers, and disruption of certain protocols.

After some time, the FCC has finally become involved in the ongoing debate of whether ISPs should be allowed to manage their own networks.

The basic point of view of a user, at least the vocal users on blogs etc, is that network management is bad. That the management of a network can lead to other 'management' methods like filtering information or 'snooping', looking into, data packets running across a network.

On the other hand the ISPs are, surprisingly (sarcasm), for network management. It would allow for the ISP to better maintain, secure, and guarantee service to its customers.

My point of view is this. If the ISPs can agree to oversight of their 'managemenet' then I do not see much of a problem. However, I mean oversight based not on political appointees or government employees, but by everyday users. Don't hold my breath I know.

The next guarantee that I would like ISPs to agree to is the improvement of customer service. My ISP advertises and I pay for the top tier of service. Supposedly I receive 15Mbps. From the test I have run, even the test my ISP provides, I am lucky to break 9Mbps. If network management is allowed on the basis for improved customer service, there should be a way to show that customer service is increasing.

The issue is not as complicated as we might think. The complications enter to make sure customers are protected against possible negative actions and ISP might take.

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