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Archive for October, 2009

Change is Part of the Internet’s Design

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech in Washington recently in which he announced that the time has finally come for some net neutrality rules.

The speech was quite moderate overall, with concessions to the more nuanced network engineering requirements for managed services. Chairman Genachowski recognizes that the Internet is an evolving system that may need to supplement the traditional “best-effort” delivery system it inherited from early Ethernet with more sophisticated traffic management.

The Internet has changed a lot since it was first cobbled together to connect Arpanet with other networks, and we can expect that it will keep on changing as long as we use it for more things in more places.

The chairman made some interesting observations about the Internet’s history and architecture at the very beginning of the speech. However, his comments slightly missed the mark when he opined that the Internet’s historic openness means that it’s never been “biased in favor of any particular application.”

People who study network architectures and those who’ve followed the net neutrality debate in detail recognize this as more an aspiration than a statement of fact. In his

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