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Sat Apr 26, 2014, 11:07 AM

 

Before you rant about Comcast/Netflix issue being related to Net Neutrality, READ THIS

You really need to gain a basic understanding of what the problem is. Yes, everybody hates Comcast. Yes, nobody wants streaming times interrupted by buffering or not being able to stream.

the real issue isn't so much Comcast, but decade old peering agreements and dickish behavior from tier 1 providers like Cogent.

For more about this issue, what it means for Net Neutrality, and what the real solution is (hint, it ain't what the FCC is proposing currently), I suggest you read the following DailyKos diary:

Everyday Magic: A Complete Look at Comcast/Netflix/Net Neutrality

Everyday Magic translates the issue into common language far better than I would ever be capable of and he is completely accurate about the technological reasons why Comcast had no real choice but to throttle traffic. The key to know here is that throttling was from specific tier 1 providers and not specific to any single content provider, like Netflix. Comcast was backed into a corner by Cogent and had to act accordingly.

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply Before you rant about Comcast/Netflix issue being related to Net Neutrality, READ THIS (Original post)
MohRokTah Apr 2014 OP
MohRokTah Apr 2014 #1
freshwest Apr 2014 #17
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #2
octoberlib Apr 2014 #4
hedda_foil Apr 2014 #5
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #6
MohRokTah Apr 2014 #9
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #10
discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2014 #11
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #12
discntnt_irny_srcsm Apr 2014 #13
octoberlib Apr 2014 #14
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #15
Enthusiast Apr 2014 #18
msanthrope Apr 2014 #21
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #22
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #23
msanthrope Apr 2014 #24
The Technomancer Apr 2014 #25
davidpdx Apr 2014 #19
hunter Apr 2014 #3
Segami Apr 2014 #7
flying rabbit Apr 2014 #8
Cha Apr 2014 #16
liberalla Apr 2014 #20

Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 01:25 PM

1. Shameless bump.

 

Please learn what Net Neutrality really is. Please.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 04:39 AM

17. Thanks, makes sense.

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Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 02:10 PM

2. Thanks for promoting my article!

I tried to keep the point of view as neutral as possible (which was difficult, I've had issues with Comcast that make me loathe them as a company), but if we're going to get this one right as a society, I feel we need to consider the big picture here, and that means going into dense technical topics like that.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 02:26 PM

4. I read this earlier on Daily Kos.

Very informative . Thank you !

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 02:49 PM

5. Thank you for writing this terrific blog, Technomancer.

Somehow, you've managed to make the inner mysteries of the internet intelligible to this technological dunce.

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Response to hedda_foil (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 02:55 PM

6. My pleasure.

It's not 100% altruistic though -- having to write an article like that ensures that my knowledge about a topic like that is as good as I think it is, and if a technologically-naive reader can't understand it, it reflects far more on my mastery of the subject matter than it does on the reader's ability to comprehend the topic, in my opinion. So it's good practice for me, and (hopefully!) good information for anyone reading it.

Glad I was able to break it down into understandable terms for you. That's the ultimate goal of the Everyday Magic series -- to break down complex technological concepts that can be difficult to picture in one's mind, let alone fully understand, into a story that gets across the concepts discussed to an audience that's not steeped in tech every day like I am.

Check out the other two posts in the series as well -- they're much more humorous and far less lengthy and dense.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 03:28 PM

9. No, THANK YOU!

 

I've been a networking professional for 30 years. I understand the issues, especially the fact that cable and wireless providers need to be regulated as common carriers, but I am incapable of putting my understanding into terminology most people would understand. You accomplished that beautifully.

I believe we need to get as many eyes on your diary as humanly possible because the more people who understand the issues, the better we will be to fight against the current FCC proposals regarding the issue. The FCC needs to be pushed into regulating the Verizons and Comcasts of the world like any other CLEC.

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Response to MohRokTah (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 03:45 PM

10. I got my start in dial-up ISP tech support.

When you have a elderly customer call in saying they're getting a 680 No Dial Tone error, and the poor lady isn't even sure which cord was the phone one, you learn very fast that if you can break it down to (literally) telling her to push in the doopy bit on the plastic thingy at the end of the flat silver wire plugged into the back of the computer box on her floor, then plug it into another phone, pick up the handset, and see if she can hear me when I talk to test if the wiring was bad to that jack (it was), you get off of having to take boring front-line calls and get to actually try to solve the hard/fun problems.

My coworkers saw that as a terrible phone call or a tech support horror story to pass around on forums...and not gonna lie, I've told it as a funny story among my peers. But at the end of the day, I saw that as an opportunity to help an older woman that could have been using email as the only way to stay in contact with her family on a regular basis.

Managed to work my way from there into the data center, then systems administration, then senior roles in that field, and now DevOps work. The part that makes me recognize how lucky/privileged I am to get those opportunities is that I don't have a college education and I graduated high school with a 2.27 GPA. Hard work and dedication will let you take the most advantage of opportunity as you can, but that opportunity still has to be available in the first place to take advantage of and work hard towards....which is why I'm a liberal/progressive and I vote Democratic.

...that, and I had very good Language Arts teachers in (public) high school, even if I didn't see the point in doing the homework then.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #10)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 04:07 PM

11. Ever have to introduce anyone to the idea that...

...Ethernet cables and modular phone cables are not interchangeable?

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 04:17 PM

12. Actually, no.

I was lucky enough to get out of tech support before home networking became common. I fortunately never got the "cup holder" call either.

I have, however, had the following calls:

-- The person who called to say our CD wouldn't stay in her drive. Windows 95 had the monitor on top of the old-style pre-tower desktops, and this customer had a tower computer, which was now laid on its side with the monitor on top like Windows showed, and her CD-ROM drive didn't have one of those plastic tabs to hold the disc in.

-- A customer who thought that the mouse was a foot pedal. In her defense, she was a seamstress by trade.

-- A customer who blamed me personally for stopping him from getting to his porn, with his wife yelling the background "tell that man to give us back our sinnernet dot com!"

-- A customer who was wondering why I wouldn't support connecting his Windows XP computer to our service...6 weeks before Windows XP was released to the public, and he was most definitely not a beta tester.

-- A customer phone call where I heard a loud "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" shortly after asking the customer to reboot. Since Gateway computers were popular at the time, and some models would moo on startup, I asked the customer if her computer was a Gateway. Her response: "Oh no, that's just ol' Betsy. She sticks her head in the kitchen window when she needs to be milked!"

-- A customer who called in complaining they couldn't get online. Tried to walk them through a CD install..no CD drive. After a few minutes of questions, it was determined that the customer had bought a standalone 56k modem and a monitor, because the advertising said "All you need is a modem to get on-line!".

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #12)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 04:25 PM

13. good ones

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #12)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 07:21 PM

14. Someone thought the mouse was a foot pedal?!

These are hilarious!

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Response to octoberlib (Reply #14)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 01:04 AM

15. Yeah.

The "cup holder" call I referenced comes from the spate of calls tech support agents would get once CD-ROM drives became standard in tower computers -- there were inevitably a few individuals who thought it was a built-in cup holder for their coffee or beer.

I hated that gig at the time, but looking back on it, it was a pretty good job for a 19 year old kid getting out on his own. 10 bucks an hour in Dallas, TX in 2001 wasn't that bad at all. Plus, I had plenty of time to surf the 'Net on a blazing fast internet connection for its time (10Mbit/s when DSL was new and both it and cable modems topped out at 1.5Mbit/s for over $100/mo) and debate on message boards and IRC since I worked the night shift, which is how I became politically aware and active.

Not a lot of jobs like that out there anymore, though. They've all been outsourced, or they're still 10 bucks an hour which doesn't go nearly as far 13 years later.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #15)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 05:53 AM

18. Thanks for the interesting posts.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #15)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 07:44 AM

21. I'd appreciate your critique on my thread, here.....

 

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 05:59 PM

22. I'll give it a read now.

Want the response here or there?

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #21)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 06:23 PM

23. I'll reply here...

...that thread went off a rails a bit.

The only feasible solution is for the FCC to do reclassification. It's partially done with wireless providers already, it's why services like Net10 can resell the big wireless four (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) services, but their resale bandwidth prices are still outrageous compared to what the actual costs are.

And don't even get me started on SMS fees, which literally use previously unused buffer space, hence the size limit of standard SMS messages. It's free money and they were getting 10 cents a pop for a while for space they couldn't otherwise use.

With Cable, the FCC regulations force telephone pole owners to allow cable to run their lines along those poles with the telephones and power as a common carrier/utility service. The legal precedence, due to that, is already there for the FCC to reclassify cable services as common carriers, which immediately lowers the amount of capital required for competitors to start offering competing service, since they don't have to spend billions digging up streets and running cables along poles while fighting to even get the opportunity to do so with every single municipality along the way.

That's the only real option that'll give us anything close to Net Neutrality. You can't trust the courts because 3/4ths of the judges don't understand the underlying tech in the first place (nor should they be expected to, they're lawyers by trade, Hon. Posner excluded, and while he's brilliant, he has a strong libertarian bent that clouds him some tech issues), and that doesn't even get into the partisan makeup of our state and federal benches.

The FCC, however, is fully under the purview of the Executive branch, and its commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Executive. Mr. Obama should be stepping up and remedying this issue since its the only place he actually can use the powers of his office to do something.

But he's not a techie either, and technological advisors he has come from management level in the industry, not the engineering level of it. So while it's nominally his fault, I feel he's done the best given the information he's likely being given, and I still think he'll do the right thing. Mr. Obama's made his mistakes, but every President has, and I still feel he's been an overall net good for this country outside of the whole NSA deal. It'd be great if he took the time to understand these issues, and he certainly has the intelligence to do so, but he's got a lot on his plate as it is. Can't blame him for not being as savvy as an engineer on tech issues.

The big problem at the end of the day is there's a serious lack of engineers in leadership positions in government. Engineering issues become political issues, because when you're a lawyer like 90%+ of those in power are, you're going to try to fix things with the tool you know best -- law.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 06:55 AM

24. Lawyer here!! I read your excellent and thoughtful reply

 

and while I become more and more convinced that reclassification might be the ultimate ideal for consumers, I remain unconvinced that it's an actual pragmatic solution, given the business reliance doctrines of the John Roberts Supreme Court.

I think your critiques of President Obama's approach are pretty cogent. I'll have to think more on that.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:57 AM

25. Plus...

...given the options to choose besides Mr. Obama during his elections, he was far and away the better choice. Not the President I'd hoped he'd be, but I have admittedly high hopes and expectations that may not be realistic of the politicians I choose to support. That's a me issue, not a Mr. Obama issue.

Eventually, in order to survive court challenges, there's going to need to be actual law that codifies reclassification -- a confirmation of the Presidential prerogative, so to speak. But without at least pushing the court to overturn reclassification of Cable, eventually phone carriers are going to get tired of feeling like chumps compared to their cable counterparts and sue to overturn their common carrier status on the same grounds that I believe give leeway to reclassify cable services -- if cable is a de facto, if not de jure, common carrier due to right of way when laying/stringing cable lines and forcing pole owners to allow then to, and they don't have to follow common carrier rules, you're discriminating against the phone companies (lol, but that's their argument) by forcing them to allow CLECs (competing local exchange carriers) access to their lines at a wholesale rate of IP transit and not requiring the same as Cable. It seems to me without changing the standard to "overturn common carrier for everyone" by reclassifying cable, we're going to lose it everywhere instead.

PS: Despite my tone sometimes about them, I highly respect lawyers, and the college I did do before dropping out and going back into tech was towards a political science degree on a pre-law track. Law is the source code for society, in my opinion.

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Response to The Technomancer (Reply #12)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 06:21 AM

19. Very amusing stories from your experience helping people

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Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 02:26 PM

3. Good article. K&R.

.

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Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 03:02 PM

7. Thank you!

 

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Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sat Apr 26, 2014, 03:08 PM

8. K&R

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Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 02:20 AM

16. thank you for this very interesting tutorial, MohRokTah

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Response to MohRokTah (Original post)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 07:41 AM

20. Thanks~

posting reminder to read later...

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