21 August 2008

Net Neutrality Explained for Old Technologists


the argument over net neutrality is essentially a rehash of the argument between whether a network is more efficient if it uses circuit switching or packet switching. To recap, circuit switching is where a network holds open a dedicated network channel between two endpoints, whereas packet switching is when the data transferred between the endpoints is split up into packets, which may traverse the network by different routes, and even arrive out of order (and are re-sequenced at the receiving end).

POTS telephony traditionally ran on circuit switching, but tcp/ip networking introduced the packet switching paradigm, which happens to be much more efficient. It appears that opponents of network neutrality want, in effect, to scrap packet switching and make parts of the net run on a less efficient paradigm.

Thus fighting net neutrality emerges as a nostalgia for the days when men were men, and a circuit was a circuit.

No comments: