Do Net Neutrality Rules Hinder Management of Wireless Networks?

//Do Net Neutrality Rules Hinder Management of Wireless Networks?

Do Net Neutrality Rules Hinder Management of Wireless Networks?

Thu, 11/13/2014 – 4:58pm
Andrew Berg

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) Thursday announced new research that it says proves net neutrality will not hinder the management of wireless networks.

OTI claims the study, which was conducted by CTC Technology and Energy, “demonstrates the fallacy of wireless industry claims that adherence to strong network neutrality protections for consumers and for edge providers is not technically feasible for mobile carrier networks.”

The extra bandwidth and expanded controls of LTE are at the core of the study’s conclusion. CTC argues that LTE is capable of managing moderate congestion through prioritization methods that don’t discriminate among applications. The study goes even further, suggesting that LTE networks are capable “when faced with severe congestion, of prioritizing delay-sensitive traffic, while avoiding discrimination among like applications, content or services.”

CTC also notes that wireless networks are seldom actually congested and that most mobile carrier traffic today is carried on a “best effort” basis, including streaming video applications.

The study outlines an approach that it says can be implemented now using standards-compliant LTE technologies, but with a few safeguards in place.

Drawing on the study, the OTI suggests that quality of service (QoS) standards be set that can apply to groups of similar applications, such as voice and video communications. Meanwhile, the carriers can define the type of network management each type of application will receive and commit to treating each application in that category the same under those guidelines.

The study also suggests periodic audits of QoS rules, while also allowing edge providers an avenue of recourse should they feel their application or content is being unfairly managed.

While CTIA conceded in a statement that the study recognizes differences between wireless and wire-line networks, the Wireless Association balked at the kind of regulatory approach suggested.

“Even though the report clearly supports the wireless industry’s position that mobile broadband requires significant latitude in managing their networks and a mobile-specific approach is needed, it proposes a highly regulatory and structured regime that could never keep pace with the dynamic and evolving nature of the U.S. wireless industry,” wrote Scott Bergmann, vice president of regulatory affairs for CTIA.