Public Knowledge demonstrates ignorance of networks
Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge demonstrates for us the problem with ignorance based policy by claiming that games and VoIP “works just fine” on a dumb and neutral network. I don’t know how Mr. Weinberg defines “works just fine”, but 150 to 1000 millisecond latency is not “just fine” when half your words are cutting out in a phone call or when you’ve been fragged a whole second before you even see it. The fact that Mr. Weinberg perpetuates this shows how ignorant the hard line Net Neutrality proponents are.
Weinberg claims that YouTube and Netflix works fine on neutral networks, but what he doesn’t understand is that YouTube and Netflix are the causers of harm and not the victims. This isn’t just my opinion; it’s backed up by the hard data I posted yesterday. YouTube and other buffered video streams work just fine because they buffer ahead. That’s fine for recorded video with the luxury of being buffered, but it doesn’t work for live content or VoIP or online gaming. Furthermore, these buffered video streams from YouTube and Netflix are some of the main culprits along with BitTorrent that induce jitter on a broadband connection and ruin online gaming and VoIP.
Weinberg claims that Xbox gaming also work fine on neutral networks but this simply ignores common sense and what every VoIP user and gamer already knows. It’s quite normal for a VoIP user to pick up the phone and say “hold on, let me shut off BitTorrent”. The fact is that PC gaming or Onlive aren’t usable with the kinds of jitter caused by BitTorrent or YouTube or Netflix. Users get around this problem by shutting off BitTorrent or YouTube or yelling at their roommates to stop using those services. A close personal friend of mine recently imposed a no Torrent and no streaming limit on his roommates during daylight hours.
So while Weinberg might argue that these games “work” on a dumb network, they only work with draconian solutions. VoIP and gaming only require 100 Kbps yet VoIP users and gamers won’t allow the remaining 3 to 12 Mbps on the broadband connection to be used for other things like BitTorrent or YouTube or Netflix. This crude fix is completely unnecessary with a truly neutral network that fairly rotates packet forwarding between applications. Ignorance based policy and Neutral networks don’t work.