Google making a network neutrality detector

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27 Responses to “Google making a network neutrality detector”

  1. David Bruce Murray says:

    Awesome.

    My internet connection is with a small provider that began as a cable TV company before expanding to offer internet and internet phone services.

    Curiously, I constantly have trouble when it comes to streaming full episodes of TV shows from the major networks. I can run a speed test, and get close to advertised results, but I get glitches in streamed video ALL the time. Before I moved into my new home, I was using Earthlink broadband and didn’t have these issues, despite having a slower Earthlink account (1.5 Mbps DSL vs. 2.0 Mbps cable).

    A tool like this should (if I understand you correctly) help me determine if my ISP is hindering me from watching video on the internet so I’ll subscribe to their cable TV services instead.

  2. zuzu says:

    I wonder if this will work in conjunction with the Web100 network diagnostic tool (NDT). e.g. miranda

    While the national high-performance network infrastructure has grown tremendously both in bandwidth and accessibility, it is still common for applications, hosts, researchers and other users to be unable to take full advantage of this new and improved infrastructure. Without expert attention from network engineers, users are unlikely to achieve even 10 Mbps single stream TCP transfers, despite the fact that the underlying network infrastructure can support data rates of 100Mbps or more. On unloaded networks, this poor performance can be attributed primarily to two factors: host system software (principally TCP) that is optimized for low bandwidth environments, and the lack of effective instrumentation and tools to diagnose performance issues.

    The Web100 project was created to address these problems. The first is addressed with automatic TCP buffer tuning. The Web100 work in this area has been merged with main-line Linux kernel, and is contained in recent releases. To address the other problem, we have created a set of TCP instruments, defined in an IETF internet-draft. These instruments are implemented in Linux with the Web100 kernel patch.

  3. gd23 says:

    @13 Seems more like a server side setting, or web app setting on your blog. Most servers/web apps have defined upload buffers sizes, and timeout periods.

  4. oasisob1 says:

    @Arby #6:

    Yep. Good one! Do not let Google blind you from some of their wrong actions with some of their right ones.

    The network censoring of China through Google is one of the worst things they’ve done. It was that, or no Google in China, I suppose, but they didn’t go the route of right.

    Anyway, the idea that a distributed network of users could detect violations of, and someday possibly enforce their own set of rules on the Internet/web/tubes/waste of time is simply incredible. Kudos to Google for taking a kickass recommendation from our very own cape-and-goggled advisor.

  5. kyledeb says:

    It’s good to know that google’s looking out for the little guy at least some of the time.

  6. Pseudothink says:

    Very cool. I understand that this might not totally be a philanthropic act on Google’s part, as their business model and ability to compete depends quite a lot net neutrality, but still, very cool. I’m looking forward to reading about the inevitable class action lawsuits based on this kind of information gathering.

  7. George Curious says:

    Meh, good on google for trying. But other than bad publicity how is this gonna make a difference?

    Every ISP has a TOS that’s stictly for CYA purposes.

    Yeah, we’re screwing with network traffic, what about it? You don’t like it? Go to the cableco across town, oh that’s right, there isn’t one!

  8. Seth Goldin says:

    This is exactly why you don’t need to use government force to protect net neutrality. Market forces can spread information for better-informed consumers. Lots of Boing Boing readers just hate to admit that there are people that exist who don’t mind if their provider slows down kids that are just pirating movies. Those who care about net neutrality will flock to providers that promise it and deliver, provided the government doesn’t keep propping up rotten companies.

  9. zuzu says:

    Yeah, we’re screwing with network traffic, what about it? You don’t like it? Go to the cableco across town, oh that’s right, there isn’t one!

    Don’t like it? encrypt your traffic. It’s impossible to perform deep packet inspection (DPI) / Quality of Service (QoS) on encrypted traffic except categorically (i.e. all encrypted traffic is downgraded). Granted, I think Rogers in Canadia has actually done that, but big businesses often rely on VPN traffic for intranet video streaming and such for employees on home accounts. Better still if we could achieve critical mass where most or all user traffic were encrypted. Then again, most web server administrators are so lazy/cheap that they don’t even use SSL by default.

    (If BoingBoing really cared about Net Neutrality, their website would at least default to https:// for everything.)

    (And if worst came to worst, we can just tunnel everything through encrypted port 81.)

  10. Arby says:

    Google will always stink for what it did to a good Chinese citizen. Always… until it’s no more.

    Otherwise, Yes, This Google-led initiative looks positive.

    As for the above poster’s pitch for ‘no government’, How does that work? There will always (for now) be governments, because capitalists – lovers of ‘markets’ – need them more than anyone. The question for most of us isn’t ‘government or no government?’. It’s representation. Promised representation is rarely delivered.

    My rotten Canadian government is pushing through a DMCA-like law and receiving lots of justifiable criticism for not consulting with all affected stakeholders. I expect capitalists to only care about their profits – even though one would wish that they could be socially responsible – but I should be able to expect that my government, elected by citizens from all walks of life, will care about my wants and needs and not just those of it’s (powerful) partners in business.

    But that’s the problem right there, Isn’t it? Politicians’ ‘partners’ in business. When politicians and capitalists in the private sector join forces and run things, that’s called fascism. When they do fascism with care, so as to not bring the rickety mansion they preside over down on all our heads, That’s careful, less bloody (literally) fascism, such as we have today in Canada and the United States.

    I try to encourage people – everyone – to care, because that gets to the core of it all. I believe that solutions flow from caring. I would rather suggest caring to those looking for answers than to prescribe specific solutions (I don’t have all the answers and no one does), not that it’s a bad idea for knowledgeable people (Google’s engineers) to have specific solutions for specific problems.

    But everyone – good and bad, right and left – is playing ‘riches for the strongest’ and only a minority that is willing to cheat, exploit and oppress are winning in this game. Folks on the Left and elsewhere in the majority too easily get caught up in just trying to win in this evil game whose main element is neoliberal capitalism. The game’s the problem. Maybe we could call it 777.

  11. Arby says:

    That last line was missing a sentence before it. It should have gone:

    “The game’s the problem. We need a new game. Maybe we could call it 777.”

  12. Antinous says:

    There will always (for now) be governments, because capitalists – lovers of ‘markets’ – need them more than anyone.

    Despite its perversion for other uses, I believe that government was created by the weak to keep the strong from consuming them. Very few national governments would compare unfavorably to rule by local warlord. I’ll take Burma over Somalia any day.

  13. rosethornn says:

    This in itself seems like a step in the right direction, regardless of Google’s previous actions.

  14. Takuan says:

    the only advantage the Burmese have is the oppression is scheduled.

  15. agraham1 says:

    I am part of a new campaign to switch to the first Telecom to take the Net Neutrality Pledge. It is a new type of campaign because people can join the campaign without switching but once the first Telecom takes the Pledge (as long as they provide service in your area) then all the members will switch. If you’re interested check it out here: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/first-telecom-to-take-the-net-neutrality-pledge-wins-our-business

    Thanks and we want to help the spread the word about keeping an open internet.

  16. zuzu says:

    the only advantage the Burmese have is the oppression is scheduled.

    Quite right.

    Despite its perversion for other uses, I believe that government was created by the weak to keep the strong from consuming them.

    That’s mythology to keep “the weak” “in their place”. I think this has been attributed to George Washington: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

    As for the above poster’s pitch for ‘no government’, How does that work? There will always (for now) be governments, because capitalists – lovers of ‘markets’ – need them more than anyone.

    As I understand, this is incorrect. I’ll suggest two articles to read:

    1.) The Stateless Society by Stefan Molyneux, wherein he describes Dispute Resolution Organizations (DRO) — which is simply another way of saying arbitration (e.g. Judge Judy isn’t a “real” judge, but still settles disputes as a private and mutually agreed upon arbiter).

    2.) Agorism; particularly the distinction between corporatism (i.e. “evil Big Business”), and free entry capitalism (i.e. voluntary free trade)

  17. Takuan says:

    how to limit free speech (by Time Warner)
    http://biz.yahoo.com/nytimes/080614/1194785259060.html?.v=3

  18. zuzu says:

    how to limit free speech (by Time Warner)

    *sigh*… I wish more CEOs of ISPs would stop listening to this “exabyte flood” non-sense, actually read the end-to-end principle which defines the heterogeneous fault tolerant architecture of the Internet, and then accept that “growing the pie” (i.e. overprovisioning) is
    both the least expensive and most productive way to provide customers with bandwidth. Of course, the technological solution to encroachment on Net Neutrality without relying on government is to encrypt all traffic.

  19. drew3ooo says:

    How did this devolve into whether Burma’s oppression is better than some other country’s? It seems that people are either living in Ayn Rand la-la land — “the market makes everything better. Just trust the market” Yeah, that worked well in things, like say the meat industry — and ultra-totalitarian commie wet dreams. Cuba is wonderful, just ask the people tossed in prison for being gay. What about some sort of middle ground where we can have all our civil liberties and surf for whatever content we want and the government does its job which is keep entities that have grown much larger than the individual, say, like Comcast, in check.

  20. Antinous says:

    ultra-totalitarian commie wet dreams. Cuba is wonderful, just ask the people tossed in prison for being gay.

    Actually, Cuba is about to surpass the US in terms of gay rights. They will almost certainly have gay marriage before we do. But other than that, I agree with your desire for a reasonable balance of freedom and government.

  21. zuzu says:

    (If BoingBoing really cared about Net Neutrality, their website would at least default to https:// for everything.)

    According to Slashdot, The Pirate Bay will SSL encrypt all of their web traffic (a relief for anyone behind a firewall, such as a university, where any file ending in .torrent is blocked through traffic shaping).

  22. boyhowdy says:

    I’d love something like this. As it is, I have no issues with streaming or downloading (yet), but for over a month, I have no trouble UPloading perfectly label-approved mp3s for my music blog…unless I try to upload them in batches of over 8-10 megabytes. Anything over that, and my connection starts to slow at around 8 megs, and stops dead at the 10 meg mark.

    Given that the artists and labels I work with are perfectly happy about me uploading, say, 14 songs from various artists/labels in a batch for a post on, say, covers of Bob Marley songs, it seems to me that any possible claims from the ISP that they are “only protecting the interests of content providers” are going to be easy to pre-empt. Sigh…in the meantime, I have to babysit the computer for the small-batch upload process. C’mon, google!

  23. Mllerustad says:

    @#5:

    “This is exactly why you don’t need to use government force to protect net neutrality. Market forces can spread information for better-informed consumers.”

    Yeah, a competitive ISP market is great for consumers! Too bad most consumers don’t live in one. Both me and my parents are stuck in Comcast-land. Not only does our Internet go out several times a day, they choke off BitTorrent usage and even the TV signal is glitchy. Comcast has the worst customer service record of ANY company in ANY industry, and yet they’re still in business. Why? Monopoly/duopoly of two evils + huge barriers to entry in this particular industry.

    Hopefully I’ll get to tell Comcast to screw off next year–the building I’m in is probably going to bite the bullet and pay to get Verizon FiOS installed soon. But Verizon isn’t within 500 miles of my parents. There’s just no viable alternative (other than going offline entirely–ha!). In most parts of the country that aren’t Silicon Valley, internet service is not a natural free market. It’s a natural monopoly. In which case, no, the market isn’t going to solve consumers’ problems (net neutrality being just one of them). Regulation, however, might.

    I like that Google’s doing this, but there’s only a few markets where people can respond to proven non-neutrality by voting with their dollars. Nevertheless, the data should make for a nice case in front of the FCC.

  24. zuzu says:

    In most parts of the country that aren’t Silicon Valley, internet service is not a natural free market. It’s a natural monopoly. In which case, no, the market isn’t going to solve consumers’ problems (net neutrality being just one of them). Regulation, however, might.

    Actually, no, it’s an unnatural monopoly — the only kind there really is. Look up the regulations on rights-of-way (i.e. “utility poles”) and the FCC sometime; there’s an enormous legal barrier to entry for who is permitted by law to run a wire to your home. That, and the historical monopoly privileges handed to telecoms historically, causes the lack of competition in Internet access providers.

    p.s. Possibly, a Junxion green box and an unlimited 3G mobile data plan would be preferable to you compared to Comcast?

  25. zuzu says:

    It seems that people are either living in Ayn Rand la-la land — “the market makes everything better. Just trust the market”

    Equivocating free markets with Ayn Rand is like equivocating Christianity with the Pope.

  26. jesushootscores says:

    Words: Robert Hunter; music: Jerry Garcia
    Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission
    Saw a bird with a tear in his eye
    Walking to New Orleans my oh my
    Hey, now, Bird, wouldn’t you rather die
    Than walk this world when you’re born to fly?

    If I was the sun, I’d look for shade
    If I was a bed, I would stay unmade
    If I was a river I’d run uphill
    If you call me you know I will
    If you call me you know I will

    Ooo, freedom
    Ooo, liberty
    Ooo, leave me alone
    To find my own way home
    To find my own way home

    Say what I mean and I don’t give a damn
    I do believe and I am who I am
    Hey now Mama come and take my hand
    Whole lotta shakin’ all over this land

    If I was an eagle I’d dress like a duck
    Crawl like a lizard and honk like a truck
    If I get a notion I’ll climb this tree
    or chop it down and you can’t stop me
    Chop it down and you can’t stop me

    Ooo, freedom
    Ooo, liberty
    Ooo, leave me alone
    To find my own way home
    To find my own way home

    Went to the well but the water was dry
    Dipped my bucket in the clear blue sky
    Looked in the bottom and what did I see?
    The whole damned world looking back at me

    If I was a bottle I’d spill for love
    Sake of mercy I’d kill for love
    If I was a liar I’d lie for love
    Sake of my baby I’d die for love
    Sake of my baby I’d die for love

    Ooo, freedom
    Ooo, liberty
    Ooo, leave me alone
    To find my own way home
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    I’m gonna find my own way home

  27. HangNailed says:

    IMHO, ISPS have no wright to controll our internet bandwidth so that some over paid executive can run seven servers out of his houde and i can’t even runn a simple frigging web/mail server with out payin 1200 usd a year for comcadts business class Cable internet service, which thay wont even give me because my service address is a residential address bah hum bug.

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