Menu
Stanford researchers invent tech workaround to net neutrality fights

Stanford researchers invent tech workaround to net neutrality fights

A new technology would give broadband customers more control over what traffic gets priority delivery

Engineers at Stanford University have invented a new technology that would give broadband customers more control over their pipes and, they say, possibly put an end to a stale net neutrality debate in the U.S.

The new technology, called Network Cookies, would allow broadband customers to decide which parts of their network traffic get priority delivery and which parts are less time sensitive. A broadband customer could then decide video from Netflix should get preferential treatment over email messages, for example.

The technology could put an end to the current net neutrality debate focused on whether broadband providers are allowed to prioritize some network traffic and block or degrade other traffic, said the researchers, Professors Nick McKeown and Sachin Katti and electrical engineering grad student Yiannis Yiakoumis.

Network Cookies, first described at a conference in Brazil in August, would put broadband carriers and web content providers on a level playing field when catering to user preferences, they said.

The technology puts the control in the hands of broadband users, Yiakoumis said by email. "Giving users choice is both feasible and beneficial," he said.

The technology adds transparency and "audit-ability" to network management processes, he added.

It's unclear whether broadband providers would support the new technology, however, given that Network Cookies would take some network management authority away from them. A spokeswoman for USTelecom, a broadband provider trade group, declined to comment on the proposal.

Yiakoumis defended the technology, saying it would be useful for broadband providers. "ISPs can differentiate from competition and better engage with their customers, in a way that is compatible with net neutrality principles," he said.

In addition, broadband providers would still control their infrastructure, and they could decide to provide a low-latency service, a high-bandwidth service, or free data with lower bandwidth, as some options, he said. 

"They decide what network services to provide, with what guarantees, and how to implement these services within their network," he added. "But users can decide for themselves how to use these services and with what traffic. I believe this approach is easier for ISPs as well: Instead of trying to guess what users want they can let them choose directly for themselves."

But what if some broadband customers designate all traffic as high priority?

Some users may need incentives for proper use or be required to pick among applications, Yiakoumis said. ISPs could also use monthly quotas on high-speed connections or charge extra for low-latency services, he said.

"This is not very different from we what we have today," he said. "You can buy a 10Mbps or a 50Mbps connection plan. All we say is that it's OK to have both of them at the same time and decide what traffic to send where."

The researchers field-tested Network Cookies in home settings by working with Google. Users in 161 homes were given access to an application called Boost, and they decided to give priority to websites related to news, video, voice, and sports.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments