What are the pros and cons of net neutrality?

What are the pros and cons of net neutrality? Which position do you believe has more creditability? How would the global Internet picture look if some countries mandated neutrality and some did not?

The internet, being the largest network there is, has brought so much advancements in today’s modern world. It has contributed so many improvements in the day-to-day business operations as well as in the lives of so many computer geeks. With the birth of the internet, all transactions can be done in the easiest and fastest way possible; not to mention the ease it brings in terms of communication.

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            One of the issues that the internet world is facing these days is the concept on Net Neutrality. This paradigm is expected to change the shape of the internet in the years to come. Google, for one, created a guide to the said theory which incorporates an overview of the subject, possible actions to protect the internet and a letter from the company’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. Net Neutrality is, actually, based on the idea that internet users are free to control as to what content they view as well as what applications they use on the internet. This is also based on the concept that any broadband carriers must not influence their internet clients with regards to the applications and content they opt to view online. In the United States, Net Neutrality is a major issue in which the US government considers new telecommunications law pertaining to such concept. (Google, 2009)

            With the birth of the internet, all kinds of information are available 24/7. Through this, more and more internet users have been addicted to such technology. As years go by, broadband connection becomes cheaper and is available anywhere and anytime the users want it. It is for this reason that broadband companies must not restrict their users as to what content they will use. Broadband companies must play a very healthy competition. Instead of thinking of strategies on how to restrict their users from the use of internet content and application, it might be better that all broadband companies must cooperate with one another and develop strategies on how to make data communication even faster.

            In addition, Net Neutrality follows the idea that internet users must be able to access internet content regardless of what broadband connection they are using or how much they paid for such a connection. One of the arguments against the implementation of internet regulations is that broadband companies have the right to block sites, content or services. This would then give way for the companies to use tiered system in order to gain profits. In this way, customers find it more expensive to access certain services since sites would have to make up to pay to the internet providers. Another advantages of net neutrality is that is slows down the economic stability of the United States, thus, there is no reason for the service providers to improve its quality. On the other hand, one disadvantage of net neutrality is that when an internet user downloads a large file, he may be required to pay more compared to a person who only checks mail. This is based on the idea that the higher bandwidth a user users, the higher he needs to pay. This, in turn, speed up the time it takes for a user to use the internet. People who are in favour of this paradigm believes that bringing money is very important, thus, allowing internet providers and companies to invest the money towards a very successful future. (tBieberle, 2008)

            Net Neutrality has both its advantages and disadvantages. People who are in favour of the said idea believe they are right and those who are on the other side of the coin also believe they are right. However, based on the facts presented, I believe it is fair for all internet users to pay the same amount regardless of the content and application they are using. Also, internet providers must not restrict users from viewing contents that of the rival provider. Users, after all, have the right and all the privileges in terms of what they intend to view online. So long as the provider gives a high bandwidth, internet users must enjoy the benefits of having an online connection.

            Should some countries implement net neutrality and others do not, there will be confusion in terms of the policies and regulations of the internet. With this, the owners of internet providers worldwide must have a consensus whether or not to implement net neutrality to show fairness to all internet users across the globe.

For a company seeking a high-speed broadband WAN link, the two major options are circuit switching and packet switching. If the decision was yours to make, which option would you choose and why? What do you see a critical success factor for the choice you make?

In data communications, data are sent from the sender to the receiver either circuit-switched or packet-switched. Circuit switching is a common technique which is used to build a communications network. In using the telephone, circuit switching is used. This technique allows the sharing of communication equipments and circuits among users. Every user in the network has an access to a circuit during data transfer. Once a user requests a circuit, the destination address must be communicated to the local switching node. This is achieved by dialling a number in telephony network. When the other node receives the connection request, it then identifies the path to the destination through an intermediate node. This is then followed by a circuit connection phase which handles the switching nodes. Once the connection has completed, a signal is transmitted to confirm that the circuit had been established. The diagram below shows the process of circuit switching: (Fairhurst, 2001)

On the other hand, packet switching employs the idea of sending short messages. When a message which is to be sent across the network is long and exceeds the network-defined maximum length, the message is broken down into smaller units called packets. Each packet sent across the network is associated with a header. In packet switching, data is sent in packets with a pre-defined header format and some “idle” patterns. The packet network equipment discards “idle” patterns between packets and then treats the packet as one set of data. Packet switching is also advantageous since data sent in packets are short and the communication links are only allocated to transfer a single message while transmitting each packet. Another benefit of packet switching is that it incorporates the concept of pipelining. It is much efficient in terms of transferring data since it uses simultaneous communication links. The diagram below shows the packet-switching technique: (Fairhurst, 2001)

From the two types of techniques, I’d choose packet switching. Data are sent in packets, which means, data are sent in shorter messages. With packet switching, it is more economical than using private lines and dialled data when the data communications are shorter than a normal telephone call charge. In the event of a node failure, packet switching allows degradation in the network, thus, data are automatically routed. Bandwidth is also dynamically allocated on a required basis. (http://www.samhassan.com/PacketSwitching.htm)

References

Bieberle, T. “Net Neutrality Advantages and Disadvantages”. 2008. 24 April 2009. <http://tbieberle.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/net-neutrality-advantages-and-disadvantages/>

Fairhurst, F. “Circuit Switching and Packet Switching”. 2001. 24 April 2009. <http://www.erg.abdn.ac.uk/users/gorry/eg3567/intro-pages/cs.html>

Google. “A Guide to Net Neutrality for Google Users”. 2009. 24 April 2009. <http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality.html>

“Packet Switching”. 2009. 24 April 2009. <http://www.samhassan.com/PacketSwitching.htm>

 

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