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The Internet

Hunting the Mythical "Bandwidth Hog" 497

eldavojohn writes "Benoit Felten, an analyst in Paris, has heard enough of the elusive creature known as the bandwidth hog. Like its cousin the Boogie Man, the 'bandwidth hog' is a tale that ISPs tell their frightened users to keep them in check or to cut off whoever they want to cut off from service. And Felten's calling them out because he's certain that bandwidth hogs don't exist. What's actually happening is the ISPs are selecting the top 5% of users, by volume of bits that move on their wire, and revoking their service, even if they aren't negatively impacting other users. Which means that they are targeting 'heavy users' simply for being 'heavy users.' Felten has thrown down the gauntlet asking for a standardized data set from any telco that he can do statistical analysis on that will allow him to find any evidence of a single outlier ruining the experience for everyone else. Unlikely any telco will take him up on that offer but his point still stands." Felten's challenge is paired with a more technical look at how networks operate, which claims that TCP/IP by its design eliminates the possibility of hogging bandwidth. But Wes Felter corrects that mis-impression in a post to a network neutrality mailing list.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.