Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Internet

Excite@Home To Change Routing Priorities For $$ 177

chrisd writes "I found this one the SJ Mercury news web site, go and read it. The article in essence says that excite expects to make a lot of money from content providers for giving them "special" access to their networks. This is a troubling problem in my mind because, in essence it means that the web will be better for some sites rather than others based on the ability/desire of sites to pay excite." (Read More)

" I am expecially troubled by this because it would mean that sites and companies that have gobs of cash could in essence pay excite to guarantee a better experience than a competitor. It's not clear from the article, but for excite to specifically give higher priority to one than that would by default reduce the priority of competitors.

The question then becomes, how long until someone can literally pay to make it impossible to reach a competitors site. Say how would cnn reader feel if they could no longer reach cnn , but msnbc always came up super fast?

It's a surprise that the same company that appears to be for open access for cable lines would take this approach to cash for network routing. Excite is definately doing the right thing through it's support of open access (imho), but a very wrong thing in pursuing this line of business. "

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Excite@Home To Change Routing Priorities For $$

Comments Filter:
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:38AM (#1024118) Homepage
    Hey, they are free to do it, but we are also free to talk or complain about it.

    As customers (at least I am) it's nice to know these things. It's not like @HOME is going to e-mail all their customers and tell them this. Also, this is the first time I've heard anyone doing this. I'd be interested to know if this is going to start a trend.

    I swear, some people are just here to whine and complain. I don't mind if you have some masochistic urge to read news you hate on a site you don't like, but do you have to complain about it too?

    Finkployd

  • This is exactly why I pay $40 dollars a month for @home. First, it's been fun having my ports scanned every couple of days by @home. Also, seeing my bandwidth shrink and a cap placed on my upload speed.... all I can say is that's customer service, baby! I don't get new newsgroups any more, but who needs 'em? And SPAM in my mailbox, bring it on! More! Harder! And now my service will be faster when I go to sites like, oh, CNNTIMEWARNERAOLDISNEY but I get to wait 30 second for /.

    Why, I'm so fscking happy I wish I were paying $80 dollars a month!
  • I think you are thinking of slate.com, Microsoft's political mag. I don't recall Salon.com ever charging.
  • Oh of course if I want to eat/drink in the theater I tend to smuggle contraband snacks in whenever possible, me and a friend once snuck a pair of foot long subs into movie (trench coats are your friend ;-)
    To further steer this off topic a new resteruant/movie theater just opened here that serves pizza and beer during the show, and I think that's just pretty damn cool, prices are pretty decent too. ;->
  • The only problem with this is defining which system is the server, and which is the client.

    Is the server the one providing most of the traffic? That would work for ftp downloads, but not uploads. How about gnutella and other peering systems?

    The way to do it would be to say that you don't pay for any traffic _from_ your location, only to it. Currently, you pay for traffic in both directions.

    Note that this is how cell-phones work over here. It is the caller that pays for the call. If you call a cell-phone, you pay. If the cell-phone calls you, they pay. This is different from North America, where the cell-phone always pays (again from what I remember).

    As for collecting payment for traffic, most ISPs outside of the US do this already. My cable modem here in New Zealand is metered, and so is the ADSL line the Telco offers.

    Jason Pollock
  • This sounds kinda like AOL. Where AOL makes the user think they are on the internet, but really just getting there info on the local/proprietary AOL servers. Here it sounds like the Excite is just routing the requests for specific IP addresses and sending that request over its own network, which it says will be faster. That is until they contracts with many web sites, and then suddenly their wires are just as full as the the rest of the internet.
  • Hmmmm.... I'd argue the time it takes to get a page up (dependent on how fast you get the data) is a very real issue in determining who dominates the web.

    Jakob Nielsen (we've had him interviewed here) says that people are very sensitive to download times - guess why he recommends spartan design in his sites.
    I can't find the quote from his book, but he cites surveys where it's found that people prefer speed over content.
    With high bandwidth piping from excite, some would have a very real advantage in reach people.
  • from the article: "By charging content distributors, the Redwood City-based company hopes to tap into a lucrative source of new revenues. Last year, Excite@Home lost $1.5 billion on sales of $337 million"

    Excite needs money. Bad. And they'll use all of their resources (i.e., their infrastructure) to make it. I don't think it is really clear what the effects will be on others. If Excite isn't robbing Peter of bandwidth to pay Paul, then they should be free to sell their resources as they see fit.

  • What does routing priority have to do with Linux? this will affect all users equally.... Windows, Linux, Mac, BeOS, etc... Think before you set of your "Somebody is trying to take down linux" alarm. Just incase you didn't notice there isn't some big router conspiracy to disallow packets that have been fingerprinted as coming from a linux tcp/ip stack.... calm down
  • by wozz ( 25963 )
    Why exactly do any of you care what Excite does with their backbone. They paid for it, its not government funded, your taxpayers dollars didn't go towards it. Its their bandwidth, they can do whatever the hell they want with it and no one has a reasonable right to second guess them. If you don't like it, don't buy services from them. And the folks that are implying that its somehow a crime if Excite decides to devote more bandwidth to one customer over another, I'd like some of what you're smoking.
  • Anyway, priority flags are embedded into IPv6, aren't they? do you think all priority (except Army/Intelligence ones!) will cost the same?
    Thus we no more pay for the time, we will anyway pay for something... will it be bandwith, traffic, priority, or all of them?
  • If them is corporate lobbyist, we r what ? /. lobbyists ? :)
  • Hey, Im sorry but the utopia of the Internet being free for everyone and that the small guy has the same rights and "power" as a huge company has never been true.

    Lets see...

    "Slashdot's new co-location site is now at Andover.Net's own (pinky finger to the mouth) $1 million dedicated datacenter at the Exodus network facility"

    You mean that if you have lots of money to throw at your servers and hosting, your sitell load faster? Wow.
  • Let's see if I understand this. @home will provide at some additional cost, "special" access to their network for a company like Akamai (means smart in Hawaiian). Akamai provides their clients a faster and more efficient means of providing content because of their distributed caching servers. An Akamai client is CNN interative (Time-Warner), a company that is trying to merge with AOL. Yahoo, Microsoft, and GO Network are also Akamai customers.

    Hence, @home via Akamai is saying to these companies that they will provide them fast(er) service to @home customers. But it will cost you. If these companies maintain their relationship with Akamai, then they will be essentially saying okay. Can't wait for the open access fights to start up again.

    But most importantly, Victoria's Secret is an Akamai client. You know what this means.:-)

  • Isn't the next step, say a year from now, to be offering the customers access to peered routing for a premium? Say a pricing agreement whereby you pay $x/month to have premium access Financial Services online services, etc?
  • No ISP has tried this in the past? Are you joking? Every ISP does this with at least its own content, and usually that of several "partners" (think of AOL).

    Back to the original poster--"the company that is for open access..."; is he high? E@H has never been for open access, they've been fighting it tooth and nail.
  • There are of course serveral ways that this could be implimented by @home, priority queueing - correct spelling :), policy based routing, route maps, MPLS....

    I wonder if they are using anything based on the type of service field in the IP header, this is very possible and combined with route maps its easy to impliment per (extra paying) customer. So, @Home customers, why not set your own TOS bits and see if it makes any difference?

    Under WINNT (and I guess most MS OSes?)
    Edit the registry to add:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Serv ices\Tcpip\Parameters.
    Use the "Edit->New->DWORD Value" menu selection and type in "defaultTOS" without the "s."
    Double-click on the new defaultTOS value and enter 20 (make sure the units are set to HEX).
    Exit the registry and reboot the system.
    A value of 20 sets the TOS to "priority."

    With a Cisco....
    add to your outbound interface:
    ip route-cache policy (of course depends on IOS / if CEF is used etc)
    ip policy route-map settos

    Global conf:
    access-list 1 permit ip any any

    Make the route map:
    route-map settos permit 10
    match ip-address 1
    set ip precedence 1

    The above might be a bit wrong but you get the idea. 1 is the second lowest precedence, with 7 being the highest, 0 the lowest. Both of these will of course only work for traffic in the out bound direction.

    OK, is this possible under Linux I guess so, but how?

  • There's nothing wrong with what they are doing, after all, Excite@Home is just saying that if you want our high speed, you pay for it.

    Besides, it appeared that the companies signing up (well, at least one that I am aware of, Akamai) distribute content, rather than provide it. They don't create or provide the content. They get paid by companies that want to have the ability to distribute their own high-bandwidth streaming media content. The content distributors have various mechanisms to achieve this, and one of the tools they need is, naturally, high bandwidth. What this means, is that companies that wish to pay more to get their own content out there will be able to do so because of this. If you cannot or don't want to pay to get the bandwidth for distribution, why should you have it?

  • How does someone manage to be offended by this? Unless I am horrendously misreading the linked article, excite isn't offering much more than some kind of peering service (Universities do the same thing often, even for commercial entities).

    It's not as if @home is routeing packets to CNN at a higher priority than MSNBC, it's simply that if CNN has a 'direct' link to @home then @home subscribers will naturally see better service.

    Look for a cause elsewhere.
  • If instead of degrading existing bandwidth (which it seems to me would be counter-productive, as it degrades the user experience of their users, who upgraded from AOL hoping to see blazing fast super speeds), Excite takes the money they get from sponsorships and uses it to invest in additional network infrastructure (thus increasing overall capacity) then they will leverage those sponsorships into a boon for all of us.

    Instead of getting angry, let's see if we can convince them to take this approach instead.

    Want to work at Transmeta? MicronPC? Hedgefund.net? AT&T?

  • Or pay Sony to make a radio that ONLY receives Infinity Broadcasting stations. Just like the cable modems that only connect to AT&T cable. Let's see how this one plays out if AT&T not only control your access - but your CONTENT too!! Beware Ma Bell!
  • And this is different how? If I have money, I sleep on a more comfortable bed, I drive a faster car, I eat better food, and I have better Internet access. Isn't that how America works?
  • by tqbf ( 59350 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:40AM (#1024140) Homepage

    I can't believe that the open spirit of the
    Internet has been sullied by this obvious attempt
    at crass commercialization. The Internet has
    survived for the past 2 decades without charging
    any money for access and providing equal levels
    of service to everyone based on merit. This
    could change all that.

    What's next, having Internet access facilitated
    by telecommunications carriers that will charge
    $13,000 a month for DS3 access that is currently
    provided for free?

    I am shocked. We should all boycott Excite@Home.
  • by orpheus ( 14534 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:42AM (#1024141)
    What is the controversy here? According to the article, "those companies had agreed to pay an undisclosed amount per megabit per second in order to plug into the high-speed network." In other words, they are selling bandwidth. If anything, it is less troubling than the many 'preferred vendor' arrangements that have been on commercial networks (e.g. Compuserve, AOL, Prodigy) since the 80's.

    By buying bandwidth directly to a network segment, these providers will get better throughput. If you look at the buyers (Akamai, iBeam and Microcast) in the article, you'd see that they defintely have an interest in eliminating netlag and other delays to cablemodem users (who can make best use of their services). I expect other 'wide pipe' providers to follow suit, and consider it both prudent, and a service to all customers. (The revenue stream is welcome, too: Excite@Home lost $1.5 billion on revenues of $337 mill last year. How long do you think they can afford to keep supplying service at current prices at his rate?)

    There is a huge distinction between *providing* service* and *denying* it.

    You might as well argue that high-bandwidth users are 'crowding everyone else off the Internet' (which has been argued). Howver, this doesn't have that nice conspiratorial anti-business ring, does it?
  • This is NO different from doing a CoLo (Co-Location) or an ISP doing peering. It's not news at all.

    Why not make an announcement that "Search Engine X" or "E-Commerce Book Store Y" also has multiple connections to the internet? It's absolutely NO DIFFERENT.

    This just some lame-o marketdroids attempt to get publicity, and somebody fell for it.

  • This isn't new at all.

    You seem surprised that ISPs provide you with a better service if you pay more money. This has always been the case.

    Typically, it's the "Pay more for more bandwidth" scenario, which will make your site appear "faster" to the end users. Try and go over your allocation, and you get throttled. Nice.

    It was only a matter of time before this was extended to routing.

    Internet hosting is a business. Deal with it.
  • I think it is a good idea, and a good revune stream for them

    Exactly. The poster might as well have said "it's unfair that some sites can afford better graphic designers" or "better servers" or "to publish more content". If Excite users don't like it, they'll vote with their feet. If rivals to content providers don't like it, then they have to either make their content more compelling, or pay for similar services.

    Either way, the consumer gets a better deal. That's why it's called the free market.

  • This goes under the heading, "you get what you pay for!" I routinely pay a toll on a toll road to get to work faster every day than if I took the parallel "free" road. It saves me hours every week. I think this is a great idea. You get premium service for extra money. It's like flying first class.
  • Although I know AOL does this, I don't consider AOL an ISP. They are a dialup content provider, and the only reason they have ever offered access to competitor and non-partner content is because their clueless users would bitch. 'But my freind has that cool Altavista thing on his AOL!!', the same reason they started to offer AOL users outbound connects at all..

    Yeah, they kind of lumped onto the bandwagon when it became clear that AT&T, etc, were not about to just give them the same sweetheart deal twice. After all, if you can't have it to yourself you'de better make sure your competition can't either.
  • So long as Excite continues to maintain it's public Internet lines as well, I see no problem with this. Of course, if they don't maintain those lines to a reasonable level, all of a sudden their customers will suffer when tempting to get to 95+% of the internet - a sure fire way of losing customers.

    You put your finger on the crux of the issue. Given lively competition among service providers to end users this is not a concern. However, what's more valuable at this point, 95% of Internet content or consumers connected at high speed? The value of the Internet to the big money forces now is not in current content, its future markets. This is why Excite@home can lose $1B, as the article says, right now the game is to jockey for position in future markets.

    If E@h (or any other high speed provider) can obtain a dominant market position they can dictate terms to content providers. More insidious, if a content provider owns a service provider they can exclude other content providers. Aol/TimeWarner? Didn't TimeWarner try to play hardball with Disney?

    This is what Aol would have like to have done with the dialup crowd but all phone lines being equal it wasn't very compelling to content providers in the way that high speed access to consumers could be.

    We need a vigilant FTC. Check out The Media Access Project [mediaaccess.org], they are part of a coalition that filed with the FTC to block the Aol/TimeWarner merger [mediaaccess.org].
  • Exactly! (Somebody got it right!) This is how your long-distance telephone works too... Imagine a big n-ary tree, with lots of little local offices at the bottom. These local offices are connected to a higher level regional office, and the regional offices are hooked into a larger office, and so on and so forth, so there are about 5 levels to the tree. When a call gets routed, it goes up to the lowest level of the tree that contains both you and the destination.

    If you were both on the same leaf of the tree, the call would be routed within that tree. If you were one hop away, your call would be routed one level up the tree, then back down to the leaf.

    In some cases, a call may go up three levels of the tree and back down again. (Much like how IP is handled).

    Eventually, the people at AT&T noticed that some of the main trunk lines were getting really clogged. (Like ones that run from NYC-Los Angeles.) These weren't exactly in the same section of the tree, and so they needed to work their way up to the top of the tree and back down, making it difficult at times to make that call.

    So, what was the solution? A direct trunk line from NYC-Los Angeles. Calls that would normally travel up to the top of the tree were instead shunted out along this new line. The direct service not only improved the NYC-LA connection, but it also improved other conenctions as well, because the bandwith that was hogged by NYC-LA connections was freed up.

    This is very similar to what we see here, except in this case, the cost of the additional bandwidth is only being absorbed by one "leaf" of the tree... those leafs willing to pay extra to have a direct connection to one of the main trunks... bypassing a lot of the hops on the way.
  • The problem isn't when Excite charges money for fast service to it's subscribers. It would become a problem when Excite steers users to those sites, because it makes its money from the extra traffic. The financial incentive is to make those sites more temping to their users, and this can be done with both the carrot (fast service) and the stick. The stick is what is frightening, they reduce QoS for sites that don't pay the vigorish. Users visit mainly the prefered sites since they are fast, and shun other sites without deep pockets since they are on the thin little line to the Excite network.

    This obviously doesn't have to happen, Excite may persue this as just a little lucrative business on the side. Or @Home users might not allow it to get out of control, by finding another provider and forcing Excite to keep the general purpose pipe fat to keep its customers.

    Anyone remember who wrote the bit on hot potato[e] routing(SF author maybe?). It was another take on how an Old Boys Network could be established to regulate who gets to use resources. Packets that aren't coming from or going to a prefered IP are passed along to the next (other company's) router since they don't generate direct revenue. If everyone passes the buck, then the packet gets tossed around like a hot potato until it finally gets delivered or its TTL expires.

    -sb
  • And I don't think there's any law that says "all men shall receive equal thouroughput opportunities" so, even if it's unfair, how is it illegal?

    ***JUMP PAD ACTIVATION INITIATION START***
    ***TRANSPORT WHEN READY***

  • How is getting faster access to some sites, and the same access to the other sites considered "getting the shaft?"
    It sounds like a great deal for the users.
  • Don't forget both of them have users. The site has both current users looking for faster access to their site, as well as potential users. If the ISP believes that their customers would benefit from a fatter pipe to their favourite sites, then, in effect, they are peer sharing their customers. It's not that different from going to a movie theatre and getting a coupon to a local fast-food restaurant.
  • So they pay more to get better connections. Big deal. This isn't new is it? This is just competition. I really don't think we'll EVER see the day that someone pays to cut out a competitor's site from an entire ISP. But, I have no problem with a site paying an ISP so they get a better connect.
  • In his keynote on Monday at SuperComm2000, John Sidgmore of UUNET declared that stand-alone broadband doesn't work as a business model and that UUNET isn't profitable despite the fact that it is the Internet's largest transport provider.

    You might dismiss Sidgmore's comments as self-interested whining, but as Excite@Home's actions and the discussion here indicate, there are real issues. The fundamental question is what sorts of unequal treatment and service differentiation are likely to lead to the best competitive structure. As Justice Breyer noted in the Iowa Utilities Board decision,

    "Increased sharing by itself does not automatically mean increased competition. It is in the unshared, not in the shared, portions of the enterprise that meaningful competition would likely emerge."
    Substitute "equality in packet routing" for "sharing" and you have an important comment on Excite@Home's action.

    As horrifying as it might seem to some, beyond best-effort "base level" IP connectivity, allowing service providers to be more closely tied to particular wide-area network infrastructure may provide a better competitive structure for advanced network services. I've explored these ideas in detail in some discussion papers available at http://www.erols.com/dgalbi/telpol/think.htm

  • I think you mean Slate [msn.com]. Salon [salon.com] hasn't tried to charge for access in my memory.
  • Would you all still be complaining if, instead of paying excite for faster service, these companies simply bought more/faster servers and faster internet connections? These companies are paying for speed to the end user, the same way they would pay for speed by purchasing extra equipment and bandwidth. What if Excite simply offered colocation services? Is there a difference if a company has its entire site cached for faster access (as would be the case for colocation), or just certain content that it bandwidth intensive. -Tom Hennen
  • Ok.. so whats wrong with wanting other companyies to pay for access to a high speed network?? Currently UUNet (as a example) requires non-tier 1 providers to pay for peering access. How is this any different? I'm sure many other Tier 1 providers do the same thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Paying based on usage of private peering links is nothing new. Most of the large colo/ISPs have had to do this for quite some time (e.g. Digex, Exodus, etc.)
  • I didn't say it was illegal (At least, I don't think so :-) but I figuyre the more you know, the better. I'm sure there are a number of people who have excite at home that would want to know what thier isp is doing with thier connection.

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • by pres ( 34668 )
    This was long coming. I expect we will see more and more levels of service on the internet allowing you to pay for certain better service or garentees (ie. for video conferencing etc).
    You will search for the ISP's will the best contracts.
  • I think the client should always pay for the bandwidth. If the servers pay for the bandwidth, that takes control over what can be downloaded efficiently away from the end user.

    If the client pays, then it makes sense for the pipe owners to upgrade the server's connection whenever it's needed. If the server pays, then a free site that gets too popular will be shut down by the bandwidth requirements.

    Every move further toward making the servers pay for bandwidth creates greater pressure to make websites profitable, rather than merely useful or entertaining.
  • This sounds an awful lot like what most people running ATM networks do. They charge more money for guaranteed quality of service.

    This is nothing new and has been happening for a long time. There is nothing wrong here.

    It takes money to run a network, and it costs more money to guarantee service which is reflected in the price. It's just that simple.
  • It's obvious to me that the most important line of this article is:

    Excite@Home lost $1.5 billion on sales of $337 million

    Eventually, IT isn't going to be able to sustain itself on the grace of massive, undeserved investment capital. Eventually, some of these firms are going to have to start turning a profit to survive.

    This may be a Bad Thing for the internet, but let's face it, enterprises that start out idealistic eventually have to consider their bottom line. I'm sure that the first Tower Records and Starbucks weren't evil, either.
  • by CyberBry ( 196935 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:44AM (#1024164) Homepage
    I don't see anything at all wrong with this, and as an @Home user, I'm very happy with it. There is also a tremendous advantage here for large web sites.

    Face it - @Home is massive. With well over a million people with multimegabit per second connections, you can believe that @Home generates a LOT of traffic (I did the math once, and they have over 5Gbps of peering alone). Now, let's say for arguements sake that at any given time, 30Mbps is moving between Yahoo! and @Home. When Yahoo! realizes that they can in essense, colocate a server within @Home, and save that extra 30Mbps, it may be much cheaper to do that than to use up their external peering.

    There is an advantage for @Home as well - not only do they save money on peering since they need fewer external links, but also now @Home users have access to this content over much faster connections.

    I see how you are saying that companies are paying for performance, but I don't see how that's any different from the current situation. Some companies can afford an OC-3 and can send 300KB/s to an @Home user, while some companies can afford a T1 and can send 20KB/s to an @Home user. Nothing's changing. @Home's peering will not cease to exist when this new service is being offered, so people who cannot afford to place servers on @Home will still be able to send content to @Home users at the same speed as they can now. Since @Home's peering is actually quite nice to most networks (most notable exception is UUNet), their end of the connection can handle as fast as yours can send it.
  • I'll answer you with your own post.

    The Question:
    I don't mind if you have some masochistic urge to read news you hate on a site you don't like, but do you have to complain about it too?

    Hey, they are free to do it [Write horrible irresponsible stories], but we are also free to talk or complain about it.

    Thank You, Drive through.

  • Ok, so they have extremely fast connections to pass content through. How does this slow everyone else's access down? In fact, it theoretically cuts down on conjestion by taking some of the streaming bandwidth off of the Internet.

    Here's another point: How much of the internet can they speed up? Is this just the connections to their subscribers? Also, I'm certain that this will decrease conjestion slowdowns, but they still have to pass the data through the last mile.

    No, I don't see how this will allow them to SLOW DOWN other's connections, nor do I see a significant increase in the time it takes a customer to download the information. Just an increase in the availability of the information. Many thinks to Excite@Home, though, for getting them out of our way.

    Mythological Beast

  • Excite is not charging users here, but rather the *content providers*. A provider can pay Excite a fee, and in exchange, Excite will route their traffic so that users visiting that site will have faster access. Of course this is the same as saying users will have slower access to sites that do not pay this fee to Excite.

    Now think about where this is going. If this business model became the norm for ISPs, then only corporations willing and able to drop the big bucks will be able to pay these fees. For the rest of us, visitors to our sites will encounter delays imposed by the ISPs. It is inevitable that the corporations will attempt to erode what equality is left in the Internet. This is one of the most insidious methods I've heard of so far.

    The good news is that (for now) any ISP can choose not to implement this business model, and I'm sure that a certain nonzero number of people in the online community would prefer such an ISP.
  • I would certainly pay my ISP (my college?) for faster access / higher priority from my machine to certain sites. Bump up the speed to d/l places I go, cut back on junk sites I don't want content from. I see no problems with that.
  • If my ISP followed any such behavior they'd be out of business in a heartbeat. Their service is bad enough, and it's a miracle they are even around today! Internet users are becoming more and more informed, and if this were to fall through, Excite@Home would be Excite@Homeless!

  • This has been tried before, in different forms, and has never worked, and has just made the company who tried to charge a "toll" look stupid (the biggest one I remember was UUnet several years ago).

    On top of this ignominy, Excite for years has been the SLOWEST search engine/portal out there, making it very ironic that they're now charging for speed. I thought their slowness might change after a couple of years but hasn't. They were also one of the first large web sites to deny pings to their web server, one of the first to jump on the dumb serach engine -> portal bandwagon and fill up their home page with a ton of useless crap and so forth. Therefore, this latest development doesn't surprise me. @Home is the same way, a company built on marketing (like AOL) in stead of engineering - you know where that gets you.

  • They just made me get a new modem & IP. I havn't noticed any scans from corporate @home addresses (plenty from @home subscribers, however). However, my firewall isn't logging scans to the NNTP port (my logs fill up fast enough just logging netbus, BO, and SMTP scans).

    If I were to guess, I'd say that their crackdown on unauthorized NNTP servers is a direct result of the UDP (usenet death penalty) imposed on them earlier this year. I wouldn't be too annoyed with them if they checked for unsecured SMTP servers too, and LARTed the guilty parties. I'm willing to put up with a little portscanning if it helps stop spam. I'm not crazy about being portscanned by anyone -- but then, that's why I have a firewall.
    "The axiom 'An honest man has nothing to fear from the police'

  • State College is a city in PA. Penn State's main campus is in it.

    Finkployd

  • Who cares? The theatre owns the property and can let whomever they
    wish in. If I don't like that policy, I have no right to demand being
    let in with a Big Mac in my hands.
  • I in no way support these actions but it is business. I guess we should have expected this sort of thing. By the same token it is their network and as far as I know there is no laws against the way they are using it (could be wrong here as am in Australia and don't know U.S. law). That said I think we should try and force companies to avoid similar courses of action. I would suggest if you use their service and have a choice for high speed access then exercise it.

  • I just don't see it that way. I see this agreement as akin to the movie theatre leasing lobby space at $100/square foot to Burger King, who previously was renting $20/square foot space at the same distance away as McDonalds.

    How long will it be before the movie theatre denies entry to people carrying McDonalds in an effort to ensure that they can keep raping the Burger King for rent?
  • Adero, Akamai, AdForce, Inktomi, Yahoo, they all use this business model.
    That's why when you load broken sites, you can often still get the banner ads
    (we've all had this happen, admit it).

    True ROUTING prioritization won't happen unless TCP/IP changes significantly,
    because the packets don't contain enough information about the true originator.
    It may not even be possible, because the security overhead would offset any reasonable gain
    from the prioritization.

    So if you like the net as it is, don't worry, be happy.

    Steve Maurer
  • Think about it: Internet 2, the move towards optical switching for the net's backbone, multiple levels of DSL service: all these are going to be have v. have-not services. Even now, the web pages can afford it get acceleration through services like Akamai [akamai.com], while the rest of the internet groans under the weight of thousands of new users every day.

    The rising tide of network speed will not lift all boats, and while that's unfortunate, you can't be surprised. As averse as we all are to consider it, this is the kind of situation where you look at a tax-flush federal government to make sure everyone can keep up.

    -jpowers
  • Interesting...excite@home is turning the ISP business into a continuous series of collect tcp connections. Click on the url for x.com and x gets charged for your connection.

    If corporations are willing to pay this, where will they pass the cost back to the customer? I know they won't just eat the costs...
  • I hear you dude.. check out post #33.

    I was so sick of their slow DNS server i set up my own caching DNS server.

    As for uplink, it sucks, but compared to ADSL it's fine (50k/sec verses 15k/sec)

    And portscanning? @home scans my IP every 4 hours on NNTP. Ever since i got a new IP (forced to get one) it's been scanning from authorized-scan.security.home.net! I have logs of this going back 4 months now!

    If there was an 80/mo alternative to cable/dsl, i'd buy it if the benefits were numerous. But considering the next best thing is 5-10 times that per month (commercial DSL, t1 line, etc) it's just out of reach for almost everyone =( I thought competition (dsl VS cable) would bring faster speeds.. *nope* not yet.

    Consider this: I started on 10mbit at university in 1996. Switched to cable. =( Damn was i ever spoiled..

  • by Bearpaw ( 13080 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:48AM (#1024180)
    Nobody said it was illegal. Nobody claimed any rights were violated. Are those your only standards of what's right or wrong? Of what's a good idea and what's a bad one?

    There are lots of things that I have a "right" to do, that are legal to do, that I nonetheless don't do for various other reasons.

    Corporations have a "right" to do this sort of thing. We have have a "right" to bitch about it and to try to discourage this sort of thing in various ways, including making it illegal. If we can make ourselves heard over corporate lobbyists, that is.

  • You forgot the no-server issue.That kind of bites.I know there's the bandwidth issue,not wanting all the bandwidth to be sucked up by "JohnDoe.com",but there has to be a way to prevent this,as they have shown us they can put caps on user bandwidth.
    And the fact the network goes down spontaniously.Had this happen when I was playing Starcraft with 5 other people.I probably pissed them all off too.

    ------------------------
  • For years, services like AOL, Compuserve (before it was bought by AOL), and "Classic" Prodigy had content partners. When you wanted weather reports, stock quotes, or sports scores, you had two options: either seek out the information from the source of your choice (assuming you had Internet access with your on-line service) or use the content provider that won the bidding war with your service. For things like weather and sports, this is no big deal -- you get the same info with different presentation, and the cost is the same.

    So now Excite@Home is doing this with audio/video services. Big whoop. You saw how miserably they've been doing financially: $1.5 billion in losses against $377 million in revenue. Hopefully these deals will encourage them not to go bankrupt and still provide Internet access. You don't _have_ to use their services, but they'll be made accessible to you as an instant-gratification option.
  • Your only hope is to vote for Ralph Nader. Go ahead and do it. Along with the rest of your ten percent.

    You wouldn't try to insult us if you thought that our opinion doesn't matter in politics.

  • Personally, I can't imagine why in the hell any of you people care whether or not Excite up's somebody's 802.1p byte between two locations on their internal network for stuff like VoIP that's really crappy without this service. It's cheaper than buying dedicated bandwidth and more efficient in the long run.

    Your argument can be applied directly to other things that are already in place: Why should slashdot get a (zippy fast loading) 100K+ server setup and gobs of bandwidth when I have to host a pretty good website off a virtual hosted (slow dodgy) piece of junk behind an ISDN line? You janus-faced goons over at Andover would (and probably do) buy priority routing and dedicated bandwidth from your provider so as far as I'm concerned, you can take your whining story and shove it. If you have more money you buy more bandwidth; more priority; more promised uptime; more protection against D/DoS; more redundancy; more security. Is THIS FAIR? Put slashdot back on the old machine from which it was born and see how it holds up. Then eat your words.

    What If some company goes out and buys so much bandwidth from a major provider that they dont even have bandwidth to sell to other people? Same thing only it's actually much much less likely to happen when a network is selling 802.1p bits.

    Think! For the love of God, please!

    ~GoRK
  • Anyone remember the Italian ISP called VOL (Video Online) www.vol.it that implemented intercontinental QoS on the Internet back in like 1993?! I think they are now defunct, but this is definately not a new idea. I run this stuff over my LAN all day with good reason and little to no consequences.

    ~GoRK
  • This is the one question who's answer determines whether this is a slimy, unethical practice that we should be getting pissed about, or whether it is perfectly legitimate and fair.

    That question is: When the content provider pays the ISP money, does the ISP use the money to create additional connectivity to that content provider, or does it merely allocate a greater percentage of its existing connectivity to that content provider? That's the million dollar question here.

    There's nothing wrong if the money is used to buy *additional* infrastructure, so that connections to other providers are still 100% as good as they used to be, and connections to the paying provider are, say, 150% as good as they used to be.

    On the other hand, it's highly unethical if what they are doing is taking resources *away* from non-paying providers and allocating them to the paying providers, without actually building anything new. (So the network responsiveness of the non-paying providers is less than 100% of what it used to be.) I say this is unethical because they are essentially opening up an auction where providers pay money whose only purpose is to hinder their competitors. ("Better pay us more money or we'll take away more of the bandwith to your site and give it to your competitor's site.")

    Paying money for new bandwith is great. But holding the existing bandwith up for ransom is evil.

  • They aren't "[paying] to cut out a competitor's access." Foo, Inc. buying a direct connection into the @Home network isn't going to prevent Bar, Inc. from being accessable. The only difference is speed and latency. This is no different from what many ISPs already do -- how many ISPs have private peering between each other? between themselves and Microsoft? The only thing is, they usually don't actively promote it -- and both sides are paying for it.

    I applaud @Home's inventiveness. Might I suggest selling web proxies as well?
  • There's a difference between Positive Promotion and Denial-of-Service attacks via router queues.

    A DoS attack is a DoS attack, and IS a criminal offence in many countries. IMHO, it is IRRELEVENT as to whether that attack is through fake packets or adjusted queues. It is STILL a malicious attempt to attack a service, via access.

    If Smurfing, or a DDOS campaign can result in years in prison, then bribing the network managers to block legitamate access should do likewise.

    If you don't like that, tough. It's either one law for all, or no law at all.

    Now, there's nothing wrong with guaranteeing a minimum QoS, PROVIDED it does not inhibit anyone else's QoS. As soon as QoS controls are used for malicious reasons, to harm others, that should be grounds for immediate arrest and inprisonment for all involved, and a sentance of up to life.

    (After all, that's what these same large companies want for teenage geeks who DDoS their systems, or even posess the tools with which to do so.)

    Last, but not least, DON'T blame some faceless "Slashdot". There is no "Great THEM" out there, just a bunch of guys, like any other bunch of guys, who hit on a cool way to read and debate the news. Whining about "Slashdot Journalism" (as if the "They" wrote the stories) is childish and immature. If you want to behave like a 5 year old, go run a Baby Bill. But if you want to be on a site aimed at readers with IQ's in at least double digits, act with the maturity you are (in theory) capable of.

  • I like to think of the "old west" in America as kind of a metaphor to what is happening with the internet in the past, present and future.

    At first the internet was only available to the researchers and the educational facilities that were instrumental to the building of the protocols and basic infrastructure - they were the natives.

    As home computers became more and more affordable, and ISPs became widely available, these new users began the migration to the internet - from places like AOL, CompuServ, Prodigy, etc. These were the settlers... people who often found themselves in huge "flame wars" with the aboriginal internet community.

    Right now, we are in the "California Gold Rush" stage of the internet... everyone and every business is eyeing the internet as the great cash cow of the 21st Century.

    What this article is pointing to is a opening up of the internet to broadband access, much like the first highways - often marked with toll roads and bridges. If you can't pay to take the shortcut to get the information you are looking for, you are going to have to go around.

    I think we're going to see a major corporatization of the internet, with major ISPs creating VPNs that will only allow their customers access to their own resources. And the AOL mentality of the masses is going to prefer this to today's free-for-all.

    Of course, I'm no psychic. Call Dionne Warwick for that. With any luck, I'm totally wrong.
  • crap, thanks, I knew I'd make that mistake.
  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {cornell.edu}> on Monday June 05, 2000 @11:07AM (#1024204) Homepage
    Providing "enhanced" service to some doesn't mean you have to reduce service to everyone else. It's called adding an extra T3 line on the content provider's bill. (That's how I interpret this.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Folks,

    There is no news here. @Home has always had
    a commercial ISP business (@Work) that sells
    lease-line connectivity. All that is happening
    here is that @Work is selling more circuits by
    marketing the fact that @Home and @Work share
    the same 5 Gbps nationwide backbone, so any
    @Work customer has good access to @Home customers.

    @Home isn't blocking access to any content and
    isn't slowing down other content. So no issue.

    As to the claim that Cox@Home has a mandatory
    proxy, this is flat wrong. In all markets,
    @Home has optional proxy servers deployed. In
    all cases, all one has to do is go into
    Netscape/IE and disable use of the proxy
    if one doesn't want to use it. Because 99%
    of @Home customers are not geeks, the installers
    are trained to configure this by default.
    Geeks can just turn it off after the installer
    departs the house, if they care. In many
    situations, performance is improved by the
    Inktomi proxys.

    (former employee of @Home Engineering;
    now working for another firm)
  • In one respect.. it's nothing new... none of us 'own' the internet, and private networks are free to set routing policy however they want for whatever reason they want. And none of us should have any problem with that.

    What we SHOULD have a problem with is places that offer 'Internet' access, but then proceed to screw people over based on bandwidth usage and/or content usage. If joe average purchases a connection, he should have a fair idea of what that means, not simply 'oh.. it's so I can surf the web'.
    I'm tired of @HOME's 'no server' policy. If it's bandwidth they are worried about, put a surcharge on the bandwidth in question. THAT is fair. THAT let's people undersand the resources in volved, and ultimately, what they are paying for. Joe average doesn't understand? He damn well SHOULD! Network technology is the way of the future.. it's better that the public gets involved and leaves their ignorance behind.
  • Wow, someone actually gets the clue here... QoS features aren't being developed just because they are really neat. They are being developed because someday they are going to enable certain companies to more efficiently sell their network service. go read a goddamn book on ATM and learn what GBR, ABR, UBR, and suchlike mean. and understand why if you read the fine print on your DSL contract, your 1.5M/384K connection really only guarantees 128K/64K.

    please, please, as relatively enlightened users of technology, understand the meshing of technological capabilities and market forces. don't just fear it, understand it.

    Paid QoS makes a great deal of sense, from a capitalist perspective, as much as it might suck in terms of closing down avenues of communication for the less monied aspiring broadcaster/publisher. understandy why. understand how. then coherently assemble an argument as to why it's wrong, and how we can change it.

    otherwise, shut your festering gob. you tit. your type makes me... oh you know the rest.

    nathan
  • Last time I checked, this is exactly the way cable tv has worked for years. The channels who got on board early and signed special deals got low, attractive channel numbers. I have QVC on channel 11 -- you don't think that happens because QVC is entitled to channel 11 do you? They pay for the placement I assure you. And guess what else...as a user I can pay for basic cable and get crap, pay for premium cable and get more crap, pay for movie channels and get some movies and crap, or even pay more and get digital cable and all kinds of weird crap on like 300 channels. And for another $40 a month I also get a modem and 512k down, 128k up. So I now pay the freaking cable company like $130 a month.

    And that my friends, is capitalism in all it's glory. If I don't care for all the crap, the three major TV networks are still free to anyone who puts up a big antenna. Same on the net...get a free account at NetZero and use it to your hearts' content or get high-speed access and take the good with the bad for a price. They call that a "FREE MARKET ECONOMY." Live with it, or move to a socialist country...those are the choices.

  • why shouldn't they be able to do this? who said that the internet has to the same speed for everyone. Certain people pay top $$$ per month to their ISP for high speed connections, while other people are willing to pay nickels and dimes and get shitty service. I think it is a good idea, and a good revune stream for them
  • by chrisd ( 1457 ) <chrisd@dibona.com> on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:30AM (#1024233) Homepage
    The only difference here is that they are doing this with content providers specifically and not peering with other isps and backbone providers.

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • "I think the client should always pay for the bandwidth."

    Currently, most people do pay for bandwidth. It's the backbone providers who are making the money from the scheme -- they charge somesite.dom so many dollars per gigabyte, and then charge the people loading the page (inderectly via the ISP) for the same gigabytes.

    If the backbone providers had more competition, and there was a standard way of paying for site useage (anonymously, of course), your idea could work. But I'm not holding my breath :-)
    ---
  • Duh, the servers are paying for the bandwidth because they want to - they want to get all their nice little streaming advertisements and what not to people. Will the world be a better place if the server can't pay to get a better connection? I don't think so.
  • Most web services have found in the past that if you try to charge people, or businesses for something that isnt' worth paying for, (or they're not used to paying for) your traffic will dissappear.

    Case in point, Salon.com and their old days of subscriber-based content, which went the way of the do-do.

    tcd004

    Here's my Microsoft Parody [lostbrain.com], where's yours?

  • Hmm this is just highlights to me how lucky I am to be in my present situation, this is slightly offtopic as it doesn't directly relate Excite but if you stick with me to the end I do have a relevent point, I promise :->

    Before the telcos were deregulated in 96 we had one local monopoly (ATU) two competing LD carries (GCI and ATT/Alascom) and one second rate cable company. Service sucked, it was an exercise in pain to get an ISDN to your home or business. Since deregulation both LD's bought switches and entered the local market, ATU entered the LD market, was sold and changed it's name to ACS. GCI bought the cable company and about two years ago gave us cable modems. In the last year ACS has gotten it's act together and started offering DSL. GCI appears to be rolling out cable modems to any town with more than about 500 people everywhere in the state they have cable. They just laid a new fiber to Seatle, greatly improving latency (my ping time to /. as of this second is: about 140ms) Elsewhere in the state the other local services providers are rolling out DSL at about the same rate. I've got a cablemodem. I have no restrictions on the length of streaming video I can view at once, GCI is Linux friendly, doesn't care that I run a server out of my apartment (they will in fact lease a static IP for that reason for an extra $10/month if you like) talking with freinds who use DSL here it's pretty much the same way. GCI is on the local peering network (sonnetnet) along with my uni and most other ISP's but isn't doing any funky toll access crap. Oh yea and I now have digital cable thanks to GCI as well ;->


    The point that I promised is just around the corner. This seems to me to be the best way to run a broadband business, cable modems are already turning a profit for GCI, consumers are very happy and flocking to the new services in droves, and no one is getting censored or screwed in anyway. I don't know precisly how everything managed to come together in such an ideal libertarain way up here, but from my point of view the broadband situation in the "lower 48" is pretty broken and mired in troublesome politics.


    Just thought I'd share one free market success story with everyone.

  • I'm not sure if Excite@Home provides a (mandatory) proxy for their users to use for access (Cox@Home does). If that were the case, I know that Squid provides the abilities to limit both bandwith to client and also from the outside servers themselves. Or would they be using QoS to raise the priority to all connections to *.yourcompany.com? IMHO this is a bad idea, I mean imagine if Infinity Broadcasting (A radio chain, not the speaker company) paid Sony to make their recievers get the signal from Infinity stations better than other ones, thus enticing the reciever's users to listen to the Infinity stations. Doesn't sound like such a good idea, eh?

  • IMHO, any company that "diverts" bandwidth is doing a DoS attack on the service they're diverting from. Now, if that's the case, the courts -should- be asked to treat it like any other DoS attack and jail & fine all the offending parties involved.

    One person said that it was a case of installing a faster dedicated pipe. (A bit like the old Local Bus scheme.) Sure, that makes things faster up-stream, but it does NOTHING to the pipe down-stream. So, either they have to prioritize the faster pipe, for any of the benefit to be seen, (in short, squeezing the smaller pipe by creating an artificial log-jam), OR they are going to end up fraudulantly selling bandwidth they don't have to sell.

    (For those new to networks, think of a major 3-lane highway as the backbone. Now, at a junction, they have two roads leading off. So far, so good. Nobody is causing any problems. What happens if you now upgrade one of those roads also to a 3-lane highway. The traffic flow will all but shut the smaller road down.)

  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:33AM (#1024263) Homepage
    Not just with us Geeks, who watch stuff like this, but the general public.

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that in order to give "priority" to a site, then something must be taken away from another. In a time when cable must compete against the faster xDSL services, you would think they would not want to criple ANYTHING. Or even give the illusion that are slowing something down.

    Or perhaps they are doing this on purpose. Maybe they are going after the computer illiterate who only uses the internet for stocks, news and mainstream stuff. They could pull bandwidth from the hardcore internet users (many of who are probably only using cable while waiting for DSL in their area) by yaking it from anything non mainstream, and giving it to the "big" sites. Giving the regular Joe Customer a faster net experience at the expense of anyone not using mainstream sites.
    Wierd stuff

    Finkployd
  • by BranMan ( 29917 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:34AM (#1024265)
    I don't think this has the evil portents - I read the article and what I get is this:

    Everyone on Excite has equal access to all sites (through the regular internet backbones) with some latency and bandwidth determined by that pipe.

    Excite is getting companies to pay them for the privalege of hooking high-speed pipes directly from their servers to Excite's routers.

    Request for them don't go to the internet backbone - they are routed over these new, direct lines. Faster performance to those sites (less latency, more data/sec., etc.)

    Noone is given priority over another. No competitor's service is reduced - in fact it would also be enhanced, since some of the traffic is not going to that common backbone (at least a little).

    Put away the pitchforks and torches for now.
  • This being opposed to your provider giving you a T1 instead of a T3 because you didn't shell out for the extra speed?

    I don't see a difference...

  • by technos ( 73414 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:34AM (#1024269) Homepage Journal
    Both their push for 'open-access' and 'pay-us-for-routing' are nothing more than trying to protect their bottom line. Their contract with several of the cable providers is up soon, and there is little incentive to go with them again.

    This smells rather funny though. No ISP has tried this in the past, so there must be a rather good reason. I'm guessing everyone is afraid when the 'competition' starts screaming to Congress, Congress will hand down far more 'Thou shalt nots' than are needed to rectify the situation.
    Congress has shown historically that it not like this sort of thing amongst the telephony and satelite data providers; Why should it like it when e@h does it?

    The result? e@h makes a quick buck, and those that paid for 5 years of 'special' routing are going to lose it in a round of regulation.. e@h and the honest ISPs alike are going to have to deal with additional regulation laden on by every SIG waiting for the first ISP regulation test bill to show it's face..
  • It's availible at http://z.trapezoid.com [trapezoid.com] in the top news article. Ignore the username and password, that's for user prefs (if it's annoying, hit 'Login/out'.)


    -------
  • I'm currently an @Home subscriber, and lately I've been paying attention to their routing patterns. Simply put, @Home does some wacky things as far as routing. I try to reach servers on the east coast, and get routed through L.A. and San Francisco first. Yet, I try to reach servers on the west coast, and I'll frequently get routed through Chicago and MAE-East first. To reach another local ISP, I go through Dallas then Chicago first.

    My suspicion is that they are choosing these routes over more efficient, low-latency ones because of high-bandwidth peering agreements. i.e. At exchanges, packets will ignore more direct routes in favor of links which can provide greater throughput. (This is unsurprising considering the purposes for which they advertise their service, such as streaming/multimedia content, although it strikes me as flaunting convention a bit.)

    Not directly related to the article at hand, but I believe it provides some useful background...
  • I work for a medium/large size ISP which now has a unique piece of technology in place. It is a giant web cache server, works kind of like a proxy, but is invisible to all our users. It works in conjunction with a switch that does layer 4 IP switching/routing/intercepting/redirecting. *ALL* our user's http requests on port 80 are intercepted by the switch and routed thru the proxy to see if they are in cache first, before they go out the main routers to the rest of the real internet. The cache's disk space is a few hundred gigabytes on a raid array and is getting quite full now. The initial purpose of this technology was to give the illusion of bigger backbone feeds and speed up user's web access, which it does well. Now the suits & beancounters have a brilliant idea: sell ads on our own portals and deliberately slow down/throttle bandwith to competing portals. Not only does the technology let us do this quite easily, but we can also just as easily compile and generate traffic profile reports to see where our users surf most frequently and use that info to our marketing advantage. Our biggest advertisement clients don't really care where their ads are served from just as long as lots of users see them and we give them a cheaper price to host their ads and steal their business away from our competitors (like selling tons of 99 cent hamburgers). We're not big enough (yet) to play this game with actual network routes via high-level peering agreements, but we can certainly play the same game with artificially speed up or slowed down access for all of our many tens of thousands of dialup, isdn, dsl and other dedicated connection subscribers.

    I designed and built a frankenstein monster that is now running amok out of control and I don't know whether I should be proud or ashamed. Anyway, he's made me a lot wealthier that I was before.
  • Sorry, I was assuming NO concession stand. A concession stand would obviate the need for Burger King; It is more profitable to expand the meager fare offered by the concession stand than to allow non-exclusive competition, even at outrageous real-estate prices like that! Besides, I carry whatever I want into a movie, don't you? Or has the art of social engineering died? I went to see one last week carrying a 32 oz Styrofoam cup full of coffee. When stopped by the desk lackey, wanting to know what was in the cup, I told him coffee. He told me that they served drinks, and no outside drinks were allowed. "Until you can serve me something Vegan, I will carry whatever I like, thank you." I demanded the manager. It was dropped right there. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Vegan. I wanted coffee, damnit, and I was not about to take no (or 'How about some watered down Coke?') for an answer.
  • It doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that in order to give "priority" to a site, then something must be taken away from another.

    Not necessarily. The extra money from these sites will allow them to improve their connectivity to other networks, and they make this extra bandwidth available preferentially to sites that have funded it.

    You're assuming that the one and only bottleneck is at the modem/xDSL end, which is not the case.
  • This is not per se a peering agreement.

    A peering agreement says "I got a lot of traffic going your way, you got a lot coming mine. Let's put a pipe between so we can pay the middleman less for a smaller pipe."

    This says "I got a lot of users. If you wanna look good to all my users, I'll sell you fat pipe right in. I'm gonna make money hand over fist cuz I can keep making you pay for your pipe, and I can keep cutting the other pipe and paying less."

    In a few years, this will say "What?? Altavistas slow?? Yeah, you hafta load them over the cache on the skinny pipe to the Real World. Excite's plenty fast and you better switch soon, 'cuz that pipe's provided as a courtesy to some of our users, and we may not keep it around forever."
  • ISPs have been doing this amongst themselves for a long time. Companies like above.net do this every day, albeit they host the servers on their site. On the surface, it simply looks like they're making their routing tables more efficient for customers willing to pay for the privilege. Certain companies that make caching servers employ similiar techniques for streaming media (i.e. cache those who pay the piper for the privilege).

    Since it gets the content "closer" to the end user's (albeit of @Home), and doesn't negatively affect everyone else out there, I can't necessarily see this as a bad thing.

    -- PhoneBoy
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:37AM (#1024291)
    Considering that Excite, like most national ISPs, are investing in content caching systems I doubt the tool booth is going to be a big deal.

    CNN and MSNBC will load off the cache server just as fast. When it comes to streaming audio and video then you're going to see issues. Maybe Real won't work as fast as MS.

    On the other hand this isn't anything all that new. PSInet has been offering peering arrangements for some time. And ISP can have a direct connection to PSInet sites, and PSInet has a direct connection to the ISP. Depending on traffic considerations it may not be that bad of a deal. Then again PSInet hosts a lot of servers and T's. Excite really doesn't.

    I think this is a pretty big non-issue. Excite is obviously trying to make a dime off high bandwidth video streaming. Somehow I doubt the Opensoure, GNU, FreeWare, Freedom of speech market is going to be hurt. Maybe one porno site will load quicker than another. More power to them.
  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Monday June 05, 2000 @10:37AM (#1024292) Homepage
    How many times have we seen companies offer a standard version as well as a "gold edition"? If Excite@Home was intentionally slowing the connections to sites belonging to competitors of their clients, then we would raise a stink. A while ago, I know that somebody (Cisco?) was mentioning this in marketing materials so it is quite possible.

    Also something you have to look at is the line "Excite@Home lost $1.5 billion on sales of $337 million." Those are some hefty losses, even for a tech company. They have to make money somehow.

    -B
  • I hope I'm not playing devil's advocate here, but it seems like this isn't a very horrible thing to do. While it does suck that they're giving priority to those that pay, most of them seem to be those that need the high bandwidth. Akamai, for instance.

    Personally, I don't mind that my access speeds up when I go to download that 150MB file. Of course, this all depending on where they're getting the bandwidth.

    If it means I have to put up with pages loading slower than than they normally would, yes it's a bad thing. But if it simply gives major content providers extra needed bandwidth that nobody's using, then so be it.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

Working...