Do Wireless Networks Merit Different Net Neutrality than Wired Networks?
17 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2012
Date Written: August 15, 2010
This paper attempts to answer whether wireless net neutrality should be different than wired net neutrality because of the different technologies used. We are concerned with whether the challenges of wireless signals and mobility merit different traffic management techniques, and how these techniques may affect net neutrality. We address whether wireless network operators should have a different ability to restrict applications used on their networks than wired ISPs. We are also concerned with which wireless applications or services should be covered by a net neutrality requirement, and whether this requires the definition of managed services. We review the pertinent aspects of network architecture and discuss the main differences between wired and wireless networks. We find that wireless networks differ substantially from wired networks only at and below the network layer. We then more specifically address how traffic management differs in wireless networks. We conclude that wireless networks require stronger traffic management. We find, however, that despite the differences in traffic management, similar net neutrality concerns apply. We state our general position on net neutrality, and then examine how it may apply to wireless net neutrality. We argue that since the differences between wired and wireless networks lie in lower layers, net neutrality in both wired and wireless networks can be effectively accomplished by requiring an open interface between network and transport layers.
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