How to Determine Whether a Traffic Management Practice is Reasonable

17 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012

See all articles by Scott Jordan

Scott Jordan

University of California, Irvine - Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

Arijit Ghosh

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 15, 2009

Abstract

As part of the wider debate over net neutrality, traffic management practices of Internet Service Providers have become an issue of public concern. An increasing number of vendors offer network equipment to implement a variety of traffic management practices using packet classification and packet filtering. The Federal Communications Commission has asked for public input on whether such traffic management practices are reasonable forms of network management. Little attention has been paid to this issue within the academic computer science community, and many communications policy researchers have recommended a case-by-case analysis. In contrast, in this paper we propose a framework for the classification of traffic management practices as reasonable or unreasonable. To build the framework, we focus both on the technical aspects of traffic management techniques and on the goals and practices of an ISP that uses these techniques. The framework classifies traffic management practices as reasonable or unreasonable on the basis of the technique used and on the basis of how and when the techniques are applied. We suggest that whether a traffic management practice is reasonable largely rests on the answers to four questions regarding the techniques and practices used. We consider examples of how these techniques are used by ISPs, and how the answers to these four questions collectively affect the degree to which a traffic management practice is reasonable. Based on these questions, we propose a framework that classifies techniques as unreasonable if they are unreasonably anti-competitive, cause undue harm to consumers, or unreasonably impair free speech.

Suggested Citation

Jordan, Scott and Ghosh, Arijit, How to Determine Whether a Traffic Management Practice is Reasonable (August 15, 2009). TPRC 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1999845

Scott Jordan (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences ( email )

Bren Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-3440
United States
(949) 824-2177 (Phone)

Arijit Ghosh

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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