[Cerowrt-devel] DOCSIS 3+ recommendation?

dpreed at reed.com dpreed at reed.com
Thu Mar 19 11:38:19 EDT 2015

I'll look up the quote, when I get home from California, in my email archives.  It may have been private email from Richard Woundy (an engineering SVP at Comcast who is the person who drove the CableLabs effort forward, working with Jim Gettys - doing the in-house experiments...). To be clear, I am not blaming Comcast's engineers or technologists for the most part. I *am* blaming the failure of the Comcast leadership to invest in deploying the solution their own guys developed. I was skeptical at the time (and I think I can find that email to Rich Woundy, too, as well as a note to Jim Gettys expressing the same skepticism when he was celebrating the CableLabs experiments and their "best practices" regarding AQM).

It's worth remembering that CableLabs, while owned jointly by all cable operators, does not actually tell the operators what to do in any way.  So recommendations are routinely ignored in favor of profitable operations.  I'm sure you know that.  It's certainly common knowledge among those who work at CableLabs (I had a number of conversations with Richard Green when he ran the place on this very subject).

So like any discussion where we anthropomorphize companies, it's probably not useful to "pin blame".

I wasn't trying to pin blame anywhere in particular - just observing that Cable companies still haven't deployed the actual AQM options they already have.

Instead the cable operators seem obsessed with creating a semi-proprietary "game lane" that involves trying to use diffserv, even though they don't (and can't) have end-to-end agreement on the meaning of the DCP used, and therefore will try to use that as a basis for requiring gaming companies to directly peer with the cable distribution network, where the DCP will work (as long as you buy only "special" gear) to give the gaming companies a "fast lane" that they have to pay for (to bypass the bloat that they haven't eliminated by upgrading their deployments).

Why will the game providers not be able to just use the standard Internet access service, without peering to every cable company directly?  Well, because when it comes to spending money on hardware upgrades, there's more money in it to pay for the upgrade.

That's just business logic, when you own a monopoly on Internet access.  You want to maximize the profits from your monopoly, because competition csn't exist. [Fixing bufferbloat doesn't increase profits for a monopoly. In fact it discourages people from buying more expensive service, so it probably decreases profits.]

It's counterintuitive, I suppose, to focus on the business ecology distortions caused by franchise monopolies in a technical group. But engineering is not just technical - it's about economics in a very fundamental way.  Network engineering in particular.

If you want better networks, eliminate the monopolies who have no interest in making them better for users.

On Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:11am, "JF Tremblay" <jean-francois.tremblay at viagenie.ca> said:

>> On Mar 19, 2015, at 9:53 AM, dpreed at reed.com wrote:
>> How many years has it been since Comcast said they were going to fix bufferbloat
>> in their network within a year?
> Any quote on that?
>> THat's a sign that the two dominant sectors of "Internet Access" business are
>> refusing to support quality Internet service.
> I’m not sure this is a fair statement. Comcast is a major (if not
> “the” player) in CableLabs, and they made it clear that for Docsis
> 3.1, aqm was one of the important target. This might not have happened without all
> the noise around bloat that Jim and Dave made for years. (now peering and transit
> disputes are another ball game)
> While cable operators started pretty much with a blank slate in the early days of
> Docsis, they now have to deal with legacy and a huge tail of old devices. So in
> this respect, yes they are now a bit like the DSL incumbents, introduction of new
> technologies is over a 3-4 years timeframe at least.
>> It's almost as if the cable companies don't want OTT video or simultaneous FTP
>> and interactive gaming to work. Of course not. They'd never do that.
> You might be surprised at how much they care for gamers, these are often their
> most vocal users. And those who will call to get things fixed. Support calls and
> truck rolls are expensive and touch the bottom line, where it hurts…
> JF
> (a former cable operator)

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