Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ofcom Report on Traffic Management Detection Methods

While  "Unlike some countries, All ISPs Voluntary Signed for the Net Neutrality Code"[here],  Ofcom, the UK regulator, had to find ways for detecting the use of traffic shaping practices used by ISPs and commissioned study that was published recently - "A Study of Traffic Management Detection Methods & Tools" (here).

Ofcom explains that "As consumers use more 'bandwidth hungry' Internet services such as video, existing access networks are likely to experience congestion problems. One way for Internet service providers (ISPs) to manage congestion is to increase the capacity of their networks. Yet, even in the longer term, congestion problems are still likely to persist as demand continues to rise; in particular on wireless networks. Alternatively, ISPs can adopt traffic management (TM) techniques to alleviate network congestion. 

[See also - "[UK] Ofcom Research on Transparency of Traffic Management" - here]

Potential TM points in the UK broadband infrastructure (wireline)
Source: "A Study of Traffic Management Detection Methods & Tools" (here). 

.. It is envisaged that a practical TM detection mechanism could be a useful part of the regulatory toolkit for helping the communications market deliver online content and services that meet consumer expectations. For example, such a mechanism could potentially help to increase transparency for consumers, visibility for the regulator, and benefits for online service providers.

The report provides a comparative analysis of the identified methods and tools, for example,
in terms of:

  • Their efficacy in detecting and quantifying the presence of TM in a given network;
  • The impact on the network and the consumer in terms generated traffic volume, quality of experience, etc; and
  • The need for a given tool or methodology to be integrated within, or executed outside a given ISP’s network infrastructure.
This literature review was commissioned by Ofcom to better understand the techniques that could be potentially used to detect traffic management"
See "Traffic Management Detection Methods & Tools" - here.

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