Network Traffic Management

Invited talk, Washington Area CTO Roundtable, November 4, 2010 (Washington, DC)

Network neutrality is in the news. However, there is no consensus on what it is, why it is important, or if it even matters. It is wrapped in emotional terms, like freedom of speech, innovation, and abuse of market power. Whatever one may think of network neutrality, there are very real, objective issues that Internet service providers need to deal with. Service providers need to protect their networks from attack, protect their customers from malicious or inadvertent attack, and provide some level of service assurance to their customers. On the other hand, there is a clear risk of ISPs choosing winners and losers and, even worse, throttling competition.

We will review Network Traffic Management, covering the stakeholders, business interests, network management techniques and their impact on us, the customer. This topic is important for any CTO that depends on the Internet for employee access, customer access, business partner access, or even if you simply have a web presence.