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North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Reducing Usenet Bandwidth

  • From: Vadim Antonov
  • Date: Tue Feb 12 00:31:35 2002



USENET is by its nature a commons facility for sharing rivalrous resources
(e.g. bandwidth and storage capacity).

Some elementary reasoning (if anyone's interested, Lawrence Lessig's "The
Future of Ideas" contains as detailed discussion as anyone can bear :)
leads to the conclusion that such commons lacking usage control mechanisms
are doomed to disintegrate.  No exceptions to this rule were found so far.

(The usage control mechanisms do not have to be market-based to be
effective and successful; public policy or code may embed usage controls
as well - the cooperative congestion control in TCP is an excellent
example).

When the Internet was small, personal reputation was strong enough limiter
to abuse of these shared resources.  Howevber, it only works when a
community is smallish and elitary.  It is clearly no longer the case with
USENET.

In other words - USENET cannot be fixed with technological improvements as
long as the root problem (lack of admission control) is not solved.  
Improving transmission or storage systems would only let spammers to push
more spam for free (and to reduce S/N ratio even further).

I'd say it is time to declare USENET defunct. It was fun while it lasted.

--vadim

PS:     

Talking about commons... A lot of network and computing resources are
quite under-utilized.  Many owners of those resources would be quite
willing to donate underused capacity to the community - providing that
such donation will not have any noticeable negative impact on resources'
performance on primary tasks.

While most modern OS-es have mostly adequate prioritization mechanisms, a
lot of would-be donors are turned out by the effective inability to
protect their primary network capacity.

Therefore, i would like to ask ISPs to be civic-minded and standartize on
an IP TOS for "community" traffic, giving normal IP traffic an absolute
queueing and drop-policy preference over packets with community TOS.

Most backbone (and some access) IP routing equipment already has
everything needed to implement community TOS, the equipment vendors could
be similarly civic-minded by making such preference turned on by default
and by improving per-TOS utilization data collection, so NMS-es won't cry
wolf seeing links being highly utilized by low-priority traffic.  Another
area which needs improvement is making L2 switches similarly aware of
community TOS in IP packets.





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