Net neutrality in Europe (bye bye Best Effort?)

By Mika Skarp

As of this writing (June 30th 2015) EU gets its much anticipated regulation on Net neutrality. On our initial read, it appears very close to the statement that the FCC issued a couple of months ago. In fact, in my opinion, there's no significant difference in the substance of their two positions and this is good news. 

So while the future is uncertain, some key boundaries have been have been drawn to protect innovation and particularly for mobile networks. This is mandatory for 5G.

The first and most important observation is that Net neutrality is not a synonym for the so called "Best Effort" network. Been there, done that. For the uninitiated, "Best Effort" or round robin scheduling is technology that works well in non real time communication networks. Conversely. net neutrality is a policy that guarantees that everybody has access to the services they want and in many cases need to consume.

For real time services (i.e. most of the content and application services in play today), the world needs something better than best effort. The advantage of a mobile network is that it is a multi purpose network. Thus, it provides significant cost benefits over single purpose networks and by a large margin. (The cost advantage factor is in fact somewhere over 100x.) But at the same time we need to make sure that mobile network is not misused and it is open for innovation. Enter Net Neutrality.

It is easy to use Deep Packed Inspection (DPI) to favor certain traffic or even block some traffic completely. However, DPI usage for blocking purposes is now forbidden in Europe and USA. This is a very good decision and is at the very core of Net Neutrality. Not that well known however is the fact is that we can deliver stable Internet connections to consumer without DPI.

As a Net Neutrality-aligned alternative for mobile, Cloudstreet's Application-Aware Network (AAN) paradigm allows us to design user profiles and manage them dynamically. For example, one user might have multiple profiles on the AAN each with a different purpose. One could be used for streaming content services and another for participating in a virtual meeting, while a third user profile might be optimized for simply surfing the Internet.

The Cloudstreet AAN Profile does not define what service one uses, but rather works with all of them. A user may simply turn on a given special profile as required and the AAN will take care of the rest depending on location and network load.

As new Net Neutrality regulations come into play in major markets around the world, and with the pending arrival of 5G networks, it will become imperative for network operators to deliver customer-oriented, context aware levels of services. Cloudstreet provides a simple, elegant solution to the challenge of delivering reliable fixed and mobile internet service from common network at neutral way. Please have a look at www.cloudstreet.co