The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

March 1, 2014

Five things you should know about the Netflix-Comcast deal

— Edward Snowden's NSA surveillance disclosures have drawn global attention to the sometimes esoteric world of Internet infrastructure governance. Political reactions have ranged from wanting to "route around" American Internet exchange points to walling off services through data localization and nation-specific cloud computing. But these responses sometimes overlook how the Internet works in practice.

Now Comcast and Netflix have announced that they will directly interconnect their networks, rather than having Netflix traffic flow first through a third-party network. With this, another layer of Internet architecture - interconnection and peering - is under the microscope. The Internet is not actually a cloud but a collection of networks that technically conjoin, or "interconnect," and exchange traffic based on negotiated business arrangements known as "peering" or "transit" agreements.

Many have reacted with anger to this recent interconnection announcement, viewing it as a direct threat to the principle of net neutrality. But the responses here again underscore the lack of technical and economic understanding of how the Internet works - which could be attributable to the lack of transparency in this space.

Here are five things to keep in mind when you think about the Netflix-Comcast (and soon, perhaps, Netflix-Verizon and Netflix-AT&T) deal.

1. Content companies are already globally connected to Internet access providers.

Many have claimed that this is the "first time a content company has connected directly to a consumer network or paid for interconnection" and that it will threaten the open Internet. In reality, long gone are the days of a tiered system in which so-called "Tier 3" Internet service providers paid "Tier 2" intermediary networks that, in turn, paid "Tier 1" global backbone providers for access to the global Internet. Interconnection is more organic, messy and decentralized than that. Large content companies like Google and Facebook distribute and replicate their content all over the world, connecting directly to Internet access provider networks either from their own server facilities, via Internet exchange points (IXPs) or via content delivery networks like Akamai and Limelight.

From an engineering perspective, bringing multimedia content closer to "eyeballs" without clogging up a tertiary network is a no-brainer: It decreases delays and optimizes bandwidth consumption. This content distribution is particularly important for bandwidth-consumptive applications like video.

Text Only
National News
  • State Dept: 'No American is proud' of tactics

    The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document.

    July 31, 2014

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Indiana sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 29, 2014

  • Medicare hospital fund to last 4 years longer

    Medicare's finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program's giant hospital trust fund won't be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year's estimate.

    July 28, 2014

  • After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 28, 2014

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III faces a $1.7 million civil suit filed by a brother over a lifeline to save a family carpet business.

    July 25, 2014

  • Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    A psychiatric patient ranted about a hospital gun ban before opening fire at the suburban medical complex, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back, authorities said Friday.

    July 25, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 25, 2014

  • Illinois woman, 47, dies rescuing boy in Wisc. lake ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an Illinois woman who drowned while rescuing a 9-year-old boy in a Wisconsin lake.The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports 47-year-old Karen Wessel of Arlington Heights d

    July 25, 2014

AP Video
Facebook