Freedom to Degrade

closed.png BT made an interesting presentation at an IETF meeting in which it described a spectrum whose endpoints are
  • demand side — freedom to degrade others
  • supply side — freedom to degrade competitors

re-ECN architectural intent by Bob Briscoe, UCL, BT, 68th IETF, Unofficial Birds of a Feather (non-BoF), Prague, 21 Mar 2007

My, freedom is so degrading.

What’s the solution?

  • these economic effects require change to the Internet Protocol
    • making IP more suitable as the basis of a converged architecture.
That last right next to the word “closed” on the figure. The presentation goes on to propose a solution that looks quite reminiscent of the end-to-end provisioning of circuit switching, like in the old copper telephone days.

My favorites, though:

  • engineers shouldn’t pre-judge answer to these socio-economic issues
    • IETF needs to provide the cost metric
    • don’t need metric for value — leave that for industry to guess
In other words, engineers, sit down, shut up, and do what you’re told. Not just engineers, of course. The telcos know better. Seems like this was summarized towards the “freedom to degrade competitors” end of the spectrum:
  • you’ll get what we infer you want given what you’re doing

OK, I suppose this is just one researcher’s (and the BT “re-feedback team”) unofficial remarks at one informal technical session. But it may also be what a major telco really thinks.