What You Need to Know about Net Neutrality


Todays’ IT shops depend on the internet to get work done, and many rely on it just as much to sell goods, market themselves, or interact with customers.

Both sides of this equation are influenced by the speed of the connection. Getting work done efficiently requires the internet, or the cloud in some parlance, to be fast. Connecting with customers is even more dependent on speed, as consumers have short attention spans and will leave your site if it isn’t snappy.

That is why the end of Net Neutrality in the United States is such a concern. Recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled 3-2 to eliminate the 2015 rule that prevented ISPs and broadband carriers from slowing some web traffic in favor of others. The now overturned rule classified these carriers as “Title II Common Carriers” making them akin to a public utility.

The ruling still faces legal and possibly congressional challenges, but has so far not been overturned.

The Downside

Not all FCC commissioners were enthused about the decision. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel dissented, saying: “[Broadband providers] will have the power to block websites, the power to throttle services and the power to censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have a pay-for-play arrangement and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road. Our broadband providers will tell you that they will never do these things,” she argued. “They say just trust us.”

Large enterprises may not have too much to worry about. The access demands of big companies require high speed dedicated lines where you are paying for specific and guaranteed bandwidth through SLAs. However, these enterprises may find that web assets they rely on may be slowed.  More relevant is the fact that these enterprises’ websites that face the outside world may be impacted by the ruling. A competitor may pay a premium for high speed, and if you do not do the same, you will not match their performance.

Smaller shops have more to fret. Budgets may not allow for premium fees, and there may not be dedicated with guaranteed speed. Here packets may be prioritized in favor of those that pay, slowing what is available for those that don’t. That is the fear.

What to do

With an end to internet equality, those that use the cloud should not fly blind. If you believe you are indeed being slowed, do not just rely on end user perceptions. Measure instead. Network and cloud monitoring are the answer here.

“If I were in an IT shop at a small business, I would be running network monitoring as soon as possible to see if any cloud performance or access changes are being limited by bandwidth throttling. I suspect you won’t find anything unusual right after the rules have been lifted, but it’s better to trust and verify than blindly trust,” wrote David S. Linthicum is a chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Consulting, in a column for InfoWorld.

Whether you can prove your access has slowed or not, you should ask your provider about its bandwidth policies, and whether the end of net neutrality affects performance. If it does, how much does it cost to get a fast lane? Here is one possible upside to the new policy. If you have the budget, you may be able to provide a snappier service to your customers and prospects than your competition.

Of course, the opposite may be true as well. Your well-heeled competition may pay more to outpace you. “For solution providers and the channel, the persistent worry is that lightly regulated broadband providers won’t be motivated to deliver their software applications, cloud services, and other broadband-dependent services with the same quality of service as before – or they’ll give preference to competitors paying for exclusive access,” wrote channel publication CRN.

Traverse Network Monitoring-as-a-Service (NMaaS)

IT and service providers need to know if their bandwidth is up to snuff, or throttled. Traverse is a network monitoring and management solution, now available as a service, that can help.

The Traverse-based NMaaS solution offers:

  •         Access to one of the most powerful infrastructure monitoring platforms on the market
  •         Sales and marketing training and resources to help get new sellers to market quickly
  •         A valuable multi-tier, multi-tenant monitoring service that fits customers of all sizes
  •         An easy source of monthly recurring revenues from new and existing customers

For more information on Traverse Network Monitoring as a Service visit: http://www.traverse-monitoring.com/solutions/msp-monitoring-software

Unigma and Cloud Performance Management 

The core of the Unigma Cloud Manager is an intuitive dashboard that offers a single pane of glass to monitor and management AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure instances, as well as other popular public clouds. With this dashboard, both MSPs and IT pros can correlate events with performance metrics, and share this data with clients or other internal IT staff. Moreover, since many shops now use multiple public cloud services, the dashboard offers that same single pane of glass view of multiple services and clients, and supports troubleshooting and performance metrics across all these clouds. Once the analysis is done, reports can be produced immediately.

For more details on Kaseya Unigma Cloud Manager, visit www.unigma.com.


Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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