Over the past few years, much of the controversy over net neutrality has ultimately stemmed from the longstanding rift between carriers and content providers. Commercial content providers such as NetFlix have entire business models that rely on relatively unrestricted bandwidth access for their customers, which has led to an enormous increase in the amount of bandwidth that is being used. In response to these extreme bandwidth loads and associated costs, ISPs have tried all types of schemes to limit and restrict total usage. Some of the solutions that have been tried include:
- Layer 7 redirection
- Bandwidth quotas
- Preferential treatment for content providers that pay for better access
While in many cases effective, most of these efforts have been mired in controversy with respect to net neutrality. However, caching is the one exception.
Up to this point, caching has proven to be the magic bullet that can benefit both ISPs and consumers (faster access to videos, etc.) while respecting net neutrality. To illustrate this, we’ll run caching through the gauntlet of questions that have been raised about these other solutions in regard to a violation of net neutrality. In the end, it comes up clean.
1. Does caching involve deep introspection of user traffic without their knowledge (like layer-7 shaping and DPI)?
2. Does Caching perform any form of preferential treatment based on content?
3. Does caching perform any form of preferential treatment based on fees?
Yet, despite avoiding these pitfalls, caching has still proven to be extremely effective, allowing Internet providers to manage increasing customer demands without infringing upon customers’ rights or quality of service. It was these factors that led APconnections to develop our most recent NetEqualizer feature, YouTube caching.
For more on this feature, or caching in general, check out our new NetEqualizer YouTube Caching FAQ post.