31 March 2020
As concern grows about the Internet’s resistance to the overflow since coronavirus forced containment, here is a suggestion of an alternative model for the Internet that could help manage network resources in such situations.
Netflix and Youtube reducing streaming quality across Europe in order to lessen the strain on internet networks and avoid further disruption to remote workers and e-learning activities.
Over the last week, articles expressed public concern about Netflix and Youtube reducing streaming quality across Europe in order to lessen the strain on Internet networks and avoid further disruption to remote workers and e-learning activities.
Indeed, today’s new and varied applications, such as streaming, video calling or MOOCs have heterogeneous Quality of Service (QoS) requirements that must be efficiently delivered. However this is not possible with today’s Internet model, where additional and complex solutions need to be put in place to have flexible and more effective QoS. The other option that we face here, is to ask specific companies such as Netflix or Youtube to reduce the streaming quality for a period of time. But ideally, the management of network services, in order of priority, should be solved by taking better and more efficient measures: RINA aims to be the ultimate solution for our problems since it supports QoS, as opposed to current Internet architecture.
RINA – Recursive Internetwork Architecture – revisits the current network protocol architecture in order to fix today’s Internet’s issues, among which QoS.
What is RINA? RINA – Recursive Internetwork Architecture – revisits the current Internet model, and more precisely the current network protocol architecture (i.e. the rules and standards that every device must follow to access the Internet and to communicate over a network; the network architecture is what supports the exchange of data between systems/distributed applications) in order to fix today’s Internet’s issues and answer to modern technologies’ requirements. RINA proposes a programmable networking model capable of evolving with the network requirements, where the QoS needs of the traffic can be specified (which is not possible today), and thus answered.
The network providers would be able to manage the bandwidth with QoS by allocating more or less resources to service types (streaming, video conferencing…), depending on their priority at a specific period of time and area.
Hence, with RINA we wouldn’t be afraid of Netflix breaking the Internet, we wouldn’t have to ask our children to stop watching movies because we need to work and we wouldn’t have to ask companies to reduce the streaming quality, since QoS would be supported by the network. Instead, in times of crisis, it is the network providers who would manage the bandwidth with QoS, by allocating more or less resources to service types (streaming, video conferencing…), depending on their priority at a specific period of time and area. In this case, Netflix would not be the one who controls the internet traffic for their users but instead the Internet Service Provider (ISP) would take appropriate measures by monitoring the traffic and distributing its network bandwidth as needed. To elaborate more, for example during day time, where the demand for video conferences is high by remote workers and students, the ISPs could easily favor video call services on other types of usages such as movie streaming, but then revert it back to its default when the demand gets back to being more stable.
Furthermore, the Belgian telecommunication networks reported not experiencing the same high demand for Netflix services as their European neighbors, but instead the demand to connect to Facebook’s servers was at an all-time peak. This means that it was not necessary at all for Netflix to lower the streaming quality for its users in Belgium but this was the only solution in hand. What if the Belgian ISPs had the ability to utilize RINA’s benefits? They would distribute their bandwidth accordingly to the demand at the time and place.
The sudden and unforeseen developments throughout the world have shown us how Internet dependent we are but unfortunately modern day structures will not be able to sustain themselves for much longer. This is the perfect time to reflect and to think about the future of the Internet by taking the right initiatives and creating permanent solutions, for which RINA already paves the way.
Note: Many areas remain to be explored regarding the benefits of RINA and its impact on persevering challenges faced by the current Internet infrastructure. Join us in pushing discussions further, and collaborating in research and testing operations.