The Open Internet & Innovation

Making On-Ramp to Internet, and

I would like to address the statement (time marker 2:35 - 3:04) in the Chairman's video clip on NPRM that FCC is looking for ways to make sure that the on-ramp to Internet is open and fair.

Under the current business arrangements and service deployment models, the above is hard to realize. Not only there are just a few ASPs (Access Service Providers) connecting a consumer to the Internet, but also the physical setups are in such a way that it is only feasible to subscribe to one ASP at a time. There is no way to make any side-by-side comparisons of two or more ASPs then decide. The switch over is normally quite involved, if not painful. With such a captive environment, ASPs further extend their control by lumping products and services in end-to-end packages to lock a subscriber into a long term relationship. All of these are fundamentally against the FCC goal stated in the video clip.

Until very recently, the above appeared to be the necessary norm because there was no technology that could support otherwise. However, if we review the way how traditional delivery of natural resources, such as water, gas, electricity, etc. became everyday utilities, there is a strong hint that broadband is just in its infancy and should mature toward a similar utility model. In particular, telephony was a technological novelty when it was invented over a century ago. Because its complexity of its two way characteristics, everything up to and including the telephone set used to be treated as telephone company's property. Technology advances have simplified it and then made it the fourth utility worldwide. If we mimic the same evolution principles and practices, broadband will similarly become universal to consumers' daily life. In the process, not only the on-ramp to Internet, but also all "local streets" to everyone's room will conform to human natural without the current mysterious flavor of high-tech. Then, the goal of "open and fair" can have a base to flourish.

The key to achieve the above goal is "demarcation" based on "universal interface" that supports the true "plug-&-play" leading to diagnosis and maintenance procedures based on substitution. It would be obvious that the above four utilities all follow these rules.

With fast innovations, so many aspects have developed around broadband within the last two decades that it above rules appear to be very remote if at all possible. The encouraging fact is that the convergence is realistic, now that the basic transport technologies are able to perform what they have been promising.

The solution is to view each and every segment of the broadband network, no matter what technology it is using, as a physical manifestation of a theoretical Ethernet pipe. Where human access is desired, a standard RJ45 modular jack-pair should be available so that the network may be disconnected for diagnostics such as substituting with a similarly known-working device. This concept is pretty much the same as the RJ11 jack-plug pair in the telephony NID (Network Interface Device) located at the demarcation point of a premises.

Applying the same principle to each room where broadband service is desired, diagnosis between each room and the NID, as well as between any pair of rooms can be similarly performed. The entire customer premises may be managed by property owner without the support from outside parties. Consequently, consumer can purchase application devices from retail stores and then install themselves, achieving the goal of "open and fair local streets" stated above without being tied to ASPs.

Another benefit of the above architecture is that the Internet access through an RG (Residential Gateway) is now one of peer-to-peer client nodes (not a "master") on a home network, making subscribing to multiple ASPs or adding channels from the same ASP for more bandwidth natural. This sets the base to the goal of "open and fair Internet on-ramp" identified by the Chairman.

The above summary is the result of a lengthy research effort. More specifics are available on the web in the form of white-paper style presentations:

 

http://www.avinta.com/phoenix.htm

 

There are two parts of this material: The "Marketing Overview" presents end-user perspectives of the approach. The "Technical Summary" provides technical feasibility information. Feedback, comments and open discussion, etc. are welcome.

 

 

Abe Chen

 

Milpitas, CA

Skype: Abraham.Y.Chen

(O) +1 (408) 942-1485

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Idea No. 352