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Stanford University Networking Seminar

Vishal Misra (Columbia University)
Network Neutrality: An Engineering Perspective

3:00pm, Thursday, May 14 2015
Gates 104

About the Talk

The issue of Network Neutrality has ignited considerable public debate recently. While the term and much of the discussion originated in the legal community, we started looking at it from an engineering and networking perspective a few years ago. We employed the lens of cooperative game theory and a careful modeling of the Internet including the topology, peering relationships and protocols used on the Internet. Our primary conclusion is that Network Neutrality as an issue is secondary to that of the real problem, that of lack of market competition amongst broadband providers. We present some of our results including our prediction back in 2008 of a rise in paid peering (this year Netflix signed paid peering arrangements with all 4 of the top broadband providers in the US), the inadequacies of strict Network Neutrality regulation when competition exists and our proposal of a Public Option ISP that solves the problems of a “non neutral network” without needing any regulatory support. We also discuss some open issues regarding Network Neutrality in the wireless context.

About the Speaker

Vishal Misra is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. His research emphasis is on mathematical modeling of networking systems, bridging the gap between practice and analysis. He served as the Vice-Chair of the Computer Science Department at Columbia University from 2009 to 2011, and in 2011 he spun out Infinio, a company in the area of datacenter storage. The company has offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and employs more than 70 people. He is also credited with inventing live-microblogging at Cricinfo, a company he co-founded while a graduate student at UMass Amherst, predating Twitter by 10 years. Cricinfo was later acquired by ESPN and is still the world’s most popular sports portal.