Shared Internet Resources
Shared Internet Resources Policy (“SIR Policy”)
- What do you mean by “shared Internet resources”?
All Telecom Korea provides Internet access. Providing Internet access means making use of shared network resources: the Internet is all about aggregating traffic on shared links, and processing it through shared routing resources.
One of the things that makes the Internet awesome is that it puts very few restrictions on what end-users do with their Internet access. That openness, which some people call the “end-to-end principle”, gives everyone the freedom to innovate and interact without having to ask permission. It also gives them full access to use as much or as little as they need of those shared Internet resources. Someone who needs more of the shared upstream link will open more sessions in order to demand more of it. Someone who needs less will open fewer sessions and demand less. The Internet is, quite literally, based on sharing.
- Okay, so who is affected when by the SIR Policy?
All Telecom Korea is committed to making sure we always provision enough shared bandwidth to serve end-users under ordinary circumstances. That remains the centerpiece of our SIR Policy. Now, though, the SIR Policy also adds two layers of best-efforts traffic management to congested periods that occur during the 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. period, in order to make sure we keep user experience great and prices low.
First, we will take steps to make sure that on the rare occasions where there is congestion, it least affects the most real-time protocols, like voice-over-IP and streaming media. Instead, less-real-time applications, like peer-to-peer file transfers, will be more likely to be affected. From what we have seen, even less-real-time applications will not be much affected. Few users—if any—should see any perceptible change in their experience, and more users will see a positive improvement in the use of real-time applications in congested circumstances. A little bit of management can go a very long way.
Second, even when congestion does occur, slightly affecting less-real-time applications, it is those who have used the most bandwidth that day whose use of those applications will be the first to be affected by these measures.
We will continue to do our best to make sure that there is no congestion at all. Most of the time, we have been successful. But we are now also acknowledging that, no matter what we do, unusual events or behaviour may cause congestion – and we are working to ensure that, in those circumstances, user experience and user costs are affected as little as possible.
- When will the SIR Policy be in effect?
We’re phasing it in gradually. In the first phase, the SIR Policy will apply to service provisioned over our highest-cost-bandwidth platforms: Rogers and Videotron. We expect the SIR Policy to be implemented on the Rogers and Videotron platforms later in October or November 2016, and will update this Policy in advance of the turn-on.
In the following phase, the SIR Policy will apply to service provisioned over our other platforms: Cogeco, Shaw, Bell, and TELUS. We will notify affected end-users well in advance of implementing the policy to these platforms, so that you always know how you are affected.
In the same way, as more detailed implementation is logged, we will document it in greater depth.
- When the SIR Policy leads to traffic management, what kind of traffic does it affect?
Traffic management will only take place during the ordinary download day of 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. and, within that period, only when a network is congested. In those circumstances, first to be affected will be the use of less-real-time protocols, by those who have made the greatest use of shared network resources that day. We do not expect anyone to be significantly affected: but that is the sequence in which it will occur.
- How does the SIR Policy affect All Telecom Korea end-users’ Internet experiences?
We expect that it will improve most end-users’ experiences, allow us to stabilize pricing.
The SIR Policy calls for traffic management only when there is congestion on a network during the 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. period. Even then, the traffic management affects only those who have made the heaviest use of the network over the course of that day. And even then, the traffic management seen by those users is further restricted to the least-real-time traffic that is least sensitive to millisecond timing. None of these measures involves any rate-limiting or speed caps.
For most end-users, those changes will mean better access to shared Internet resources for real-time applications like voice-over-IP and streaming media. A very small subset of our user base will ever experience traffic management – and many of them are not likely to notice it.
- What are the privacy implications—does this mean All Telecom Korea is tracking, retaining, or reporting what I do on the Internet?
At All Telecom Korea, we take privacy very seriously. We have no interest in tracking what you do. We have no interest in looking at any of the content that passes over your network. We certainly have no interest in monitoring your online activities. While we respect all of our legal obligations, we’re an intermediary. That’s all.
We do measure your traffic volume, because we make capped plans available as well as unlimited ones. We do analyze protocols at the aggregate level, because we want to make sure congestion doesn’t cripple real-time applications, and that we don’t waste money buying bandwidth we don’t need. But all of that analysis is done on the fly, and discarded immediately. It’s none of our business.
- Is there any other traffic management that All Telecom Korea end-users should know about?
Yes. First, we block traffic associated with three ports, 25 (outbound), 53 (inbound), and 1900 (inbound), which are typically associated with network attacks. Outbound port 25 traffic, associated with TCP SMTP communications, is vulnerable to concurrent connection attacks and spam abuse, so only connections to All Telecom Korea’s SMTP server are permitted. Inbound port 53 traffic, associated with UDP DNS server communications, is vulnerable to DNS denial-of-service and related attacks. Inbound port 1900 traffic, associated with Microsoft’s Simple Service Discovery Protocol, is similarly vulnerable to a range of distributed DOS-style attacks. If you have a specific requirement requiring that these ports be maintained open, please contact us.
Second, most of our end-users are provisioned over wholesale network access acquired from third-party carriers. And most third-party carriers have chosen to deliver that access at the Internet layer, which effectively makes our end-users subject to the same Internet Traffic Management Practices that those incumbents impose on their own retail end-users, as follows.
- Bell has indicated that its wholesale network access is not currently subject to any traffic management policies.
- Cogeco indicates that its wholesale network access is subject to deep packet inspection with the single purpose of managing peer-to-peer applications. Content analysis is restricted to traffic classification only for traffic management purposes on upstream traffic. No content records are maintained. No Internet traffic management measures are applied in the downstream direction.
- Rogers indicates that its retail network access is subject to what Rogers describes as “a variety of network management techniques. These techniques have evolved as the Internet has changed” to limit spam, viruses and other security threats. We believe that the same network management techniques are applied to Rogers’ wholesale network access.
- Shaw indicates that its network access is subject to Internet traffic management practices that reduce, to 80 Kbps per end-user, upstream bandwidth allotted to “P2P applications completing non-real-time file transfer activity” within serving area nodes experiencing “upstream congestion”. These management practices are “not applied to downstream data transfer, real-time interactive or time-sensitive Internet applications.”
- TELUS has indicated that its retail network access is subject to Internet traffic management in some areas where demand exceeds available network capacity. These include areas where All Telecom Korea has end-users, and we believe the same traffic management is applied to TELUS’s wholesale network access. When they identify congestion in these areas, TELUS will redistribute network capacity across all users by temporarily reducing the speed of the few heavy users. This is intended to provide better speeds to the majority of other customers.
- Videotron has indicated that its wholesale network access is, at speeds of 120 Mbps speeds or higher, subject to upload measures that Videotron has explained are to prevent users from congesting shared “upload channels” serving a few dozen modems. Every 15 minutes, a system checks the usage rate for each upload channel. If the usage rate has reached a threshold beyond which congestion is imminent, the system identifies the 120 Mbps and 200 Mbps modems on that channel that have uploaded a statistically significant amount of data. Uploading from these modems is then momentarily given lower priority. Depending on the severity and duration of the congestion, uploading speed may be slowed for these modems. When the amount of data uploaded by the modem is diminished or the transmission of data goes back to a rate that does not cause congestion, uploading will return to its usual priority.