Today’s communication architecture

Mark Jamison writes,

Netflix and other large edge providers are bypassing the internet. More specifically, they are building or leasing their own networks designed to their specific needs and leaving the public internet — the system of networks that only promise best efforts to deliver content — to their lesser rivals.

…Mobile internet is leaving wireline internet in its dust in numbers of users and traffic. Mobile internet increasingly bypasses the World Wide Web because about 90% of customers’ mobile time is spent in apps, not the web

Back in the 1990s, the term “walled garden” emerged as an expression of contempt for AOL and other companies that tried to combine control over infrastructure with content. We thought that the Internet would drive out the walled gardens. I am getting the sense that we were wrong about that.

I assume that the walled garden approach is emerging because it is more efficient economically than the 1990s Internet. One downside is that the walled gardens are conducive to censorship and regulation.

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4 Responses to Today’s communication architecture

  1. Tom DeMeo says:

    After reading the article, I don’t think Mr. Jamison understands the concepts he is discussing. 5G virtual networks, Netflix and apps have nothing to do with this topic. Combined control over infrastructure with content is about Comcast, AT&T and the cellular networks. They own the networks.

    I’m much more worried about these companies ability to monitor and manage our activities and sell our metadata. None of them have shown much talent in leveraging content, at least so far.

    • Jeff B says:

      I’m also not too sure of this article. My understanding was that Netflix often partners/peers with companies to set up more effective delivery and caching of content with ISPs, but by and large they are still on the same backbone.


      Mobile internet increasingly bypasses the World Wide Web because about 90% of customers’ mobile time is spent in apps, not the web

      Makes little sense. Where does he think the APIs that deliver content to the apps live? All of that is generally plain old REST/HTTP/Websockets connections… which only differ from websites in that the clients of them are not web browsers.

      • Slocum says:

        And often the clients actually are built out of the same web pages used in the company’s mobile-enabled web site — using the mobile OS’s web rendering control, for example:

        Shorter version — many apps are nothing more than encapsulated web sites/applications.

        Which is why I often find companies pushing their apps so annoying. No! I actually *don’t* want to fill my phone with another rarely used app that doesn’t do anything your mobile web site doesn’t do. But by all means, please, ask me to install your app again…every. damn. time.

    • lliamander says:

      Yeah, I’m a little confused as well, but it seems to me that he’s really writing 3 different essays, all to the tune of “Net Neutrality as a concept is irrelevant because…”

      – “… 5G radio has content segmentation built into the architecture”. That is, the era of “dumb pipes” will soon be over. I’ll have to do some more research into it, but this claim seems plausible.

      – “… Content providers are bypassing infrastructure providers”. In other words, attempts by infrastructure providers to throttle content providers is thwarted by content providers building their own infrastructure. It may make content providers less dependent overall on infrastructure providers, but they’re still dependent upon the infrastructure providers to deliver to the end consumer. Neutrality still seems relevant here.

      – “… consumers are bypassing the Web and using apps instead.” This has nothing to do with network neutrality per se. The rise of apps has more to do with the relationship between content distributors (app stores) and content creators, and little to do with how either relates to infrastructure. However, the point could be made that it is meaningless to force infrastructure providers to be neutral if the content distributors are not. In either case, consumers are restricted from accessing content.

      Note: all quotes above a paraphrases.

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