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The Application of Net Neutrality to Wireless Networks Based on Network Architecture
1University of California, Irvine
Citation Information: Policy & Internet. Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 125–158, ISSN (Online) 1944-2866, DOI: 10.2202/1944-2866.1052, August 2010
- Published Online:
There is considerable debate over whether and how net neutrality should apply to wireless networks. We address here whether differences between wired and wireless network technology merit different treatment with respect to net neutrality. The primary focus is on applications and traffic management, rather than device attachment. We first review the pertinent aspects of network architecture and discuss the main differences between wired and wireless networks, and find that wireless networks differ substantially from wired networks at the network layer and below. We then turn more specifically to how wired and wireless networks differ with respect to traffic management, and conclude that wireless networks require some different types of traffic management than wired networks. Finally, we turn to the question of how the differences in traffic management affect net neutrality, and find that despite the differences in traffic management, similar net neutrality concerns apply. Furthermore, we argue that since the differences lie in lower layers, net neutrality in both wired and wireless networks can be effectively accomplished by requiring an open interface between network and transport layers. We argue that this is a more streamlined and more effective solution that carving out a set of managed services.