Communications 'Orchestration' Could Make Net Neutrality Irrelevant
Network equipment would be designed so that it would recognize Orchestrated traffic, and shunt it off to private networks to access the necessary capacity. “The concerns of net neutrality doesn't enter this because you’re moved immediately into a business-class network,” Fishburn said. Fishburn said that much of the work of the MEF consists of collaboration among vendors to develop the standards that can be used for Orchestration, as well as for other communications in a Metro Ethernet environment. It’s also important to realize, he said, that the standards cover the lifecycle of communications and that they involve the hardware platforms, the communications standards and network control protocols. They also have an impact on network services companies who will provide much of the transport for the Third Network, as it’s sometimes called. Fishburn noted that in some cases the same physical network may carry traffic for the orchestrated network as well as for the public Internet. “Most fiber networks have spare capacity,” he noted, and by creating a separate virtual network this traffic could share the fiber without impacting public internet traffic.The way this might work would depend on exactly how the traffic was being used in the orchestrated network. Fishburn gave accessing WiFi in a hotel as an example. He said that if you wanted to use private access to your company’s network, then the networking equipment at the edge of the network would recognize your orchestrated traffic, and route your networking session to the private networking infrastructure. In a sense, it would work like a VPN does now, but instead of traveling over the Internet, the traffic would leave the Internet and travel over a private physical or logical virtual network. What’s more important is that the entire discussion of net neutrality would become irrelevant because the specialized traffic would never travel over the public Internet in the first place. It would use dedicated private network connections or surplus capacity on other networks to meet its needs using virtual networks. In the long run it would lead to more reliable operations for business, and likely a reduction in the potential for impact by regulators–which is not a minor consideration.
It’s worth noting that much of the public Internet also runs over private networks owned by companies that carry the traffic as a part of their carriage agreements with other network providers. Allowing virtual private networks to exist on the same physical network doesn’t impact the Internet as long as it doesn’t slow things down or otherwise cause problems.