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Internal Internet squabbles that affect everyone

Over the past few months, you might've heard about, or even experienced, issues with poor Netflix streaming performance. This is especially true on certain ISPs, like Comcast & Verizon.

While terms like "net neutrality" get tossed around, the entire problem stems from an issue that, from the end-user perspective, is technical and obscure. It's an issue called "peering". Basically, peering is where one ISP (like Verizon) exchanges traffic bound for another ISP (like Comcast). 

Historically, ISPs exchange traffic with each other at no charge, and that made sense since, more-or-less, the amount of traffic coming and going between the two ISPs was equal. With the advent of video streaming services like Netflix, that 50/50 balance is no often not to equitable.

Netflix primarily uses an ISP called Level 3, and Netflix/Level 3 is in a squabble with other ISPs over no-charge peering. Verizon & Comcast are refusing to carry all of Netflix/Level 3's traffic at no charge, and Netflix/Level 3 is refusing to pay for something that has historically been free. In the meantime, the end-user experiences poor internet performance as ISPs refuse to upgrade internet links between each other, the "peering" links.

You might be thinking now, "I don't even use Netflix. How is this relevant to me?". It's relevant to you because lots of other services, like VoIP providers, are caught in similar situations.

Specifically, many of our clients use a VoIP carrier called Bandwidth.com and are sometimes experiencing issues related to calls connecting and call quality. The root cause is "high up the chain", that is, it's an issue that stems from the disputes between these ISPs. Sadly, there isn't much for anyone, even Exigent, to do at the moment. There's certainly nothing to be done at your site or on your equipment that will help. 

We're all hoping these parties will sort out their issues soon, as it affects our phone service (and Netflix!) too. :(