Demon Internet, one of the top 10 ISPs in the UK by number of subscribers, have recently announced an Internet connection service tailored specifically for gamers. Recognising the demand from this online community who require a high quality Internet connection, and more importantly are willing to pay for it, Demon have set this package up and are now aggressively marketing it.
In a highly competitive market place, Demon have chosen to differentiate one of their packages by prioritising certain traffic types, in this case, gaming. While those who staunchly support net neutrality (all packets are treated equally) will oppose this move, the gaming customers of Demon will be cheering. While playing Counter Strike, the last thing you want to happen is for the activity of other network users to affect your gaming traffic’s latency. In fact it is very easy to saturate the uplink of a regular ADSL connection, so even background traffic from your own computer can degrade your gaming experience. It is at this point of contention on the network where prioritising traffic types makes the largest impact, and subsequently to the users’ enjoyment of whatever they happen to be doing. Of course there are other points of contention on the network, which Demon is well positioned to be able to cope with.
Moving beyond gaming, it is easy to see that packages can be created and tailored to each market segment, as long as there is the network capacity for the converged traffic streams (Demon point out that their main subscriber base consists of business customers, so the gaming package will not affect other users, due to the different peak times). Even further, we can imagine a situation where the ADSL router can dynamically adjust its QoS settings for individual users, depending on their usage patterns and the overall load of the network.
This is the promise of a highly flexible QoS based infrastructure: the ability to give customers exactly what they want.