Cox to try coaxing the Internet into submission

Cox Communications plans to implement a testing period of bandwidth management plan to fight congested Internet traffic.

Our friend at Cox is about to get selectively friendly toward Internet content. Dong Ngo/CBS Interactive

Net neutrality fans, grab your chairs; I have some rocking news.

Cox Communications, the third-largest cable Internet provider in the U.S., announced Tuesday that starting February, it will begin testing a new method of managing traffic on its high-speed Internet network in Kansas and Arkansas.

This means during the times the network is congested the company will--to put it bluntly--discriminate between Internet content and regulate the bandwidth accordingly.

The company divides Internet traffic into two categories: time-sensitive and nontime-sensitive, with the former taking the priority during the congested hours.

Here's the company's break-down of these two categories:

The time sensitive category includes:

  • Web (Web surfing, including web-based e-mail and chat embedded in Web pages)
  • VoIP (Voice over IP, telephone calls made over the Internet)
  • E-mail
  • IM (Instant messages, including related voice and Webcam traffic)
  • Streaming (Web-based audio and video programs)
  • Games (Online interactive games)
  • Tunneling & Remote Connectivity (VPN-type services for telecommuting)
  • Other (Any service not categorized into another area)

The nontime-sensitive category includes:

  • File Access (Bulk transfers of data such as FTP)
  • Network Storage (Bulk transfers of data for storage)
  • P2P (Peer to peer protocols)
  • Software Updates (Managed updates, such as operating system updates)
  • Usenet (Newsgroup related)

Cox says the new congestion management plan only kicks in when congestion levels reach a certain high. It also insists the company will ensure that its customers continue to have a good online experience.

Personally, I don't really mind this, because I live in California and games are categorized as time-sensitive. For those who are more concerned, you can learn more about Cox's congestion management plan here.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.


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