--On Tuesday, 22 June, 2004 07:15 +0900 Masataka Ohta
You are forgetting something very big here:
Only the smart internet users will find a way out.
The argument that the smart users can use IP over HTTP makes
John's classifications such as "web providers" unnecessary.
Also the above requires on to tunnel thus you are getting
real service from somebody else and basically using your
current provider as the l2 provider.
There are a lot of Hotels claiming Internet capable only
because their rooms have extra RJ-11.
At Geneva, Internet capable hotel rooms have RJ-45, not for
Ethernet but for ISDN. :-|
IETF can not stop them claiming Internet capable.
No, IETF can't. But IETF can create definitions that help those
who want to be truthful about what they are providing do that,
in a way that is clear to themselves and their potential
customers. Such definitions may also help folks with those RJ11
or ISDN connections understand why their customers get
frustrated and threaten to never return -- today, they are
mostly just bewildered.
If, with or without those definitions, someone is determined to
lie, they will certainly do that and IETF won't be able to do a
thing about it. Perhaps local regulators and courts and
hotel-rating agencies will, but not IETF.
Let me give a specific example that leads me to believe there is
hope in at least some portions of this problem. These days,
before making a hotel reservation, I routinely check on whether
they offer "Internet access". As others have suggested, I don't
bother asking about NATs, funny filters, etc. -- the odds that
someone at the reservations desk will have a clue are about
zero. But I do ask and, if I get a "no" answer, I'm reasonably
likely to try to pick a different hotel (usually a much more
competitive market than the range of options I have in my
neighborhood for "lowest price acceptable service", partially
because I impose fewer requirements). Now I've gotten to hotels
after getting a "yes" answer and had the same experiences that
Ohta-san obviously has: I ask about Internet and am eventually
pointed to an RJ11 jack or, worse, an RJ45 jack that might be
ISDN and might be no longer hooked up and about which no one can
answer questions about charging. Or, as happened a month ago, I
find WiFi in the lobby but a beacon connected to... nothing.
Seems the hotel took their wired Ethernet to the rooms out a
month previously, hasn't gotten the 802.11 hooked up to a router
yet, and didn't intend to start figuring what to do with the
rooms until they figured out how much capacity the 802.11 has
and how far it would reach.
I tend to find these situations annoying, just as I find getting
to a hotel that advertises "Internet in every room" and
discovering that they mean a WebTV clone and nothing else, not
even a spare RJ11 jack. I complain. I write letters. I
collect selections of groveling apologies, especially from
hotels that are members of chains in which I stay fairly often.
But I also get a certain amount of astonishment from folks who
were clearly clueless and don't quite understand why I'm upset.
The I-D was driven partially by a desire to go to them and say
"ok, hotel manager, there are these categories, and they are
pretty generally understood. Take the list to your supplier,
find out what they are providing you, and then tell the truth
when someone asks. If you are providing WebTV-clone-only
access, and you tell someone that, and they say 'sorry, I'll
find somewhere else to stay', then you have a basis for thinking
about some business decisions."
That is the best I know how to do, but I think it would be a
And, that said, Ohta-san's note and the above suggests that
there are at least two, maybe three, categories missing from the
I-D because it sort of assumes a "broadband" connection or
* We provide a really nice telephone line, but you are
on your own for modems, adapters, and ISPs.
* We provide a really nice telephone line that can be
used with your modem, and an in-house terminal server
connected to our ISP (that was popular several years
ago, is anyone still doing it?)
* There is this web-enabled TV set in your room, with
its own keyboard, but you can't use your own machine
except via the telephone.
Does the I-D need any of that? Would anyone like to suggest
So, let's call all the telephone companies ISPs.
I can think of a lot of things to call telephone companies :-(.
For better or worse, it seems to be the nature of language and
marketing organizations that once-precise terms lose meaning.
Many of us can actually remember when "Decision Support System"
and even "Management Information System" meant something, and
neither one was a "glorified spreadsheet". It happens. It is
too bad. But, if there is any cure, it is getting a bit ahead
of the terminology so that one can say "call yourself whatever
you like, but, if you don't use these service definitions
accurately, someone will probably accuse you of being
deliberately deceptive". That is pretty close to my hotel
conversations. Sometimes it will work. Sometimes and in some
places, the regulators will get tired enough of complaints about
deceived consumers that they will make the definitions
mandatory. Sometimes it won't. Life is hard.
But it would be, IMO, stupid of us to say "the IETF can't
legislate this, or make possession of a NAT, or selling a
highly-filtered connection, a crime, so we should do nothing but
whine at regular intervals".
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