The chief executive at Sandvine Inc., a Waterloo ON-based provider of network intelligence products, says people should be careful what they wish for when it comes to network neutrality. "When you think of from the perspective of service providers, always going to have the right to reasonably manage their network to make sure they are delivering a high quality of service," Dave Caputo told attendees at Scotia Capital's Telecom and Tech 2008 Conference this week. "You simply can't do that without the network intelligence that we add to the network. Saying ‘be network neutral and go completely with a best efforts ,' I think people would be very sorry if they got what they wished for in that regard." His comments come about a week after Comcast Corp., rumoured to be one of Sandvine's largest customers, was served with a lawsuit alleging it blocked access to certain file-sharing websites. Sandvine's equipment allows broadband service providers to get a clear picture of what is happening over their networks. Caputo explained that the company's products can give the provider "unprecedented visibility" on network activities, such as the number of online gamers on the network, the number of people making Voice over IP calls and the amount of bandwidth that is being consumed. "We are creating an intelligence layer across the Internet where we can identify conditions that are happening on the Internet and in real time apply actions or policies towards them," he said. The need for such equipment in the network has been driven by the huge bandwidth consumption from only a few types of applications. Applications such as peer-to-peer filing sharing, streaming media, VoIP, traditional web browsing and online gaming are examples of bandwidth hogs. P2P now accounts for 40% of all traffic over the Internet, said Caputo, adding that the trough of P2P demand is about 70% of peak demand, meaning "people are doing peer-to-peer file sharing all of the time." This type of behaviour on the network underscores the requirement to manage network resources so that all applications get their fair share of bandwidth, argued Caputo. "Our position is that you can't deliver network neutrality by being neutral. There is a sense of fairness that has to exist in there because there are certain applications...that will take up all the available bandwidth," he said. "Should peer-to-peer file sharing go unfettered to the detriment of a phone call being able to happen over the Internet?" What is happening over the Internet? Sandvine tells us.Peer-to-peer file sharing accounts for 40% of all Internet traffic.Streaming media such as MySpace and YouTube has grown from about 2% to 3% of traffic 18 or 24 months ago to 11% of Internet traffic today; MySpace accounts for 33% of all streaming media traffic. Voice over IP accounts for 7% of all Internet traffic during business hours.Microsoft Corp. experienced a fives times increase in traffic on its Xbox Live site once video game Halo 3 went on sale near the end of September; during the ensuing seven days, 2.7 million people logged onto the Xbox Live site and played collectively 40 million hours of Halo 3, which translates into about 15 hours per user.