The impact of net neutrality on revenue and quality of service in wireless networks
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The net neutrality principle, also known as Open Internet, states that users should have equal access to all Internet content and that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not practice differentiated treatment on any of the Internet traffic. While net neutrality aims to restrain any kind of discrimination, it also provides exemption for a certain category of Internet traffic known as specialized services (SS), by allowing the ISP to dedicate part of the resources for the latter. In this work, we shed light on this particular case by comparing five Radio Access Technology (RAT) selection policies in heterogeneous wireless networks where SS traffic and Internet Access Services (IAS) traffic are carried. The studied policies include a non-net-neutral revenue-maximizing policy used as reference policy, and four other net-neutral policies with and without exemption to SS traffic. The results show that, even though, as expected, integrating net neutrality regulation within RAT selection policies can lead to a decrease in the generated revenue, a properly designed net-neutral policy will not only be able to reduce this decrease in revenue but also can maintain a similar level of social benefit in terms of the number of users admitted to the system.