W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-device-apis@w3.org > December 2013

Re: Network Information API

From: Josh Soref <jsoref@blackberry.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2013 18:05:57 +0000
To: DAP <public-device-apis@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CECB556F.74AB%jsoref@blackberry.com>
Doug Turner wrote:
> Do you have a list of use cases that this networking information API
> would fulfill?

Not handy, which is amongst the reasons I havenıt sent out this note
earlierŠ


Marcos wrote:
>A few of us are working on that by using examples from native apps:
>https://github.com/w3c-webmob/netinfo
>
>It appears most apps just need to know the connection type to make
>decisions about downloading/uploading data.

Connection type isnıt meaningful based on local link. Iım often using a
WiFi hotspot from someone elseıs phone.

Or Iım using metered WiFi (whether itıs someoneıs café / hotel which
charges by some unit, or itıs someoneıs ADSL/Cable which has usage caps).

>There does not seem to be any valid use case for bandwidth that I can
>find. 

Iım not sure how people are defining ³Bandwidth². Letıs say there are 5
likely links (with any typical person only using 4 / 5 - a child might
have two homes, but wonıt have WiMax):

WiFi - Corporate / School (Š)
WiFi - Home Internet (Verizon FiOS)
WiFi - Home Internet (Comcast Cable)
WiFi - Starbucks (AT&T)
WiFi - WiMax (Clear/Sprint)

* Corporate isnıt particularly bandwidth limited, however it does block
certain services (including services for which the user has applications)
‹ this creates amusing network topography issues.
* Cable will probably have a bandwidth cap past which it will cost the
user perhaps $1/gb.
* FiOS might not have a cap (perhaps it didnıt in 2006)
* Starbucks probably has a different max speed than Cable / FiOS
* WiMax Š you might be paying $50/gb

>Of course, I canıt see if any application is using such information
>internally, but there is not even a hint of that in any of the apps that
>Iıve lookŠ they seem to be pretty ³brute force² about either just using
>WiFi or doing stuff over cellular too.

Most of the things people ask for they canıt get remotely useful answers
from ³is this a 3g link² or ³is this a 4g link². Knowing that the link has
changed otoh can be useful.

Windows 7 (and older) lets users tag ³Home², ³Business² and General
networks.

Knowing when the network changed would let apps answer questions that
might be worth answering as opposed to questions that are meaningless (³is
this a 3g link²).

For current-speed, I think that the WebPerf WG should have APIs, and thus
questions in that area should be out of scope.

³Metered² alone is also not a particularly helpful state, in my sample
networks above, most of them are ³somewhat metered². However, itıs pretty
likely that a user would have a preference of ³please download the biggest
files while Iım on Corporate/School² and ³please donıt spend much data
while Iım on WiMax / at Starbucks².

>From the data we collected, the main cases appear to be:
>
>* warn the user that this could cost them money (bbc website, only works
>on Safari in iOS)
>* give the user control as to whether large uploads/downloads should
>happen over cellular.
>* Prevent accident data transfer over cellular, which could use up of the
>user's download quota and/or cost them money.
>
>Your input would be welcome :)

Providing a proper list is on my back burner.

However, if people give a list of things they think are problems, and
things they think they can do to solve them, I can easily explain ³no² to
most of them‹ it isnıt the most efficient way to do things, but it takes
me less time, and this is no longer my area of focus.


Advantages of being told that your link endpoint changed:
If you located the fastest endpoint for your application based on the
previous link, you probably want to recalculate and possibly select a new
endpoint for your application. If Iım ³NetFlix² and Iıve selected the
Cable provider NetFlix local server and the user switches from their local
WiFi‹Cable connection to Cellular or a third party WiFi hotspot, then that
Cable provider NetFlix local server is no longer local and will probably
be charging NetFlix.

On average, if your local ip changes, itıs reasonably likely that your
speed / topography characteristics have changed, and therefore any
considerations that the application has made should be reconsideredŠ At
least, thatıs the idea.

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Received on Monday, 9 December 2013 18:06:29 UTC

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