North American Network Operators Group

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  • From: Paul Vixie
  • Date: Tue Aug 25 23:36:10 1998

> [...], even if someone is NOT doing "best exit" (or there is only one
> exit) that doesn't change the fact that the transit customers on the other
> network paid in part so they could get there!

I keep hearing this and I keep not understanding it.  Let's define this in
terms of sessions, where "session" means a bunch of related packets (i.e.,
packets with the same or symmetrical source/destination addresses and which
are related to the same real-world action or end-user goal.  Could be a TCP
session, could be a sh*tload of DNS queries while processing a log file,
could be a RealAudio(tm) stream, could be an MBONE broadcast of Grateful Dead.

The quoted point is only controversial if the endpoints of a "session" are
served/connected by different providers, since if there's only one provider
there is no "exit" no "peering" and no problem.  "Served" in this context
means "carry stuff to/from this end point from/to where it's coming/going."

In the current non-market economy used to fund the Internet, it's extremely
rare for someone to actually pay by the bit-mile for the costs their service
provider undergoes on their behalf.  Billing strategies I'm familiar with are
all in terms of maximum or average or peak or whatever, per unit time (like
for example, T1 by the month.)

In a non-market economy where costs don't determine price, costs have to be
avoided rather than recovered.  People who run big networks can't recover
their bit-mile-related costs from their own customers, so they avoid these
costs -- usually by requiring that anyone they exchange packets with at no
cost be able to exchange those packets "locally" which means, at the greatest
cost to the _sender's_ provider and the least cost to the _receiver's_

Closest-exit routing doesn't do this.  The biggest packets of the session
are being carried by the person who isn't getting paid any money by the
sender and is not being paid by the bit-mile by the receiver.

We don't have a micropayment facility, and won't for some years yet, that
can turn this into a free market where costs can be recovered rather than
avoided.  So you'll see folks avoiding them.  And, getting back to the text
I quoted to give this message context: NO.  "No, the transit customers on
the other network did NOT pay the costs of this traffic."

Deaggregation and MEDs aren't a scalable solution to this problem.  At the
moment, negotiated transit or private peering are the only ways to get the
costs of these bit-miles to be spread out among the people who benefit from
them.  This situation bears striking resemblence to the way the NBA and NFL
do revenue sharing among large market and small market teams.  That's not a
market economy either, but we lack the technology for a market economy.
Paul Vixie
La Honda, CA			"Many NANOG members have been around
<[email protected]>			 longer than most." --Jim Fleming
pacbell!vixie!paul		 (An H.323 GateKeeper for the IPv8 Network)