North American Network Operators Group

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Re: AOL & Cogent

  • From: David Diaz
  • Date: Sun Dec 29 18:58:11 2002

I love that Paul can be correct in an email and still make me smile. The smile was the 1000x growth in internet traffic in a year.

Paul is right, this is a business case. Since most people in the thread already make great points, I wont rehash them. I think this is a standard peering argument that you could argue going back to 1999 ISPcon panel that Bill Norton hosted. There it was UUNET with ratios and settlement. I will make the comment that I have a lot of respect for the AOL guys and Im sure there are some considerations that we are all not privy too. To bolster their argument though, unlike uunet had at the time (or now) they do have caching servers, so that helps their argument of ratio consideration.

As for the business point, I always felt that peering was no place to make the money, which was not substantial anyhow, and likely short sighted. The reason is, once you agree to that dirty word settlement, someone is likely to turn around and hit you up with it. Since you now have
"unclean" hands, it's hard for you to argue against it. You should built a better backbone and use that and whatever model you have to out-compete your competition. During these times I think it makes more sense to enhance the internet such that new technologies and uses can arise thereby driving business for us all. As Paul mentioned, peering enhances the experience for users, but most apps dont need them today, and you need to justify a business model.

If one follows what happened in the computer world, we had a huge rapid growth in mips which no one could see a use for. Then the GUI came about and ever larger apps. The GUI enhanced the experience (no unix flames please).

Could we not then say that an enhanced internet "backbone" might create the matrix for new apps or technology not able to thrive today? I am sure not many of us predicted the user to user traffic a few years ago. Eyeballs to eyeballs traffic (peer to peer networking) just did not exist, but as DSL was widely deployed apps emerged to help fill the pipes.

Im sure a lot of eyeball networks were happy they did some good private peering connections to handle the initial traffic.

My 2cents.

At 22:32 +0000 12/29/02, Paul Vixie wrote:
 > ... if everybody who could peer in N places worldwide could just get
 > peering, then all kinds of per-bit revenue for "high tier" network
 > owners would turn into per-port revenue for exchange point
 > operators. ...

 Well, I think as a local operator you can not expect to be able to
 peer with everyone to receive global routes but theres no reason not
 to exchange local routes comparable to the area your own network
 covers, this wont affect transit sales and wont cost you in backhaul
 either. Thats a slightly different perspective than assuming you can
 get a providers to exchange all their network with you in a settlement
 free bilateral.
there we go again, talking technology and making the technological kind
of sense.  peering isn't a technology decision, it's a business decision.

as a local operator myself (ISC), i know that i should not expect peering
other than if someone wants their customers to have better access to the
f-root server or the ftp server or whatever.  it's actually
easier for me, as a nonprofit, to attract what mr. bill calls 'content
peering' relationships, since i don't compete with the folks i peer with.

however, in a former job, i took the reins of abovenet and used a lot of
mfn fiber and mfn resources (back when they had resources to use, that is)
and built a network that touched down in more places with more gigawhuppas
and more bit-miles and so on than about half of the current so called "top
tier" networks had then (or indeed have now).  i surrounded PSI on all sides,
with a network that carried more actual traffic and had more provable
headroom, and more endpoints.  yet they still insisted on playing peering
games.  (perhaps if they'd won those games they would still exist today?)

peering is not about equity, or ratios, or technology.  it's about money.
sadly, too many people are focusing on their share of the current market
rather than on the size of the eventual market, so, short-term thinking
pervades the space, and the actual customers who source and sink all this
traffic don't ride a curve that looks anything like moore's law.

try a thought experiment.  take about $450M in vee cee money, buy up a lot
of bankrupt capital and routes, hire a bunch of starving backbone engineers
and sales/marketing/finance/etc people at downsized salaries, and build a
network that attends about 40 major carrier interconnect locations (some
internet exchanges, some carrier motels).  document the hell out of it, so
that when you enter peering negotiations with the current "top tier" networks
you've got "attachment A" already done and audited.  now ask yourself the
chances of becoming defaultless and settlement free before you run out of
cash.  (now, does anybody still think peering is a technology issue?)

 And definitely to your gamers and possibly your VoIP folks to
 (depending on details) they will be very fickle on your network
 connectivity and the quality of local peerings is crucial to these
 applications, gaming is growing very quickly as more people get flat
 fee broadband and to a residential access provider I wouldnt
 underestimate how much it could hurt to increase the path to the
 servers by a couple of hops.
like i said, we're living in the shadow of bankrupt overcapacity, and until
we burn it off, "cost per bit-mile" is going to be too low to measure when
compared with "cost per peering edge".  the next six to twelve months will
favour the "small number of large peering edges" model.  once the capital
and routes are rightpriced, and transit contracts are rightpriced, and we
reach some kind of equilibrium between the value and cost of traffic, then
some kind of technological argument about peering might hold some sway.

David Diaz
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