North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Email peering (Was: Economics of SPAM [Was: Micorsoft's SenderIDAuthentication......?]

  • From: Steve Gibbard
  • Date: Thu Jun 16 12:26:57 2005

On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 [email protected] wrote:

If the BGP peering side of the business can sort out all of
this stuff, then why can't the email side of the business do
the same, or perhaps, do even better?
It's not comparable, as has been explained several times to you.
Perhaps you have never been involved in BGP peering? Let
me explain what the BGP peering side of the business does,
in addition to operating BGP sessions with peers. To start
with, most ISPs don't start peering until after they have
negotiated and agreement. Those agreements are legal contracts
with many pages specifying the responsibilities of the two
parties, limits on how the technology is to be applied,
SLAs, processes for interoperation and communication between
NOCs, i.e. the people protocols.
This is a commonly made claim, but is rarely true in practice. A few of the largest networks, generally with small numbers of peers, require peering contracts. Most of the smaller networks with large numbers of peering sessions seem to have decided that the overhead of dealing with contracts isn't justified by the benefits. We've got several hundred peering sessions here, and maybe four or five signed contracts.

The thousands of bilateral BGP peering contracts are most
definitely comparable to the email peering that I am
proposing. I have seen many of these contracts in companies
that I worked for in the past. They are rather similar to
one another in many ways. Since the total number of BGP
peers is rather small, it is quite workable to let these
contracts evolve to some sort of rough standard and that is
what has happened.
If we ignore the contract piece, this sounds a lot like UUCP.

In the email world, there are many, many more players, and
some kind of secret sauce is essential to converge bilateral
email peering agreements to some kind of community standard
rather than letting evolution take its course and risking
chaos as a result. The stuff that you call RIR sauce, is what
I would call "open and public negotiation" in some kind of
a forum which is not biased or dominated by parties who may
have some market dominance. It is, in fact, the antithesis of
a model with a few big actors.
It sounds like you envision five big actors, who would function as regulated long distance/international e-mail carriers, each of which would have a monopoly in their region. This is the phone network model in a lot of places, except that phone monopolies don't often cover more than a few countries while your five e-mail monopolies would have an average of 40 countries each.

I'll withhold public judgment on whether this would be a good thing.