The Attitude (was: the Internet Backbone)

Paul Frommeyer corwin at
Mon Apr 15 09:18:12 UTC 1996

In reply to your message of Sun, 14 Apr 1996 12:28:49 CDT:

| >True.  But there are some particular bones to pick with Sprint, like the
| >underprovisioned Texas links that kept dropping out, just when Apple
| >released its 7.5.3 MacOS Update to developers from Texas....
| Hm..  maybe Apple should have thought a little more
| about their little T-1 link to a single provider when they
| had about 3 T-1s worth of data to send.  I offer to sell
| more connectivity to Apple, but they WEREN'T interested.
| They didn't care that there application/distribution model was
| broken, and breaking the net, they didn't want to fork
| out the extra bucks, or deal with the internal politics
| to put the release out on the West coast where they
| had a much higher bandwidth connection.

In an attempt to squash distractors, it makes no sense to me to hold an ISP
accountable for failure of a customer to pay for services adequate to their
needs, and I also fail to see the relevance of a customer's burying themselves
due to internal politics (which you indicate is the case). Also, in an
allegedly politically divided house, it doesn't make sense to ascribe the
lack of perspicacity to the entire organization; Apple has some great people
running it's Internet stuff, and apparently some not so great people. None of 
this has anything do with a discussion of Internet routing policy issues.

What is relevant to a discussion of routing policy issues ;-) is that if free
market economics are not a viable means of producing a stable and happy Net
(and I'm not saying they aren't! :-), then the alternative is to have
regulated services where such things as equal and fair access can be 
defined and then inflicted on the participants in the industry.

The current trend is away from regulation, and towards market economics. As
such, Sprint is fully within their rights, and one could argue their charter
to their stockholders, to act as they best see fit to meet their service
commitments to their customers.

Yeah, it makes a mess, as do a lot of other decisions which are economically
motivated rather than philosophically motivated. But that's both a consequence
and a challenge of transitioning from a Federally funded model to a market
funded model. In theory, the market dynamics will support the ISP's
offering the best connectivity, and as that dynamic comes more into play
things will begin to sort themselves out. History also tells us that market
dynamics favor large organizations and monopolies over small ones, hence
the predictions of the coming shakeout.

However, logically the current state of congestion flux on the net is a near
perpetual one; either the providers will continue to improve service to meet
growing customer demand, which will in turn generate more congestion, and so
on on a perpetual curve of near-stability. Or, service will degrade until
customer load diminishes, at which point the same type of near-stability is
achieved. I don't see this model changing much until there is enough
bandwidth, and enough equipment to drive it, to handle full-motion video to
every home and desktop. I could be wildly mistaken; however, Dave O'leary's
recent detail of the Net's history does suggest that this is, in fact, the
norm and not the exception as far as Net traffic behavior and loading goes.

Which means that regardless of what Sprint and other ISP's do to stabilize
their services, unless there is a sudden regulatory frenzy there's not much 
to be done except to ride the wave of expansion out as best as can be done.


                          Paul "Corwin" Frommeyer
        Work              Internet Engineer, CCIE               Play
 ISP Systems Engineer                                 Network Sorcerer At Large
 Cisco Systems, Inc.                                    Paul's Fone Company
 pfrommey at                                       corwin at
      *** Speaking solely for myself unless otherwise noted ***

More information about the NANOG mailing list