Peering Policies and Route Servers

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Tue Apr 30 19:10:13 UTC 1996

On Mon, 29 Apr 1996, Michael Dillon wrote:

> I think that you will find it much easier to get Sprint, MCI et al. to
> peer with you at multiple NAP's if you have a reputation and that
> reputation is a good one. The people at the large NSP's are rightly
> conservative at making new peering decisions because the network is now so
> big and so important to customers that they cannot risk significant
> network failure.
> If you want to peer, you will have to prove that your actions will not
> endanger the network fabric especially the fabric of the NSP who you
> are negotiating peering with. This is not an unsolvable problem.

There is no question of the risk involved in peering.  Since caution is
most often the best way to approach risk, it needs no justification
either.  What is being debated is whether or not the emerging policies of
large NSPs reflect this approach.  I would have no objection to a
requirement of's requirements of money and resources that have
small corporations complaining.

[technical competence]
[networking experience]
[familiarity with current events]
> In addition you have to develop a reputation of competence and this
> demands that you physically attend several NANOG meetings and perhaps some
> IETF's. There is nothing that can establish a reputation better than
> personal contact. Of course, once you become a face and not just an email
> address, even the "no" responses to a peering request are likely to lead
> to some more explanation of "why?" so that you can remedy the situation.

These are all valuable resources in running an NSP...these are, in fact,
several of our goals here.  Certainly some (most notably personal
appearances) are limited by available resources, but all are necessary to
some extent.


- Is a small staff necessarily an incompetent one?
- Is a company which has operated on a small scale necessarily doomed to
  failure in a large scale endeavor?
- Does a scarcity of resources necessarily indicate an inability to
  efficiently utilize available resources?

These all seem to be generalizations made by peering policies which
discriminate against smaller providers.  Meeting Sprint and MCI's peering
conditions requires only minimal competence.  What it takes is money.

> The time required to go through these rites of passage will also allow you
> to get your national network infrastructure built out so it is not a loss.
> You *CAN* operate a national (or even international) network without
> peering agreements. You *CAN* grow into being an NSP. You may even
> discover that there are some benefits to multiple bilateral
> peering/exchange points as opposed to becoming yet another NSP at an
> octopus-like NAP.

For the record, I fully realize the value of peering at multiple exchange
points. :-)  Though it seems to have been interpreted as such, my crusade
is not to win peering arrangements at a NAP.  My whining serves the far
larger (and more interesting) purpose of pointing out the arguable wisdom
of certain policies (which just happen to be detrimental to the pursuit of
my goals).

// Matt Zimmerman       Chief of System Management           NetRail, Inc.
// mdz at                                       sales at
// (703) 524-4800 [voice]    (703) 524-4802 [data]    (703) 534-5033 [fax]

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