[NIC-960209.1757] Routing Problem (fwd)

Michael Dillon michael at memra.com
Wed Feb 14 03:11:14 UTC 1996

On Tue, 13 Feb 1996, Jonathan Heiliger wrote:

> Wow, so we just do this in a few hundred places and you've lowered the
> overall routing table by 8 * N(hundred).  The main problem, as we all
> know, is this isn't a stable marketplace.  Not only is there fierce
> competition for staff, but also for customers.  Why would a number of
> small providers want join together? 

Well actually, there isn't a fierce competition for customers and I 
somehow doubt that there is much competition for staff. The market is 
growing by leaps and bounds. The value of the Internet exists only 
because service providers work co-operatively and exchange traffic with 
each other. In just about every market there are STILL new startup ISP's 
who are succeeding. Yes, there are failures, but the failure rate is very 
low and it's only the most incompetent fools or incredibly unlucky ISP's 
who are having problems.

There are definitely advantages for a lot of small ISP's banding together 
by buying access through a 3rd-party exchange point. One is that they now 
gain the benefit of the exchange point's technical staff. The small ISP 
needn't learn all the details about BGP peering because the exchange 
point does it for him. And when the exchange point technical people can 
help out the small ISP's (their customers) with technical problems that 
are beyond the ability of the small ISP's own staff.

There is a limit to the size an ISP can grow to and still provide 
top-notch quality service. In every market I am aware of, ISP's who focus 
on quality service are reaping the rewards in spite of often higher 
prices than their competition. Therefore I believe that the market 
naturally has room for many small ISP's and will continue to do so. The 
"exchange point" concept also provides opportunities for the more 
technically sophisticated ISP's who are tired of handholding dialup 
customers. Many new dialup customers have NEVER USED A COMPUTER BEFORE!
Anyway, such an ISP can drop or de-emphasize their dialup services and 
become an exchange point by focussing on providing leased-line services 
to other ISP's.

How is this relevant? Well, if you want to encourage greater aggregation 
in the global Internet, one way to do so is to explain to ISP's how a 
more structured Internet can be of benefit to them by allowing them to 
focus on a market niche and become real good at that rather than try to 
be a jack-of-all-trades ISP who hasn't time to do any one thing very 
well. This kind of structure may make it easier to get knowledge about 
renumbering filtered down to the masses or it may indeed make renumbering 
less urgent. 

Michael Dillon                                    Voice: +1-604-546-8022
Memra Software Inc.                                 Fax: +1-604-546-3049
http://www.memra.com                             E-mail: michael at memra.com

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