InfoWorld Column on Netcom-Cisco Ampersand Collapse

Craig A. Huegen c-huegen at
Tue Jul 9 16:47:02 UTC 1996

On Tue, 9 Jul 1996, Bob Metcalfe wrote:

==>Not to get back at Mr. Huegen, but he should note that Cisco is not "cisco"
==>anymore.  Gotcha!

Take a look at the logo sometime.  In fact, at the time, it created quite
a stir within the company, and a lot of long-time employees still use

==>By the way, Mr. Huegen, the well-known fact that the Internet offers no
==>service guarantees has not, as you've written, escaped me.  This well-known
==>fact is one of those we are working to FIX.

My point, as I've reflected in private e-mail to you, is that you will
never get this without losing value in this network.  The Internet is
based on sharing information.  The minute you begin to charge for each and
every little piece of data someone requests from you, the value is lost.

When you have a large 'cloud' of providers, you can never guarantee
end-to-end connectivity unless one of two things happens:

1.  One company buys it all (I don't see this happening), and then the
government gets hold of it and 'regulates' it.


2.  You massively change the price structures and force providers to
demand money from other providers on a peer level.  This is bad, because
a LOT of the current structure relies on bi-lateral route peering
agreements that are free.  Each provider giving a bit to help other
providers out.  You insert money into there, and a lot of providers won't
have incentives to establish agreements for better paths.

==>Also, tell us, what was the "original purpose" of the Internet?  Not that
==>it matters much.

Now, now, Bob, it really does matter much here.  You see, the 'original
purpose' of the internet was for research, and fostered a spirit of
cooperation between the entities involved.  This spirit of cooperation is
what has kept this network alive. 

Insert more money into the equation, and as we've seen since the
transition from NSF support, you begin to lose that cooperation in favor
of competition, or just plain isolation.


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