Traffic locality and other questions

Kent W. England kwe at
Mon Sep 22 22:32:58 UTC 1997

At 04:50 PM 22-09-97 -0500, Sean Donelan wrote:
>...  Once upon a time, almost every site within a geographic
>region 'bought' service from a single mid-level provider.  MIDNET served
>the midwest, MERIT served Michigan, SURANET served the southeast,
>BARRNET served the San Francisco bay area, and so on.  The concept of the
>regional provider dropped out of favor as MCI, Sprint and UUNET entered
>the marketplace with significantly lower charges than the regional providers.

This is a political, economic side effect, not a traffic issue. The
regional networks were formed back in the days of the NSFNET with the
express charter of serving constituents in a specific (although informally
drawn) geographic region, eventually covering the entire US. There was no
point in competition, although several regional networks did compete in
some areas because we were nascent commercial entities (recall NYSERNET and
NEARNET, now PSI and GTE).

The regionals offered service to all comers whether in the metro areas or
the hinterlands. The idea was to get "everyone" on the one Net asap.
Competition was beside the point. Cost recovery and managing growth on
bootstrap budgets were the prime concerns.

Today, commercial providers go where the density of prospective customers
is highest. That is why the top 20 metro areas have fifty ISPs to choose
from and the most rural areas have at most one.

The geographic density of the Internet is still fairly low and not all ISPs
use geographic based addressing or MEDs. Therefore, the density of exchange
points is still rather low, but eventually there will be many more
exchanges. It is not a strategic thing, it's strictly tactical.

>Now network topology, like the airline industry, favors tail circuits
>feeding into large hubs.  With facilities based providers its not uncommon
>to see a >1,000 mile back-haul for the local loop.  

Bandwidth is nearly free for facilities based providers. I have had
facilities based providers quote me recurring costs of zero for bandwidth
(but only if we are speaking about their bandwidth, not mine.)

>I have some questions whether it is better to aggregate traffic into
>a single huge flow, or if it is better to have lots of smaller paths.

Then you need to buy a ringside seat ticket to the World Wide Wrestling
Foundation match between Sean Doran, representing the hierarchical network
builders and Mike O'Dell representing the dense mesh network builders.



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