Network Value

Leo Bicknell bicknell at
Wed Aug 12 23:06:51 UTC 1998

	The BGP peering issues that have recently come up really
come directly from a disagreement about what constitutes network
value.  I think by now we all realize that peering is a sort of
quid pro quo, where both parties get some value from the deal.
Traditionally, this was an easy thing to assess.  Large backbone
providers tend to have a a nice mix of dial-up users, content
providers, and everything in between.  Measuring the "value" they
bring to the table could easily be qualified by a traffic study.

	In the brave new world this isn't the case.  One can easily
argue that a dial-up only provider and a content hoster should
peer.  Each brings value to the relationship, but the traffic
distribution will be highly asymmetrical.  In this situation what
metrics do you use to assess the value of the peering arrangement?
Is there a good metric like number of users, or number of flows
that you can use to measure value?  Does value have to be something
that only a human can determine with lots of subjective measures?

	Has anyone tried to qualify the value of a network for such
purposes?  I'd be interested to know the details about that process.
If you are able to find a value, can you then move to a "price /
performance" ratio by determining the cost of the peering session?
I suspect this is more difficult to determine than the wealth of
the network, at least over shared peering points where the direct
cost for a single peer is not a line item.

	Possibly the most difficult question of all, is there any
value to everyone using the same metrics?  Ignore the problems with
creating a suitable metric, but if one existed that ranked all
providers from say, 1-10, do you think it would have a positive or
negative effect on peering arrangements?

	I welcome public and private discussion, but hope to avoid
any current issues (for fear of a flame war).  :-)

Leo Bicknell - bicknell at
Network Engineer (CCIE #3440) - Dimension Enterprises
1-703-709-7500, fax, 1-703-709-7699

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