BBN Peering issues

Gordon Cook cook at
Mon Aug 17 19:06:34 UTC 1998

John levine <johnl at>:

>>I will point out, briefly, that the issue is not 'free peering' versus paid
>>peering.  The issue seems to be the desire for BBN to have traffic come in
>>its network indirectly (through another transit provider).
>Exodus has claimed several times on nanog, that although they peer
>with many providers, they don't buy transit from anyone, and if GTE
>won't accept their packets as a peer, they're not going to get their
>packets through anyone else.

john, I am sorry but I am really surprised at the paucity of research done
by those who are bashing BBN.

People really ought to read

there they will find exodus stating in january 98 to the SEC that:

"While the Company began operations in 1992, it did not offer server hosting
services until 1995 and did not open its first dedicated Internet Data Center
until August 1996, at which time it refocused its business strategy on
providing Internet system and network management solutions for enterprises'
mission-critical Internet operations. As a result, the Company's business
model is still in an emerging state."

COOK:  translation it became a web hosting company and as the out put of
its large content providers increased to the point where a two to one
imbalance in traffic between BBN and exodus is likely more like 10 packets
or more into BBN for every one packet in the other direction.

Levine: >Since Exodus hosts many of the largest and most popular web farms on
>the net such as Geocities, a lot of us expect that BBN's customers
>won't be pleased when they find that they've lost access to many of
>their favorite web sites.

COOK: John, this has been a point of contention on the internet at least
since 94, but please show me where the consenus has been reached that web
hosting companies need to be interconnected to the internet for free.

Later on the Exodus S1 admits (p10)

S1: "In particular, the Company is dependent on WorldCom and certain other
telecommunications providers for its backbone capacity and is therefore
dependent on such companies to maintain the operational integrity of its

In addition, the Company relies on a number of public peering
interconnections and private peering interconnections to deliver its

Many of the operators of the private peering interconnections are
competitors of the Company. Currently, ***the Company does not pay a fee
for many of these interconnections,*** and if these organizations were to
begin to charge the Company for utilizing these interconnections, or, in
the cases where the Company currently pays a fee, to increase the pricing
associated with utilizing these networks, the Company may be required to
identify alternative methods through which it can distribute its customers'

COOK: What is not clear here is how many of the top 5, or 10 or 15 exodus
has private peerings with and how many it PAYS  for transit. It is clear
from the above that Exodus PAYS  - that it is NOT entirely transit free -
despite the claims of Lawrence Delskii and others.  what *IS* clear from
the S1 is that Exodus is HIGHLY leveraged and that unexpected expenses
could cause it grief.

At any rate if exodus doesn't pay a fee for many interconnects it must pay
a fee for some and, if it does, why should BBN, by giving exodus a FREE
connection, subsidize its competitors who *ARE* charging exodus?

levine: >BBN's argument about the imbalance in number of packets makes no sense
>to me.  It's as though my grocery store claimed that since the
>groceries I bought weighed 20 pounds, while the check I gave them in
>exchange weighed a fraction of an ounce, they're getting the short end
>of the deal.  Networks peer because the two sides both get similar
>value from the connection, not because they get the same number of

COOK: no, not the same, but at least there generally is some degree of

I would like to know how exodus can tell the SEC in january 98 that only
some of its connections are free peering while others are purchased, and
now in august whine that BBN is screwing it because *ONLY* BBN is breaking
the peering relationship since exodus is a customer of NO ONE else.  if
exodus had gone from  paid transit to free peering with one or more
companies since the beginning of this year, one would think that exodus's
ellen hancock would have figured out a way to let the world know.

of course ellen ran networking for IBM in the late 80s and early 90s when
IBM was left standing on the platform as the internet train left the
station.  then she was CTO at Apple while that company went deeper into
hell.  now she's CEO of a company that made a 69 million dollar IPO in
march, issued 200 million in bonds in July, has just bought its OWN fiber
national back bone from Qwest for an undisclosed sum and, when BBN stops
giving it a free ride, (read multiple hundreds of thousands worth of free
interconnections per year) whines and snivels over the whole internet.
Gee: why am I not impressed with ellen's latest leadership?

Exodus' idea of how to do PR puzzles me.  But I am even more puzzled that
no one seems who complains on these lists seems to think to read its 10Qs
or S1.

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