Michael Dillon michael at
Fri Aug 21 23:33:46 UTC 1998

On Fri, 21 Aug 1998, Dave Rand wrote:

> Traffic is an obvious one.  Is that measured in packets per second, or bits
> per second?

Bits, not packets. And I think that aggregate octets per hour or per day
is a more reasonable way to measure it.

>  Since, in the USA (where the vast majority of traffic
> originates) circuits are provisioned as full duplex, _does it matter_ which
> direction the bits are flowing in?

Yes. In and out should be measured separately.

> Assuming it does matter, in which direction does the value flow? 

Here's the complex part. The value is not expressed in bits and it depends
on the destination within the peer's network. I am assuming that we can
map the IPv4 address space by city and that we can set some value to each
intercity link. This means that a stream of bits entering a peers network
in San Jose with a final destination in San Jose would be free. But if the
stream of bits was destined for Santa Cruz there would be a small cost.
And if it was destined for Sacramento there would be a somewhat larger
cost because Sacramento is further.

> Another one is route-miles.  A provider with 1,000 route-miles of circuits
> 'obviously' has less value than a provider with 10,000 route-miles of
> circuits.  How does speed of those circuits factor in?  Perhaps the metric
> should be DS0-route-miles (64K-circuits per mile).  Of course, one WDM dark
> fiber run of 250 miles would nuke this metric.

Route-miles between cities might be the metric for determining the cost
multiplier. Of course, this would assume some standard city-to-city
mileage and a standard boundary, rather like a LATA boundary, that would
make Santa Clara considered to be equivalent to a San Jose destination
since it is only a couple of miles from San Jose.
> How about dollar value of the network, in total bills paid to the telcos?
> Does this mean that networks that are owned by telcos have an almost-zero
> cost, or an "full retail price" accounting cost? 

I think that we need some standard way to calculate such costs. Since we
are discussing how to account for regional transit I think that one way
would be for the peer who would receive the payment to publish to a
pricelist to their peers for city-to-city transit and use this pricelist.
The arrangement would give the peers the option to buy circuits from the
other peer at that rate. We would use some formula based upon how much
traffic a reasonably standard intercity circuit could carry to determine
the rate per bit over that link.

> Are networks that
> have reciprical agreements with telcos unduely penalized, or do they
> benefit?

I would expect that they would neither benefit or be penalized. 

> Another good metric might be number of customers.

There is too much variation between customers for this to work.

> How about number of network advertisments, or routes?  

Same thing, too much variation, i.e. big aggregates and little ones.

> We haven't even got to the hard points, which is *how much* each of
> these metrics are 'worth'.  

Agreed. This is likely going to require an industry council to come up
with the metrics and algorithms and specific numbers. Does this sound
suspiciously like regulated peering? Yes. It is regulated peering but my
intention is for the providers to work out the regulations within the
industry and only have government involvement on a review basis. For
instance such a council would need to satisfy the government that it was
not acting in an antitrust fashion and they would likely review this on a
regular basis.

> We also haven't begun to address sites like,
>, and the like.  Nor networks with plently of suck bandwidth
> (but not much content) such as MSN and AOL.

I think that this suggestion addresses all sorts of asymmetry because I
believe that the bottom line is that it costs more to transfer a given
number of bits over a larger distance than a smaller one and that this
cost can be quantified.

> It's harder than it looks on the surface, folks.  Clues appreciated.

I agree with this. However when I look ahead to a world in which the IP
network is the only data communications infrastructure carrying voice,
video, web, email, etc., then I think that the hard work must be done to
create a scalable peering system. If we succeed at this then we will never
have to go through the pain that the telephone network experienced with
the forced AT&T government regulated monopoly followed by its forced
dissolution still under government regulation. It is my opinion that the
only way out from the specter of increased government regulation of the
Internet is to pre-empt government action by working out a system that
would be considered fair under existing antitrust laws. If we can go a
significant way down the path to such a system, even if we have not yet
implemented it, then I believe we will be able to secure support from the
government for a self-regulated industry peering council.

But that's just my opinion. I don't have all the answers.

Michael Dillon                 -               Internet & ISP Consulting
Memra Communications Inc.      -               E-mail: michael at
Check the website for my Internet World articles -        

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