The large ISPs and Peering

Steve Feldman feldman at
Thu Jul 26 01:28:34 UTC 2001

Ok, my turn to weigh in on this. :)

First, can we stipulate that the "big players"
have to peer somewhere?

As I see it, there are two extremes:

1) a mesh of point-to-point circuits between sites,
   (SONET, dark fiber, metro-gigE, etc.)

2) common colocation with local private links between routers

On the whole, option 2 seems easier to manage and potentially
less expensive.  Here's why:

- There can be problems getting circuits between carriers.
  I once heard from an engineer at one carrier-owned ISP
  that a private peering circuit to another carrier-owned ISP
  had been on order for over a year, because each carriers
  refused to allow the other to carry the traffic on its fiber.

- It should cost less to bring a few large circuits into a central
  facility and use the colocated router to multiplex the cheap local
  peering circuits, than to provision a bunch of smaller metro circuits.

- It's much quicker to run fiber across a room than get a circuit
  from any Telco.  This makes additions and changes much easier.

Sure, a carrier-owned ISP likely can get ciruits into the colo
more easily, but it's not that expensive any more for others
to get in.  There are a bunch of new companies building carrier
infrastructure and trying to sell cheap metro high-speed circuits
into popular buildings (I worked for one until recently),
and dark fiber is often available for even less.

As for the political question of peering policies,
I won't get into that except to say that it seems 
an orthogonal issue to me.

Just my $.02,

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