AOL & Cogent

David Diaz techlist at
Sun Dec 29 23:50:57 UTC 2002

I love that Paul can be correct in an email and still make me smile. 
The smile was the 1000x growth in internet traffic in a year.

Paul is right, this is a business case.  Since most people in the 
thread already make great points, I wont rehash them.  I think this 
is a standard peering argument that you could argue going back to 
1999 ISPcon panel that Bill Norton hosted.  There it was UUNET with 
ratios and settlement.  I will make the comment that I have a lot of 
respect for the AOL guys and Im sure there are some considerations 
that we are all not privy too.  To bolster their argument though, 
unlike uunet had at the time (or now) they do have caching servers, 
so that helps their argument of ratio consideration.

As for the business point, I always felt that peering was no place to 
make the money, which was not substantial anyhow, and likely short 
sighted.  The reason is, once you agree to that dirty word 
settlement, someone is likely to turn around and hit you up with it. 
Since you now have
"unclean" hands, it's hard for you to argue against it.  You should 
built a better backbone and use that and whatever model you have to 
out-compete your competition.  During these times I think it makes 
more sense to enhance the internet such that new technologies and 
uses can arise thereby driving business for us all.   As Paul 
mentioned, peering enhances the experience for users, but most apps 
dont need them today, and you need to justify a business model.

If one follows what happened in the computer world, we had a huge 
rapid growth in mips which no one could see a use for.  Then the GUI 
came about and ever larger apps.  The GUI enhanced the experience (no 
unix flames please).

Could we not then say that an enhanced internet "backbone" might 
create the matrix for new apps or technology not able to thrive 
today?  I am sure not many of us predicted the user to user traffic a 
few years ago.  Eyeballs to eyeballs traffic (peer to peer 
networking) just did not exist, but as DSL was widely deployed apps 
emerged to help fill the pipes.

Im sure a lot of eyeball networks were happy they did some good 
private peering connections to handle the initial traffic.

My 2cents.

At 22:32 +0000 12/29/02, Paul Vixie wrote:
>>  > ... if everybody who could peer in N places worldwide could just get
>>  > peering, then all kinds of per-bit revenue for "high tier" network
>>  > owners would turn into per-port revenue for exchange point
>>  > operators. ...
>>  Well, I think as a local operator you can not expect to be able to
>>  peer with everyone to receive global routes but theres no reason not
>>  to exchange local routes comparable to the area your own network
>>  covers, this wont affect transit sales and wont cost you in backhaul
>>  either. Thats a slightly different perspective than assuming you can
>>  get a providers to exchange all their network with you in a settlement
>>  free bilateral.
>there we go again, talking technology and making the technological kind
>of sense.  peering isn't a technology decision, it's a business decision.
>as a local operator myself (ISC), i know that i should not expect peering
>other than if someone wants their customers to have better access to the
>f-root server or the ftp server or whatever.  it's actually
>easier for me, as a nonprofit, to attract what mr. bill calls 'content
>peering' relationships, since i don't compete with the folks i peer with.
>however, in a former job, i took the reins of abovenet and used a lot of
>mfn fiber and mfn resources (back when they had resources to use, that is)
>and built a network that touched down in more places with more gigawhuppas
>and more bit-miles and so on than about half of the current so called "top
>tier" networks had then (or indeed have now).  i surrounded PSI on all sides,
>with a network that carried more actual traffic and had more provable
>headroom, and more endpoints.  yet they still insisted on playing peering
>games.  (perhaps if they'd won those games they would still exist today?)
>peering is not about equity, or ratios, or technology.  it's about money.
>sadly, too many people are focusing on their share of the current market
>rather than on the size of the eventual market, so, short-term thinking
>pervades the space, and the actual customers who source and sink all this
>traffic don't ride a curve that looks anything like moore's law.
>try a thought experiment.  take about $450M in vee cee money, buy up a lot
>of bankrupt capital and routes, hire a bunch of starving backbone engineers
>and sales/marketing/finance/etc people at downsized salaries, and build a
>network that attends about 40 major carrier interconnect locations (some
>internet exchanges, some carrier motels).  document the hell out of it, so
>that when you enter peering negotiations with the current "top tier" networks
>you've got "attachment A" already done and audited.  now ask yourself the
>chances of becoming defaultless and settlement free before you run out of
>cash.  (now, does anybody still think peering is a technology issue?)
>>  And definitely to your gamers and possibly your VoIP folks to
>>  (depending on details) they will be very fickle on your network
>>  connectivity and the quality of local peerings is crucial to these
>>  applications, gaming is growing very quickly as more people get flat
>>  fee broadband and to a residential access provider I wouldnt
>>  underestimate how much it could hurt to increase the path to the
>>  servers by a couple of hops.
>like i said, we're living in the shadow of bankrupt overcapacity, and until
>we burn it off, "cost per bit-mile" is going to be too low to measure when
>compared with "cost per peering edge".  the next six to twelve months will
>favour the "small number of large peering edges" model.  once the capital
>and routes are rightpriced, and transit contracts are rightpriced, and we
>reach some kind of equilibrium between the value and cost of traffic, then
>some kind of technological argument about peering might hold some sway.


David Diaz
dave at [Email]
pagedave at [Pager] [Peering Site under development]
Smotons (Smart Photons) trump dumb photons

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