Evolution of the U.S. Peering Ecosystem v1.1

William B. Norton wbn at equinix.com
Fri Dec 5 22:05:19 UTC 2003

Hi all -

Thanks to those who provided comments to the last white paper draft of "The 
Evolution of the U.S. Peering Ecosystem". I've made most of the changes and 
added the data points as suggested, so I am now ready to send out the 
document more broadly. Lots of acknowledgements in the acknowledgements 
section now - Thanks!!

In a nutshell, the Evolution of the U.S. Peering Ecosystem introduces the 
notion of the Internet as a set of Regional Peering Ecosystems, each with 
its own
- Tier 1s (who have access to the entire regional routing table solely 
through peering relationships),
- Tier 2s (broadly all other ISPs), and
- Content Providers

These players are modelled with characteristics (upstream transit links, 
peering links, etc.) and their motivations (described as Peering 
Inclinations (Open, Selective, Restrictive, or No Peering) articulated in 
Peering Policies) that can predict roughly their behavior in the Peering 

The "Evolution" of the U.S. Peering Ecosystem is the result of five forces:
1) The so-called dot.bomb - economic collapse of the telecom sector
2) The emergence of a large scale used equipment market
3) The exponential growth of Kazaa traffic costing eyeball networks $$$$
4) The failure of @Home - cable companies provide Internet services themselves
5) The rapid decline in transport and transit prices

The three major changes roughly are:
1) The Cable companies are peering (with Tier 2s and each other) in a *big* way
2) The Large Network Savvy Content Companies are getting into peering in a 
*big* way
3) The Large Network Savvy Content Companies are getting their content 
directly onto the Cable companies eyeball networks by peering relationships.

These are significant changes due to the volume of traffic exchanged, the 
amount of money being saved by avoiding intermediary transit providers, and 
the performance implications of these direct connections.

As promised, if you are interested in this stuff I will gladly send you a 
copy of the latest draft, v1.1. I'm working on the same exploration for the 
Asia Pacific Peering Ecosystems (hence the APRICOT Peering Track note I 
sent out earlier this week).

Hope this helps -


More information about the NANOG mailing list