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

William B. Norton wbn at equinix.com
Sat Dec 6 00:25:37 UTC 2003

At 06:23 PM 12/5/2003 -0500, alex at pilosoft.com wrote:
> > 1) The Cable companies are peering (with Tier 2s and each other) in a
> > *big* way
>That's probably why ATDN depeered ~20 networks over last few months,
>while Comcast and Charter do not peer at all.

I had not heard that. As for Comcast and Charter, I would add the word "yet."

> > 2) The Large Network Savvy Content Companies are getting into peering in
> > a *big* way
>With transit bandwidth at 20k$/GE, and Equinix shared fabric now priced at
>nearly half that, I don't see that many "content companies" peering all
>that much.

The phrase, "You get what you pay for" comes to mind. There is real 
difference between transit services IMHO.

Also, you rarely use the full gigE in these types of arrangements, so you 
need to be a little careful doing the "simple math."

Having said all that, the transit price pressures are certainly there and 
it does make the peering financial argument a little tougher. I've heard 
the argument that "Peering is better than transit. It ought to cost more."

> > 3) The Large Network Savvy Content Companies are getting their content
> > directly onto the Cable companies eyeball networks by peering
> > relationships.
>I wish.

Well then you shall receive. The large guys do peer (Yahoo!, MSN, Google, 
EA, Sony Online, etc.) in a very big way. I expect too these guys are 
simply leading the charge - those content companies large enough to employ 
a network engineering staff that can do the math will be following as well. 
It is not only a financial motivation; peering provides greater control 
over routing and is often seen as a performance enhancing strategy. Folks 
like Yahoo! seem to emphasize the end-user performance improvements over 
the financial savings these days.

>Out of big eyeball networks, only SBC has reasonably open policy, rest are
>attempting to force "content networks" into paid peering arrangements
>using restrictive ratio requirements

Hmm. SBC has what I call a "Selective Peering" inclination; they will peer 
with you if you meet certain criteria. The cable companies are all 
different of course but generally seem to have migrated from a "No Peering" 
inclination (when @Home ran things for them the cable companies didn't 
peer) to an "Open Peering" inclination to reduce costs (and to deal with 
Kazaa traffic), to a "Selective Peering" inclination. I see this last step 
as an operations sanity motivation; peer with those who have at least 10M 
of traffic to exchange on a couple coasts. If you don't have that much 
traffic it may not be worth the time to configure the session, and when 
things break it may be more hassle than it is worth.

The ones who are a bit different are the "Restrictive Peering Inclination" 
folks; those who have a peering policy articulated solely so they can say 
"No" with a reason. Rather than deal with the hassle of peering requests, 
some of these guys don't articulate their Peering Inclination in the form 
of a Peering Policy. "We have all the peering that we need" is the 
attitude, and, not to open a can of worms here, but it is a business 
rational attitude.


>Alex Pilosov    | DSL, Colocation, Hosting Services
>President       | alex at pilosoft.com    (800) 710-7031
>Pilosoft, Inc.  | http://www.pilosoft.com

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