a radical proposal (Re: protocols that don't meet the need...)

Michael.Dillon at btradianz.com Michael.Dillon at btradianz.com
Thu Feb 16 10:56:17 UTC 2006

> Moreover, I'm convinced the problem isn't O(N^2) in practice.  Someone 
> with more math skills than any poster in this thread (self included) 
> needs to weigh in, but... again...

Math skills are not needed. This is a technical
and business problem, not a mathematical one.

I tried to sell just such a cooperative multihoming solution
about 4 years ago when I was with Ebone. We had a client
who needed highly available resilient connectivity and
part of the RFP was that they wanted two provider networks.
We chose BT as our partner because the Ebone fibre network
was largely discontinuous with BT's network. It doesn't make
sense to do this with two networks who share fibre or 
conduits or rights-of-way.

In our case, the customer was large enough that we could
do it by having BT announce a part of our address space,
something on the order of a /20. The actual customer peering
with both of us would have used private ASNs.

The plan was scuttled by financial difficulties which resulted
in the demise of the Ebone network. In any case, I agree that
this is something that should be available in the market but
since it only makes sense if the two providers are largely
discontinuous, I don't think that there will be many possible
pairings in most cities. Once you get past the technical issue
of who is a suitable partner, the big hurdle is on the commercial
side getting two competitors to agree on terms to provide a joint
service. Although this would be useful for small multihomers,
I don't see that as possible until after a large enterprise 
customer forces two competitors to negotiate terms.

--Michael Dillon

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