Internet Video: The Next Wave of Massive Disruption to the US Peering Ecosystem (v1.2)

William B. Norton at
Tue Jan 9 17:08:16 UTC 2007

Hi all -

Over the last year or so I have been working with Internet video
companies who asked essentially the same question - "What is the most
effective way of distributing massive quantities of Internet (video)
traffic?"  This has become a significant issue NOW because a few of
the largest US ISPs are turning away these n*10G Internet video
transit customers !

Thanks to all of you that shared your insights, or let me walk you
through what this community has found to date, and especially those of
you who shared their data points and allowed me to cite you as a

I'm at the point now where I'd like to share the current draft (v1.2)
of this discussion paper with a broader audience, epsecially those who
will allow me to schedule a time to talk through the draft with you.
(I have found this is the most effective way to get feedback next to
face-to-face walkthroughs over lunch).

Here's the Abstract:

Video Internet: The Next Wave of Massive Disruption to the U.S.
Peering Ecosystem (v1.2)

In previous research we documented three significant disruptions to
the U.S. Peering Ecosystem as the Cable Companies, Large Scale Network
Savvy Content Companies, and Tier 2 ISPs started peering openly. By
peering with directly each other they effectively bypassed the Tier 1
ISPs resulting in improved performance, greater control over the
end-user experience, and overall lower operating costs.

This paper predicts a new wave of disruption that potentially dwarfs
currently peered Internet traffic. Some of this emerging wave of Video
Traffic is demonstrating viral properties, so the more popular videos
are generating massive "Flash Crowd" effects. Viral Amplifiers (sites
that do not host but rather highlight the most popular videos) amplify
any viral properties a video may have.  If we combine this flash crowd
effect and the increased size of the video files downloaded, we see
the crest of the first wave of significant incremental load on the

The majority of this paper details four models for Internet Video
Distribution (Transit, Content Delivery Networks, Transit/Peering/DIY
CDN, Peer2Peer) across three load models.  The cost models include
network and server equipment along with pricing models for various
distribution methods.  Dozens of walkthroughs of this paper have led
to stepwise refinement of the models and insights into why one would
prefer or not prefer one model over the other.

The summary is a comparison in cost-per-video across small, medium,
and large distributions. The models (spreadsheets) can be made
available to those interested.


// William B. Norton <wbn at>
// Co-Founder and Chief Technical Liaison, Equinix
// GSM Mobile: 650-315-8635
// Skype, Y!IM: williambnorton

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