Sending vs requesting. Was: Re: Sprint / Cogent

Tomas L. Byrnes tomb at
Sun Nov 2 04:28:04 UTC 2008

Well put. The etymology of the whole mindset around peering is a legacy
from the academic/socialist roots of the Internet. There are still a
great number of people who think this is some kind of social engineering
experiment, as opposed to a communications infrastructure run by, and
for the benefit of, businesses.

If that craws anyone's hide, then go build community networks and peer
with each other, no-one's going to stop you. By the same token, you
don't have the right to force anyone else to pay for what you want.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Patrick W. Gilmore [mailto:patrick at]
>Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 9:46 AM
>To: NANOG list
>Subject: Re: Sending vs requesting. Was: Re: Sprint / Cogent
>On Nov 1, 2008, at 12:05 PM, Chris Adams wrote:
>> Once upon a time, bas <kilobit at> said:
>>> I've heard eyeball networks refer to traffic flows as sending too..
>>> "You content hosters are sending us too much traffic, we want money
>>> to
>>> upgrade ports and transport all that traffic"  Complete reverse
>>> imho. It is always eyeball network customers that request data.
>>> (except for a small portion of iphone/blackberry push email, but
>>> can't account for much.)
>> Traffic sources tend to be concentrated in large data centers
>> (easier to
>> service), while traffic sinks (DSL, cable, wireless) are widespread
>> and
>> costly to upgrade.  The sink customers don't want to pay more (and
>> there's at least some competition), so the sink providers look to see
>> where else they get income to pay for their needed network upgrades.
>Combined with hot-potato routing, the first part of that paragraph is
>a fancy way of saying "I have to carry the large packet a long way,
>you have to carry the small packet a long way".  It is not "fair".
>This is almost a good reason, but not quite.  (It can also be offset
>by moving the source next to the sink, through cold-potato routing /
>MEDs, anycast, CDNs, etc.)
>The second part is a good business reason.  Profitable revenue is
>good, costs are bad.
>There are good business reasons not to pay the sink as well.  But
>neither decision is obvious or the same for everyone.
>Peering is complicated, people should stop trying to generalize it.
>Peering is a business tool.   For years & years many people have
>claimed that to "peer" you must be equal.  Bullshit.  If I can make
>more or spend less by peering, I should do it.  If not, I should not.
>Full stop.  Notice the complete lack of regard for how big you are,
>how much capacity your backbone has, how many ASes are downstream of
>you, etc.?  When I go to buy routers or hire employees or any other
>business transaction, I don't say "that router vendor is making more
>money than I am, so I won't buy from him".  If people applied
>"peering" logic to anything else, they'd be laughed out of a job.
>Don't know about you, but I am in business to make money, not measure
>my anatomy.  How big the next guy is doesn't enter into my equation -
>other than how it affects my bottom line.
>To be clear, it is entirely possible that peering does not save you
>money.  Vijay is right, most people can't measure their COGS to save
>their life.  And if the network in question cannot, there's no way in
>hell the prospective peer can.  If you are a huge point source of
>traffic and want to peer, I may save money by saying no and paying a
>transit provider to deliver the packet to me where I want it
>(especially at today's prices).  Fiber, routers, colo, NOC employees,
>engineers, etc., are all not free ya know.
>You can claim my customers asked for the data and therefore I have a
>requirement to peer, but you would be deluded.  What my customer and I
>have agreed has _nothing_ to do with you or your needs.  You don't
>tell me how to run my network, and I won't tell you how to run yours.
>On the flip side, saying "you are not on 3 continents so I will not
>peer" is stupid of not peering costs you millions a year.  Stupid
>decisions abound in the peering ecosystem.
>There are tons of other _business_ reasons to peer, or not to peer.
>But "we're equal" or "your customer asked for it" are not reasons,
>stop using them.

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