please help - survey on network operations costs

Nick Feamster feamster at
Tue Dec 22 11:48:08 CST 2009


We are developing a tool that helps ISPs optimize for cost when making
decisions about both internal routing and interconnection for planning and
traffic management.  To develop the underlying algorithms, we need a better
sense of how various factors contribute to an ISP's overall operational
costs.  Our objective is not to obtain specific numbers---we understand
that individual ISPs may have very confidential information about pricing,
and that you may not want to share that with us.  Rather, we are seeking to
build a model that any operator could use by plugging in specific numbers.

Constructing this model still requires some understanding of the
relative costs of various factors.  We would appreciate any help you can
provide.  In return, we will (1) share the results of the survey with
you (after anonymizing appropriately); (2) work with you to apply our
optimization technique to your network to see if it can help reduce your
overall costs.

Thank you very much for any help you can provide,
Nick and Murtaza


1. Are you a:
  * access ISP network
  * transit provider
  * content distribution network
  * other (please specify)

2. How do you account for recurring costs incurred in carrying IP
traffic on your backbone?  Do you incorporate both backhaul and
interconnect costs?  Which one of these factors tends to be more
dominant?  Are there other factors that are significant enough to
consider explicitly?  (If you have a template cost model, that would be
very helpful.)

3. What are the relative costs of each of the following for
interconnection? (If you feel comfortable doing so, please rank them.)
  * port/interface costs (e.g., 1G, 10G, etc.)
  * type of transmission (e.g., IP, WDM, SONET, etc.)
  * transit costs
  * others (please specify)

4. What factors affect internal network costs for carrying traffic? 
  * port/interface costs
  * distance travelled
    (e.g., # of hops, geography - local, regional, backbone,
  * real estate costs (e.g., carrier hotel, fiber leasing...)
  * traffic demand or congestion in a region (e.g., is northeast
    corridor more expensive than other parts of the network?)
  * other (please specify)

5. When pricing your own IP connectivity services, do you use average
cost models?  Do you use the same cost structure for each customer,
regardless of how much of your backbone and interconnect infrastructure
they use?

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