"potential new and different architectural approach" to solve the Comcast - L3 dispute

Jeff Wheeler jsw at inconcepts.biz
Fri Dec 17 11:35:07 CST 2010

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM, Benson Schliesser
<bensons at queuefull.net> wrote:
> I have no direct knowledge of the situation, but my guess:  I suspect the proposal was along the lines of longest-path / best-exit routing by Level(3).  In other words, if L(3) carries the traffic (most of the way) to the customer, then Comcast has no complaint--the costs can be more fairly distributed.  The "modest investment" is probably in tools to evaluate traffic and routing metrics, to make this work.  This isn't really *new* to the peering community, but it isn't normal either.

That is a reasonable guess, but Level3's FCC filing yesterday spells
out with certainty that Level3 did offer to "cold potato" traffic onto
Comcast (it does not mention the technical means e.g. MED honoring,
CDN smarts, or otherwise) and that Comcast refused.

I agree that the proposed Comcast solution may not be truly "new" but
instead unusual, but unless "Backdoor Santa" tells us what they really
have in mind, I suppose we won't know.  If I were Comcast, I would
want to move the significant cost of detailed netflow collection and
analysis infrastructure onto backbone providers by wrapping that
accounting mechanism up into my settlement agreements with peers, as
well as the expense of a cost-ineffective network, and demand that
Level3 and Comcast really calculate how much each network spends on
each bit, and share in that cost.  In theory, this is what happens
when an ILEC opens a rate case with its state regulator; and it is how
settlements for POTS calls work (at a very basic level.)

Actually, if I were Comcast, I would focus on running my business more
efficiently, as Level3 has thrown down the gauntlet with the FCC and
requested that the FCC dictate to Comcast specifically, and explicitly
all other broadband access providers, how they will interconnect with
peers and transit suppliers.  Level3 must think that their business
would be better off with regulatory oversight of peering, or they
would not have taken this action.  Comcast should realize that, of the
three potential motives for their recent actions I have previously
outlined, #1 and #3 are not just highly unlikely, but would be
practically impossible in a regulated environment.  As such, they
should further realize that their peering committee is driven by
motive #2, ego, and find the best way to change their position without
losing too much credibility.

Jeff S Wheeler <jsw at inconcepts.biz>
Sr Network Operator  /  Innovative Network Concepts

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