Observations of an Internet Middleman (Level3) (was: RIP

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Sun May 18 18:40:35 UTC 2014

Traffic Symmetry is a distraction that the $ACCESS_PROVIDERS would like us to
focus on.

The reality is that $ACCESS_PROVIDERS want us to focus on that so that we don’t
see what is really going on which is a battle to deeper (or avoid increasing peering
capacity with) networks they think they can force to pay them more money.

This is an age old tactic and it isn’t unique to $ACCESS_PROVIDERS. The larger
$BACKBONE_PROVIDERS did it in the past, too. The first one was a railroad
company turned telecom. Then came the remnants of PSI. Today, it’s the largest
$ACCESS_PROVIDERS. Usually, this just results in harm to both sides and
eventually a loss of subscribers. The $ACCESS_PROVIDERS have an advantage
in the latter as they mostly avoid loss of subscribers through the fact that the
subscribers don’t have anywhere else that they can usefully go.


On May 16, 2014, at 12:15 PM, Matthew Petach <mpetach at netflight.com> wrote:

> On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM, Christopher Morrow <
> morrowc.lists at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM, Blake Hudson <blake at ispn.net> wrote:
>>> in the context of this discussion I think it's silly for a residential
>> ISP
>>> to purport themselves to be a neutral carrier of traffic and expect
>> peering
>>> ratios to be symmetric
>> is 'symmetric traffic ratios' even relevant though? Peering is about
>> offsetting costs, right? it might not be important that the ratio be
>> 1:1 or 2:1... or even 10:1, if it's going to cost you 20x to get the
>> traffic over longer/transit/etc paths... or if you have to build into
>> some horrific location(s) to access the content in question.
>> Harping on symmetric ratios seems very 1990... and not particularly
>> germaine to the conversation at hand.
> Traffic asymmetry across peering connections
> was what lit the fuse on this whole powder keg,
> if I understand correctly; at the point the traffic
> went asymmetric, the refusals to augment
> capacity kicked in, and congestion became
> a problem.
> I've seen the same thing; pretty much every
> rejection is based on ratio issues, even when
> offering to cold-potato haul the traffic to the
> home market for the users.
> If the refusals hinged on any other clause
> of the peering requirements, you'd be right;
> but at the moment, that's the flag networks
> are waving around as their speedbump-du-jour.
> So, it may be very "1990", but unfortunately
> that seems to be the year many people in
> the industry are mentally stuck in.  :(
> Matt

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