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Re: 95th Percentile again (was RE: C&W Peering Problem?)

  • From: Richard A. Steenbergen
  • Date: Sat Jun 02 21:42:29 2001

On Sat, 2 Jun 2001, E.B. Dreger wrote:

> > Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 17:28:52 -0400
> > From: Timothy Brown <>
> > 
> > As an interesting aside to this discussion, Digital Island bills for 
> > total traffic transmitted per month (in GB increments).   Does anyone 
> > using them have any comments on this approach besides the obvious?  Does 
> > anyone else do a similar deal?
> I only care to mention the obvious... this is essentially the same
> type of billing as average-use total traffic billing.  Total traffic
> in + out, just not divided by number of days in a month. :-)
> I can't recall names, but I believe that several colo shops (space +
> bandwidth, not carrier-neutral, a la Exodus) do this.

Of course any system which bills for actual usage is pretty much
statistically fair, regardless of whether its measured in the average of a
rate or total amount sent/received. In my experience, people who bill in
actual GB transfered tend to inflate it substantially to abuse those who
can't do math, but there's nothing wrong with it as a system. I think
people are more used to comparing price in $$$ per Mbit/sec though.

$1 per gigabyte is equivalent to $316/Mbit fairly averaged.

> IMHO, 95th percentile has its drawbacks.  Sure, one can charge more
> for "peaky" customers than with average-use billing, but that can
> backfire in extreme cases:  Recall when the Starr Report was
> released... 5% of a month is 1.5 days, so the heavy traffic during
> that time was simply "above the cutoff".

I'm pretty sure they make out like bandits everytime there is a major
spike like that. Maybe the absolute peak was shorter then 1.5 days, but 2
days later I'm sure there were still people hitting it enough to lock in a
very good peak for that month. Unless the customer is specifically trying
to game the system by bursting only for 4.9% worth and using inbound
traffic to match, they pretty much always win. But I don't think that's
unfair, if 95th percentile is the rules they wanna play by to make money
off the unsuspecting then they should play by it for the plotting as well.

Richard A Steenbergen <>
PGP Key ID: 0x138EA177  (67 29 D7 BC E8 18 3E DA  B2 46 B3 D8 14 36 FE B6)

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