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Re: New peering criteria [ and Enron ]
- From: Geoff Huston
- Date: Thu Jun 07 07:10:26 2001
At 6/7/01 07:21 AM, James Thomason wrote:
Since I've been quoted in this stream, maybe I should humbly offer a few
opinions masquerading as observations ( :-) )
> I agree, but how do you decide who is hurt more?
> And therefore who should be the vendor and who is the customer?
> Is the "bigger" network always the vendor, or is the network with more
> content the vendor, or the network with more eyeballs the vendor? That's
> what I don't understand about the "balance" requirement. Ok, so you know
> the traffic is imbalanced, but whose fault/hurt is it when traffic is
> imbalanced? And who is responsible for "fixing" the imbalance in traffic?
In the telecommunications industry the role of "vendor" is played mutually
depending on the initiation of the transaction. The finite start and
stop point (or "call minute" as Geoff Huston referes to it) allows
exchanging parties to assign cost for a specific transaction and a
The peering game has no real objective rules - its a game that is played
out in the jungle every night - you see a pair of eyes a few inches in
front of you - should you try to eat it or try to get away? Unfortunately
there's not enough information to make a rational choice, so you would
normally run away, but if you are also hungry at the same time.....
The interactions in the inter-Provider space tend to work out to one of
1 Either A pays B unconditionally (and becomes a customer of B)
(and, yes, this includes 'paid peering')
2 A and B do not interconnect directly, and resolve connectivity through
third party interactions
3 A and B interconnect and agree not to pay each other - i.e. peering
There's simply not enough information at the packet header level (the 20
bytes of IP header) to calculate a 'true' value transfer per packet passed
between the two providers, so the call minute arrangement calculation used
in the PSTN is simply not an option here. Instead, you inevitably arrive at
one of the three outcomes above.
Peering is a game of working out that there is perceived equity in the
benefits of the arrangement. Sometimes this is established as equity of
denial - i.e. if both parties are equally disadvantaged by NOT
interconnecting directly, then peering is a logical outcome. If one party
is perceived as being more disadvantaged by such an outcome, and both
parties can privately admit to themselves that this is the outcome, then
that party becomes the customer of the other, if they interconnect.
The issue is one of figuring out equity of perceived benefit. If A works
out that the benefit to A is $10 and its calculation of the benefit to B is
$10, and _at the same time_ B undertakes a similar calculation and works
out that the benefits to A is $20 and the benefit to B is $20, peering is
still a stable outcome. Even if A works out that it is better off than B
AND at the same time B works out that it is better off than A as a result,
then peering is still a stable outcome.
Over time A and B change their perception of their own value and their
perception of the value to the other party. If A and B are peering, then A
naturally wants to create a situation where if can force B to become a
customer, and B has precisely the same motivation. The forcing function
used is sometimes one of disconnection.
Sometimes its a three or more party game - to demonstrate that A no longer
relies on B's transit services, A may become a customer of C and then
approach B for peering. If A can negotiate a peering relationship with B on
this basis, A can subsequently renegotiate its arrangement with C. And so
on and so on...
Its not a bad trading market, as trading markets go. Open information of
trade outcomes is available in the BGP table, so that the market can be
considered to be a well informed market even though individual negotiations
and outcomes are private. Its an interesting outcome to consider the BGP
table as the stock exchange listing service of the inter-provider trading