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Re: New peering criteria [ and Enron ]

  • From: hardie
  • Date: Thu Jun 07 13:12:12 2001

Geoff writes:
> 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.....

(Note to self:  Do not walk with Geoff at night....)

Permit me to humbly suggest that this metaphor is more vivid than
accurate.  The available behaviors include many more than fight and
flight.  Among others I can think of are: (honestly) offer to
cooperate, (dishonestly) attempt to defraud the eyes' owner out of
resources, and even call in the regulators to have *them* eat the
eyes' owner instead.  It's a big, wild world out there and almost
everything has been tried once.  Sometimes twice.

> The interactions in the inter-Provider space tend to work out to one of 
> three outcomes:
>    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

I think this elides one of the most important questions: pays for
what?  There are cases that look like (1) where the revenue A pays B
is earmarked as revenue for a layer 2 pipe to reach a POP or NAP at
which layer 3 traffic is traded under terms that look (3).  Is the IP
traffic in that case an inducement to buy the layer 2 pipe, is the
agreement a way of hiding the fact that A pays B for peering, or
evidence that B still thinks like a telco?  

Business relationships can be convoluted; I know of cases where who
pays whom is actually banded in a way that means A pays B if A sends
lower than N/mbps or higher than 3N/mbps but B pays A otherwise.  The
motivation behind that agreement is pretty tortured (at least three of
the people involved are still in therapy), but it results in A and B
trading traffic.

>From an engineering standpoint the interactions in Inter-provider
space all boil down to that one question: do these ASes exchange
traffic directly, or is there an AS in the middle?  From a business
standpoint, there are as many potential interactions layered on top
that simple question as there are business models drifting in the
trash baskets of the VCs on Sand Hill Road. 

I agree with Sean Donelan that the use of the same term "peering" for
"direct BGP-based traffic exchange" and "cost-free traffic exchange"
makes things very difficult.  Unfortunately, I can't see "neighboring"
taking off as an alternative.
					Ted Hardie

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