Re: Sprint v. Cogent, some clarity & facts

From: Leo Bicknell (no email)
Date: Mon Nov 03 2008 - 10:19:05 EST

  • Next message: Stephen Sprunk: "Re: Sprint v. Cogent, some clarity & facts"

    In a message written on Mon, Nov 03, 2008 at 01:26:14AM -0500, Patrick W. Gilmore wrote:
    > Having skimmed the Sprint / Cogent threads, I saw multiple errors and
    > lots of really bad guesses. Instead of replying individually, I
    > thought I would sum up a few facts so everyone was on the same page.
    > This way when we run off into another 100 post thread, we can at least
    > -start- from reality (although I would bet serious cash on long odds
    > we will diverge from it soon enough).

    I notice a significant bit of information which has not been posted
    in any of the posts I have read.

    If I were to rank networks by the difficulty of getting settlement
    free peering I believe Sprint would be at the top of the list. The
    traffic volume they demand is pretty much higher than anyone else,
    the ratio they demand is tighter than anyone else, and they demand
    you meet them at Sprint POP's. Not friendly carrier neutral colos,
    they are stuck in the Telco world of we run half the circuits to
    you and run half the circuits to us. Never mind that only a few
    carriers are even in a Sprint POP to deliver a circuit.

    I don't necessarily fault Sprint for setting their requirements as
    such; if I were them I may well do the same. Basically they have
    decided they have enough peers and attempt to keep their requirements
    high enough such that they need not ever add more.

    However, looking at the issue from an external view, since I work for
    neither Cogent nor Sprint, I do believe there are two fundamental
    "fairness" questions:

    1) Do all of Sprint's current peers meet Sprint's peering policy?

    2) Due to the size and customer base of Sprint's network is it possible
       for anyone to meet their peering policy?

    While these are rarely tested by anyone who could enforce them (save
    the odd merger of mega players) they really are the interesting
    questions. Several of the "good old boys" in the settlement free
    club have fallen from where they once were, yet they don't get
    depeered. If you have peers that no longer meet your current peering
    policy and don't get depeered, how is that fair? Of course, the
    way the industry is structured those arrangements are completely
    hidden, so we'll never know if everyone meets the criteria or no
    one does.

    The second is also very interesting. Most networks came up with
    their criteria (say, 2:1 ratio) 10, 15, or even 20 years ago. The
    network was a very different place at that time, when a T1 was a
    large circuit and interconnects were DS-3's. In particular, most
    access was symmetrical; T1's, DS-3's, maybe ethernet (the 10M kind)
    in a colo; and what's more, everyone was selling the same products.
    There was no DSL, no cable modems, no EV-DO cards.

    There have been two interesting developments in the industry since
    that time, and the traditional criteria don't serve them well.
    Asymmetrical access and specialization. Take a pure end user play
    network, like most of the cable modem networks, and peer them with
    any content player and the ratio is never going to be 1.5:1 or 2:1,
    but they both get benefit from the arrangement. Many of the new
    networks have realized this and adjusted their criteria, many of
    the old players, like Sprint, may have morphed into one of these
    new buckets, but not realized it yet.

    This is an area where I believe our industry needs to grow up. We
    like to operate on the assumption that if we have to jump over a
    particular bar to peer with someone that policy has been applied
    fairly across all players and is reasonable. However, there is no
    way for anyone to verify that; short of the DoJ stepping in during
    a merger. I am fairly sure that the requirements are not enforced
    evenly by some players (no comment on Sprint or Cogent in this
    case); that they use the fact that actual traffic volumes and ratios
    are hidden to play poker with other networks.

    While I'm generally pro business and think this is a good thing; I
    believe it has reached a point in our industry where it is damaging
    the Internet. The increase in peering spats to me is an indication
    that the players are not looking out for stability, performance,
    and insuring their customers are getting the access that they pay
    for, but rather that they are interested in playing poker with each
    other. I don't even think it's about the money, but rather about
    the power.

    The interesting thing is that there is a disruptive force on the
    horizon. The IPv6 transition will change the peering landscape.
    Traffic volumes and ratios will be moving to new providers as people
    transition technologies. This is going to lead to quite a shake
    up on the peering front I'm afraid, and I fear the result is going
    to be great instability. The lack of transparency means that those
    in power will try and bluff their way forward; the question is how
    many people who have some visibility will call that bluff.

    In all, this situation just reminds me of what I already knew. When
    there is a depeering both networks are at fault. The fact that
    these two players couldn't come to some commercially acceptable
    terms to both of them speaks volumes about both.

           Leo Bicknell -  - CCIE 3440
            PGP keys at

  • Next message: Stephen Sprunk: "Re: Sprint v. Cogent, some clarity & facts"

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