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Peering vs. Transit vs. Profit [was: Overall Netflix bandwidth usage numbers on a network?]
From: "Patrick W. Gilmore" <patrick () ianai net>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2011 17:21:45 -0500

On Dec 12, 2011, at 5:00 PM, Jason Lixfeld wrote:
On 2011-12-12, at 4:22 PM, Simon Lockhart <simon () slimey org> wrote:

I guess most (i.e. those
which aren't Akamai) are more concerned with making money than with delivering
a good service to the end user.

Really?  I always thought that higher profits and buying transit were mutually exclusive relative to higher profits 
and openly peering.

So what you are saying is that one stands to make more by paying upstreams for bit swapping?  How's that work?

You are assuming that peering with $ISP will lower someone's transit bill.  That is demonstrably false in the case of 
Level 3 who (to a first approximation - please do not argue corner cases) pays no one for transit.

It is also likely false over some set of $ISP_n for some peers.  As a trivial example, if $NETWORK peers with your 
transit, not only would it not save them money to peer with you, it may cost them money if peering with you endangers 
the peering with your upstream.  This can happen if $NETWORK does not have enough traffic to qualify for peering with 
your upstream when your traffic is removed from the link.

So peering does not always equal profit.  Would that life were so simple! =)


If the argument is that the opex required for maintaining peering relationships is too expensive relative to the 
direct and indirect cost of buying bandwidth, I love to be edumacated on how that math actually works because it 
makes absolutely no sense to me.

Peering is not free.  I can easily see the cost of bringing up a port to someone with 10 Mbps costing more than it 
saves for some perfectly valid network topologies.  And that's just the most obvious example.  The one above is another 
obvious example.

There are reasons not to peer.  Assuming there are not is a bad way to enter a negotiation.  Put yourself in the place 
of the other network, figure out what their pain points are - performance, complexity, stability, cost, slot density, 
spare cycles (human and machine), etc., etc.  To be successful in a negotiation, I submit it is useful to help them 
eliminate one or more of those pain points, i.e. make it worth their while.

Remember, my company's peering policy (at public exchanges) is "YES".  Since I wrote the policy, you can probably guess 
my view on peering.  But if simply I assumed no one ever had a reason to say "no", I wouldn't get very far.

There are two sides to every story.  Sometimes the other side is confused, or even flat out wrong, but not always.  And 
even when the other side is wrong, it may not be useful to bash them over the head with the truth.

-- 
TTFN,
patrick

P.S. I also think "giving good service" is one vital component of "making more money".  But maybe I'm silly.



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