fight club :) richard bennett vs various nanogers, on paid peering

Does the FTC's question 106 hurt paid peering or not? 88 comments.
Makes real interesting reading, I must say.


Yes, it's a good old-fashioned Usenet-style flame-fest. Sort of.

It turns out you can say any damn thing you want about peering since nobody has any facts.


Suresh Ramasubramanian wrote:

* (Richard Bennett) [Wed 25 Nov 2009, 05:56 CET]:

It turns out you can say any damn thing you want about peering since nobody has any facts.

You're projecting.

  -- Niels.

It turns out you can say any damn thing you want about peering since
nobody has any facts.

not really. it's just that those with the facts have no reason to blab
them and reasons not to do so.


I haven't found a good source who knows what's going on outside his own
   Randy Bush wrote:

It turns out you can say any damn thing you want about peering since
nobody has any facts.

not really. it's just that those with the facts have no reason to blab
them and reasons not to do so.


Indeed you can. This is one of things where the people with the hard
facts aren't talking due to NDA, regard for their pride, or both. In
the absence of solid data, most journalists (and I use the term
loosely) take the high road, writing on only what they know about and
can back up with fact. It is unfortunate that you approach this
differently, attempting to pass off Bill Norton's blog, itself very
flawed and comprised of error upon error which he simply refuses to
acknowledge or correct, as the new gospel.

You write that "the shift of an enormous amount of Internet traffic
from transit to paid peering is new, that’s what the data in the Arbor
Networks study shows". Nowhere in the Arbor study is there any
analysis of where money is passing hands, or any settlement-based vs.
settlement-free interconnection arrangement. The report is a
scientific one based upon aggregated netflow/sflow data, which doesn't
take layers 8 and above into account.

Also suspiciously absent is any disclosure of employer affiliations
and biases. You write that "[you're] opposed to the
anti-discrimination rule that the FCC is considering". What you
fail to mention is that you work for the ITIF, a Washington think-tank
allegedly funded by big cable. Is it really any surprise that you
want to preserve this revenue stream?

Likewise, Norton neglects to mention that he works for NuMetra, a
company going around to content and broadband operators trying to
pitch a some black box which will enforce last-mile QoS and
automatically pay the friendly local Internet monopoly/duopoly in
"settlement" fees *on top* of your regular transit costs. Of course
he wants Uncle Sam to back off; that's how his employer benefits. It
is also important to consider Mr. Norton's role in Equinix, where he
worked in MARKETING, far distanced from the establishment of actual
peering agreements. The real co-founders were Jay Adelson and Al Avery.

It is sad to see that Mr. Norton, once a valued member of the
community, so blatantly favoring the green stuff over fact-checking
and journalistic integrity. One can only hope Om Malik will carry out
better due diligence in the future when hiring "industry experts" to
write for him.

Drive Slow,
Paul Wall

Speculation about how the money flows is a worthwhile activity.
   Paul Wall wrote:

Of course, the FCC/FTC could always get involved and mandate full disclosure and peering neutrality.

That might be fun.


Richard Bennett wrote:

and in the absence of source routing, why would I care what happens
past the first hop? to the extent I can know, document, and prove
my internal network and its connectivity to its peers, that becomes
the item of value, the reputation of the network and its treatment
of its peers, clients and providers.

and the funny thing about reputation. its so hard to build a good
one and so easy to lose. the second odd thing about reputation,
its nearly impossible to quantify.

(pre-dating norton and woodcock in the peering game)

I haven't found a good source who knows what's going on outside his own

Mr. Bennett,

You know when I first read your post, I assumed you were just ignorant
and confused about the topic of peering on the Internet. Then I saw you
actively refusing to listen to intelligent feedback by some of the most
experienced network operators and peering managers in the industry,
dismiss any idea that you didn't agree with as part of the "Google
conspiracy", and further embarrass yourself with comments which proved
you lacked understanding of even the most basic concepts of peering or
inter-network traffic exchange. Normally I would just write you off as
another Dean Anderson style nutjob, but I'm afraid that your ramblings
are so wrong and your closed-mindedness is so severe that you are
actually dangerous to anyone who might happen to read your comments and
think that they are in any way correct. Therefore, I think it is
important for all of us that you be refuted.

I'll start with a few points from your post and comments. You said:

I'm not sure that your 'on-net routes' is the same product as the Paid
Peering that Norton is interpreting; the Arbor study found a large
increase in the traffic that moves through these transit bypass paths,
and that's the actual story. While this service may have been
available for a while, its use is radically increasing. That's data,
BTW, not anecdote, so if you have a problem with the Arbor data,
you'll need some data of your own to refute it.

For starters, if you aren't sure what "on-net routes" and "paid peering"
even are, maybe you shouldn't be trying to comment on them. Second, the
Arbor study said absolutely NOTHING about an increase in traffic that
moves via peering vs transit, to say nothing of paid vs settlement free
peering. Arbor is completely and totally unable to identify anything
about money exchanged for bits in general, and from a technical
perspective there is absolute no difference between a paid and non-paid

You seem to be convoluting the purported "increase in traffic between
tier 2 networks" with a completely absurd belief that all traffic
between tier 1's was transit and all traffic between tier 2's is
peering. In reality, tier 2's routinely buy from and sell to each other,
peer with some tier 1's, and sell paid peering between themselves when
the business opportunities arise.

You later go on to state:

The Arbor study is evidence that traffic is shifting, and the
carrier-neutral peering site managers I've spoken with tell me they're
making something like 300 cross-connects a month. Do you think all
those cross-connnects are implementing settlement-free peering or
conventional transit agreements? I'm surmising that they aren't.

You have absolutely no basis to make the determination about what
percentage of the crossconnects are peering and what percentage are
transit. This is what we tried to explain to you with the "you can't
know this about any network but your own" answer, which you seemed
completely incapable of understanding. The reality is that no one can
know the answer for anything but themselves. For my network, I'd say
much less than 20% of our crossconnects are peering, with the vast
majority being customers, and a significant amount being intra-network
capacity (intra-pop, metro, and long-haul circuits) and transit. The
number may vary between networks, but again you have absolutely zero
basis to make any kind of claim about peering let alone settlement-free
vs paid based on the number of crossconnects in a colo.

Most of the other arguments are either meaningless or fall apart once
you remove some of the fundamental misunderstandings above, but there
are still plenty of other things which are completely absurd. For
example, you said:

Paid peering is a better level of access to an ISP's customers for a
fee, but the fee is less than the price of generic access to the ISP
via a transit network. The practice of paid peering also reduces the
load on the Internet core, so what's not to like? Paid peering
agreements should be offered for sale on a non-discriminatory basis,
but they certainly shouldn't be banned.

Paid peering (or peering of any kind) is absolutely no guarantee of
"better" access to any network, nor is it guaranteed (or even likely) to
reduce costs. There is also no such thing as "load on the Internet core"
to reduce, and this further illustrates a complete failure to understand
how the Internet works in general.

Paid peering is simply another form of transit, where two networks agree
to exchange money for the service of delivering connectivity. The only
difference is that you're only selling a portion of the routing table
rather than the "whole thing", for a specific subset of routes which
have different properties than the rest. In the case of paid peering,
the different property is that you'll get to bill your customer on the
other side for the traffic, thus allowing you to "double dip" for the
same bit and potentially make more money.

Of course in practice it doesn't work this way at all. The vast majority
of the cost of operating a network is transporting the bits from one
place to another, and when you sell paid peering you are guaranteed that
the traffic is going to stay on your network and be hauled. This makes
it some of the most expensive traffic to deliver, and typically results
in prices which are higher than those of another network who is hot
potatoing those bits off their network in one location, and who is
sending the traffic to a settlement-free peer. There is nothing wrong
with paid peering, it often has a time and a place (such as when two
networks are close to being settlement-free peers, but not quite, and
someone needs to sweeten the deal a little bit), but it is not the
panacea you think it is. Of course nobody else seems to think the FCC
Question 106 is talking about regulating paid peering (which would be
absurd), so fortunately I don't think we have anything to worry about.

Of course all of these points (and more) were already quite elegantly
expressed by fine folks like Vijay Gill, Dan Golding, Patrick Gilmore,
Joe Provo, and others. They tried to help correct your misinformation
with free advice, and you repaid them with delusional rants. Now you
simply look like a fool to everyone.

Thank you for your insights.
   Richard A Steenbergen wrote:

Richard Bennett wrote:

   Speculation about how the money flows is a worthwhile activity.

Sure, no problem.

Richard Bennett
Research Fellow
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Washington, DC

In summary, Mr Bennett is an unregistered lobbyist, employed by other
registered lobbyists.

It's really a waste of time to engage him, as it's his full-time job to
write his screed. We have neither the time nor manpower.

   "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary
   depends upon his not understanding it!" -- Upton Sinclair (1935)

He claims to have been involved in IEEE Wi-Fi for 15 years. Meaning he's
one of those responsible for the bad security (WEP, etc.), and the
stagnation of ad hoc networking -- because the industry has a centralized
solution they want to sell, customer be damned.

His bio also says he was vice-chair for the hub standard, so prevented
jumbo frames from being formally adopted -- again, customer be damned.

Now, he works for a "think tank" called "Information Technology &
Innovation Foundation". Basically, he goes to conferences. He's not
responsible for operating any networks or doing any actual engineering.

ITIF doesn't give out information about its funding, which usually means
it's industry lobbyist funded. Apparently in this case, big cable and
probably big telco.

They're opposed to net neutrality, and (based on his comments and several
of the papers) still think the Internet is some kind of bastard child that
needs adult supervision in the middle -- by which they mean themselves
/in loco parentis/.

Looking at the board, it's populated by ultra-conservative wing-nut
Republicans, and some Conservadems (as we call them in political circles,
they call themselves "centrists") from the "New Democrat Caucus" for
"bi-partisan" cover. And lots of lobbyists -- Federal lobbyists -- who
seem to list their educational clients on their bio, but not whether
they are also employed by a firm that represents other clients....

Now you've descended from Steenbergen's hair-splitting between "on-net routes" (the mechanism) vs. "on-net access" (the actual product) into Simpson's straight-up lying. ITIF is not opposed to network neutrality in principle, having released a paper on "A Third Way on Network Neutrality", There is not a single ultra-conservative on the ITIF board, they're all either moderate Democrats or moderate Republicans.

I'm letting most of this childish venting slide, but I will point out the bald-faced lies.


William Allen Simpson wrote:

Hi Richard,

I am late to this dicussion. So I don't have a full understanding of the context or history of this debate.

It is clear to many of us that Telcos lost the content wars and this is their way of trying to get a slice of the content providers (Google, Microsoft, etc.) add revenues.

It's a power play and way of trying to change the rules in the fourth quarter.

Needless to say, these are my own personal opinions.

Roderick S. Beck
Director of European Sales
Hibernia Atlantic
Budapest, New York, and Paris


Where can we find data on your group's funding sources?

If we're to continue this discussion, we need to establish bias and
motive, which you've not covered on your own accord.

Drive Slow,
Paul Wall

Would you care to elaborate on how the investigation of someones
funding sources is operationally relevant to the rest of the list?

Aaron Cossey

Would you care to elaborate on how the investigation of someones
funding sources is operationally relevant to the rest of the list?

please no

we have a greedy troll. stop feeding it. procmail is your friend.


I didn't bring this discussion over here, hippie.
   Randy Bush wrote:

Would you care to elaborate on how the investigation of someones
funding sources is operationally relevant to the rest of the list?

please no

we have a greedy troll. stop feeding it. procmail is your friend.


All of four paragraphs, which don't in fact address what the provider is or is
not providing to Joe Sixpack - point 1 says discriminatory plans are OK as long
as the discriminatory are on display in the cellar of the ISP office, with no
stairs, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory
with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard.

And points 2 and 3 are saying that this should all be overseen by the same
agencies that oversaw the previous decade's massive buildout of fiber to the
home that was financed by massive multi-billion dollar incentives.

Oh wait, those billions got pocketed - if the massive fiber buildout had
happened, we'd have so much bandwidth that neutrality wouldn't be an issue...

But then, the Republicans keep saying they are not opposed to health care
reform in principle either...

Me, I'm reminded of the fact that those on the edge of suburban areas have fewer choices than those in purely rural areas. Some carriers have been formed just to solve the basic telephony access issues of PSTN recently, eg:

Me? I want to see a ban on replacing copper based networking as part of the outside plant.

  - Jared