Metered IP billing is indeed possible

So, umm, who here recently claimed that packet metering and billing in an
ISP/IP setting is technically impossible? In my mailbox this evening I see:

Cisco, Solect Offer Usage-Based Billing Solution

Cisco Systems, Inc., a global leader in Internet
networking, and Solect Technology Group, a leading provider
of infrastructure software solutions for service providers,
have announced current availability of IAF/NetFlow, an
advanced usage-based billing system integrating Cisco's
NetFlow software into Solect's Internet Administration
Framework (IAF) product used by high-speed, broadband
network and service providers for commercial and business
users.

Solect sells telco billing systems. There are other products about to hit
the market which do IP metering, and they're going to use telco billing
systems as a back end as well. The metered billing steamroller is coming,
people. Settlements won't be too far behind. Watch out, because the telcos
have over 100 years of experience playing this game. (What was that NANOG
13 T-shirt slogan again, hm?)

Bruce Hahne
hahne@netcom.com

Neat.

While I wasn't one that claimed it was impossible, I suggest you try
sending the originally proposed site by site traffic data to your regular
joe average dialup user and see what response you get (remember you will
need to accompany the bill with 30 pages of lines like: file index.html
NNN bytes long transferred from host xyz.com at 11:39:06 on 7/9/98). Oh,
by the way you need to store all this data for long enough that you can
legally resolve billing disputes.

The proposed original goal was to provide DETAIL so that the poor dialup
user would be able to figure out which web sites were the BAD ones sending
all the data. This billing problem was brought up in regards to a
receiver pays system.

Of course this kind of billing information is USELESS if they only visited
the site once or a few times.

Because of this even providing the end user with this information
(presuming they are all network or software engineers and know how to read
it) won't fix the problem of encouraging waste in a transaction settlement
system.

Interesting package anyway.

Mike.

So, umm, who here recently claimed that packet metering and billing in an
ISP/IP setting is technically impossible? In my mailbox this evening I see:

> Cisco, Solect Offer Usage-Based Billing Solution
>
> Cisco Systems, Inc., a global leader in Internet
> networking, and Solect Technology Group, a leading provider
> of infrastructure software solutions for service providers,
> have announced current availability of IAF/NetFlow, an
> advanced usage-based billing system integrating Cisco's
> NetFlow software into Solect's Internet Administration
> Framework (IAF) product used by high-speed, broadband
> network and service providers for commercial and business
> users.

Solect sells telco billing systems. There are other products about to hit
the market which do IP metering, and they're going to use telco billing
systems as a back end as well. The metered billing steamroller is coming,
people. Settlements won't be too far behind. Watch out, because the telcos
have over 100 years of experience playing this game. (What was that NANOG
13 T-shirt slogan again, hm?)

Bruce Hahne
hahne@netcom.com

+------------------- H U R R I C A N E - E L E C T R I C -------------------+

Bruce Hahne wrote:

So, umm, who here recently claimed that packet metering and billing in an
ISP/IP setting is technically impossible? In my mailbox this evening I see:

> Cisco, Solect Offer Usage-Based Billing Solution
>
> Cisco Systems, Inc., a global leader in Internet
> networking, and Solect Technology Group, a leading provider
> of infrastructure software solutions for service providers,
> have announced current availability of IAF/NetFlow, an
> advanced usage-based billing system integrating Cisco's
> NetFlow software into Solect's Internet Administration
> Framework (IAF) product used by high-speed, broadband
> network and service providers for commercial and business
> users.

Aw. A sign of neophyte. If Cisco sells something it doesn't mean
it makes any sense. Where Cisco (Con)Fusion went? And, yeah, the
wonderful clustering solution to the eternal not-enough-speed-
and-not-enough-ports screams from ISPs.

Did anyone actually try to collect detailed billing-ready information
on customer traffic flows on any decent size backbone?

Oh, well. That kind of traffic analysis can make sense in corporate
networks (though fast LANs are _cheap_). Few people really understand
how huge the Internet is. So huge, in fact, that anything requiring
more than O(log N) operations to compute is not feasible on a daily
basis
(where N is the number of end-hosts).

And yes, Internet is growing faster than box performance -- so things
which are not feasible now aren't going to be feasible tomorrow. Quite
opposite, if anything. How about collecting billing records at a
terabit
per second? That kind of speed is demonstrably doable with today's
technology.

--vadim