The unfortunate requirement of such scheme to work is that
all address space allocated to the small ISP's has to be contiquous so that it
could be aggregated to a larger prefix under an autonomous system.
Given the completely arbitrary manner adopted by the Internic's
address allocation policy, (eg. 4 C's to ISP A, skip a few C's, 8 C's
to ISP B where A and B can be 4,000 miles apart) it is safe to assume
that the small chunks of C class addresses are geographically
dispersed throughout the States with many holes still unassigned or
unaccounted for. If you are talking about swamp, this is it.
However, a survey for how those chunks of address got broken up into
many different places perhaps can help in the direction of finding
such solution. If these small IP pieces can be grouped together
according to their geographic locations, there is chance that some
broken chunks may be pieced together to form large enough piece by
pure luck. If such solution exists, I am sure someone would be
interested in forming such regional consortiums to help salvage the once lost
I don't believe it requires "pure luck." I would hope that a group of
individuals would be able to convince the InterNIC into delegating a /16,
in return for either an equal amount of smaller CIDR blocks or somewhere
in the neighborhood. If some of those smaller delegations happened to be
continguous, the InterNIC would then have the responsibility and option of
turning them into a larger block or simply re-delegating them out to new
organizations at their discretion.
Small providers are the ones that tend to have the smaller CIDR blocks
(/18 and above). If a number of these organizations were to "join"
together using an exchange point mechanism, with multiple long-haul
carriers connecting (e.g. NSPs) to a single point, you could achieve a
good level of aggregation.
For example, rather than the "Internet," having to deal with 8, /19
announcements, the rest of the world would see a single /16 announcement.
Wow, so we just do this in a few hundred places and you've lowered the
overall routing table by 8 * N(hundred). The main problem, as we all
know, is this isn't a stable marketplace. Not only is there fierce
competition for staff, but also for customers. Why would a number of
small providers want join together?
Well actually, there isn't a fierce competition for customers and I
somehow doubt that there is much competition for staff. The market is
growing by leaps and bounds. The value of the Internet exists only
because service providers work co-operatively and exchange traffic with
each other. In just about every market there are STILL new startup ISP's
who are succeeding. Yes, there are failures, but the failure rate is very
low and it's only the most incompetent fools or incredibly unlucky ISP's
who are having problems.
There are definitely advantages for a lot of small ISP's banding together
by buying access through a 3rd-party exchange point. One is that they now
gain the benefit of the exchange point's technical staff. The small ISP
needn't learn all the details about BGP peering because the exchange
point does it for him. And when the exchange point technical people can
help out the small ISP's (their customers) with technical problems that
are beyond the ability of the small ISP's own staff.
There is a limit to the size an ISP can grow to and still provide
top-notch quality service. In every market I am aware of, ISP's who focus
on quality service are reaping the rewards in spite of often higher
prices than their competition. Therefore I believe that the market
naturally has room for many small ISP's and will continue to do so. The
"exchange point" concept also provides opportunities for the more
technically sophisticated ISP's who are tired of handholding dialup
customers. Many new dialup customers have NEVER USED A COMPUTER BEFORE!
Anyway, such an ISP can drop or de-emphasize their dialup services and
become an exchange point by focussing on providing leased-line services
to other ISP's.
How is this relevant? Well, if you want to encourage greater aggregation
in the global Internet, one way to do so is to explain to ISP's how a
more structured Internet can be of benefit to them by allowing them to
focus on a market niche and become real good at that rather than try to
be a jack-of-all-trades ISP who hasn't time to do any one thing very
well. This kind of structure may make it easier to get knowledge about
renumbering filtered down to the masses or it may indeed make renumbering
Michael Dillon Voice: +1-604-546-8022
Memra Software Inc. Fax: +1-604-546-3049
http://www.memra.com E-mail: email@example.com