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How Networks Interact — Peering and Transit Explained 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the very-carefully dept.
Raindeer writes to share his article about peering and transit between networks, which begins: "In 2005, AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre famously told BusinessWeek, 'What they [Google, Vonage, and others] would like to do is to use my pipes free. But I ain't going to let them do that...Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?' The story of how the Internet is structured economically is not so much a story about net neutrality, but rather it's a story about how ISPs actually do use AT&T's pipes for free, and about why AT&T actually wants them to do so. These inter-ISP sharing arrangements are known as 'peering' or 'transit,' and they are the two mechanisms that underlie the interconnection of networks that form the Internet. In this article, I'll take a look at the economics of peering and transit in order to give you a better sense of how traffic flows from point A to point B on the Internet, and how it does so mostly without problems, despite the fact that the Internet is a patchwork quilt of networks run by companies, schools, and governments."
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How Networks Interact — Peering and Transit Explained

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  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gnu.BLUEorg minus berry> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @01:38PM (#24911777) Homepage

    These inter-ISP sharing arrangements are known as 'peering' or 'transit,'

    This makes it sound like 'peering' and 'transit' mean the same thing, and cover all traffic-sharing agreements. To my knowledge, that's not the case (and wikipedia agrees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peering [wikipedia.org]).

    There are three types of relationships. In one, called peering, A and B accept traffic from each other and don't exchange money. In the two other, A accepts traffic and money from B, while B accepts traffic from A. From B's point of view, that's called transit, while from A's point of view it's called customer.

    (I hope at least some of you learned something you didn't know already. Otherwise, I've wasted the interpipe transit peering capacity).

    • Sorry for the self-reply. The bit I commented on was taken from the article, so the title of my post should of course have been "Article Clarification".

      This time, it's not only the slashdot editors that are lame ;)

    • by PPH (736903) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @01:55PM (#24911907)

      That's a good basic description. But those details aside, I'm surprised at Whitacre's statement. He either doesn't understand these concepts and is allowing AT&T to get screwed over by other network operators. Or he understands his contractual obligation to transfer packets for peer networks, but he wants to pry those packets open and charge the owners of those packets (which which he has no contractual relationship) additional fees.

      In the first case, he should be removed from his position by the shareholders ASAP, as he is damaging his companies profits. In the second case, he should be removed ASAP and charged with racketeering as well.

      If I hire trucking company A to cary my packages, and they subcontract with B to actually haul them, what B (Whitacre) is doing is prying open my parcels in the back of his truck, finding my name and address and threatening not to deliver them unless I pay him as well. We drove the Mob out of the trucking business years ago.

      • If I hire trucking company A to cary my packages...

        There's just one problem with this analogy: the Internet is not a truck, it's a series of tubes.

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          OK, instead of trucks think bits of pasta sauce.. hang on thats cannelloni/penne..
          ok, instead of pasta sauce think of cars going between Edgeware Rd and Victoria.. oh, thats the London Tube..
          ok, how about those vacuum tubes they used to transport memos & papers between departments in old offices & large buildings. What was this discussion about again?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by svank (1301529)

          If I hire trucking company A to cary my packages...

          There's just one problem with this analogy: the Internet is not a truck, it's a series of tubes.

          Here at /., we understand things best when they come with car analogies.

          I'd say you must be new here, but your UID is half of mine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kg9ov (611270)

        In the first case, he should be removed from his position by the shareholders ASAP, as he is damaging his companies profits. In the second case, he should be removed ASAP and charged with racketeering as well.

        Too late... Whitacre retired in June 2007. Randall Stephenson is the current Chairman & CEO.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BulletMagnet (600525)

        In the first case, he should be removed from his position by the shareholders ASAP, as he is damaging his companies profits. In the second case, he should be removed ASAP and charged with racketeering as well.

        Ed Whitacre was "removed" from his position in June of 2007 when he retired with a $158 MILLION golden handshake deal, so I think the shareholders ended up getting shafted in that whole deal... Whitacre did get hauled into a Senate Anti-Trust hearing in 2006 due to the AT&T and BellSouth merger

      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by bev_tech_rob (313485)

        In the first case, he should be removed from his position by the shareholders ASAP, as he is damaging his companies profits. In the second case, he should be removed ASAP and charged with racketeering as well.

        Mr. Whitacre retired from AT&T several months ago, so the removal argument is moot....

    • by BSAtHome (455370) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @01:58PM (#24911925)

      With the importance of the infrastructure, maybe the "money" component should be taken out of the equation and the infrastructure to be commonly owned. Who remembers the privatization of utilities where the performance goes down and the price goes up. Maybe it is time to see the internet infrastructure as the modern common good instead of a private playground for big corporations.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NotQuiteReal (608241)
        as if maintaining the "common good" isn't the playground for big government.

        There are certain politicians who would love to have even more control [cnet.com]over the Internet.

    • This makes it sound like 'peering' and 'transit' mean the same thing

      That would be because you stopped half way through the sentence. The other half says that they are two mechanisms i.e. not the same thing. The article itself is very clear about the differences.

      and cover all traffic-sharing agreements. To my knowledge, that's not the case (and wikipedia agrees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peering [wikipedia.org]).

      The Wikipedia article talks about the two relationships of transit and customer, but these are both part of t

    • by propanol (1223344) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:13PM (#24912083)

      Not entirely correct, but almost.

      Peering is when two entities exchange routing information and traffic, whereas transit is strictly end-to-end as far as the entity providing it goes. I.e. if entities A and B have a peering agreement, A can use B's network to reach third party C; whereas if A had a transit connection to B, B would only use it to send data meant for A's network (and A would also not be able to "see" any routes beyond the default gateway of B).

      There are instances of paid peering between ISPs, so paying isn't a strictly a transit-thing.

      • by propanol (1223344)

        After going through my post once more, I realize it came off as a bit confusing. Let me rephrase:

        Peering is when two entities exchange routing information and traffic, whereas transit is strictly end-to-end as far as the entity providing it goes. I.e. if entities A and B have a peering agreement, A can use B's network to reach third party C and B can use A's network to reach third party D; whereas if A had a transit connection to B, B would only use it to send data meant for A's network (and A would also no

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        WRONG.. in peering , a can NOT use b's net to reach C unless C is a customer of b. you have it exactly backwards.

        PEERING is attaching two networks so that each network can reach the others network. When I peer with you I allow YOU ( or your customers ) to reach MY network.and you allow ME and my customers to reach YOUR network. Network A needs to connect to network B just as much as network B needs to connect to network A.

        TRANSIT is when A agrees to carry traffic for B to all of A and any of A's peers.

        what

        • by thule (9041)

          what you call "paid peering" is really just "modified transit" , not real peering.But to be fair , true "peering" doesn't exist as much today as it did even just 15 years ago ( which is when I first started in the bgp world ).

          I was under the impression companies like Yahoo have half of their network traffic going over peering (cost free) links. They want to make sure that eyeballs get to their content in the quickest way possible. ISP like it because it takes some of the traffic off their transit links. Both companies win because one has content the other has eyeballs and they cut costs connecting the two together. Akamai is another big player that does this.

    • I know it's too much too ask for but if you actually go on to RTFA, you realize that he correctly describes peering and transit as TWO (different) mechanisms to manage the economic arrangements.
      • I know it's too much too ask for but if you actually go on to RTFA

        You must be !new here.

      • by KGIII (973947) *

        Screw all that crap. I think the important thing is this:

        Hasn't the CUSTOMER already PAID for their internet connection? If so then who the hell do they think they are if they're going to find to add more charges to if they get away with that? Are they going to start charging the local mechanic a random fee just for having been alive?

        Seriously... I don't get it. SOMEONE'S customer has already paid for internet access. It is almost as bad as the old mobile practice of charging both the person who made the ca

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdmkolbe (944892)

      All the techies like me out there should realize that these are fuzzy terms. 'Peering', 'transit' and 'customer' are merely common contract arrangements and are not technical definitions. In theory any pair of networks could have a contract for exchanging traffic that says basically anything they want.

      From googling around and various research papers (it seems to be a hot area in economics since it follows different market rules) there seem to be two sets of definitions that can be associated with peering

    • by Mattsson (105422)

      This makes it sound like 'peering' and 'transit' mean the same thing,

      The article clearly describes the difference between the two, why some networks peer with some and why they buy transit from others and a bit about how the economics governing transits work.

      In any case, both concepts, though different from each other, are inter-ISP arrangements.

  • At least the cellphone carriers only overcharge *one* end of the conversation for airtime. These beggers are arguing that they should get to charge BOTH ends the full price of the traffic.

    • At least the cellphone carriers only overcharge *one* end of the conversation for airtime

      Is that why I pay for my incoming SMS and calls? ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by argent (18001)

        Is that why I pay for my incoming SMS and calls? ;)

        It's why I don't pay for calling you if you have a cellphone and I don't. And why I don't pay more for RECEIVING a call from a cellphone. Or, when YOU'RE calling a cellphone, it doesn't cost you twice as much as if you're calling a landline phone.

        They want to do the equivalent of charging people calling you for your airtime, and charging you for your airtime as well. If you do the equivalent of making a call from a cellphone to another cellphone, they want

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        You have a shitty provider.

      • by n3tcat (664243)

        That really sucks about USA cell phone contracts. Here in Germany we only pay for making the calls. The receiving end doesn't get charged at all.

        If I bought a pre-paid phone with no contract, I could put like 5 on it and keep it that way for around 6 months without putting anymore money on it, and I wouldn't have to pay anything more even though I could be receiving 10 hour-long calls a day and receiving hundreds of SMS messages.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          Here in Germany we only pay for making the calls

          Yeah and your friends all pay extra for the privilege of calling your mobile number..... at least in all of the European countries I've ever been in. It was one rate to call landline numbers (from your own landline or cell) -- another rate to call mobile numbers.

          For better or worse in the United States (Canada as well?) it's the mobile user that pays extra for the privilege of having that mobility.

        • by argent (18001)

          Here in Germany we only pay for making the calls. The receiving end doesn't get charged at all.

          So the caller gets overcharged for cellular calls, whichever end he's on. That's fine, it's overcharging a different person than in the US, but whatever...

          Either way if I'm on a cellphone, and you're on a cellphone, and I call you... either I get charged for both sets of airtime (like in .de) or we each get charged for our own airtime (like in .us). But only one person pays for the airtime.

          What AT&T seems to w

    • At least the cellphone carriers only overcharge *one* end of the conversation for airtime. These beggers are arguing that they should get to charge BOTH ends the full price of the traffic.

      Well, yes, because network traffic goes both ways, and Cisco routers are expensive.

      If you think it's easy and cheap to be a tier 1 carrier, or that it makes more sense to only charge half your customers, then go get some VC or a business loan and give it a shot. I'll happily volunteer to be one of your non-paying cust

      • by argent (18001)

        If you think it's easy and cheap to be a tier 1 carrier,

        Where did I say that? I didn't.

        or that it makes more sense to only charge half your customers, [...]

        They're not "only charging half their customers", though. They're getting paid for all their downstream connections. What they theoretically miss when they cross-charge for peering is paid for by their actual customers on their downstreams, or by reduced charges at other peering points.

        Google pays for their traffic into and out of their POP. My ISP pays

        • Right, so, I foolishly assumed you read the article.
          It has almost nothing to do with Google or AT&T, it's about the difference between ISPs and carriers, and the difference between peering and transit.

          The "Tier 1" carriers charge the ISP on the client end of a connection, and they also charge the ISP on the server end on the connection. If you feel like traffic should only be charged in one direction (client pays or server pays, not both) then this seems like double-dipping. But the truth is that the

          • by argent (18001)

            The "Tier 1" carriers charge the ISP on the client end of a connection, and they also charge the ISP on the server end on the connection.

            I know. I already pointd that out myself. In the very message that you just responded to.

            If you feel like traffic should only be charged in one direction

            I didn't, however, say that.

            I'm talking about the frequently raised argument that they should be able to charge Google (or whoever) again, via some kind of "guaranteed service" (without which they'll of course 'unguarantee

  • I had always assumed that everyone paid for their interconnects, upstream and downstream, and thus the pipes were paid for.

    In "peering" as described in the article. Does that mean the cost and monthly fees for the physical interconnect are free or does "peering" mean only the capacity used is free, but someone still pays for the physical plant.
    • by OriginalArlen (726444) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:22PM (#24912159)
      Generally peering happens at an IX, where a bunch of service providers chip in together towards the cost of running the IX (which has it's own independent management structure.) Service providers with a presence at the IX pay for their own infrastructure (switches, routers, Xbox 360s...)
    • by perlchild (582235) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:23PM (#24912169)

      Normally each side would pay for their physical plant... to the peering point, and meet in the middle. The rooma at a datacenter of sufficient size to do so, is called a meet-me room.

      I personally find it funny to see AT&T talking about tier-1 status peering, when referring about themselves... It's my understanding it's been a while since they did so.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Peering means that two networks each pay their costs to connect to a common point where the networks are interconnected and then they each accept traffic to their own network from the other network without compensation. (Actually that's called "settlement free peering", this is all gradual.) Often the common point is a third party operated facility which is dedicated to interconnecting many networks. These facilities are called "common internet exchanges," abbreviated CIX. All providers connected at such an

    • by forkazoo (138186) <(wrosecrans) (at) (gmail.com)> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:29PM (#24912207) Homepage

      I had always assumed that everyone paid for their interconnects, upstream and downstream, and thus the pipes were paid for.

      In "peering" as described in the article. Does that mean the cost and monthly fees for the physical interconnect are free or does "peering" mean only the capacity used is free, but someone still pays for the physical plant.

      Well, obviously somebody pays for the physical plant. It doesn't just magically appear in a shower of sparkles whenever two networks sign a peering agreement. But, each network just buys whatever equipment they need, and then they plug it together. It's just like if I decided I was going to run a cat. 5 cable to my neighbor's house. We'd basically have a peering arrangement where I could see his network, and he could see mine. He would own his switch, and I would own my switch. But, no money would change hands between us. I wouldn't pay for him to buy a switch so there is something for me to plug into. We would just each have the needed equipment. Maybe we would set up a two way redundant link, and each of us would buy an extra long cat 5 cable for the peering.

      Peering between major networks is fundamentally the exact same thing as peering between home networks, or department networks on a school campus, or any other networks. The complexity of the networks being joined together may be different, and the equipment being used to do it may range from a ten dollar hub to a zillion dollar fiber optic monster, but the concept is the same.

      When you sign up for Qwest DSL or whatever, it isn't like Qwest has a giant cable running from their building to THE INTERNET. The Internet is just a collection of networks. Some networks make you pay to connect. Others just connect between each other. That's the difference between transit and peering.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mindstrm (20013)

        Fundamentally it's all about trade - you peer when both parties feel there is equal value in doing so.. nothing else.

        As soon as one side can say "You need us, we don't need you"... one becomes a customer.

        • by jonadab (583620)
          > As soon as one side can say "You need us, we don't need you"... one becomes a customer.

          Either that, or the other side says, "We disagree, and we won't pay. Disconnect us if you want." Call the bluff, in other words.

          Then AT&T has to decide if they really want to have this conversation with their costomers:

          AT&T: Yes, what seems to be the problem?
          Cust: There's something wrong with our internet connection through you. We can't seem to reach Google.
          AT&T: Well, can you reach the rest of the
      • by Lennie (16154)

        Maybe you should have added this as well: internet is short for interconnected-networks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:13PM (#24912081)

    ..the public paid for over and over and over again way back when, plus later on they (that company and others) got shedloads more cash to upgrade those pipes, yet failed to do so, to the tune of 200 billion bucks [newnetworks.com]. As in further, why aren't a lot of fatcats in jail yet for fraud? In true let it all hang out slashdot fashion, fuck those assholes. The "pipes" everywhere, leading from the smallest house to the big cross continental lines, should be taken back to public ownership and run as a commons or public co-op type deal, like the interstate road system is, or municipal water supply, or the public post office. charge a simple flat fee that pays for costs, then a little more, and it goes to improving and extending the networks, and get the private profit part out of the picture completely. I've had both a community telco experience and then be forced to use one of the old bells, no comparison, much better service and cheaper rates with the community telco model. And I certainly remember the olden days when those jerks got given a monopoly and abused it for decades. Screw 'em, they have proven to be greedy fucks forever, eminent domain seize the pipes and be done with it, then see to sticking some of those Cxx goons in jail for fraud, and make those "shareholders" in those asshole companies pay back the full 200 billion they stole, based on an exact proportion shares they hold and their part of that 200 billion dollars ripped off from the public. Fucking thieves. And then that would be lesson to other greedy companies and "stockholders" in the future if they are granted a pretty nice slice of some big public service pie and fail to do anything with it but rape it into the ground and screw everyone over.

    • Good summary indeed, Sir.
    • by dodongo (412749)

      Socialist!

      On a related note, bless you.

      If you've not read any of Larry Lessig's books on the topics (like The Future of Ideas), check it out. It sounds like you'll really appreciate the way he lays out his argumentation and really structures the ideas behind the necessity of the commons.

  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3.justconnected@net> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:18PM (#24912135)

    if AT&T decides to be an ass, it's beneficial for the big players to just avoid AT&T and call their bluff. You can't sell bandwidth that doesn't go anywhere, and AT&T is hoping that companies will just roll over and not realize that they add value.

    Seems like the kind of thing Google would be liable to do... teach the ISPs a lesson and whatnot. If Google just avoided AT&T's network for a day, I guarantee that concessions would be made.

    Bandwidth is already purchased at both ends - Slashdot pays for bandwidth, I pay for bandwidth, and it works. AT&T can't triple-dip.

    • The problem is your solution is, of course, is that it is non-net neutral.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      AT&T and every other provider can dip as many times as they want. It's mostly a "truth in advertising" thing: If you call yourself an internet provider, you basically have to provide access to the whole internet. If you can persuade other providers, your users and remote networks to pay you, that's fine. However, if you can't make a remote network pay you and you stop providing access to that network or reduce the quality of the connection as to render it unusable, then you are no longer an internet pro

    • Your last statement implies that they are double dipping, but I'm not sure they are. Say I have a packet from a customer of AT&T to a customer of Qualcom (both are Teer 1 I believe). AT&T will charge its customer once and Qualcom might even charge its, but that's only one dip each. (I'm not sure if transit arrangements typically charge for downstream traffic so I'm not sure Qualcom would be charing for it.)
      • by mindstrm (20013)

        You are an AT&T customer.

        Google is a network-X customer.

        AT&T has a peering agreement with network-X

        AT&T is now saying "we think Google should pay us, too, even though we already have a peering agreement."

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by slimjim8094 (941042)

          Yes.

          Google may be a bad example - I'd bet they have enough of their own network to be a Tier-1 peer by now (guess)

          But imagine some random website, your favorite blog or something. Blog pays for bandwidth, you pay for bandwidth. AT&T (and the other providers) want to charge Blog for the right to use bandwidth they already paid for.

          • by Lennie (16154)

            They do operate there own network ( ASN 15169 ).

          • by mjh (57755)

            Right, ok. AT&T wants to increase the price of their bandwidth. At which point, the blog, or the blog reader, or both will switch to someone who isn't increasing their price.

            Is there not sufficient competition within ISP's to make that feasible?

  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:27PM (#24912199) Journal
    ...is a fundamental conflict of interest.

    When AT&T said "What they [Google, Vonage, and others] would like to do is to use my pipes free.", they meant "What they [Google --content provider--, Vonage --service provider--, and others --various providers--] would like to do is to use my [AT&T -- connection provider & content provider -- ] pipes free.

    Now, if AT&T separated the connection service from the content, I think we could put a fair and equitable system in place. But as long as AT&T co-mingles the connection service (i.e. infrastructure) with any other service they provide they will never find it in their interest to give competitors equal access to the connection. This is easy enough to predict. Simply look at the current state of DSL providers that have to use AT&T's wires. They are practically non-existent. If AT&T is unwilling to allow connection competition and have the ability to avoid it, obviously they will be equally unwilling to allow search engine competition or digital TV competition or any other service they choose to get into or provide via partner arrangements.

    I am no fan of increased government regulation, but if we end up with non net neutrality then we absolutely need government regulation that will set standard fees for network service costs to be paid to the infrastructure provider AND AT&T (and Comcast and DirecPC and everyone else) must be forced to separate the infrastructure business from the service business.

    As an aside, I think the FCC should also require an accounting for the high speed infrastructure that AT&T and others promised when they gladly took advantage of the incentives they were given to build such an infrastructure and then never did [pbs.org]. Had they kept their promise, it's likely we would not have the "PtP problem" (if it even exists) they are using to push the tiered internet idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bendodge (998616)

      I used to think that way, but I'm starting to wonder just what would happen if the FCC let AT&T do whatever they want. Companies like Google and Verizon have deep pockets and lots of infrastructure; what would happen if they quit using AT&T's lines? It might actually force a shakeup in the infrastructure, and as long as we can keep from getting proprietary new protocols and more government involvement along the way, it would be a really good thing.

      I only half-know what I'm saying, so please point ou

      • by Lennie (16154)

        In your face ! :-)

      • I like the idea of a new player (Google for example) getting into the connection game. Without hashing all of the reasons, however, the entry barrier is quite high, so it is unlikely that there will be any serious contenders from this point forward, except possibly Google. We do have three existing situations that have shakeup potential...

        First, the recent 700mhz frequency auction. Even though the incumbents (i.e. Verizon) bought the right to use the newly opened up frequencies, Google did force an "op
    • Telstra provides the pipe leases to all the ISP's.. at stupidly high rates, resulting in those annoying (explative deleted)s which invade every slashdot thread talking about how "awesome" regressing back 2 decades to metered internet is.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RulerOf (975607)

      they meant "What they [Google --content provider--, Vonage --service provider--, and others --various providers--]

      You forgot the fact that Google and Vonage pay for their linkups too, which would make them, directly or indirectly, a paying customer of AT&T.

      If they happen to be "peered" to AT&T and aren't paying by the bit, then AT&T considers access to those content providers' networks, and content demand from their own to be important enough for a settlement free interconnect.

      It's the nature of the beast. Google's services are demanded by AT&T's paying customers. If you couldn't get to Google on an

  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by bigtangringo (800328) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @02:30PM (#24912217) Homepage

    L. Bob Rife approves.

  • by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @03:38PM (#24912765)

    Sounds like Mr. Raindeer has never been the innocent victim of a peering dispute. I have. Sure, the system mostly works, but it's hardly a socialist's or open-sourcer's dream.

    • by Raindeer (104129)

      enlighten us. And I didnt say it was socialist heaven, rather a well functioning market

      Sent from nokia e51

      • by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 07, 2008 @08:19PM (#24914919)

        It involved AT&T and Cogent, if I recall, and it lasted a few days. It sectioned off a subset of Web sites and completely prevented access until it was resolved. Someone told me it wasn't the first time it had happened.

        The Internet is common shared infrastructure, and as such is exactly where one would want a socialistic system rather than some allegedly well-functioning market: the people should retain ownership of it.

        We haven't allowed (generally) road construction crews to own the sections of physical roads that they built and maintained, have we? We at least correctly identified roads as shared infrastructure and acted accordingly, but we screwed up with AT&T back in the Nineteenth Century; we failed to recognize what they were doing as shared infrastructure and set a bad precedent that led to more trouble in this century. An even bigger mistake was made 25 years ago when some idiots thought the way to correct the original stupidity was to "break up" AT&T... and consequently ownership of all that shared infrastructure as well. We've been paying for that compounded stupidity ever since. That infrastructure should have been returned to public ownership instead, and AT&T returned to contractor status. (I can't decide whether AT&T should have been left a monopoly but forced to go non-profit or pseudo-governmental.)

        Sorry for the rant. I wouldn't have learned anything at all about peering disputes this year if AT&T had been asked to sell its telegraph wires to We The People 125 years ago.

  • In my weblog I've written an article about Big ISP, little ISP, local internet exchanges [mavetju.org] about what little ISPs can gain if transit ISPs join the local internet exchanges. Short version: the transmit ISPs can end up delivering your traffic much faster than what you pay for, but (of course) it is possible for the transmit ISPs to overcome this "problem" if they design their network properly.

  • Water Thief!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eiapoce (1049910) on Sunday September 07, 2008 @07:52PM (#24914747)

    'What they [Google, Vonage, and others] would like to do is to use my pipes free. But I ain't going to let them do that..

    This guy is stealing "water" from Google, Vonage and many others in order to sell his otherwise unuseful pipes.

    In my humble opinion he's so hypocrite that he should be shot dead for being such a axxxole.

  • aving the unfortunate experience of working for AT&T in the past I have to say a few things. First, this is not an unusual move for them. Standard ops for them seem to be finding ways to screw both the customers and their employees. Second, (and I'm not up on the full technical way things work) is that this looks like the basics on how phone lines work as well. It would make sense considering that the net was originally distributed across the phone network. If I'm correct then the same regulations

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