A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

An issue on IPv6 in the context of edge based tools like Vonage, Wi-Fi and Edge v6 that enable the customer to become the competitor of the service provider.

Building Tools for Edge Based Control:

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Building Tools for Edge Based Control

Understanding Edge IPv6 versus Backbone IPv6

VoIP and Vonage - When Customers Become Competitors

Open Spectrum Versus the Spectrum-as-Property Worldview pp. 1-4

IPv6 Going No Where

Political Push Fails to Propel Elegant Solution Lacking Market Pull

Former Drivers of Address Space, Device Addressing and Wireless Seen As No Longer Critical

While Very Important at Edge, v6 to See only Niche Backbone Deployment pp. 5 - 13

Is IPv6 Necessary? - One Year Later p. 10

IPv6 at the Edges

IPv6 Seen Not as a Backbone or Transport Solution But Rather as User-Applied Edge-Based Overlay Supporting End-to-end Applications pp.11 -16

Two Internet Futures - With Edge IPv6 and Without Edge IPv6 p. 17

Customer Owned Networks - ZapMail and the Telecommunications Industry by Clay Shirky

pp.18 - 21

Discussion of Clay Shirky's ZapMail Essay

Unlicensed, User Financed, Edge Based Connectivity Technology -- Locustworld Meshbox in Context of Building Edge Based Wireless Transport pp.22 - 24

Open Spectrum - Property Rights World View Dies Hard

Exploring the Problems with the Farber-Faulhaber Have-Your-Cake-and-Eat-it-Too Spectrum Arguments pp.25 - 30

ICANN and the Failure of "Self Regulation"

How the National Science Board was Overruled by the Clique that Became ICANN - Part One pp.31 - 33

Governance by Lawrence Lessig

Lessig Demonstrates How the Would Be "Self Regulators" Took Control - Part Two pp.34 - 39

Interview, Discussion, and Article Highlights pp. 40 - 47

Executive Summary pp. 48 - 51


The Action IS Taking Place at the Edge

At the same time that AOL and the phone companies are trying to staunch the flow of blood (cash) from the center, innovation is taking place at the edges. The US has built a bankrupt national fiber system. Under Michael Powell, the FCC zigs and zags faster than a speeding bullet between innovative spectrum policy and a retrograde insistence that, if just allowed, the walking dead of last centuries telecom, the LECs and Cable Cos will invest in building meaningful infrastructure.

Powell, it seems, isn't much interested in getting the details correct. Rather than taking the trouble to understand the dynamics of the technology in the market place as demonstrated by Clay Shirkey in his ZapMail essaythat is republished in this issue, Powell goes on to insist that it was unfair regulation imposed by his democratic predecessors that has bankrupted the industry.

According to an article in the February second New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/02/business/yourmoney/02FCCC.html?ex=10451732 42&ei=1&en=c807a35b91f72fd1, Powell has asserted that deregulation "should not be like a dessert that you serve after people have fed on their vegetables and is a reward for the creation of competition." Rather, he said, deregulation is "a critical ingredient to facilitating competition." Powell is talking the same naive faith in industry self-regulation that put the ICANN fox in charge of the DNS hen house. Powell's statement ignores the central issue that the phone companies would be acting against the interests of their stockholders, when, if given a chance, they did not charge the most extortionate rent for the use of their monopoly possible.

The Times writes: "Mr. Powell and his supporters say a change in the rules will stimulate the economy by encouraging the largest phone companies and their rivals to build more networks and spend more at equipment makers like Lucent, Corning, Cisco and Intel." If this is what Powell truly believes, he is living in a dream world and ought to be removed from his position by the Congress for incompetence. The fact is the phone companies cannot under any circumstances, except those of government enforced monopoly high prices, use the networks they already have. Given their debt they have no money to buy new equipment for new networks. Let's look at the equipment makers that Powell rattles off as companies that would allegedly benefit. Cisco yes, Intel perhaps. But Lucent has gone from 10 billion a year in revenue to two billion because it doesn't make equipment that sane management would buy were it too invest in a new network. With all the fiber in the ground the only new market in fiber for Corning is fiber to the home and if Powell gets his way and gives the telcos a monopoly on that, no sane homeowner would want it.

But Powell, it seems, is interested much more in ideology than in accurately figuring out where the technology is going. Dave Hughes caught Powell giving Senator Brownback of Kansas in correct information about Wi-Fi in his testimony on January 20 as Powell stated that the radios used would transmit at best 300 feet on an 802.11b network.." Hughes skewered Powell in public as well he should have. Within 24 hours Hughes heard back from a Powell assistant. "Thank you for your comments. In the passage you reference below the Chairman simply made a mistake." One wonders how many "mistakes" Michael Powell is making these days?

The Canadians are not making mistakes. They are building a working national fiber system. They are investing 200 million dollars in linking all public schools throughout Quebec with fiber and are doing it such away that all municipal governments with be on the same fiber. This includes northern Quebec where only the most remote villages will rely instead on broadband radio.

Robert Proulx President of XIT telecom in Quebec told us in a February third conversation that his small company has all the business that it can handle including major fiber community network builds in Hungary and in Jordan.

The Canadian CRTC is taking a very different tack from the American FCC. Telecom in Canada is understood as a major national infrastructure resource in the same way the US understood the interstate highway system 50 years ago. Now our dominant ideology permits investment only in private corporate resources. Already 17th among the global users of telecom services according to a recent OECD study, the United States economy will suffer in coming years because of our current ideological shortsightedness.

The future is in asset-based and customer-owned networks. We have installed cable modem service in order to move our long distance calls to Vonage. Suddenly unlimited long distance in the US is flat rate. All of Canada is 5 cents a minute and most of Europe and much of Asia is not much more.Innovation at the edge is possible and as prices continue to fall the huge companies that Powell want to serve will become more and more unwieldy. Fiber to the home is worth having only if the homeowner can control it.

Meanwhile the edges continue to cannibalize the center - like a million termites chewing on the soggy log of the PSTN. BellSouth was the first ILEC to acknowledge the inevitable and at the end of January announced that it would begin to resell Vonage to its DSL customers. See http://news.com.com/2100-1033-982606.html And from a trusted source we are told that in Japan NTT has effectively ceased development in its circuited switched landline network.

Backbone v6 going no where pp. 5 - 11

Farooq Hussain explains how reasonable uses for IPv6 in Internet backbones have evaporated. DHCP and Nats acting as firewalls have gotten the need for v6 as a sources of extra address space well under control. The idea of universal addressability across the internet for all devices has receded in importance.

He cites very interestingly that in the United States almost all the support for v6 comes from the defense department. In Europe it comes from the European Commission and in Japan from a mandate by the Japanese government.

Mandate or not there no longer seems to be any market pull. End to end applications like voice over IP that once were thought to be dependent on v6 are being re-engineered to work with NATs in the v4 world.

3GPP, which is the third generation mobile project, adopted IPv6 as their protocol of choice in 1999. In doing so it gave v6 the strongest endorsement it has ever had. Yet because at the height of the bubble the 3GPP people decided to build their own internet parallel to the global v4 internet, their plans now seem rather silly. With the slowdown in wireless growth has come a slowdown in wireless demand for IP numbers. If we assume that with the arrival of software defined radios over the next few years radios will communicate with each other on the basis of IP rather than geography this is likely to delay indefinitely the need for v6 in wireless devices.

SONY has announced that all of its devices will speak v6. However in the absence of widespread v6 deployment SONYs products will also have to communicate in a v4 world, The problem is that if the communicate well in v4 there is likely to be no use for their v6 capabilities. It seems that even Jun Murai is no longer promoting v6 wholeheartedly in Japan. Farooq concludes that we will likely have the worst of all worlds with most of the internet running v4 and few isolated instances of v6.

When we asked Farooq about the January 22 announcement by Telehouse of an IPv6 peering exchange in New York, he responded PAIX has had the ability to support v6 for at least two years, The more interesting announcement was the one for the exclusively v6 exchange set up in France as part of the EC initiative. Also has hardly any takers except those who are compelled by politics to go there by virtue of being participants in the EC initiative. It's fine for Telehouse to make this kind of announcement but the capability is of little commercial interest either to enterprise or service provider networks. There's simply not enough traffic volume with v6 and there are so few native v6 networks that none of them need to go to Telehouse or any other IX to exchange traffic. The IX's used for v6 have been established primarily to foster R&E projects and are sustained primarily on non-commercial rationales.

Edge based v6, pp. 11 -17

In talking with Bob Frankston, David Reed and Francois Menard, we discover that edge-based v6 is very different from v6 in the backbone. Farooq agrees. It seems that v6 at the edge can be used by end users to establish their own applications and perhaps even routing by using v4 addresses in the v6 packet headers.

Frankston has written: IPv4 (or just "IP") represented the birth of the Internet by shifting the power to define the network to the users at the edges.

The Internet has thrived because supply is driven by demand. New application services are supported by simply providing more transport (or IP) capacity. Rather than wait for new capabilities to be defined, users will create their own solutions. (When I say "users" I don't mean all users create applications. It only takes one motivated, creative individual with some time on their hands to create an application that will be adopted by millions of others. We just don't know which user that will be.)

Francois Menard commented: I'm trying very hard to get [Canadian] municipalities to implement IPv6 open access across municipal FTTH networks so that MPLS doesn't squeeze-in and end-users become required to run PE`s. I'm seeing ISP's provide value added services by offering commercial access to tunneling servers on their premises which bridge to the good old legacy Internet. For as long as two service providers across two different municipal FTTH system would want to interconnect with IPv6, there would then be a parallel Internet.

A current problem is the absence of a good v6 tool set for end users. Right now it is not clear where one will come from. Standards development would prove useful. But by whom? The IETF is very unlikely. The IEEE perhaps. The Consumer Electronics Association claims to be doing work in the area. Unfortunately, we have not had enough contact to evaluate them.

ZapMail pp.18 - 20

When does a service become just another product that the phone company's customers can deliver best and at lowest cost for themselves?

Clay Shirkey has written a powerful essay that likens the Local Exchange Carriers' world view to that of Fed-Ex when it though it needed to build a fax network to gain an advantage that other overnight carriers didn't have to offer their customers only to find that the customer could deliver information by fax much more cost effectively themselves.

The business Fred Smith imagined being in -- build a network that's cheap to run but charge customers as it if were expensive -- is the business the telephone companies are in today. They are selling us a kind of ZapPhone service, where they've digitized their entire network up to the last mile, but are still charging the high and confusing rates established when the network was analog.

Discussion of ZapMail, pp. 21-24

Adrew Odlyzko agrees that VoIP will lead to the flat rate commoditization of long distance phone service. but he them wonders about wireless being able to create a substantial enough infrastructure for voice communication.

A product known as Locustworld may have the answer. "A UK company has produced Mesh wireless technology which you can buy and install, today, for under £300. Fancy setting up as a rival to BT Openworld? Even in a remote village? Easy: buy a Locustworld MeshBox; half the price of a home PC. You're in business."

"The software is the key to Locustworld. Written by text-message pioneer Jon Anderson, it configures a group of wireless access points into a coherent "mesh" and connects them to any broadband Internet node available."

"Most experts regard the mesh approach as hugely complex, because of the effort needed to set up the mesh. The system used to be known as a "parasitic network" - although the fashionable term these days is "symbiotic" - the idea is that you turn a group of wireless nodes loose, and tell them to introduce themselves to each other. Then you set up routes through the mesh. It can be fiendishly complex, but Locustworld's mesh does this for you. You just buy the node from them: the current model is £250 plus VAT."

"The last legal obstacle, according to founder Richard Lander, was the decision by Oftel, allowing people to share their broadband with up to 20 others.

Farber Faulhaber versus Open Spectrum pp. 25 - 30

A discussion of the problems created by the presentation of a paper that looks to the past encourages spectrum auctions and their maintenance of property rights in spectrum while saying oh by the way you open spectrum folk may be given so called "easements" since your magical radio technologies will not get in the way of our much more rational corporate approach.

How NSF Was Prevented from Removing the government from domain names? pp. 31 -34

Don Mitchell explains that a major policy change by the National Science foundation was aborted. The change would have ended government involvement in the DNS. It could have nipped ICANN in the bud. But this was not to be.

Had the cooperative agreement concluded in spring of 1997, as the NSF intended, the problem of institutionalizing the IANA function would have been forced out on an open table (or, possibly made moot) by the demand for (and creation of) additional TLDs. It might also have been forced into the courts. It certainly would have become more clear to many more people that one of the most critical underpinnings of the Internet, the IANA function, had no basis in law. Neither domestic nor international. If the play had been open, the high stakes mania that festered into the Internet bubble might well have not reached such a fever pitch. The industry might not have ridden so high and fallen so hard.

The over ruling of NSF plans for termination by Burr and her ISOC clique and the resulting extension of that agreement allowed a small number of high stakes players to keep the game closed. The game was still closed in June of 1999 when in the ICANN board emails we published Esther Dyson, IBM, Vint Cerf and Mike Roberts hatched a strategy to get money for ICANN from the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road by warning them that their investment were in danger if ICANN did not succeed and by meeting with Tom Kalil in the White House to seek support. Today the investments of the Sand Hill VCs have largely vanished, the IANA function is still not institutionalized. Indeed today February 3, 2003 the IANA function was just handed back to the same closed group of high stakes players who profess to operate ICANN with openness with authority. In reality the game is still closed.

Lessig on Governance pp. 35-40

Larry Lessig in the document that follows gives the best overview that we have seen of the details under girding ICANN's construction in the year 1998. In the talk that we republish with his permission, he shows how the GIP ISOC Clique found in Joe Sims an attorney who enabled them to take advantage of libertarian distrust of government to create an ICANN that they could use for their own narrow ends and brought on four years feuding and distrust. ICANN from the very beginning was broken. Such was the distrust of government that no one would own up to seeing the brokenness. Lessig saw it however and his analysis of what could be expected from ICANN from the position of hindsight more than four years later reads like prophecy.

News Item Dave Hughes to Chairman Powell - Jan 22, 2003

FCC Chairman Powell in testimony to the US Senate. "That's the way that current technology is configured and deployed. Right now the leading standard of 802.11 a b and g in their very first have a limit in their range. At best 300 feet on an 802.11b network.. " THAT IS AN ABSOLUTELY FALSE STATEMENT!!!!! 'at best 300 feet' WHY DID HE MAKE IT?

1. There are over 10,000,000 Wi-Fi systems out there. 1.5 million more each month. 2. There are over 2,500 and probably over 4,000 Wireless ISPs using Wi-Fi radios doing business across the United States as I speak. Largely RURAL. I will wager not ONE of them is serving customers 300 feet or less. Most are from 1 mile to 10 MILES using off the shelf equipment certified by the FCC and within the power limits - 36dBm EIRP - prescribed as the maximum for 802.11b radios. 3. Cisco sells tens of thousands of 802.11b 'Aironet' radios which are ADVERTISED as reaching 18 miles at 11mbps or 25 miles at 2mbps! http://cisco.com/univercd/cc/td/doc/pcat/350wlbr.htm#fea 4. Young Designs Inc sells COMPLETE 'Wi-Pop In A Box' system for communities advertised at 12 miles! Standard, certified, systems. 5. Well funded companies are ramping up to deploy Wi-Fi across cities all over the US. One announced today it was targeting 80% of the Front Range Colorado population. And yes, they will backhaul over broadband wired networks, to answer your question accurately, Senator Brownback. 6. I have spent the last 3 YEARS buying, deploying, testing Wi-Fi 2.4ghz as well as other Wi-Fi Bands (915mhz, 5.7Ghz) radios for 4 more years from half a mile to 15 and more miles. And I AM a Wireless ISP ALL of whose customers are Wi-Fi 2.4ghz at ranges from a third of a mile to 2 miles!

I KNOW what I am talking about. Why doesn't the Chairman of the FCC? Or his Staff, who prepared him for this Hearing? Or is there a hidden agenda there? That kind of completely false and misleading statement before Congress angers me! For in effect he was telling Senator Brownback, whose 'colleagues' and constituents CORRECTLY identify Wi-Fi as ONE technology which can bridge the 'last broadband mile' until whole new generations of radios are invented, that Wi-Fi is of NO REAL VALUE for Broadband. I KNOW what I am talking about. Why doesn't the Chairman of the FCC? Or his Staff, who prepared him for this Hearing? Or is there a hidden agenda there?

That kind of completely false and misleading statement before Congress angers me! For in effect he was telling Senator Brownback, whose 'colleagues' and constituents CORRECTLY identify Wi-Fi as ONE technology which can bridge the 'last broadband mile' until whole new generations of radios are invented, that Wi-Fi is of NO REAL VALUE for Broadband.