A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

Global TeleSystems Emerges as Pan European IP & DWDM Carrier's Carrier

Ebone's IP Know How & Hermes Railtel Fiber Yield Largest Greenfield European Network -- Critical Issues & Future Concerns,

pp. 1-9

We interview Frode Greisen and Sean Doran of Ebone. The interview traces the development of Ebone as the first major builder of IP infrastructure in Europe. It describes the development of Ebone's relationship with Hermes Europe Railtel and the acquisition of both (completed in May 1999) by GTS (Global TeleSystems). GTS is currently the largest carriers' carrier in Europe. It leases access to dark fiber using DWDM technologies where customers can buy a single wavelength of light and is the only carrier in Europe to be offering international DWDM links to customers. It also sells IRUs to fiber strands and optional SONET support. Because it can manage inter city and international fiber links at the lower levels of the protocol stack, it can offer customers a level of coordinated reliability that was difficult to achieve when responsibility for management of international lines terminated at the borders of each national PTT. They have been running operational OC48 (2.5 gigabits per second) between Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris and London since February 1999.

At POPs in each of the cities they serve, they run matched pairs of Cisco 12000s which transmit on international DWDM links. The Cisco 12000s function as backbone boxes and are fed by a collection of Cisco access boxes, usually 7200s or 7500s. The Ciscos transmit over DWDM between cities - essentially virtual dark fiber. They use SDH framing which is inexpensive, because the only SDH-talking devices are the Cisco line cards in the backbone routers. They talk to one another over point-to-point dark fiber and the DWDM gear that is providing the virtual dark fiber between the cities. The two line cards use SDH or SONET because that is what line monitoring equipment expects. Monitoring of SONET Add Drop Multiplexers (ADMs) allows network staff to diagnose and repair any problems at the DWDM level of their network. A discussion of peering emphasizes the importance of good connections to UUNET. GTS achieves this in part by buying transit from Sprint's ICM network.

The end of the interview offers a discussion on two different approaches to scaling Internet architecture. According to Sean Doran: Building a network which is to be used for Internet connectivity (broadly defined) while ignoring issues of locality and future projections of traffic - things that can vary really widely over a long period of time - is difficult." Doran strongly disagrees with the telco model for implementing DSL asking: "If you have to adjust your topology because of traffic issues, you will be in for a difficult time. How do you avoid under or over provisioning for five years from now with this kind of architecture?"

He adds: "What you need to do is deploy an infrastructure locally that can scale into having high speed access to every household (or business). That is you assume that every household may move several megabits per second of data onto and off of the network and that they all might be moving all their data at the very same time. This is a model that makes traditional network design people nervous. It makes me nervous too because their models simply can not scale to the necessary size."

Later in the discussion Doran adds: 'My preferred model spreads the stuff that interacts with your customers around a CLEC. Rather than having a small Cisco box in a huge stack of small Cisco boxes sitting in your telco facility with individual lines radiating out from your telco facility to individual customers of yours, I prefer the model where you radiate all your access boxes out along your telco fiber. That is to say you virtualize your telco facility along infrastructure that you are deploying into the ground on a city by city basis. The goal is to bring the edges of your network as close to the users as possible."

Doran talks of two models of very large ISP design. One is the UNNET model. The other is the Sprint model which was in the preceding paragraph. With this model used really only by Sprint GTS and Qwest, regulators would be ill advised to let Sprint's IP networks disappear inside of WorldCom. Doran admits that each design philosophy can have its strengths. He warns however that we should not allow one of he opposing philosophies to become really dominant lest it break and we loose our ability to continue to rapidly scale Internet architecture.

He continues: "In the contrasting model, the intelligence is in your network. Your network is a big mesh so, when an incoming packet arrives at your edge router, you have a virtual circuit to the appropriate router on the egress path to the packet's final destination. You do not have a hierarchy of routers. Basically you have a flat topology where every router talks to every other router. However, the model where you have a very flat network (UUNET for example) and a maximal number of virtual circuits allows you to deal with hot points. Say because I don't have an adequate amount of capacity over here I am going to restrict the amount of packets that can be blasted by the virtual circuit owned by this customer over there.

With the flat architecture there are several breakage points. One is that you run out of the ability to have some given number of virtual circuits and you have to start constructing a hierarchy anyway. Or that the architecture simply doesn't buy you what you thought it would. The breakage on our hierarchical design side of things is that people behave badly and start blasting. We will then have to start policing them and forcing them to insert traffic into the network in a sensible fashion."

The Story Behind Third Party Access to Cable Networks in Canada

by Francois Menard pp. 10-18

This article by Francois Menard covers the on going efforts in Canada to determine the conditions under which Canadian ISPs shall have access to broadband capable cable network infrastructure. Since the cable TV industry in Canada for several years has enjoyed common carrier status, the mater of network layer interconnection between what Menard refers to as the cable carriers and ISPs is subject to being decided on very different grounds than in the United States. Canadian cable carriers are under legal order by the Canadian CRTC to open their networks to ISP interconnection. Menard's article describes what he sees as efforts on the part of the Canadian cable industry to circumvent CRTC orders to unbundle access by ISPs to the TCP/IP level (layer 3) of the protocol stack.

As he discusses the evolution of the technical positions taken by the two sides, Menard clarifies the business models of cable carriers versus ISPs. He describes a number of useful insights into the difference. These insights are leading him to some important and regulatory paradigm shifting conclusions.

These are:

1. That the telco and cable business are built from top to bottom individually owned and vertically integrated and controlled networks;

2. that having dealt with such networks for more than half a century the regulatory mind set is framed by the vertical architectural structure;

3. this mind set looks at the Internet vertically rather than horizontally according to each individual layer of the protocol stack;

4. but that this mind set is now a flawed and economically hostile way of approaching what is becoming the business model of the Internet - namely service providers where each is responsible for their own networks and practice non discriminatory interconnection;

5. that ISPs now offer new extremely cost effective technology for building global stupid networks by means these horizontal inter connections;

6. that to the extent that the regulators are unable to understand that if they don't come to think both in horizontal layer 3 terms and in terms of layer 3 unbundling to facilitate layer 3 interconnects between ISPs, using network infrastructure that may or may not be owned by a third party, the Internet revolution may be short circuited by the triumph of the economic interests of the old, vertically integrated legacy networks.

Menard hopes by February 2000 to demonstrate this in clear detail in a cable carrier follow on study to his "Netheads versus Bellheads" document of mid 1999. His paper in this issue of the COOK Report is a first step in his direction.

Secret Meeting Shows ICANN - IBM Dependence

Two IBM VPs in Presence of Four Internet Dignitaries Set Stage for NSI's September Capitulation to ICANN

ICANN Emerges as IBM - US Gov't Brokered Internet Equivalent of WTO - Lessig Shows Internet as Potential Victim of Public Private Manipulation

pp. 19 - 40

In a very long article we summarize our knowledge of the ICANN debate. The article uncovers participants and some of the details of the secret meeting of July 30, 1999. This meeting sponsored and brokered by IBM shows that ICANN, far from being a consensus organization, is the creature of IBM's need to control the framework of e-commerce in the 21st century.

Those interested in Internet governance should pay careful attention to Larry Lessig's new book: Code: and Other Laws of Cyberspace (Basic Books, 1999) finds that he who controls the code on which cyberspace is founded will control whether freedom can exist in cyberspace. Lessig pounds home this conclusion again and again. We find it fascinating that Lessig ignores ICANN. For we note the reason for ICANN's being in such a hurry. It knows what Lessig knows about ownership and control. It must craft its architectural code on behalf of e-commerce and government before the rest of us awaken.

Lessig writes "cyberspace [is changing] as it moves from a world of relative freedom to a world of relatively perfect control'..... The first intuition of our founders was right. Structure builds substance. Guarantee the structural (a space in cyberspace for open code) and (much of) the substance will take care of itself." . . . "We are just beginning to see why the architecture of the space matters ‹ in particular why the ownership of that architecture matters."

Editor's Preface

ICANN is now "fully formed." With Network Solutions signed on as an accredited ICANN registrar and obligated to pay it nearly three million dollars in domain name taxes per year, ICANN need no longer fear bankruptcy. ICANN may now proceed forward with an Internet wide system of domain name registration under its control. It has won act one. Whether it will be able to "win" act two and enforce and expand its powers to become for its masters a global Internet regulatory agency remains to be seen.

ICANN has gotten to its current position by a complex process of lobbying in Washington and Europe. It is one that we have spent the past three years and upwards of 300 pages of the COOK Report in documenting. In this article we review the entire chain of events in order to paint as accurate a picture as possible of how a tiny clique has managed to put in place a structure that is now positioned to become a global regulatory body for the Internet.

This article also covers a July 30 secret meeting run by IBM at a Washington DC hotel. At this meeting two IBM Vice Presidents met with NSI's CEO and a Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) Vice President in the presence of senior Internet statesmen Dave Farber, Bob Kahn, Brian Reid and Scott Bradner. ICANN and NSI had spent the previous two months on a collision course over whether NSI would have to capitulate to the demands contained in ICANN's registrar accreditation agreements. These demands threatened the viability of nearly all of NSI's income stream. NSI had both reason and resources to sue ICANN with both sides having clashed acrimoniously in front of Congress less than 10 days before. It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of both ICANN and NSI was at stake.

As everyone knows, the suit did not happen and less than two months later the collision course had become a marriage as NSI signed an agreement accepting ICANN's control and assuring ICANN of the money it needed to survive. It is believed that the July 30 meeting began the events that led to the late September marriage. We note that at the most critical moment in the struggle for control of the DNS system and the future of the Internet the opponents were not ICANN and NSI. It was IBM against NSI with John Patrick VP of IBM's Internet division and Chair of the IBM-MCI led Global Internet Project backed up by Chris Caine, IBM VP of Government Programs and head of IBM's 40 person Washington lobbying office.

It certainly looks to us like the crux of what lies behind the "window dressing" is the raw power of IBM. On December 9 we received an email containing the following text:

"Gordon: The July 30 meeting was called by John Patrick, who also ran that meeting. It was attended by John Patrick, Chris Caine, Jim Rutt, Mike Daniels, Brian Reid, Bob Kahn, Dave Farber, Scott Bradner, and an ICANN representative. Cerf was not there. It was held at the Hay-Adams Hotel. My impression of the meeting was that its entire purpose was to bully NSI into signing ICANN's agreement. It was entirely Patrick's meeting. Kahn, Reid, Farber, and Bradner were there as observers. The only negotiations that took place were between John Patrick and Jim Rutt. As far as I can tell the others were invited to this meeting for the same reason that Jimmy Carter is invited to South American elections." [End of 12/9/99 email.]

We contacted some of the people named in this message. When we reached Reid, he confirmed that he was at the meeting. When we read him the paragraph above, he asserted that he did remember seeing all of the aforementioned people at the meeting. He said that "one of the IBM representatives had asked that the meeting and its contents be kept secret," but that he "was fairly jet-lagged" and "didn't remember the details of the secrecy request." He added that "there ended up being no secrecy agreement, at least nothing written." Reid described his memory of the meeting as being "a dialog between John Patrick and Jim Rutt, but [he] couldn't specifically remember any of the things they had said to each other." Jim Rutt also confirmed his attendence at the meeting. He said: "It was from my perspective a benign and positive sharing of points of view by some experienced people around the DNS management issue. I found it quite useful and constructive."

Let's identify the persons listed. Mike Daniels is Chairman of the Board of Network Solutions and SAIC Sector Vice President. John Patrick is familiar to readers of the COOK Report as the spearhead of IBM's GIP and ICANN building operation. Chris Caine is Vice President, Governmental Programs for IBM, Caine is based at IBM's K Street Washington DC Office. This is Caine's first appearance in the ICANN NSI saga. We find that appearance to be quite interesting since Caine's office with its 40 employees is responsible for IBM's lobbying and government relations programs. His appearance at this meeting appears to us to elevate the importance to IBM of ICANN's success. Jim Rutt is NSI's new president. Brian Reid, formerly the Director of Digital Equipment's Palo Alto networkng Laboratory, is a researcher in networking; as far as we can ascertain Reid has been a neutral observer of the governance wars. We describe Dave Farber throughout this article. Bob Kahn, as co-author of the TCP/IP protocol with Vint Cerf, has ties to DARPA, the telcos and the telecom industry in general. Scott Bradner is an IETF Area Director and Officer of the Internet Society (ISOC).

We are intrigued by the statement from our informant that "The only negotiations that took place were between John Patrick and Jim Rutt. As far as I can tell the others were invited to this meeting for the same reason that Jimmy Carter is invited to South American elections." Inviting men of the stature of Kahn, Farber, Reid, and Bradner as "observers," may be seen as an act of arrogance. But it may also have been an act designed to intimidate Rutt and Daniels who were relatively new to negotiations among top level Internet power brokers." The very presence of these senior statesmen would serve to further elevate the seriousness of the discussions.

The July 30, 1999 meeting apparently belonged to the two IBM Vice-Presidents. The pattern is quite familiar to veteran IBM watchers who observe that when IBM doesn't know how to cope, it reverts to its classic pattern of control. Control of the meeting, of NSI, of ICANN, and of the Internet, we would add. But the fallout of IBM's behavior goes well beyond this meeting and stops at the highest levels of the Clinton-Gore administration. The relationships extend back to Al Gore and Mike Nelson who wrote the High Performance Computing legislation that Gore backed in Gore's Senate days. We became an observer of Nelson's moves with regard to IBM and Gore nearly a decade ago and remind readers of the path that Nelson has traveled from the Senate Commerce Committee to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to the FCC and finally to employment by IBM in its governmental relations programs.

The relationships also extend to the National Economic Council's Tom Kalil who met with Joe Sims and Esther Dyson on June 15, 1999 and promised to assist ICANN's fund-raising efforts. We note that Ira Magaziner explained to us in September 1998 that it was Kalil who (as part of the White House's preparation for the 1996 elections) asked him in 1995 to begin his research on electronic commerce and the Internet. When in March 1997 we were informed that Kalil was involved in Becky Burr's refusal to allow ARIN to be formed, we emailed Kalil and stated that we believed that he had an interest in seeing Al Gore elected President in 2000. We stated that his and Burr's policy on ARIN was in danger of breaking the Internet, told him why, and warned that if it didn't change and the ARIN issue exploded, we'd dog his footsteps with public reminders of what he had allowed to happen. He responded to this email and discussions began that turned the misguided policy around a few weeks later.

The relationships are tied to the administration's habit of promoting a public policy that hands off regulator enforcement to industry for its own Œself-regulation'with the threat that if industry doesn't self-regulate, the government will step in and do it for them. Magaziner was a long time proponent of this premise. Beckwith Burr from the consummately political law firm of Wilmer Cutler was espousing it at the Federal Trade Commission in 1995, two years before she was transferred from FTC to OMB and then to NTIA to wrest control of DNS and NSI from the National Science Foundation. It is now very clear that ICANN is not the legacy of Jon Postel. ICANN is the illegitimate off spring of IBM, and the Clinton Gore Administration - with the assistance of the Internet Society (ISOC) and Vint Cerf.

The power on the side of those behind ICANN is overwhelming. It would be far easier and safer to fold the tent, admit defeat and disappear into the night. Yet doing so would be wrong. Is one to do what is "safe" or what is "right?" It is easy to be cynical. And likely justified too. Yet it is hard to abandon the hopes and dreams of new, individually empowering and more democratic many-to-many communications. We write with the hope that while our work may be unsettling to some readers, it will cause far more readers to stop, to think and perhaps to re-assess their position.

The Introduction to this article outlines why we hope that those who have a stake in a free and open internet had better grab the attention of the press and policy makers before an IBM, Clinton - Gore administration created and backed ICANN plants itself too firmly in place.

[more than a 25,000 word SNIP]

An Afterword - What, Why, and Wherefore

We have poured many many hours into this article which we view as a summation of everything we have learned about ICANN. It would have been far easier to have ignored the latest events. But how can one simply walk away from gathering storm clouds? While we may have offended some readers, we hope that we will have also made them think.

The Internet forces new ways of doing thinking looking and acting in many many fields of human endeavor. Recall the insights of Clayton Christiansen, the author and originator of the insight that some technologies are so disruptive that these technologies will lead to the failure even of established leading edge companies who cannot cope with them. In these terms the Internet is probably the most disruptive of all technologies. The power and money at stake extend well beyond what we could have imagined only a year ago.

The power on the side of those behind ICANN is overwhelming. It would be far easier and safer to fold the tent, admit defeat and disappear into the night. Yet doing so would be wrong. Is one to do what is safe or what is 'right?' It is easy to be cynical. And likely justified too. Yet it is hard to abandon the hopes and dreams of new, individually empowering and more democratic many-to-many communications. We write with the hope that while our work may be unsettling to some readers, it will cause far more readers to stop, to think and perhaps to re-assess their position.

It may not be too late, to stop, to think and perhaps to re-assess one's position if more people begin to support and demand that the early dreams of the net continue to be respected. Hubris and the arrogance of power have brought down would be rulers before. ICANN displays plenty of both. We need to take a lesson from the example of Brian Reid, who is quoted in Where Wizards Stay Up Late: "When you read RFC 1, you walked away from it with a sense of, oh this is a club that I can play in too. It has rules, but it welcomes other members as long as the members are aware of those rules.'The language of the RFC was warm and welcoming. The idea was to promote cooperation, not ego." [Editor: We contend that 30 years later what stands in opposition to cooperation is raw economic, self-justifying monopoly power as evidenced in the case of modern IBM.]

"The fact that [Steve] Crocker kept his ego out of the first RFC set the style and inspired others to follow suit in the hundreds of friendly and cooperative RFCs that followed. 'It is impossible to underestimate the importance of that,'Reid asserted. 'I did not feel excluded by a little core of protocol kings. I felt included by a friendly group of people who recognized that the purpose of networking was to bring everybody in.'. . . . The RFC, a simple mechanism for distributing documentation open to anybody, had what Crocker described as a Œfirst-order effect'on the speed at which ideas were disseminated, and on spreading the networking culture."

Reid has squarely identified the standards of behavior that made the Internet so strong and so special. Behavior that is completely antithetical to the ICANN way of pigeon-holing people in committees to isolate and render them impotent. We urge our readers to sit down with Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, which is both a prophecy and a correct analysis of what may come. The Internet must find a way to route around IBM's and the White House's ICANN.

NANOG Attempts to Facilitate Peering Through Tools Developed by Bill Norton

p. 40

We reprint a portion of bill Norton's October 17 Report to the NANOG list on the peering BOF held at the montreal NANOG meeting in early October. Norton appear to be developing tools to facilitate ISP peering. Through NANOG ISPs should follow the effort and assist in their development.