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ASSESSING THE LOCUS OF POWER IN A STRATIFIED INTERNET IN CONTEXT OF NETWORK RENUMBERING pp. 1-10

We describe the transition from the flat internet of a year ago to the stratified and hierarchical one of today. We examine the current complexities of peering and transit at the NAPs and MAEs as a part of explaining the multi-step hierarchy separating downstream ISPs from the "big six". Along the way we outline both the very substantial costs of establishing peering and transit at multiple network exchanges and what ISPs must do to be able to get address space directly from the interNIC. It is beginning to appear that, the more the Internet increases in size, the faster that power flows upwards into the hands of a few who, since they are both operators and rulemakers for the commercial Internet, might find themselves singled out for accusations of conflict of interest in most other situations.

In the context of these developments, the latest symptom of the upward flow of power is an Internet Draft that suggests that it be acknowledged by the IETF as "Best Current Practice" that customers may be asked to renumber their networks under a fairly broad range of situations. The draft comes from the CIDRD Working Group which emphasizes that its motivation is purely technical, saying, in effect, that more draconian policies are needed to be certain that the number of routes advertised to the defaultless core of the Internet does not exceed the ability of its routers to carry.

Under the new policy, addresses would be thought of as either owned or leased. Institutions with huge address blocks own their addresses and can move them from provider to provider without fear of renumbering. Smaller institutions lease their addresses and are put on notice that they could be asked to renumber. No precise border between address ownership and leasing is defined. Service providers are instructed to do the "right thing" to ensure the routability of the Internet. The draft leaves service providers quite a bit of waffle room to decide what the right thing is. It seems, therefore, that main function of the draft becomes one merely of giving the service providers an IETF provided stick to use in inflicting unpleasant renumbering consequences.

Debate on the IETF and CIDRD lists was so contentious that some doubt that the IESG will promote the draft. [We have tried to distill the substance from an outpouring of comments on both lists.]

On February 24, in a positive development, Scott Bradner scheduled a meeting at the March IETF to debate technical suggestions aimed at finding alternatives to promoting the draft to BCP. In the meantime, sizable new customers will learn that the best protection they have from having to renumber is to do business only with the largest and most centrally connected providers.

INTERNET GROWTH AND BANDWIDTH DEMAND - ROLE OF ATM, pp. 11-13

Demand for Internet bandwidth, according to sources who spoke with us on background, is doubling every eight to ten months. The growth is such that Sprint and MCI are having difficulty in keeping up. They are also realizing that direct connections to them are almost totally filled by those downstream. Thus they have to build backbone bandwidth on almost a one-to one-ratio to their downstream sales - something that has put a crimp in their pricing models. Some suggest that bandwidth may soon be rationed - either by price or technology - or by a combination of both. ATM and RSVP are suggested as technologies that may make reservation of bandwidth possible.

DAVE SINCOSKIE ON ATM AND BELLCORE PLANS FOR THE NAPS, pp. 14 - 17

As the first of a series of interviews on the problems and potential of ATM, we talk with Dave Sincoskie about advances in switch design, the SVC hurdle, the ATM NAPs and Bellcore plans to interconnect them with a backbone of their own. Unfortunately, because of their different technology, NAPs and MAEs cannot be interconnected without a router in between acting as a substantial bottleneck. In April we shall publish an interview with Steve von Rump, MCI Data Network VP, on MCIUs ATM plans.

@HOME QUESTIONS p. 17, 24

Paul Mockapetris answers the questions of a COOK Report reader on how @Home will handle bandwidth aggregation from it periphery upwards to its backbone.

TONY RUTKOWSKI TALKS ABOUT NEED FOR WORLD INTERNETWORKING ASSOCIATION pp.18 -21

In an interview with the COOK Report, Tony Rutkowski discusses the growth of Internet administrative infrastructure and suggests a small Geneva based coordinating body. He finds the domain name charging program with its $15 per domain name contribution to internet infrastructure to be unnecessary and suggests that the NSF cooperative agreement be terminated as soon as possible so that the CIX or a similar organization could be responsible for domain name assignment. In our assessment of Tony's remarks we summarize a different point of view that says internationalization of Internet governance and financial support is the major goal, and that the question seems to be unanswered as to whether NSF sponsored access-by-invitation workshops or an open process in the IETF would be the best way to reach consensus.

AGIS USERS FORM LIST TO AIR COMPLAINTS, pp. 21-22

We present the first 20% of an article summarizing AGIS's dismantling of NET99 and is difficulty in keeping staff and customers happy. Part 2 in April. While some of the major have had service problems before, AGIS's combination of service problems and failure to respond to customer concerns seems to have triggered the establishment of the first open customer complaint list against a national backbone provider that we have ever seen

PEERING POLICY, p.24

We identify an IEPG Draft on ISP peering options.