How Peering has changed

Dr Peering - 

What has been the most significant change in Peering in the last 7 years?



Hank - Thanks for the question.

I would have to say that the most significant impact on the peering ecosystem over the last 7 years has been the peering behavior of the cable companies.  Here is the transition as I saw it.

In the early days, @Home handled pretty much all of the Internet activities for the cable companies, and until it went bankrupt, it had a highly selective peering policy.  

After @Home went bankrupt, the cable companies had to take over the reigns and grow their Internet businesses themselves.  Some cable companies were more dependent on @Home than others, but insourcing Internet Ops represented a major evolutionary step for the cable companies.

~2002 - Most cable cos started out as Open Peers (the engineering teams would just peer with anyone to make traffic flow more efficient).

~2003 - The window for peering with the cable companies lowers - some traffic volume required to peer, and they stated that they required a couple locations, although that requirement was sometimes waived.

~2004-2005 - Peering decisions made not by engineering teams, but by a broader set of business folks.  Any words spoken like “set top box” by the prospective peer would immediately terminate peering discussions for example. Peering migrates into a broader business discussion; how will this impact the future business plans?

Today - many cable companies have peering policies and prerequisites every bit as strong as ISPs, and Comcast is selling paid peering and transit.  Free peering with eyeball networks is increasingly harder to come by.

The second significant change is the fat middle of the Internet Peering Ecosystem. 

Specifically, in the last 7 years:

A)    CDNs peer, Large Content Companies peer ... this is not new to the last 7 years; This was a strategy for CDNs from the beginning but the amount of traffic peered by the CDNs and by the large network savvy content companies today makes the middle of the Internet Peering Ecosystem very fat.  

B)   Enter Video Internet Ecosystem - this is not a peering thing but the massive flood of video traffic has effectively amplified the benefits from peering for all those delivering/receiving the bits for free.  Video streams just consume so much more bandwidth than tweets.

Dr Peering 

DrPeering [at] DrPeering [dot] net


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