Pragmatism (was Re: [ppml] Re: 2005-1:Multi-national Business Enablement)

Geoff Huston gih at
Thu May 5 01:29:59 EDT 2005

David Conrad worried that:

>My larger worry, however, is that the institution of 
>non-network-topological addressing will lead to a traditional 
>telecoms-like settlement regime for the Internet as geo-* addressing 
>requires (at least in all the proposals I've heard) ISPs provide transit 
>for non-customers/non-peers.  I'm not smart enough to think up a way to do 
>this without some sort of settlement mechanism, but perhaps others 
>are.  Further, while I might think inflicting settlements on the Internet 
>would be an astoundingly bad idea, it is perhaps instructive to note that 
>the PSTN has functioned (more or less) and been economically stable for 
>more than a century.

Yes, and the attributes that allowed the PSTN to function in this fashion 
have no counterpart in the Internet. Think "no third party transit", think 
"call accounting", think "call termination charges", think "Quantum 
Distortion Units", think "single service network platforms", think of an 
inter-provider charging regime that became a global industry in its own 
right that totally perverted the charges for international telephony to 
such an extent that it had no visible relationship to underlying costs, 
think market distortions, think structural inefficiencies that when faced 
with a radically different communications paradigm (such as packet 
switching) that the industry as a whole was incapable of understanding, let 
alone reacting, think of massive disruptive forces in one of the more 
massive, valuable and valued areas of economic activity for the globe. And 
then, maybe, worry just a little more..

But that won't stop folk from attempting to shoehorn this square plug of 
Internet technology into a round receptacle of the circuit switched single 
service PSTN architecture. After all, all you really need to do is just 
knock off those annoying little corners off the packets! :-)

>I believe even a perception profligate waste of address space such that it 
>can be seen as even possible that we'll run out of address space greatly 
>strengthens the hand of folks who believe the IPv6 address space should be 
>chunked up and assigned to countries.  As such, I personally tend to be a 
>bit conservative when reviewing IPv6 address allocation policies, 
>specifically trying to avoid mistakes (such as fixed network mask lengths) 
>that have been made in the past.

As as we move into a realm where the Internet is a public utility, and 
national interests have legitimacy for consideration in devising address 
distribution structure as well as industry and technology interests, then 
some cautious conservatism is often a better yardstick to use. We need to 
offer stances that reflect a longer term interest in stewardship of this 
resource, and balance ease of exploitation against considerations of 
maintenance of longer term value through careful conservation, and also 
ensure that this includes careful consideration of externalities such as 
routeability and service industry business structures. Its the balancing of 
these diverse set of interests that would be of value to achieve here, 
which leads me to a very similar conclusion to that of David.


    Geoff Huston

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