The Internet Transit Playbook

Excerpts from The Internet Peering Playbook: Connecting to the Core of the Internet

This chapter presents clever manipulations of commodity Internet Transit services.

These "tricks of the trade" are not recommended tactics. They were gleaned from conversations with hundreds of peering coordinators, and are included here because they clarify the Internet Transit paradigm so well, and they give us an opportunity to apply the terms and definitions learned in the previous chapter.


When I lived in Ann Arbor, the local newspaper ran a yearly article featuring how the locals get around town efficiently. These tricks included rarely used routes and secret ways to bypass congested paths using side streets, one-way streets, and alleys, and included even illegally using parking lots as avenues between two roads. Whether you used them or not, it was enlightening to read about these tricks.

In this chapter we will present a dozen tactics that have been used effectively to manipulate simple commodity Internet Transit services.

Edge "Tricks of the Trade"

One challenge that we pose during the peering workshops is to create your own "manipulation”.

Put yourself in the shoes of a purchaser of Internet Transit. Based upon the information you have learned so far, what clever maneuvers could you use? How would you optimize your transit purchase? How would you minimize your transit costs? You have all of the information you need to answer these questions.

Sometimes it helps to start by enumerating some assumptions.

Let's assume that you are the purchaser of Internet Transit in a market with the following typical characteristics:

Table 3-1. Sample Internet Transit Pricing with Commits

Description: t3-1-Sample Internet Pricing with commits

It is very important that, before you continue reading, you think about and write down a few strategies that reduce your monthly transit expense and/or improve its performance.

Answer: Here are the tricks of the trade collected from the field.

The Top 12 Internet Transit Tricks of the Trade

Transit Tactic 1 - Optimal Internet Transit, where you commit early to the next higher commit level

Transit Tactic 2 - Gaming the 95th percentile, where you carefully orchestrate traffic across many ISPs

Transit Tactic 3 - Multi-homing for performance and economic benefits

Transit Tactic 4 - Renegotiating multi-year contracts every year

Transit Tactic 5 - Playing the market to leverage information asymmetry

Transit Tactic 6 - Resell Transit to allow you entry into a higher commit and lower price point in a tiered market

Transit Tactic 7 - Secret Sauce Transit to create additional routing controls based on performance and cost

Transit Tactic 8 - Building into a cheap Internet regionto leverage the wide market disparity around the globe

Transit Tactic 9 - Internet Transit Troughs, which can be filled with no cost

Transit Tactic 10 - Capturing content and access customersto allow feeding from a two-sided market

Transit Tactic 11 - Short-term transit, which enables the participation in the dropping transit market without commitments

Transit Tactic 12 - Deploying trial gear into production to minimize the cost of operating a network

Again, these are not recommended tactics - they were simply discovered in the field.

Peering Workshop Discussions

Here are a few discussion questions from the Internet Peering Workshop.

1. Given the assumptions in this chapter, what is the maximum cost savings realized by the successful execution of the:
A) Optimal Transit tactic
B) Gaming 95th percentile

2. What other tactics were not mentioned?

3. You are an eyeball-heavy ISP and your buddy is a content-heavy ISP. Therefore, you are not paying for traffic in your outbound direction, and your buddy is not paying for traffic in the inbound direction. How might you work together to reduce costs?

Answers to these questions along with related FAQs and supplemental materials are here:



Back To DrPeering Home ©2014 | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | About Us | Contact Us

The 2014 Internet Peering Playbook is now available on the iPad at the Apple Store and for the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle, ePub and PDF form are also perpetually updated on the DrPeering DropBox share.