The 1st Workshop on Internet Economics (WIE'09): Talk Abstracts
Names, Abstracts, and Topic Keywords
Talk Title: Is the transition to IPv6 a market failure?
Talk Abstract: It seems contradictory that an industry supposed based on rational engineering has managed to find itself on the brink of a major hiatus in the supply of Internet addresses by delaying the move to IPv6 for so long. This is, after all, an industry that commenced planning for the Y2K problem back in 1988! So I'd like to undertake a relatively informal economic-oriented analysis of why IPv6 has managed to fail in the mainstream of Internet business so far and look at what are the potential consequences of this present situation.
Comments: It may be interesting to explore the notion of diversification and aggregation in the structure of the Internet market. Right now it appears that the policy mantra of competition is being replaced by the defacto reestablishment of monopolies in many segments of today's Internet Service market. An exploration of the consequences of such a movement to aggregation and diminishing of competition would be an interesting topic to explore.
Interested in Discussing:
What happens to the core routing table size if an ipv4 address space market appears at the point of
depletion? am i right to fear explosive deaggregation?
Many in the Internet Economics community have suggested that the right way to extend the lifetime of IPv4 addressing beyond IANA runout is to open a free market where blocks of IP addresses can be traded, perhaps for money. Without reference to RFC 2052 and possible policy or ethics issues raised by such proposals, I am concerned about explosive deaggregation of the routing table, if subdivision occurs. I do not have a specific analysis or proposal to offer this workshop -- rather, I'm hoping for some general discussion or observations that I can use to guide my future thinking and writing on this topic.
|Roundtable moderator. Address markets, IPv4 runout, policy
Talk Title: Fair Peering
Talk Abstract: The economics of peering relationships is often flawed, creating a greater cost burden for one of the peering partners, and resulting in an economic benefit for the other. Today, settlement free peering agreements can be gamed, and often are gamed so that some network operators can avoid capital investment and leverage the capital investment of others. I'd like to discuss the potential for creating new bilateral peering rules that help ensure the fairness of settlement-free peering relationships.
Interest in Discussing: Economics of Internet Traffic Exchange arrangements; Sustainable business for independent long-haul/backbone networks; Internet traffic measurement approaches
|measurement, peering agreements, business models for long-haul networks
Talk Title: Competing Network Technologies: The Role of Gateways
Talk Abstract: New network technologies constantly seek to displace incumbents. Their success depends on technological superiority, the size of the incumbent's installed base, users' adoption behaviors, and various other factors. Gateways can help entrants overcome the influence of the incumbent's installed base by enabling cross-technology inter-operability. However, they have development, deployment, and operations costs, and can introduce performance degradations and functionality limitations, so that if, when, why, and how they help is often unclear. To this end, we propose a simple model for adoption of competing network technologies by individual users. The model's solution reveals a number of interesting and at times unexpected behaviors, including the possibility for gateways to reduce overall market penetration of the technologies and to prevent convergence to a stable state; something that never arises in their absence. The findings are surprisingly robust to changes in the underlying model, e.g., different utility functions and adoption models.
|address allocation policy, scalability of routing, IPv6, measurement
Talk Title: The Internet as a Liquidity Mechanism: From Analogy to Isomorphism (?)
Talk Abstract: A large and growing body of mutually consistent symmetries is emerging between the system of TCP/IP addressing and routing and system of monetary instruments and financial flows (i.e., money and banking). These seemingly improbable parallels extend across all levels of analysis, from the macro or system structure level, to the functional roles, incentives and disincentives, and bilateral relationships that define all of the major system participants, and are surprising consistent across the historical development trajectories of both systems, as well as the most prominent critical and laudatory interpretive frameworks employed by supporters and critics of both systems. These parallels lend support for a claim of organic (non-mimetic) system-level isomorphism, one which defines both systems as, in essence, "liquidity mechanisms."
The implications of this claim, e.g., as a framework for gauging the prospects for a successful transition away from IPv4 and integration of IPv6 addressing, as a normative reference for future protocol development, as a paradigm for organizing ongoing Internet-related economic research, and as a cautionary tale for participants and supporters of existing Internet self-governance regimes, will be explored in detail.
|IP addressing and routing, economic models of the Internet, liquidity mechanisms
Talk Title: A Shapley Value Perspective on ISP Settlements
Talk Abstract: We give a description of the concept of Shapley Values from coalition game theory and their applications on a range of different Internet Economics settings like ISP settlement, Routing/Interconnection incentives and pricing (managed) Peer-to-Peer systems. We discuss the implications of our results on the issue peering relationships as well as network neutrality.
Relevant Paper: R. Ma, D.-m. Chiu, J. Lui, V. Misra, D. Rubenstein, On Cooperative Settlement Between Content, Transit and Eyeball Internet Service Providers, Proceedings of the 2008 ACM CoNEXT Conference, pp. 1-12, December 9-12, 2008.
Talk Title: Designing ISP-friendly Peer-to-Peer Networks Using Game-based Control
Talk Abstract: The rapid growth of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in the past few years has brought with it increases in transit cost to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as peers exchange large amounts of traffic across ISP boundaries. This ISP oblivious behavior has resulted in misalignment of incentives between P2P networks that seek to maximize user quality and ISPs that would seek to minimize costs. Can we design a P2P overlay that accounts for both ISP costs as well as quality of service, and attains a desired tradeoff between the two? We design a system, which we call MultiTrack, that consists of an overlay of multiple mTrackers whose purpose is to align these goals. mTrackers split demand from users among different ISP domains while trying to minimize their individual costs (delay plus transit cost) in their ISP domain. We design the signals in this overlay of mTrackers in such a way that potentially competitive individual optimization goals are aligned across the mTrackers. The mTrackers are also capable of doing admission control in order to ensure that users who are from different ISP domains have a fair chance of being admitted into the system, while keeping costs in check. We prove analytically that our system is stable and achieves maximum utility with minimum cost. Our design decisions and control algorithms are validated by Matlab and ns-2 simulations.
Relevant Papers: V. Aggarwal, A. Feldmann and C. Scheideler, Can ISPs and P2P users cooperate for improved performance?, ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communications Review, vol 37, no. 3, pp. 29-40, 2007.
H. Xie, Y.R. Yang, A. Krishnamurthy, Y. Liu, and A. Silberschatz, P4P: Provider portal for applications, Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM'08 Conference, pp.351362, Aug. 2008.
|net neutrality vs. ownership of intellectual property
Talk Title: ITER:
A Computational Model to Evaluate Provider and Peer Selection in the Internet Ecosystem (Powerpoint version with animations, PDF version)
Talk Abstract: Network operators and strategists are called to frequently make important decisions about pricing, peering and provider selection, and routing strategies; these decisions are poorly understood, however, in terms of their local and global effects. The high-level objective of this research is to understand the Internet ecosystem from an economic perspective, capturing the interactions between network business relations, the dynamics and structure of the global inter-network topology, as well as the resulting interdomain traffic flow. Recently, we developed ITER, a first-principles model of interdomain network formation that incorporates the effects of economics, interdomain traffic flow, geography, pricing/cost structures and interdomain routing policies. ITER uses an agent-based computational method to find the equilibrium that results as each network uses a certain provider and peer selection strategy. In this research, we apply ITER in three important areas: 1) Existing and emerging provider and peer selection policies. 2) Stability and dynamics of internetwork economics. 3) The role of content: locality, popularity and distribution mechanisms.
|Internet peering, economics of peering agreements, Internet Exchange Points, new applications and Internet economics, Internet pricing
Talk Title: The Economics of Digital Content:
How to Win Friends, Influence People and Make a Little Money where the Sneaky Exponential Trumps the Long Tail in Cyberspace
Talk Abstract: The long tail was one of the early "revolutionary" economic concepts ushered into popular economic discussions by the dramatic reduction in transaction costs made possible by the digital communications revolution. However, the long tail was still an essentially one-to-many concept, albeit pumped up on digital steroids, with a centralized billing system. Because production, storage and transaction costs were so low, it was argued that more content could profitably be sold to smaller audiences. Hence the familiar power curve with its 80/20 structure became a popular graphic and studies of Internet-based transactions continue to exhibit the power curve structure.
The really big revolution in cyberspace has come not from the extension of the commercial market into the long tail of the power curve, but from the development of what David Reed called the sneaky exponential. The value of digital networks resides in their truly many-to-many nature. Value increases exponentially as the size and number of potential groups increases. It is the wild spread of viral communications, where group formation is unrestricted and easy, that has powered the most dramatic transformation of the production and distribution of content across a diverse set of social and economic activities.
This paper examines the characteristics of structured viral communications, which it argues is a uniquely important subset of the many-to-many communications space. The central challenge for task-oriented behavior, which is an extremely (if not the most) important form of human behavior, is to balance the power of viral communications with a light hand of organization. The key ingredients for success are deduced from the study of prominent examples of successful structured viral communications networks.
Talk Title: Broadband Microfoundations: the Need for Traffic Data
Talk Abstract: To date, most of the empirical effort to understand broadband service markets has focused on availability and adoption metrics and data. Data of this sort is indeed valuable when the dominant policy questions concern penetration and uptake. However, as broadband availability and penetration saturate, such data will become less informative. The next set of questions, both for service providers and regulators, will center on the continued health of the broadband access market:levels of investment, the competitive landscape, the evolving definition of broadband, the degree of neutrality in consumer access, and the nature of interconnection among providers. Our position is that network traffic data will be central to understanding and answering many of these questions. To answer these sorts of questions it will be helpful to know such things as the distribution of usage across the user population, the characteristics of users that participate during peak periods of network congestion, and the variance in usage and how it differs by type of user. This data will help inform forecasts of capacity/infrastructure investment needs, to understand ISP costs, and to assess network management practices.
Related Paper: S. Bauer, D. Clark, W. Lehr, The Evolution of Internet Congestion.
|broadband markets, network measurement, workload, traffic measurement, business models
|Talk Title: Network Neutrality & Network Transparency
Talk Abstract: Network neutrality, though existing only in draft legislation and a handful of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) statements, has inspired a voluminous debate in which theory and ideology has outpaced fact. Defined vaguely as "a bit is a bit" or "like content is treated the same," network neutrality seems difficult to clarify into a practical network regulation. This failure results because basic issues in network management and interconnection are not publically known, i.e., the traffic management ISPs use and the preferences and the details of peering and transit agreements among ISPs and backbones.
We maintain that disclosure is necessary for any intelligent internet policy, and it can serve the dual purposes of informing any potential policy and curbing anticompetitive behavior with minimal regulatory cost to either the government or firms. We advocate public disclosure of (i) each network's QoS policy, with reference to some industry standard like the widely used DiffServ architecture and (ii) all peering and transit agreements as well as (iii) the implementation of these interconnection agreements by mandating network's registration in the Internet Routing Register (IRR) or equivalent public registration.
Interest in Discussing: Economics of peering and ISP interconnection and the role of content
|Interest in Discussing: Economics and internet trends, peering trends
|Interest in Discussing: Understanding what infrastructure or resource allocation indicators, collected globally, can be used to describe Internet development at a national level.