Documents
Resources
Learning Center
Upload
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Network Ownership Grows at the Edges

VIEWS: 681 PAGES: 140

									Network Ownership Grows at the Edges
End Users Where Possible Cope with Uncertainty by
Rolling Their Own Networks - Telecom & Information
Technology Are in Difficult to Map Transition Window
Progress toward new technology and           IP-based services would come forward         Volume XIII, Nos.10 - 11 Jan - Feb 2005
new services does not easily come from       and sweep aside the old analog and            ISSN 1071 - 6327
the current state of shaky and dynamic       much more expensive smart network
unpredictability. As we shall see later in   services. Alas, current reality is less
                                                                                           act. Looking at the stress of combat,
this introduction, more and more people      black and white. Taken out of context
                                                                                           military planners sometimes despair of
find it attractive to try to escape from     at the height of the bubble, Gigabit
                                                                                           being able to make the right decisions
some part of the uncertainty they face by    Ethernet looked like seductively cheap
                                                                                           with their vision clouded by what they
building or, where that is not practical,    bandwidth. Unfortunately reality comes
                                                                                           refer to as the ʻfog of war.ʼ In this
buying in order to directly own oneʼs        in shades of grey. In 2004, for actual de-
                                                                                           blurred telecom transition window, it
infrastructure. Homeowners install their     ployment, the cost advantages can only
                                                                                           seems that decision makers face similar
own LANs. More and more infrastruc-          be determined empirically for a specific
                                                                                           difficulties.
ture networks are built by municipali-       application or service, and sometimes
ties. A large business gets security and     only on a specific link.
control over its own networking needs                                                      Consumer, Business,
by building its own network. Even at         Convergence, of telephony and comput-         and Municipal Sectors
the research level, Internet 2 is now buy-   ing, over-hyped, has a long way to go.
ing its own fiber - as Canada showed the     As the technologies “blur”, so do regu-       There are the huge inert icebergs of
world how to do some years ago with          latory, architectural, and business model     consumer POTs service, a legacy net-
CA*Net4.                                     issues that were honed for earlier times.     work in maintenance only mode, and
                                             The result is both uncertainty and op-        traditional cable TV service. Both ice-
The technology, by definition of what        portunity. In this context many will see      bergs are melting and serviced by telco
it does and where it reaches, has to be      deciding first where to invest and then       and cable cos busily shedding as much
global. Yet, due to regulation, the eco-     actually building new networks as a           debt and reducing op ex by cutting em-
nomics and business models are also          risky activity offering uncertain reward.     ployees wherever possible. (The cable
national and local. The horizontal lay-                                                    cos fell behind the telcos for the first
ers that snap together in many different     Equipment makers find themselves              time in broadBand Internet installations
combinations to make many different          compelled to produce goods straddling         according to recent reports. The cable
businesses viable run into vertical regu-    markets that are in great flux. Telephone     cos have also lost market share to the
latory and business model cliff faces.       and cable TV companies both attempt           satellite companies while they never
The resulting segmentation imposed by        to do mass market Internet. The Enter-        grew in workforce size as much as the
the vertical silos of individual national    prises are actively working to manage
regulatory regimes may make it difficult     the risks and opportunities that have
for telecom businesses organized by lay-     emerged from changes within the PSTN                     On the Inside
ers to gain the necessary economy of         and the rise of the security-bedeviled,
scale to operate profitably.                 “best-effort Internet.” Finally there are
                                                                                             Wireless , Security & Open
                                             a growing number of municipal govern-                      Access
For years, analysts have been tracking       ments studying the installation of their                 Contents     p. 2
convergence and anticipating that a re-      own networks. In the midst of this
naissance of telecom founded on digital,     transition window decision makers must
Contents
Network Ownership Grows at the Edges End Users Where Possible
Cope with Uncertainty by Rolling Their Own Networks - Telecom &
Information Technology Are in Difficult to Map Transition Window       p. 1

Interviews

Wi-Fi Business Models Range from Installation in Hotel Chains to
Free Coffee Shops Nigel Ballard Explains Criteria for Major Hotel
Chains and Describes Personal Telco Economics - in Both Cases Free     p. 8

Wireless Community Networks in Europe
Dave Hughes Describes the Wi-Fi Community Network on the Djurlands
Peninsula of Denmark and Meshcube Radios of
Freifunk in Berlin Highlights                                          p. 15

Our Symposium Continues - September 12 - October 12

Looking at Open Access Fiber Architectures; QoS Evolution in Context
of What Gives Networks Value; OPLAN as an Economic Model of
Open Access, and Wireless in Community Network Evolution               p. 22

Open Access Fiber Network – What Role for QoS?                         p. 22

FCC’s Fourth Annual Report on Advanced Telecom Capability              p. 23

Wireless and the 21st Century Educational Paradigm                     p. 23

BroadBand Over Power Line and Alternatives                             p. 24

Policy Economics of Fiber to the Consumer                              p. 26

Where Do You Allow QoS in a Consumer Fiber Architecture?               p. 27

Bandwidth is Not the Only Differentiator                               p. 28

AOL: A Cost Effective Way to Run a Huge Backbone- Web Cache            p. 29

Is the Problem Changing Network Business Models or the Lack of Same?   p. 31

UTOPIA and Connecting the BroadBand Dots in Utah                       p. 33

Fighting the Zombie Wars & Other Security Issues                       p. 35

OPLAN and ILECS Versus Community Networks                              p. 36

Discussion of Open Public Local Access Network Concept                 p. 39

Fail Fast Yet Again                                                    p. 40

Francis McInerney and the Velocity of Capital for ILEC Investment      p. 41

                                                      2
                                 The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005


The Vertically Integrated Operator is Nearing the End of its Life - McInerney Again     p. 42

What Will the Edge Pay For? Not a Lot                                                   p. 45

Some More Thoughts from Andrew Odlyzko – The End of Telecom?                            p. 46

Who Will Capture VoIP? IXC Alliance with CableCos for VoIP?                             p. 47

Internet Ethics in the Context of the Capitalist Jungle                                 p. 49

Some Architecture Issues                                                                p. 50

What is the Right Thing for a Service Provider to Do?                                   p 51

Expand Network Availability Without Restricting Services                                p. 51

‘Mutuality of Interests’ Yielded Wi-Fi Standards                                        p. 52

The Bit Rate Limiter                                                                    p. 53

Dealing With Metcalfe’s Law                                                             p. 55

Open Access Remarks on OPEN ACCESS from the Media Access Provider POV (point-of-view)   p. 56

Business Values Are Based on a Different Matrix or Axiology                             p. 57

Metcalfe’s Law – Is Universal Access Really a Desirable Goal?                           P. 58

Economic Utility of Additional Connectivity                                             p. 60

VoIP as a Pot of Gold?                                                                  p. 61

Metro 802.11/16 Networks                                                                p. 63

Interview:

Tropos Networks Uses Hardened Mesh Wi-Fi for City-wide Infrastructure
Interview with CEO Ron Sege Describes Mesh Routing Algorithm and
Economics of the Technology                                                             p.66

Symposium Discussion Continues October 11 to November 9
Bandwidth Market                                                                        p. 73

Fixed Bandwidth Contracts Do Not Permit Efficient Planning                              p. 74

Sebastian Buettrich of Freifunk and Djursland Wireless Community Nets                   p. 76

Wireless Urban Infrastructure in Search of a Business Model                             p. 76

Comments and Elaboration on the Berlin Meshcube Radios                                  p.77

WiMax – Hype or Not?                                                                    p. 81

Cognitive Radio Brains Organize                                                         p. 82

                                                          3
                    COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                                                Is It So Bad that We Must Abandon and
802.22 (Cognitive Radio) Deemed a Non                           then Replace the Current Internet?             p. 103
Viable Competitor to WiMAX                          p. 83
                                                                Does Business Try to Abandon Internet I?       p. 105
Economics and Security of Wireless
Architectures                                       p. 84       How Vulnerable is the Internet as a Whole
                                                                to a Zombie DDOS?                              p . 107
Regulatory Issues                                   p. 84
                                                                Are There Systemic Design Weaknesses in
Security                                                        Public Internet Operation                      p. 108

The Security Issue – Making Mincemeat of WPA p. 85              Security of the Operating System and Browser   p. 109

General Network Security                            p. 87       Higlights from Interviews and Symposium        p. 115

Defending the Routers Against SYN and ICMP          p. 89       Executive Summary                              p. 138

Back to Wi-Fi Security                              p. 89

Security – Can the Startups Beat Cisco                          Side Bars
and Lucent?                                         p. 91
                                                                Thinking about the BroadBand Indians           p. 34
Machines Can be Made Secure –
Humans Are Another Matter                           p. 93       Malcolm Matson’s Open Public Local Access
                                                                Network as a 4th Utility Excerpts from the
The Typical Malware Trojan and                                  Concept Paper                              pp. 37-38
Protection Tools                                    p. 94
                                                                Telegeorgraphy Reports Internet
Security and Hot Spot Authentication                p. 96       Backbone Accounts for 85%
                                                                International Traffic                          p. 65
Who’s Responsible for Security Failure?             p. 98
                                                                The Internet is the Most
Economic Penalties of Lax Security                  p. 99       Political of All Technologies                  p. 95
Is the Internet Too Far Gone?                       p100        Open Source Security
How and Where Do You Defend? Or Cast                            Infrastructure Management System               p. 102
Blame?                                              p101
                                                                Stupid Versus Smart:
Security Education and Other Human                              Isenberg versus Nolle                          p. 112
Factors Issues                                      p102




Contributors to this Issue
Affiliation given for purposes of identification - views expressed are those of the contributors alone.

Rich Bader, CEO Easystreet Wireless friendly ISP in Portland Oregon

Nigel Ballard, Director Wireless Matrix Networks, Portland Oregon

Sebastian Beuttrich co-founder http://wire.less.dk, works with wireless technology for developing countries

Frank Coluccio, President of DTI Consulting and designer of optical networks in New York City

Melissa Davis, optical network architect formerly with Cisco and now with RS Information Systems.

                                                            4
                                The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005


Peter Ecclesine, market analyst for wireless, Cisco

Jim Forster, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco

Vijay Gill, Director Peering America on Line

Steve Heap, CTO of Arbinet a bandwidth broker and VoIP Traffic terminator,

Dave Hughes, owner Old Colorado City Communications and no license wireless advocate

David Hughes, security expert

Pete Kruckenberg, Architect Utah Education Network

Patrick Leary, evangelist for Alvarion and winner of numerous wireless industry awards

Jon Lebkowsky, Principal Polycot Consulting, Austin Texas

Martin Levy, former VP Engineering Concentric, now independent consultant

Tony Li, Router Architect at Cisco, Juniper and Procket, currently consultant

Malcom Matson, British entrepreur and author of OPLAN Concept Paper

Francois Menard, Canadian policy expert and municipal fiber network architect

Andrew Odlyzko, Director Digital Technology Center, University of Minnesota

David Reed, internet pioneer, spectrum policy and wireless advocate, currently with Hewlett Packard

Larry Roberts, Arpanet pioneer and founder Caspian Networks and Anagran

Jere Retzer Sr Mgr, Next Generation Networks, Oregon Health & Science University

Chris Savage, telecom attorney and partner at Cole, Raywid & Braverman in Washington DC

Ron Sege, CEO, Tropos Networks

Dave Siegel, VP Network Architecture & Long Range Planning, Global Crossing

Jim Southworth, former chair DSL forum, VP Concentric. Currently Secure Pathways CEO

Paul Stapleton, Editor-Publisher of I$P HO$TING Report: The Financial Newsletter for ISPs and Hosters

Bill St Arnaud, Director Ca*Net4 , Canarie Canada

Jeff Sterling, Interconnected Associates, Bellevue, Washington

Ron Yokubaitis, Founder Texas Net and CEO Giganews

Darin Wayrynen, CTO GoodNet, Former VP Enginering Winstar, current ISP operator

Matt Wegner, Product Manager North America, Packet Front

Damien Wetzel, Network Consultant Paris, Formerly with Akamai and Internap



                                                    5
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
telcos.) At the same time the consumer        most part, turned digital. The fiber op-       own approaches. In general just as the
and small office home office (SOHO)           tics based, carriers carrier models that       changing economics, at some point fa-
market has made a major move onto the         arose in the 90s boom have created a           vors an enterprise making the decision to
Internet going from dial up to DSL and        bandwidth oversupply that hollowed out         build and operate its own network, it is
cable modem broadBand services.               the price of voice service. ATT, with a        becoming ever more clear to municipali-
                                              stunning series of wrong business deci-        ties and local governments that putting
If one looks more closely, one sees that      sions has become a shadow of what used         in their own transport telecom network
the phone companies are doing many dif-       to be the largest corporation in the nation.   as a 4th utility (water-sewer, electric-
ferent things with their copper infrastruc-   For years folk have warned that voice          ity and highways being the first three)
ture: xDSL/IDSL, business and even            as-a-bucket-of-bits was coming and that        makes economic sense from the point of
SOHO DS1 and SDSL, and Frame Relay.           when it arrived it would be dirt-cheap. In     view of giving their community a modern
The Cable Cos are moving toward VoIP          2004 it did arrive and was, comparatively      infrastructure.
with QoS SLAʼs up and down, HDTV,             speaking, dirt-cheap. The consumer mar-
interactive multiplayer gaming and so on.     kets then are ever more commoditized.          We have discussed the technology and
The difference this will make remains to      They are huge but generate relatively          even the architecture of local fiber net-
be seen. All of this has been shaped by       little profit.                                 works for more than two years. What is
the fact that the traditional companies                                                      only now being better articulated is the
have been operating with “vertical silo”      The business and government network            business plan. Malcolm Matson, the
business models seeking to provide con-       markets are large but relatively static.       British telecom entrepreneur joins this
tent as well as service.                      It is hard to know what kind of growth         monthʼs symposium discussion where his
                                              is there. In the midst of this chaos enter-    idea for an OPLAN (Open Public Local
Unfortunately this mixing of content          prise network builders have very com-          Access Network) is discussed. Matson
with service puts the providers at odds       plex choices involving trade offs in cost,     advocates the structuring and funding
with the most productive developments         with security and flexibility. The old         of OPLANs as commercial real-estate
of both telecom and computing. Those          saying that goes – “fast, secure and cheap     - with passive, portfolio institutional in-
who would separate the provision of           – choose any two” is quite apropos.            vestors providing the capital in exchange
transport service from the provision of                                                      for relatively low and safe financial re-
the content that is transported will find     In the midst of these choices are ever         turn. As such his ideas fit within the
that they can then treat their physical as-   more interesting issues of architecture        realm of thinking about the network as a
sets as stupid networks connecting smart      and ownership. The clash between the           ʻutility ʻ infrastructure where ownership
edge devices. Such networks can and do        immovable-object of the ILEC-owned,            of content and the network that deliv-
enable every thing from peer to peer, to      copper-based local loop and the digi-          ers the content are rigorously separated.
other edge based video, telephony, audio,     tal fiber optic and wireless technologies      Those of us who are used to the pre
music information services. So far the        (that are too often held back by lack of       internet model of centrally-owned and
traditional telcos and cable cos do not see   access to the local loop and therefore         controlled-content distribution networks
any wisdom in this kind of gesture.           to the ultimate customer) are focusing         need time to acclimatize themselves to
                                              efforts on all manner of work-arounds.         the idea that, when everyone is free to
The claim has been made that the Inter-       Consider for example the interview with        provide as well as to consume network
net turned things inside out by enabling      Scott McCollough of WorldCall in the           services all manner of interesting and un-
everyone to be an information provider        previous issue of the COOK Report.             foreseen things may begin to happen.
as well as consumer. In reality any real
symmetry of information flow is unlikely.     In Search of Work-                             While the LECs are unlikely to ever will-
Until open access broadBand networks                                                         ingly unbundle, when an unbundling of
become much more plentiful, the extent        around Business                                the local infrastructure occurs, we are
of new publishing or information source       Models                                         now beginning to see interesting results.
businesses wonʼt become clear.                                                               In Japan NTT has pretty well unbundled.
                                              Commoditization of digital goods and           In doing so it has become a shadow of its
Phone service, the old cash cow of the        the modularity of the IP protocol stack        former self. But just as high bandwidth
traditional POTS industry, has, for the       enable a very large range of build-your-       inexpensive DSL has exploded, so fiber


                  A Note to Our Subscribers - This is Parts 1 and 2 of a 2 part issue
   This is a combined two part January February 2005 issue. (Call it January pages 1-65 and February with pages 66 - 140 )
  This issue does have the standard highlights, and executive summary and live page and url links. The FEBRUARY "conclu-
    sion" begins on page 66. It contains more symposium discussion, and interview with Ron Sege of Tropos Networks, the
  highlights and exec summary and smart URLs and page numbers. Thanks to Ed Ciesla for copy editing services.



                                                                 6
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
to the home is now following the same        broadBand deployment and reduce the           ters. Of course more regulatory trouble
path with about 1.25 million symmetric       number of service providers. The study        will loom ahead since the cable cos
100-megabit per-second fiber connec-         said that if loop prices had been even $1     donʼt have the universal service and
tions for between 30 and 40 dollars per      higher over the last two years, some 3.6      public safety obligations of the telcos.
month!                                       million households would be unable to         Consequently, cable cos can offer their
                                             purchase broadBand services today.”           own VoIP to their advantage and the
FCC Wishful Thinking                                                                       detriment of the telcos. VoIP is being
                                             http://freshnews.com/news/other-tech-         hyped as some kind of pot-of-gold. It is
Bounded by LEC                               areas/article_19499.html                      a claim that is hard to grasp. Think back
Political Power --                                                                         not much more than a decade. Whose
While the US University                      Unfortunately, the current political sys-     pot-of-gold was email? The spammers
                                             tem in the US continues to encourage          perhaps. Not anyone else. New VoIP
Research Community                           regulatory favoritism on behalf of the old    services are certainly possible, but what
Begins to Build its Own                      and declining parts of the industry. As       once looked like an open standards path
Infrastructure                               the LECs are allowed to re-monopolize,        for SIP and related protocols has become
                                             the IP players are leaving for Beijing        a very messy jungle.
On September 9th the FCC told Congress       with MicroSoft, Cisco and Juniper hav-
in its annual report on broadBand deploy-    ing announced the opening of research         One of the big questions for the telcos
ment that everything was just fine. Well     labs in China rather than in the more         and cable cos is whether they can each
almost. According to Reuters: “A new         expensive and backward US.                    capture the others content and custom-
FCC report found that U.S. high-speed                                                      ers in a very messy win-lose war? All
Internet lines had tripled to 28.2 million   The Dinosaurs Hold                            the while independent voices such as
by the end of 2003 from June 2001, but                                                     Malcolm Matson are advocating that a
the country at best was 10th place in in-
                                             Fast                                          municipal telecom utility infrastructure
ternational rankings down from fourth.”                                                    be built that enables flat rate entrepre-
                                             The Cable Co lLEC duopoly meanwhile           neurial value at the edge with many
And this is the same report - as we will
                                             marches on. The cable coʼs having arisen      providers of content and services?
cite later - in which Chairman Powell
                                             to merchandise content with walled gar-
cites great progress in WiMax and EvDo
                                             dens are the most hopelessly out of tune.     Doubtless, many surprises lie ahead.
deployments – deployments that except
                                             Slow to the starting gates with VoIP it       Can mesh wireless begin to offer alter-
for some EvDo trials, have yet to hap-
                                             is said that they will use control of the     native infrastructure? Is there a fit some
pen – period. Only it seems that even
                                             DOCSIS protocol to discriminate against       how out there when one looks at the un-
the slippage from 4th to 10th was wrong.
                                             the likes of other VoIP services such as      bundling of NTT in Japan and that coun-
The ITU had the US pegged at 11th in
                                             Vonage and Lingo in favor of making           tries surging broadBand infrastructure,
a report issued at the beginning of 2004.
                                             sure their own service has the necessary      with the view of Malcolm Matson of the
However, David Isenberg, Om Malik
                                             QoS. Given our own experience with            new telecom networks as real estate like,
and Dewayne Hendricks in the last 30
                                             Vonage and now Lingo all VoIP services        utility investments where once you pay
days have pegged the ranking at between
                                             are definitely not created equal. Lingo       for access you are free to ship as many
13th and the low 20s.
                                             has not been reliable and the number of       bits as you want?
                                             people who complain of not bring able
Here is what Hendricks said on October
                                             to understand me is alarming. If I had it     And what is to be made of Michael Pow-
15: “My best guess is that the U.S. is
                                             to do over again I would have stuck with      ellʼs latest political framing of impressive
now down to somewhere in the low 20s.
                                             Vonage.                                       VoIP figures? Powell said: “In fact, the
The fact that the FCC is still using the
old No. 11 figure when there is a more                                                     Yankee Group estimates that there will
                                             So one must ask as the LEC bonds are          be 1 million VoIP subscribers by the end
recent ITU figure just goes to show you
                                             down graded – can they morph into             of 2004, up from just 131,000 last year.
how much in denial they are on this
                                             competitive digital carriers in time to not   That is a 650% increase. Something is
issue. If we canʼt get the authoritative
                                             default on their remaining bonds? They        taking hold. So, it is with great pleasure
government agency to tell the truth on
                                             doubtless will try their best. Neverthe-      that I come before you today (October
this issue, then we canʼt expect very
                                             less as long as they bear the regulatory
much from our Congress.”                                                                   19, 2004) at the 2004 VON Conference
                                             burden of mandatory interconnection
                                                                                           to talk about the new revolution and how
                                             with other networks running newer and
On September 24 a Phoenix Center study                                                     important it is for government to nurture
                                             more cost effective technology, they will
found progress in the opposite direction.                                                  the Internet as a platform for innova-
                                             be loosing investments.                       tion and entrepreneurial activity and
“A new Phoenix Center study released
today says that new regulatory policies                                                    not crush it with the heavy burdens of a
                                             Meanwhile the cable cos must ascertain        sovereign out of touch with the people.”
allowing the incumbent Bell companies
                                             whether they can the become phone             http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/
to raise the wholesale costs of loops used
                                             companies as well as entertainment cen-       attachmatch/DOC-253325A1.pdf
for Internet access are likely to slow
                                                              7
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                            optic network assets in support of the        around the country in ways not possible
How Much Will Be                            Internet2 community‚s goals of devel-         using existing networks, and will provide
                                            oping and deploying advanced network          the infrastructure to conduct experiments
Bypassed?                                   applications and technologies. FiberCo        on networking itself.”
                                            facilitates the ongoing development of
In conclusion, the LECs could be play-
                                            regional optical networking initiatives       Increasingly in telecom, if it is worth
ing a dangerous game as it becomes
                                            around the country to complement ex-          doing, it is worth owning. If the edge
ever more possible to by pass their         isting Internet2 network infrastructure       controls and gives value to networks,
infrastructure. Enterprises, when large     while providing a strategic fiber acquisi-    folk at the edge must own and control the
enough, can and do buy networks from        tion capability on the national scale. For    network infrastructure. From a Super-
the physical layer on up. Municipalities    more information, visit: www.fiberco.         computer centerʼs directly owned fiber
are rolling their own networks with lo-     org.”                                         to coffee shop Wi-Fi networks we find
cally owned fiber. And in 2003 the 207                                                    that networks are increasingly built by
Internet 2 universities created their own   As an October 15 press release on the         their own users.
national fiber holding company.             CAnet –news list said “Access to this
                                            dark fiber allows scientists to collaborate
Called FiberCo, it “provides a means for    and conduct research with colleagues
acquiring, holding, and assigning fiber




                                                               8
Wi-Fi Business Models Range from Installation
in Hotel Chains to Free Coffee Shops
Nigel Ballard Explains Criteria for Major Hotel Chains and
Describes Personal Telco Economics - in Both Cases Free
Highlights                                    Ballard: Yes, but for example with Ve-         CLEC wants too much money for a fiber
                                              rizon, in order to do this, you need to be     link, we do a point-to-point wireless
Editorʼs Note: Nigel Ballard is the           an authorized agent. So we sell Verizon        one. Finally we have our Wi-Fi business.
Wireless Director of Matrix Networks          circuits in all of their regions. You get it   This business is what takes care of most
in Portland, Oregon, Nigel manages the        from us basically at the same price you        of my day. We have installations in six
companyʼs wireless division which in-         could get it directly. However, unless         US states now in hotels and motels; ma-
clude installations at colleges, marinaʼs,    you are an expert at ordering point-to-        rinas, golf clubs, corporate locations and
hotels, convention centers, golf courses,     point blended T-1s and various other           we have even just done a secure govern-
enterprise and secure research establish-     types of leased line circuits, why would       ment research establishment. I am actu-
ments. We interviewed him on Septem-          you go through the mine field of saying        ally flying out tomorrow morning to do
ber 14, 2004.                                 I need one of these “things” when we           a convention motel in Las Cruces New
                                              can give you people who are full time          Mexico, and then a hotel in Texas and
COOK Report: Would you begin by tell-         specialist with access to the carriers         after that back here. We have lots and
ing me about your wireless operations         ordering systems? It is just a portion of      lots of hotel business.
but do so especially from a business          our over all business. But it is quite a
model and economic point of view?             good portion.                                  Installing Wi-Fi in Hotel
Ballard: My business day consists of          COOK Report: What does it take to              Chains
wearing three hats. Hat number one            become an authorized agent for these
                                              companies?                                     COOK Report: The hotels just about
is Director of Wireless for Matrix Net-
                                                                                             have to offer it now as an amenity to
works here in Portland. They are a 20
                                              Ballard: A lot of paperwork and refer-         their guests?
year veteran of putting together medium
and large enterprise phone systems for        ences and they need to see that you are
                                              doing a lot of business with their com-        Ballard: It is actually a flag require-
enterprises. They are a Mitel platinum
                                              petitors. For example, we were doing a         ment in almost all the chains although
distributor. That means that they are
                                              lot with ATT and Qwest and so Verizon          the Hyatt Hotels still canʼt work out
fully qualified to do all the voice over IP
                                              said: Hey you can do business with us          what to do. If you are Hilton or Mar-
multi-site systems. We are an installer
                                              too.                                           riott or Courtyard brand, or Homewood
and not a CLEC. We are major agents
                                                                                             Suites or Holiday Inn, or Hampton or
for ATT, Verizon and Qwest.
                                              We are fully certified to install the larg-    Country or Comfort or Renaissance they
                                              est voice over IP systems. We have sold        are required to have complimentary high
COOK Report: What is the meaning of
                                              into the Lebanon school district linking       speed Internet. The hotels are reluc-
being a major agent?
                                              seven schools together via a pure IP           tantly putting it in. I say reluctantly
                                              network. We have just completed link-          because they donʼt want to spend the
Ballard: It means that for these compa-
                                              ing the nine locations of a radiology          money. Business hasnʼt been very good
nies we can sell connectivity and band-
                                              company via dedicated T1s with pure IP         because of that September 11th thing.
width into 50 states now. If we have
                                              3 digit dialing to all 980 extensions. We      And if they install it they would really
a customer located in Texas, it means
                                              have international clients like Offshore       like to charge $10 a night for it.
that we cannot only survey the property,
install and then warranty all the equip-      Drilling with main offices in Portland
                                              and satellite offices in China and all         But they canʼt. As a flag requirement,
ment, but that we can also provide their
                                              international calls over an IP backbone        it must be complimentary. So they are
bandwidth for them.
                                              such that they incur no long distance          saying: “you mean I have to spend $12
                                              charges.                                       to 14 thousand dollars straight off, or I
COOK Report: In the sense that having
                                                                                             loose my Holiday Inn badge?” I say:
a relationship with a bunch of carriers,
                                              We have a wireless division where we           “yeah, that is basically it.” And they
you can survey the field and select one
                                              use point-to-point links to stitch build-      reluctantly do it. It absolutely is a re-
with service and cost which best fits
                                              ings together where it is not practical or     quirement. But none of the room rates
your customerʼs need and assist your
                                              feasible to trench across busy roads or        went up. Basically, the franchisees are
customer in closing the deal?
                                              where the local incumbent or the local         finding that they must pay for it out of
                                                                                             their operating costs.
                                                                      9
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                              us first and second line access to the telco   is very important because it means that
The demands are pretty stringent. I have      should the line ever go down. We put           the guest in Room 10 cannot snoop the
encountered some very crazy things            in an intelligent hospitality gateway that     traffic of the guest in the room next door
where in one of the big chains I just         manages the splash page and the DHCP           – even though they are sharing the same
mentioned someone had a bit of a leak         lease. Firewalling allows us to lock out       access point.
in one of the corridors and the carpet        any individual users who are spamming
got stained. They cleaned the carpet but      the network or who have a virus on their       COOK Report: How many rooms can
could not get it back to the exact color.     laptop that is sending out 100,000 emails      the access points accommodate? Is it a
They went out and tried to find another       an hour and so on.                             matter of distance?
piece to replace it, but that design is no
longer available. Under the flag require-     All this goes to a managed switch and          Ballard: Each access point maxes out at
ment they had to change the entire hall-      the switch goes to a power over Ethernet       about 63 concurrent users – but the range
way – 185 feet of it. It is a pretty tough    bank that injects 48 volts down the spare      depends on the construction of the prop-
gig holding a flag for one of these chains.   conductors of the category five cable.         erty. We are currently doing the Salem
They have inspections all the time.           From there it goes to the Cisco access         Oregon Convention Center and Salem
                                              points dotted around the hotel. The            Hotel. They had a standard drywall on
Every hotel that we “Wi-Fi” is rigidly        power over Ethernet system allows us to        the outside of their properties. Now they
inspected. The inspector comes around         avoid having to run a separate 110-volt        are using this additional drywall that has
with two laptops. He sets up two VPN          system throughout the hotel. The elec-         like 16 inch steel plate attached. The
tunnels. He must be able to get a routable    trical requirements of the whole install       whole building will become a Farraday
IP address for one of the tunnels. He has     consequently are less than 50 volts.           cage. When you add low energy double
to get a minimum bandwidth and has to                                                        pane window glass all around and there
get the corporate splash page. He has to      We use special antennas and special            will be hardly anything that leaks out of
use a mis-configured laptop to get the        Nema 4 cases for doing helipads, golf          that building. In that case you have to
hospitality page to spoof the IP address      courses, the swimming pool area and any        design your wireless network with the
and automatically reconfigure the laptop,     outdoor health spa areas. It is just amaz-     knowledge that it is not going to jump
and so on. If the hotel system fails the      ing how many people like to sit outside        corridors. The steel plate is unusual to
inspection, it gets heavily fined.            under an umbrella and surf the web.            say the least.

COOK Report: After you do an install,.        COOK Report: And Nema 4 is?                    COOK Report: You said the bill might
that hotel then must insist that you test                                                    be $12 to $14,000 dollars. For what
the work thoroughly with them watching        Ballard: It is a certification for a wholly    you have been describing that sounds
very closely?                                 waterproof hermetically sealed box. You        cheap. Can you be more specific about
                                              can mount access points and antennas in        the costs?
Ballard: Absolutely! We have done             these boxes and they can be rained on all
a bunch of hotels and work well with          day without harm.                              Ballard: That amount will get a stan-
the Hiltonʼs Hamptonʼs, Comforts, and                                                        dard 110 room, wooden construction
Fairfields.                                   COOK Report: But the radios? Are they          two-floor property done with the best
                                              Linksys?                                       equipment out there. We use 802.11b
In terms of hardware itʼs pretty much                                                        and g. We donʼt use 802.11a which
cookie cutter after a while. The build-       Ballard: No! Those are $79 pieces of           is supremely unpopular. At five gig it
ing varies in size or complexity so you       junk. They are OK for home purpose             doesnʼt like going through walls. Hotels
just use more equipment or less equip-        but not for this. I have replaced so many      are a mass of dividing walls if nothing
ment. But it is basically the same type       Linksys installed by hotels that went          else. We would have to put five times as
of equipment.                                 out to Best Buy and tired to do it on          many access points to accommodate the
                                              their own. The guests kept complaining         11a systems that we find are few and far
COOK Report: What do you use?                 that they would lock up on them. The           between. I have encountered one so far
                                              Linksys has a tiny little processor and        this year.
Ballard: The average hotel deployment         small amount of memory. It is meant
uses new bandwidth coming in. We never        for husband wife and two kids. We              COOK Report: What happens when you
use the hotelʼs existing bandwidth for se-    have to use enterprise grade commercial        have a larger hotel? One say of ten sto-
curity reasons. We donʼt want hackers         access points from Cisco. They have            ries, or 500 rooms?
from the hotelʼs Wi-Fi system to be able      three times the power and twenty times
to get into the booking system and giving     remote management capability and cli-          Ballard: It can get tremendously expen-
themselves a complimentary room for a         ent-to-client security built in which is       sive. I did the entire 26 floor Tacoma
month. If we put the bandwidth in as an       very important.                                Sheraton and the Convention Center next
agent, then we are responsible for it and                                                    store. Everything is entirely Wi-Fied.
can manage it remotely. That also gives       Nothing you can buy retail has this. This      You can be on the 26th floor roof top, get
                                                                 10
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

into the elevator and loose 2 or 3 packets                                                 used to dealing with AOLʼs customers
on your trip to the ground floor walk         COOK Report: So I can hook up and            than with Wi-Fi.
through the lobby, through the restaurants    use whatever email client I normally do
and into the convention center. I did that    just as though I were in the office or at    COOK Report: Presumably the princi-
I and stayed on instant messaging with        home?                                        pals of how you have to go about serving
my son in England the full time.                                                           this market are well known now?
                                              Ballard: Yes. All outbound port 25 traf-
That entire hotel has eight-inch concrete     fic is captured managed in a tenth of a      Ballard: Oh yes. Very well known.
floors. The concrete is pre-stressed with     second and redirected.
rebar. That required an access point on                                                    Personal Telco
every floor. That particular hotel had        COOK Report: So in a sense you are a
dry wall rather than a dropped ceiling        kind of ISP for the hotels?                  Moving on to my other ʻhatsʼ. I am a
mounted onto the concrete. They had to                                                     Director, Board advisor and press liaison
use special non-metallic roof hatches. It     Ballard: The bandwidth isnʼt coming          for an Oregon 501(c3) Non Profit called
can get extremely expensive. I did that       from us. We may sell it to them but we       the Personal Telco Project. We put in
hotel for a client. I do consulting for       donʼt supply the bandwidth ourselves.        free Wi-Fi in community coffee shops,
Hewlett Packard in Wi-Fi such that if HP      We do however manage and monitor all         shopping malls, public spaces, peopleʼs
has a major client and the major client       their equipment remotely through SNMP        houses. We actively encourage people to
wants to be Wi-Fi installed and the client    traps and ICMP. We offer live in house       share each otherʼs Wi-Fi nodes. We have
is in the northwest, they will probably       24-7 support for the guests.                 149 active nodes in Portland. Two years
call me in.                                                                                in a row we have won the Intel award for
                                              COOK Report: Essentially then they pay       the most Wi-Fi friendly city in America
COOK Report: Taking the hypothetical          a monthly fee to the carrier for network     because we have more free Wi-Fi per
110 room hotel for $12 to $14 thousand        bandwidth and another fee to you for         capita than any where else. Business
as a guide if you have one with twice         network management and email redirec-        people are surprised that when they come
as many rooms – all other things being        tion?                                        here and open up their Wi-Fi enabled
equal - is it going to be about twice the                                                  laptops there is a plethora free internet
cost? Or would it be less because not         Ballard: Yes.                                access with no spam, no tracking, and no
everything has to be doubled?                                                              pop ads. We donʼt even know your name
                                              COOK Report: To what extent is your          or user name because we donʼt even ask
Ballard: That is pretty much it. You          operation fairly unique?                     you to register. You either netstumble or
may need more bandwidth. More switch                                                       you do a search to find the SSID which
ports. The user license for the hospitality   Ballard: There is a lot of competition.      is www.personaltelco.net. You get a
gateways grow in size from 50 to 100 to       But in my experience the other operators     splash page that says if you agree to be
250 to 500. As long as you donʼt exceed       seem to subcontract out a lot of the work    nice, and not to do anything illegal like
the maximum amount of current users           where we still do everything ourselves.      threaten the President, click “agree” and
for your license you are OK with your         When I get on a plane tomorrow I am          off you go.
gateway.                                      taking network engineers. We have al-
                                              ready had all the equipment Fed-Exed         Some of the nodes we have are full T1s
COOK Report: What are the operational         down where it is sitting at the Las Cruses   sponsored by local businesses. We even
expenses?                                     convention hotel waiting for us. We will     have a homeless boy who lives under
                                              do the installation, the training and the    one of the multiple bridges in Portland.
Ballard: We charge a dollar fifty per-        support. Everything is in house. My          Someone gave him a very old Toshiba
month, per-room for 24 hour customer          experience with the bigger companies         laptop. He recharges it by plugging
support; for splash page redirection; and     is that they get subcontractors to do the    into the City of Portland light sockets
for email redirection. We capture all         installation and they farm out the support   around the flower beds where they put
outbound port 25 traffic and send it to       to regular ISP support companies.            the Christmas tree lights. He surfs the
our NOC here in Portland. The email                                                        web at 3 in the morning using the free
header is massaged and then the email         COOK Report: Presumably, the quality         nodes. We get a lot of free publicity.
is sent out automatically. This allows        varies.                                      In the last month I have appeared in the
guests to send and receive email to and                                                    Wall Street Journal, the New York Times
from anywhere in the world without hav-       Ballard: Maybe. But I know that the          and various TV appearances. We get a
ing to reconfigure their laptops in order     strong point of our support is that its      lot of publicity for what we do because
to get around what is known as port 25        focus is 24-by-7 Wi-Fi. We have no           we do it very well.
blocking. Remember that most ISPs             interest in dial up or modems, rebooting
now block someone without an ID on the        the DSL routers or any of that stuff. The    COOK Report: Take me through the ori-
system from sending email.                    subcontract support companies are more

                                                              11
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
gins of all this and the economics.          cabling, plus our time, and the Personal      They have a lot of bandwidth and a ton
                                             Telco stickers for your door. We will         of dial up customers still. I mean a ton.
Ballard: The origin happened three years     come after work and do the install in ex-     I think they are doing pretty well in part
ago when a couple of us were using Wi-       change for coffee and do-nuts. When we        because they are very much involved
Fi in our homes and one guy said to          leave you will be a Personal Telco node.      with the local business community.
me: can I share your network and I said
– OK, as long as I can share yours. Then     We ask them how it has been for busi-         COOK Report: Where do the Linux
we got some other friends and started        ness. They say you know we were cau-          computers come from?
building up a network of houses. Then        tious fearing that we would just get bums
it was like wouldnʼt it be cool if when      who just buy a single cup of coffee. The      Ballard: They are donated by the city
we are down town at the coffee shop we       reality is that it has turned our business    of Portland. When they pull from librar-
can do it there. We started to say to them   around. People come to us and bring           ies their Pentium 2 machines that are no
why donʼt you put a Wi-Fi hotspot in and     the business meetings and colleagues          longer any good for Windows because
we will come here more often.                along with them. They all bring in their      they donʼt have the horsepower, they
                                             laptops. They buy coffee and bagels and       give them to us – a hundred at a time.
It has grown from there and it got to        refills. Meanwhile across the street you      We wipe the hard disk, and put Linux on
the point where the Oregon Willamette        may well have a Starbucks that is still       it. We also stick an extra Ethernet card
Weekly newspaper has a front-page story      trying to charge $10 a day for its Wi-Fi      in the back and effectively turn it into a
of mine in August. The story has been        connection.                                   poor manʼs hospitality gateway. The old
bought by Southwest Airlines and will                                                      Pentium 2 machine manages the loginʼs,
be their cover story for their October In    COOK Report: Starbucks wireless hasnʼt        the DHCP and the splash page. It allows
Flight magazine. The phone just doesnʼt      been very successful anywhere has it?         us to login remotely to troubleshoot, pull
stop ringing. All these coffee shops and                                                   stats off, and reboot the system.
restaurants are saying hey thatʼs a great    Ballard: Correct. It is owned by
thing that you guys do.                      Deutsche Telecom whose pockets are            Wi-Fi City Network
                                             very very deep. Itʼs turned into a bit of a
What it takes is a DSL circuit at the cof-   mine-shaft into which they keep pouring       Business Models
fee shop from a Wi-Fi-sharing-friendly       millions of dollars. What happens is that
ISP. There are only a couple of those.                                                     COOK Report: That is really impres-
                                             you have a street corner with Starbucks
Most ISPs strictly forbid DSL customers                                                    sive, but letʼs turn to other networks. In
                                             at $10 a day. When Joeʼs Coffee shop
from sharing bandwidth via Wi-Fi.                                                          New York Mayor Bloomberg announces
                                             across the street from Starbucks puts a
                                                                                           that he will hang access points from al-
                                             free Personal Telco node in, people start
                                                                                           most every lamppost in Manhattan and
Hot Spot Nodes                               to realize that their email doesnʼt get
                                                                                           Philadelphia announces that it will cover
                                             anymore interesting if they pay $10 for
Attached to DSL                              the privilege of checking it. Email is
                                                                                           the whole city. Whatʼs your take on this
                                                                                           given your experience with Portland?
                                             email after all.
COOK Report: Are they worried that it
will drain their bandwidth and up those                                                    Ballard: This gets into the third hat
                                             COOK Report: When you talk about
costs? What is the rationale?                                                              that I wear. I am a founding member
                                             $47 DSL what is the bandwidth?
                                                                                           of the Portland TSC (Telecommunica-
Ballard: They are worried that they will                                                   tions Steering Committee) which has
                                             Ballard: 1.5 megabits down stream
be affected as early cable TV networks                                                     represented the City of Portland, state of-
                                             and 768 kilobits upstream. Qwest is
were affected in apartment buildings                                                       ficials, local business people, the former
                                             the backbone source but the two ISPs
where one person would buy the service                                                     regulatory cable commission and various
                                             that hook up the coffee house are Easys-
and then run co-ax to 4 or 5 neighbors.      treet and Sprytech who are local Wi-Fi        other government bodies and other city
The concern is that one person buys          friendly ISPs.                                commissions who talk about putting a
broadBand; sticks an access point in the                                                   big Wi-Fi cloud and possibly back haul-
middle of the building and says to neigh-    COOK Report: What is your perception          ing it with Wi-Max.
bors: hey give me a fifth of the cost and    of how these ISPs are doing in these un-
you are on the air.                          certain times?                                It will be announced by October 1 that
                                                                                           we have already Wi-Fied the entire Port-
But we have two ISPs with acceptable         Ballard: I think that Easystreet is doing     land International Airport. Use of the
usage policy that says connecting to         pretty darn well. If you ever tour their      airport system will be completely free –
Personal Telco is great. Go ahead and        hosting facilities, you will see that they    something that I believe so far is unique
share it. That costs the coffee shop $47     are state-of-the-art. I think they suc-       for international airport systems. It is the
a month. On top of that you have to buy      cessfully sell themselves on the fact that    best captive market for business users
a Wi-Fi router for a cost of $79. We will    they are utterly focused on local business    because they are stuck there for hours.
donate a Linux computer to you plus the      and well entrenched in the local market.
                                                                12
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

But in a larger sense I think we are seeing   for underserved communities that can-        What are your nodes right now? Coffee
too much of my city has a bigger Wi-Fi        not afford $47 a month for DSL or cable      shops. Anything else?
network than your city. I keep hearing        internet.
new examples of this. A lot of people                                                      Ballard: Also restaurants, bars, pubs.
making claims and setting expectations        Not we are going to do this because we       Anywhere people congregate and sit
have no idea of the technical limitations     want bragging rights to the biggest Wi-Fi    down. We have also done Portland
of Wi-Fi. But even worse they have            network. We have no idea how we are          Square which is the main square in the
no-idea who is going to pay for this or       going to pay for it or make money out        middle of town.
how they will ever make any revenue.          of it, but we are going ahead anyway. I
Everyone I talk to seems to think it will     think there is going to be a lot of egg on   COOK Report: How is the network
be easy. "We just get some consultants,       a lot of faces and a lot of people saying    managed? Given the architecture there
buy some bandwidth and stick up 350           “you know we have spent a fortune on         is no centralized network to manage – is
access points."                               consultants. The product is a 500-page       there?
                                              document that tells us what we must be
I say: "Why 350 access points?" and they      and install but not how we will be able      Ballard: No there isnʼt. We manage
respond: 'The previous city stuck up 300      to pay for it.” I have yet to see really     each of the nodes individually using
and we need to be bigger in our connec-       clear articulations of what they hope to     Linux tools. Because each node has a
tion to the Internet. But can we charge       achieve.                                     gateway we can ping it remotely or poll
for it?" Iʼm like: "I donʼt know – why                                                     it remotely. We can find out how many
donʼt you tell me?"                           COOK Report: I am wondering if devel-        people have used it; how many are using
                                              oping any kind of preplanning guide for      it now; whether it is up or down; has it
They go “I donʼt know. We are really          Wi-Fi clouds for cities would be feasible    become unresponsive and so on.
vague about a business model. “ I re-         or make sense?
spond: “you are vague because there is                                                     Those of us responsible are all on a spe-
no model. You are going to have to give       Ballard: I am sure Deutsche Telecom          cial mailing list where our tools email
it away.”                                     with their investment in Wi-Fi at Star-      us automatically when something needs
                                              bucks might be interested. They would        doing or when there is some kind of
They tell me with a look of disbelief:        like to see a return some day.               anomaly. For example: Fredʼs Coffee
"you mean the city is going to have to                                                     Shop has gone down. We then SSL into
suck up a million and a half per year         COOK Report: Is there no one else in         Fredʼs Coffee Shop in order to restart the
in operating expense from now till the        the country comparable to Personal Telco     box and analyze what went wrong.
end of time? We donʼt mind donating           in Portland?
fixed amounts of money they saw but we                                                     Other Issues
donʼt like getting involved with recurring    Ballard: There are lots of other groups
costs." I say "Well you are going to have     doing things but on a smaller scale.         COOK Report: What other kinds of
to do it because people will not pay for      France Telecom three or four months          things does Matrix get into?
this because there is so much free stuff      ago did a tour of North America looking
out there. They simply will not pay in        at community wireless efforts and free       Ballard: Security issues. We do the
numbers that are sufficient to get your       wireless groups. When they saw what          complete other end where we have done
investment back." And the conclude by         existed, they came back to Portland twice    a testing lab that is covered under gov-
saying: "We are a little bit grey in this     and then flew a team in from France to       ernmental controls and security is para-
area Nigel – but the important thing is       talk further with us.                        mount. It is competitive proprietary
that we have Americaʼs biggest Wi-Fi                                                       security mainly because of lots and lots
network." And I say "If that is important     They think the social aspect of what we      of very competitive research going on.
to you, then good luck."                      are doing is the most important thing.       They wanted us to Wi-Fi the entire
                                              Everyone accepts that we know from a         campus. With people who would love
COOK Report:        Is anyone doing it        technical point of view what Wi-Fi does      to know what traffic was going over the
right?                                        and Wi-Fi doesnʼt. What we are less          network, we put a network in. We en-
                                              certain of is how the implementation of      crypted every single piece with DES III,
Ballard: I have yet to see an RFP that        this in a community affect life there?       Blowfish and active Directory. We stuck
uses the word complimentary. “We are          Because France is pretty much a socialist    WAP on the top and put data accelerators
going to put up a complimentary Wi-Fi         country, the folk from France Telecom        on every gateway. I do not know of a
cloud in the city of XYZ and the city         are fascinated by the Portland model.        more secure Wi-Fi network out there.
is going to pay for it out of its pocket      They seem to be quite interested in trying
because we want to promote economic           to replicate it.                             The government inspectors have signed
development and because we are going                                                       off on it as we speak. Lots of people
to work to bridge the digital divide by       COOK Report: Intriguing!                     in spacesuits walking around with hand
providing affordable internet bandwidth
                                                              13
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
held computers recording information        one of the guys lives aboard his boat.       deployments to date. The technology is
and sending it over a very very secure      He does world wide support for IBM on        still a little bit too new for people. It is
Wi-Fi network. Forbes wanted to do          one of their modules. He sits in his boat    coming.
a story on it but state department and      bobbing up and down wirelessly linked
homeland security people stopped them       to the net and offering support to IBM       COOK Report: To conclude what is the
because they didnʼt want extra publicity    clients all over the world. He has a VPN     coming hot technology or other things to
given to this particular location.          tunnel and gets where he needs to go.        focus on in the next 6 to 9 months?

COOK Report: Is there something here        COOK Report: When you do telecom             Ballard: Obviously Wi-Max. Every
that is pointing toward the Wi-Fi-ing       work for enterprises, is that more voice     one is eagerly awaiting access to those
of cross sections of emergency first re-    over IP than it is Wi-Fi? Is there some-     radios.
sponders?                                   thing about an enterprise that makes it
                                            willing to take the plunge? Does it see      COOK Report: Is it really going to work
Ballard: We are actually working on         these refinements as the new productiv-      do you think?
that on the Portland government com-        ity enhancers?
mittee I told you about. The objective                                                   Ballard: Yes. I canʼt say too much
is to put Wi-Fi on a cross section of       Ballard: The enterprises really arenʼt       today. But Intel labs is just up the road
911 vehicles using VoIP on a redun-         that advanced in the market. Most of         from me and yes it works. It is robust
dant cellular multi-path network that       them are just stepping into a comfort        and has quality control and encryption.
we are actually building as we speak.       level with the quest of whether it will
It will be mounted on the rooftops of       be sufficiently secure. For example we       COOK Report: Six months before we
some strategic buildings down town. It      have a major law firm here with Nike         see it?
has deep cycle batteries, very expensive    and Addidas as clients and the assurance
solar panels, multi-path radios and gate-   has to be that their competitors can crack   Ballard: I would say a little more that.
ways all encased in Nema4 waterproof        in and see all the confidential legal com-
enclosures. Emergency vehicles will         munications. They say “convince us that      COOK Report: Mesh?
have a voice and data network that is       you can Wi-Fi our entire two-story tower
completely independent of the data grid     block so that no-one can listen in.”         Ballard: I have some issues with that all
or fiber backbone in Portland.                                                           those hops and latency.
                                            We engineer their network with managed
COOK Report: And you are into marinas       switches and the latest Cisco equipment      COOK Report: Anything else?
as well?                                    such that they could run voice over IP
                                            handsets tomorrow if they wanted to.         Ballard: VoIP is becoming really big.
Ballard: Yes indeed. A very captive         And they say: thanks but we will just        Flat panel displays. We can talk some
market with high disposable income. We      start with the wireless laptops. We have     VoIP in the future if you want. I do a
have a marina just outside Seattle where    done very few cordless Wi-Fi handset         lot of that.




                                                               14
Wireless Community Networks in Europe
Dave Hughes Describes the Wi-Fi Community Network on the
Djursland Peninsula of Denmark and Meshcube Radios of
Freifunk in Berlin Highlights
Editor’s Note: We interviewed Dave            of Copenhagen, north of Aahus. The            such as Cisco 350 class Wi-Fis, could
Hughes on Sunday, October 3, 2004.            economics there were lower income to          get you over 20 miles. In Europe closer
                                              begin with. The peninsula turned out          to 1 to 2 miles. The offsetting factor
COOK Report: What did you find out            to have experienced a recession several       for Europe is that distances consistently
at the meeting in Denmark that you at-        years ago. It was an area into which the      are much shorter. Nevertheless they still
tended in early September? Tell me both       national phone company did not care to        have the line of sight problems with less
about what is happening in Djursland and      bring DSL. Consequently you had the           overall power output permitted.
the Freifunk Berlin mesh radio project?       people there feeling really left out of
See https://meshcube.org/index_e.html         the broadBand revolution. As a result a       They can put antennas on their radios
                                              committee of 22 volunteers with some          but if they stay within the European
Hughes: To understand the Danish proj-        local economic development subsidies          rules which is no different than us stay-
ect and this Freifunk group that is really    for some positions, you had the devel-        ing within the FCC rules, they can only
a movement you have to understand how         opment and construction of a wireless         have 20 dBi for the combined strength
this parallels the community network          community network with 1700 custom-           of radio and antenna of a total of 100
scene in the US - except in this case         ers paying 15 Euros - $17 per-month. An       milliwatts, or 20 dBi. Now the Linksys
“community” means across Europe and           operation of rather impressive scale.         radio is only half that power. They then
throughout the third world. 200 people                                                      use an antenna to put the gain higher and
who attended the conference came from         Remember that EU rules on unlicensed          to overcome distance problems they will
32 countries supported by a grant from        802.11b radios limit them to 100 mil-         use relay radios with directional antennas
George Soros. The website announce-           liwatts of radiated power - EIRP - or 20      that produce more power in one general
ment was http://www.freifunk.net:8080/        dBi radiated power output, as opposed to      direction.
sc2004/wiki/StoryBehind                       the US where we can have up to 36 dBi.
                                              Or up to 4 watts EIRP. They permit up to      They started using 802.11g radios as
The geographic diversity was extremely        30 dBi for 802.11a radios. (#1)               relay radios or wireless backbones on
broad. The attendees were already either                                                    the theory that being 2.4 GHz these will
already wireless community network-           Editors's Note: (#1) through (#10) in the     punch through walls better than 802.11a
ers or those who wanted to be. We are         following text refer to comments made         radios that run in the 5.8 GHz spectrum.
talking about Indonesia, Bhutan, Bangla-      in the symposium discussion after this        But when they tried to use g rather than
desh, Jordan, Georgia, Tanzania and so        interview was posted on the symposiumn        b radios outside because they assumed
on. One commonality - with the excep-         list. See pages 76 - 79 below.                they would get much better through
tion of a few folk like Malcolm Matson                                                      put 56mbps rather than 10mbps - much
from the UK - was that they are all (I hate   COOK Report: Do they compensate with          faster broad band, what they found was
to use the word but can’t think of a more     antennas?                                     that, if the pair of “g”s could not link at
appropriate one) pretty much socialist                                                      the higher speeds because distance was
- or at least pretty far left as compared     Hughes: Oh yes. They certainly do. What       too long - the radios fell back to “b”
with the US. It is not only community         they have been using are the Linksys $79,     specifications. Moreover, they also found
networking but carried out within the         Open Source Software Radio-router. The        that the “b” spec that it operated on was
framework of using the lowest cost ap-        Linksys do not have 20 DBI at the radio,      even slower than it would have been had
proach in a non profit context and with       however. A US Cisco Wi-Fi radio with          they used ‘b” in the first place. In other
public subsidies at times.                    100 milliwatts of power at the radio starts   words that the “b” standard operating on
                                              at 20 dBi. In the US you can add anten-       a “g” radio seems not to produce the full
Djursland Community                           nas to produce a gain of another 16 dBi       10mbps that is attained by a “b” radio
                                              of radiated power output bringing it up to    alone. I had never noticed that.
Network                                       the 36 dBi. Since the Linksys produces
                                              closer to 14dB, 6dB gain antennas can         Because of this they dropped the 802.11gs
The organizers were working in the
                                              be added. So they do. In the US, adding       and went back to a mix of 802.11a’s and
Djursland peninsula of Denmark west
                                              16dB of antenna gain to a 20dB radio,         802.11b’s. Where the relay distance was
                                                                15
                         COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
short enough they could use ‘a’ radios. dk and the associated NGO ‘Foreningen date that the power of the radio and the
They can get from 1 to 4 miles with wire.less.dk’ - There is close cooperation antenna be no more than 20 dB or 100
an 802.11a radio properly configured/ between 4G and wire.less.dk, He is not milliwatts. Now this doesn’t preclude
Where not, they used ‘b’ radios. They in Berlin but he knows that scene as well you from screwing in to the antenna port
still had to fight the line of sight problem as the Djursland scene quite well. De- a reverse RP-SMA pigtail ending with a
- trees, house walls. Relearning what I wayne Hendricks went to Berlin in July standard ‘N’ connector which can be in
long ago knew - the 902MHz radios will and got to see how progressive they are turn connected to a higher gain antenna.
simply penetrate more trees and walls- in the Berlin Freifunk group with mesh Either omni or directional. (#5)
despite the lower bandwidth. But they radios that operate inside buildings as
really have to try to do everything with well as between buildings. But mesh of COOK Report: Let me get some clarifi-
802.11 radios - an interoperable standard course has some real limitations not just cation. The printed circuit boards are ra-
that does not really exist at the 915MHz advantages.                                  dios and you can stack these almost like
level. The reason for this is that 902-                                               Legos up to eight high? How could you
928MHz, which is permitted in the US COOK Report: Can we get into this by do that without heat build up problems?
by the FCC is prohibited in Europe - it your telling me about the Meshcube ra-
conflicts with GSM cell phone frequen- dios that Sebastian’s group makes? (#4) Hughes: You would. I do not know how
cies. (#2)                                                                            they would handle it. If you wanted to
                                             Hughes: The Meshcube radio is being do that you would need a different chas-
In spite of those technical facts, this produced in a way that is reminiscent of sis than the cube. The cube is the off
Djursland Network is really effective the way that radios have been manufac- the shelf standard that has these boards
and non profit with 1700 customers tured for sale to the hams in America. stacked on top of each other. (#6)
doing what amounts to broadBand with- These are profit making manufacturing
in the range limitations of the a’s the companies but they sell to highly techni- COOK Report: But how many? Two?
b’s and the relays at a very affordable cal users implementing community net- Three? Four?
$17 a month. They have brought real works with unlicensed radios according
broadBand and community networking to European spectrum rules.                        Hughes: In this case two because it has
benefits with unlicensed radios to lots                                               two antennas and two flat radio boards
of homes.                                    The Meshcubes are hardly what you (not PC Cards) One antenna is driven
                                             would call mass market. But they can be by the 802.11b radio. The other antenna
They base their work very much on the bought as plug-and-play. The have sold is also driven by 802.11b - except that
Linksys equipment, such as the WRT54G out about the first 600 radios at about the one radio operates by the mesh rout-
version, with its ability to have its Open 200 Euros - $240 - each. It can be bought ing protocols and the other can send the
Source Linux modified. And they make as a kit or bought assembled as a cube. It data locally. They operate with different
what can only be called the Pringle-can has a set of quite industry-standard off- SSIDs or channels. The second radio can
type very cheap antennas themselves. It the-shelf printed circuit boards. Except actually be a little access point. So mesh
is a real do-it-yourself type operation at for the development effort, there doesn’t between many nodes, standard access
the lowest possible cost. As of October seem to be much proprietary inside it. point - in infrastructure mode -locally.
2004 they are doing all this without It looks like it could be cloned fairly Output from the one is input into the
mesh.                                        easily.                                  other. It comes with both a powered USB
                                                                                      port and Ethernet port which is also POE
Mesh and the Meshcube                        COOK Report: What are the dimen- - power over the Ethernet as well as the
                                             sions?                                   data cable for local hardwired access
Radio                                                                                 as far as the Ethernet wire can reliably
                                             Hughes: About three inches by two and reach - maybe 200 feet. And each mesh
In London, Consume is the local non- a half inches by an inch and a half high.
                                                                                      radio has a fixed IP address in it - no
profit community network equivalent It has two antennas on it. You can actual-
                                                                                      DHCP. In fact the problem of DHCP
organization that provides broadBand ly stack up to eight of these radio circuit
                                                                                      with a Mesh radio network has not been
wirelessly. It uses some Locustworld boards on top of each other. It is series solved. (#7)
Mesh. The current Locust technology is of flat cards with pins punched down at
not cheap. However it has matured. Con- a right angle where they can be nested But it turns out when I talked to Sebas-
sequently it is more capable than it used
                                             - one on top of another.                 tian that using a mesh cube in a dual-
to be and it does work inside the London                                              radio manner - one radio in the mesh
metro area. I understand some of Locust The cube that I got from them had two network, and the other serving as a local
is also Open Source code. (#3)               cards in it. One was an 802.11b card access point node - is not really the way
                                             driving one antenna. This antenna is a they are doing it in Berlin. It could be
It turns out that Sebastian Buettrich, who
                                             5dB antenna. It is practically identical used that way and the cube I got had the
is German, really lives in Copenhagen.
                                             to the antenna that is used by Linksys. two radios.
He is the Co-Founder of http://wire.less.
                                             Remember that the European rules man-

                                                             16
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
For the mesh they put the radio into the      one powerful radio at the highest eleva-
ad hoc mode. That mode makes the radio        tion in order to perform as an access hub.      The first limitation that you run into is
go point-to-point to the nearest one it       Just as long as every radio can see at          that if I have mesh cube radio we can
sees. This differs from client mode in that   least one other radio, traffic that is gener-   call point ‘A’ and then go put a second
every radio is the same. There are no ac-     ated on each user’s PC would go over            mesh cube on a building 500 meters
cess points in the mesh. For example, in      the air to the nearest access point which       away as cube at point ‘B’ and then I put
an office environment, sometimes people       then goes out from the mesh radio that is       a third radio at point ‘C’ on the far side
may go to the ad hoc mode so that three       put into the Linux mesh routing system          away from ‘A.’ If on the first two you
or four computers can talk to each other      that sends it hop by hop to its destina-        have an omni antenna on all of three of
directly without there being an access        tion - that is to the point where one ad        them, then between ‘A’ and ‘B’ you will
point. The radios are peered with each        hoc radio is connected into the upstream        get the rated ten megabits per second
other. Ad hoc is similar to client except     internet.                                       which really isn’t ten megabits because
that “client” implies that there is an ac-                                                    the radio is half duplex which means that
cess point.                                   The advantage of not having to find one         the actual throughput speed is only five
                                              great tall building where you have to           megabits or slightly less.
When then they are in the ad hoc mode,        reach out within a radius and line of sight
they go to the next radio that they can       for your singular network access point is       Now if you continue onto ‘C’ you get
see. And the software pushes the data         obvious. Instead when you are blocked           a further decrease in speed because the
to and through the next mesh node. But        by line of sight from getting where you         ‘B’ radio has to receive and send from
here is where the overhead starts to make     need to go, using mesh you can hop              ‘A’ and then turn around and receive and
an impact. Hop, hop, hop. The Linux           around the blocking building or other           send from ‘C’. Therefore between A and
operating system in each mesh cube            obstacle. And whenever one mesh node            C the throughput will decline by half.
radio is being updated every two seconds      can see two others at least, then if there      And as it hops further out into the mesh
with a map of all the other radios in that    is an outage, or a temporary blockage of        the speed continues to decrease but not
mesh network. Doing this takes part of        signal the data get through. They use the       by exactly half. The curve flattens out
the available bandwidth and damps down        example of a big truck passing between          when it gets down to around 128 Kilobits
the performance capability of the over all    buildings, causing an interruption of sig-      per second that is an interesting number
system.                                       nal. The mesh routes around problems.           because that is ISDN speed.

Every-radio-knows-every-other-radio.          According to what I understand about            Obviously the point is that if you are at
That means that every radio keeps a           Berlin, each radio had an Ethernet data         128kbps for everyone, that is usable and
routing table for the whole mesh in real      drop from it also providing power over          if you are unlicensed so much the better
time - that is to say at a minimum for        Ethernet. As a result it can sit on the         but I’d be hard pressed to consider it
those radios operating in the mesh on the     roof not losing transmission power and          broadBand which is one of the reasons
same frequency with the same SSID or          get input from user’s computers on an           that 802.11b’s Mesh utility is limited. At
channel. This must be done in order for       Ethernet within the building where at a         one of the open sessions I asked what
data to be routed across the mesh.            distance of 150 to 200 feet it could get        happens if you start out with 802.11a
                                              power within the building and serve an          which means 56 mbps at ‘A.’ The answer
Mesh Routing Issues                           office or series of apartments within the       was: Well, you get about 22mbps at ‘B’.
                                              building. In that mode there is no separate     Then ‘C’ would, IF you can reach that
The mesh algorithms have to figure out        access point radio in the cube - in order       far, get about 10mbs.
what routing paths should be taken. This      to feed local client radios wirelessly.
gets very mathematically complicated                                                          COOK Report: So they do use some
when you get up into any kind of num-         I thought that the second radio would also      802.11 “a” s?
bers because of the overhead that it re-      be used as an access point radio within a
quires and the optimization of the mesh       limited range with a second antenna on          Hughes: Yes. But with the power they
protocol codes.                               a second channel. They are really not           are permitted the range is shorter than
                                              doing that. No reason that you can’t            802.11b. My calculations show, depend-
In Berlin they have not pushed it beyond      however. But there is another limitation        ing on the radio ‘sensitivity’ in –dB
a mesh of thirty or so where each one         of the computational power required by          They could get from 1 to 4 miles with an
is on a building. What I thought they         the whole system for the maintenance            802.11a radio pair.
were doing, that is doable with this two      of the mesh. You remember Ricochet. It
card approach is allowing data from the       went belly up but some of it survived and       COOK Report: If you have the line of
user's PC to be hopped across the mess        I am told that what did survive is a mesh       sight between the radios, does each dou-
from entry into any access point. Since       network where it will peer with any radio       bling of power double the distance they
any radio can be an access point into the     in range and allow the data to go hop hop       can reach?
mesh, the network doesn’t need to have        hop as opposed to functioning as a hier-
                                              archical access point client radio.             Hughes: No. It doesn’t work that way.

                                                               17
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
There is a tool on the Young Design web-     comes like a cellphone network. If you      but the older ones are MobileMesh.”
site (www.ydi.com) that allows some          go down to the Sevellita Long Term
calculations. You must enter the gain of     Ecological Research Center in Southern      Hughes: The protocols are efforts to deal
the antenna in dB, the receiver sensitiv-    New Mexico, they won’t pay a per-min-       with all these problems of complexity
ity. For example a good Cisco with have      ute cell phone network kind of charge for   and routing with different mesh topolo-
95 dB sensitivity, but with Lucent you       sensors and data loggers to talk to each    gies and purposes.
will do well to get 83 dB. Then you put      other and send their data up stream on a
in the loss of your connectors in dB and     24 by 7 basis. Both open source for fid-    COOK Report: So there are protocols
after you do all that, you can compute       dling with and tweaking the operational     that determine how the mesh radios route
the range. When I do this I want a result    characteristics and then unlicensed for     their traffic?
that comes out as reaching the distance      spectrum use are critical economic deter-
I want with 15 dB of margin. In other        minants for the scale at which they need    Hughes: Yes. And the other important
words I want 15 dB more than the             to operate.                                 aspect is that, if they are open source,
minimum to guarantee that my system is                                                   you can fiddle with them. (#10)
robust in its performance.                   COOK Report: What about the radio
                                             OS? Is tiny OS as Open Source the only      COOK Report: What are the characteris-
In theory though, if you can get the range   way to go?                                  tics of the protocols?
and start with 802.11a, you start with 22
megabits per second and not five. Do this    Hughes: Not necessarily. Smart Dust         Hughes: There really is no such thing
and your broadBand is much more seri-        and Cross Bow are proprietary and it        as good or bad protocols because you
ous. In fact what I think they are doing     looks like they will keep it that way.      are up against the laws of physics here .
in Djursland is to use the 802.11a for       Cisco radios derive a lot of value from     You have to have a protocol that does the
short distances as a backbone because it     their code. The radios are unlicensed but   routing. You have to have another proto-
will handle the traffic loads. Then they     the hardware and code are very Cisco        col that determines to what extent and
can use 802.11b as clients of the 802.11a    specific. You can’t mess with it. Cisco     how you load the “map” of your mesh at
access points. In their case you will have   could make a mesh radio. But it would       anyone point in time. You will probably
two different physical radios with Eth-      be their mesh and their protocol with       find that the MIT one is optimized for a
ernet going out of one and coming into       which you can’t fiddle.                     different size of mesh. They are designed
the other. The 802.11b nodes can fan out                                                 with different size meshes in mind; and
and feed 802.11a access points. In their     Now with the 4G Mesh Cube group there       with different kinds of routing and differ-
case they will have two different physi-     isn’t any thing proprietary. (#9) The ra-   ent kinds of through puts in mind.
cal radios.                                  dios and components are as purchasable
                                             “off-the-shelf”. You buy them and stack     Note also that all the radios in your
But when I pressed the mesh cube people      them together. There are protocols. Don’t   mesh network must be running the same
on how they scale to larger numbers,         overlook that word - ‘mesh protocols.’      protocol. Now this does not mean that
they don’t know what happens when            The routing and optimization of mesh        you cannot take a mesh network running
you have a thousand nodes. (#8) Not          is all a function of what protocol they     one protocol plug its output into a router
being a large company they haven’t had       are using. There are several alternative    that will act as a bridge send the traffic
the resources to bench test 100 radios       protocols being used in this world. The     into another network running a different
at one time. One of the reasons that I       Berlin Mesh Cubes use the ‘4G Mesh          protocol. You can, in other words have
am interested in them is that I’d like to    Cube’ protocol based on MITRE Mobile        two mesh networks connected to each
convince NSF to plop the money down          Mesh running under modified Debian          other by means of a router gateway. I got
so that rigorous experiments could be        Linux. Some of the others are AODV,         a shareware program loaded onto my PC
carried out with larger scale meshes in      OSPF, and of course Locusworld’s ver-       that will allow it to run the mesh proto-
order to refine the mesh routing schemes     sion. A mesh developer’s group at MIT       col ‘Mobilemesh.’ My laptop as a result
in such a way that we find out what is the   has a different protocol.                   can now function as a client on their
performance curve for meshes that are                                                    network. Any other radio using the same
done this way.                               I found reference to both 4G Mesh and       protocol can now talk to my machine. A
                                             Mobile Mesh confusing and ask Sebas-        lot of the protocols, not surprisingly, are
Protocols and Open                           tian Buettrich who responded: “they         Linux based.
                                             are both the same - Mitre’s software =
Source                                       MobileMesh”                                 Mesh Advantages
COOK Report: Isn’t this where the value      http://www.mitre.org/work/tech_trans-
of their doing it open source comes in?                                                  There is a huge amount of work to be
                                             fer/mobilemesh/                             done without any magic bullet. But the
Hughes: Yes. If you don’t do this Open                                                   mesh radios with their “Mobilemesh pro-
                                             Sebastian added that “newer cubes may       tocol” have their uses because they make
Source, what you are dealing with be-        or may not run something else (OLSR),
                                                               18
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
up for the line of sight issues. It makes    set up with 802.16 and running at really
up for the problem of a central supreme      high speed. It is one thing to be doing       COOK Report: What does this do to
access point on the tallest building. It     community networks. It is quite another       your cost?
makes up for the cost of putting a bunch     thing to be going point to point like we
of relays out there or the cost of putting   do down in New Mexico. There we have          Hughes: It drops it certainly. You are
a backbone from A to B. They say they        to run 16 miles with a pair of 5.2 GHz        dropping the cost but you still have
can spread the mesh over a five mile         802.11a radios. Those Trango radios do        power to deal with and come out some
area with about 30 radios before the start   the backbone and then from the top of         where in between the crossbows and
getting a degradation that is by no means    that mesa we go down with two access          smart dust where they try to have every
fixed in concrete. For example if you        points with the directional antenna hav-      thing working on super low power but
tell these radios to up date each other      ing a 30 degree fan - one centered to the     with almost no concept of being able to
only every five seconds instead of every     north the other to the south - that gets      harvest power.
two seconds, the load on them will be        you to another client radio of the same
less. For the uses to which I would put      type spanning a distance of up to almost      COOK Report: What is your perception
them in environmental data logging, they     ten miles which is pretty good.               of Sebastian Buettrich’s objective?
wouldn’t even have to be updated that
often. With sensors bandwidth is not the     But then when it gets to that point you       Hughes: He is a physicist and as such is
issue. It is reaching the damn thing with    could go back into the mesh for the local     more than just a community-networking
a sensor. The amount of data isn’t great     area where the range is short and you         guy. I would I hope be able to work with
and 9,600 baud is the only through put       have lots of sensors for doing the thing      him and others in Europe subcontract-
required. You could therefore create a       that you can’t do now. Right now the          ing to people he could put me in touch
rather extensive mesh out in the field.      client radios - because of their cost and     with for protocol and power-draw refine-
                                             complexity - are set up close to the data     ment.
The sensors really don’t want more than      logging stations. The data logging sta-
9.6 kbs in bandwidth but they are made       tion has its own power system with its        I am interested in what savvy observers
for electrical grid power which - out in     own collection of sensors putting stuff       think about the global state of wireless,
the field - I would not have. But while      into memory. But no sensor is more than       especially unlicensed digital, wireless.
the power supply says 9 volts the fact       20 or 30 feet from the data logging sta-      For that revolution has, at last, gotten off
of the matter is it can go from 12 volts     tion because the sensors are connected        the ground (or as Hedy Lamarr said to
up and down fed into it. Therefore it        by wires. You have a $3,000 data logger,      the reporter after she won the Electronic
could be used in the field. There is even    another $1000 worth of cases and solar        Frontier Foundation award I nominated
a voltage regulator inside. It draws about   panel and then you have a radio that          her for in 1997 for her seminal 1941
4 watts.                                     may be as low as $1000. You are look-         patent for frequency hopping, “Its about
                                             ing then at 5 or even 6 thousand dollars      time”) - and is spreading across the
COOK Report: Is that substantially more      for each location that gathers data from      world - as well it should. It time. The
than other 802.11 devices?                   within circle with a maximum diameter         fact that most of the world thinks that
                                             of 100 feet.                                  only something called “Wi-Fi” equals
Hughes: No. Not substantially more. But                                                    Wireless doesn’t diminish the reality that
if you are in a mesh and it is on all the    Now if into the Ethernet of your local        unlicensed digital wireless is the Pan-
time then you are drawing down current       hub radio, you plug some mesh cubes           dora that is out of the traditional global
all the time. Now if you set it out and      that can go hop hop hop over a square ki-     telecom box. And the Revolution in
program it properly it will only wake up     lometer you could have twenty thirty or       human communications has just begun.
on an as-needed basis or because some        even fifty sensors that gather data from a    Pushing the Dinosaur Telephone compa-
event happens, it should not draw much       vastly larger area and sends it back to the   nies toward either intelligent adaptation
power. But being built to run on grid        local hub radio. Every radio will have an     or extinction.
power it is not optimized for field use.     IP address with two-way communication
                                             making it possible to query individual
But mesh is mesh. I can see a mesh being     sensors.




                                                              19
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA

Dave Hughes Recounts the Djursland Wireless Community
Network Conference and Lists Unresolved Research Questions
for Mesh Networks
I just returned from 9 days at a Wire-         The Djursland.Net                              brothers, associates. All I had to insure
less Community Networking gathering                                                           was that they preceded their Country
in Europe (which more resembled a Dan-         Project -                                      Code with ‘011’ - for ‘my’ Vonage thinks
ish Wireless Woodstock than a Corporate                                                       it is in California with the number 408
Suits Dallas Telecom Conference) where         In a corner of Denmark north of Aahus          907 4132 and of course must dial out
I gleaned some insight into the way oth-       - where the conference was held - was          internationally with a 011 prefix.
ers see and use 802.11 whatevers. (b,          interesting in that there are 1,700, $15
g, a, 16 a and ?) And confirmed for me         a month ‘clients’ hooked up Wi-Fi to an        Successful calls to Tajikistan, Mali, Indo-
what I have long suspected - and repeat-       operating base in small Glesberg, staffed      nesia, UK, Argentina, Jordon, Tanzania,
ed in the plenary and breakout sessions        by 22 ‘volunteers.’ The area, after a re-      Poland, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Italy
I was in - that only 50% of ‘unlicensed        cession about 5 years ago is struggling        and Zimbabwe. Total cost to me (they
Wi-Fi to Internet wireless’ is generic and     economically, so the Danish telco won’t        all offered to pay, but collecting a buck
similar everywhere. That the other 50%         extend ADSL to the area, and many              or two in foreign currency wasn’t worth
is absolutely local - geographical, cul-       (all?) of the volunteers are subsidized by     the hassle) maybe $10 on top of my flat
tural, technological, political, economic.     government. The whole thing is based on        rate $29. For all of them made short
Differences more than similarities. Vari-      low cost, many home-brew components            calls. And I proved out that VoIP works.
ations on a theme. Rainbow Wireless.           (antennas), Linksys routers tweaked by         It really does. Even in places where
http://www.freifunk.net/djursland_sc for       configurable Open Source Linux up-             phone service is marginal. As Sebastian
the program, and access to the Wikis.          loads to the OS. In other words the net-       Buettrich pointed out: (local) telephony
See also http://thewirelessroadshow.org/       work goes where commercial wireless or         is one of the most demanded services
tiki-index.php?page=WirelessForDevel           wired broadBand won’t.                         when building free wireless networks.
opment for the wireless4development
tracks’ proceedings                            I became very popular with the Third           Now while the Lingo.com VoIP folks
                                               World Set after I demoed from the stage        failed to get me a VoIP phone in time
It was especially interesting because the      my Vonage-VoIP. Wherein, as I was              that they promised before I went , I told
organizers (one of whom has been in-           pretty sure would work though never            them why www.lingo.com is a better bet
vited here - Sebastian Beuttrich ) using       having tried it out of the US, all I had       for Vonage-like VoIP because its $20 flat
a grant from the Soros Foundation was          to do was Ethernet connect up to one of        rate covers Western Europe as well as
able to bring wireless community proj-         their broadBand routers or switches, use       the US and Canada, and its international
ect leaders from over 15 third world           a European plug adapter to wall power,         rates are even lower than Vonage’s. And
countries, as well as from the US, UK,         connect an RJ11 telephone (I brought my        its device is a router, and can take a
Germany, Austria, Holland, Spain, Italy        own, just in case) to the Cisco AT186,         Codec down to 7123, which requires
and Poland to add to the many from             power it up - the DHCP IP instantly            only 20kbps for understandable voice,
Denmark. There were 32 total countries         downloaded, and then in a one second           while Cisco’s defaults to 711 (64kbps) or
represented by attendees.                      red light blink the MAC address of my          can be set to 729 (40kbps).
                                               preconfigured AT 186 was flashed to a
Three days were presentations and four         Vonage server in the US which woke up          In any case, between my commercial
days were for a hands on wireless ‘Work-       my account. And thenceforth I could dial       VoIP, and workshops with Free World
shop’ for the 200 some attendees. (sub-        up to any PSTN in the world. - all in the      Dial Up type services running open
jects at the url above) On topics from         US and Canada essentially free ($29 a          source SIP, or Skype’s peer to peer, to
distant projects (like my trek and instal-     month flat rate) - and all to other nations,   voice communicate from the computer
lation on Mt Everest) plain old Wi Fi and      at very low international rates, from $.05     screen and earphones. Lots of VoIP was
‘a’ and ‘.16’ siting. installation, spectrum   a minute to London and $.08 a minute to        demonstrated and is available. (I was
regulation and rules, antennas, VoIP,          Daka, Bangladesh.                              able to use, wirelessly my Compaq/HP
policies, power - and THE one I was                                                           Ipaq and Russian free CE Sip to call oth-
most interested in - Mesh Networking.          Worked. Perfectly. Every time, even to         ers at the conference)
Especially the small business emerging         damned remote, poor connection tele-
German ‘Mesh Cube’ - which appears to          phones. So before I left, over 10 attend-      As I said to the Conference, while only
be in advance of any US mesh stuff.            ees asked to ‘use my VoIP phone’ so they       literate, and computer literate people can
                                               could call home. As a consequence at-          use the Internet if they are connected to
                                               tendees from all the following countries       it, wirelessly or wired, EVERYONE can
                                               called home, getting wives, mothers,           speak and hear voice. Over a telephone.

                                                                   20
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
So when some third world countries are        how does the protocol overhead grow?          efforts go into finding optimal protocols
90% illiterate, VoIP to all of them, wire-    what is the maximum number of nodes           for route propagation and disseminating
lessly, can do more than efforts to get       in one mesh?                                  information thru the network. there are
computers to them and the Internet. So                                                      a lot of different approaches and imple-
all in all much was learned, I think. And      . number of hops: what is the maximum        mentations which have to be compared,
then I was the one learning as I dirtied      number of hops? what is the thruput at        evaluated an possibly combined into one
my mind, intensely, with the German           the end of a route with N hops? which         better hybrid protocol
version of Mesh networking - the Mesh         function does the thruput follow? There
Cube from Berlin - where they have            are some theoretical assumptions on this      . address allocation: address allocation
30 residences connected up in just one        issue, which have to be verified.             in mesh networks is a big issue. IPv6 will
place, mesh.                                                                                be part of the solution, but there is still
                                               . metrics: how to measure the quality        some work to be done
Research Questions                            of a link? SNR, thruput, available/used
                                              bandwidth, effect (collisions) on the         . quality of service: prioritizing pack-
Here are some of the questions which          whole network, estimated transmission         ages, ensuring bandwith or delay require-
even one of the leading Mesh cube de-         count (ETX), manual metrics, correlation      ments of different applications. . channel
signers in Berlin - Bruno Rudolph - says      grades of nodes are possibilities, most of    usage: how to optimize channel usage?
require research                              which are not yet implemented. a more
                                              abstract combination of different metrics      . MAC layer and radio: the 802.11
. testing methods: how do you measure         may be needed for the best results            MAC and radio are not perfect for mesh
the quality of a mesh network?                                                              networking. research could go into full
                                               . group forming: in large networks it        duplex radios, software radio, and wide-
 Average thruput, latency, stability, reac-   may be useful to form clusters of highly      band spread spectrum (open spectrum).
tion time to mobility, convergence time       interconnected nodes within the network
of the network and scalability are some       to minimize links in the whole network.       In general mesh networks, aka mobile
variables, but how do you measure them        this could improve scalability by aggre-      ad-hoc networks (MANETs) are a pretty
and how do you combine them?                  gating subnetworks                            big field of research and we are currently
                                                                                            in a quite early phase - so there is a lot
when is the mesh “good”? different ap-        . security: trust models, encryption, au-     of work to be done until we have found a
proaches to these problems and different      thentication are issues which are mostly      more perfect mesh protocol.
routing protocols should be compared          unresolved in all current solutions. . load
and evaluated according to these vari-        balancing, sharing of different internet      Even what appears to be a simple prob-
ables. .                                      connections, alternate paths, trunking are    lem has not been solved yet - how do
                                              also unresolved issues                        you implement DHCP, instead of static
 . scalability: how well does the mesh                                                      IP addressing - which is used now - in a
network scale with the number of nodes?       . optimizing protocols: currently most        dynamic mesh??




                                                              21
Our Symposium Continues - September 12 - October 11
Looking at Open Access Fiber Architectures; QoS
Evolution in Context of What Gives Networks Value;
OPLAN as an Economic Model of Open Access, and
Wireless in Community Network Evolution Highlights
Open Access Fiber                             jobs are being denied existence because         there is more room for Light Reading’s
                                              of that. [And later Francois added:]            characterization of Andrew’s world view
Network – What Role for
QoS?                                          When I almost went to work for VIP-             http://www.lightreading.com/document.
                                              Switch, I told them that I wanted to build      asp?doc_id=58966
Editor’s Note: The discussion in the          the ultimate Open Access router with
December 2004 issue left off with a con-      them, by throwing a SIP proxy server            “QOS (quality of service) and measured
versation with Larry Roberts and Frank        and RTP proxy server in their box and           rates are moneymakers. Odlyzko says en-
Coluccio and others in which Roberts          then using SIP to perform per-session           couraging users - and network usage - is
was explaining how the Caspian router         flow routing on the flow fields (as well        the secret to a successful service. Charg-
could enable service providers to restrict    as on DSCP), but definitely not opening         ing flat or simple rates does this, while
the amount of network services taken by       up the envelopes to send the mail to the        trying to charge extra for QOS guaran-
peer-2-peer traffic.                          right truck.                                    tees does the opposite. It adds complex-
                                                                                              ity to the network and confuses users.”
Coluccio: But to set aside the lower-life     Why is that that no one has built this
aspects of P2P (as in music/movie pirat-      box?                                            COOK Report: Now Light Reading’s
ing, and so on), one would think that a                                                       framing the question that such rates “are
more discriminating form of treatment         COOK Report: I am trying to grapple             moneymakers” in my opinion sets up
might be called for to differentiate be-      with Francois’ concern as the net user          a straw man that is too easy to knock
tween the legit and illegitimate flavors      who wants an end-to-end pipe to pour his        down.
of its usage, as in when flows ARE le-        bits in and wants no one to touch them
gitimate, such as those that are being        until they get to the other side. I think the   Moneymakers? Who knows? Is ANY-
performed by edu-research organiza-           David P Reed ideal of the end-to-end in-        ONE making money?? Can QoS “de-
tions and by the Internet2 P2P working        ternet is great.                                vices” not be looked on as tools that give
group. All of which suggests that all P2P                                                     networks some control over their servic-
is not created equal, and perhaps should      Unfortunately without a sustainable busi-       es and therefore tools that some networks
be treated according to more discrimi-        ness model that does not now exist be-          will want to use to consolidate some kind
nating criteria than those that have been     cause the LECs and MSOs control the             of economically sound equilibrium? Un-
mentioned or implied here, thus far. And      last mile, the end-to-end net has brought       til we get to an open access nirvana, we
for all I know, those criteria have already   us chaos. If the market would shake out         will face the nasty last mile situation and
been taken into account by Caspian and        on its own, fine. Given policy making in        we will have to deal with the fact that
others.                                       the US, LEC lobbying and bankruptcy             a best effort end-to-end internet allows
                                              laws that allow companies to reorganize         some technologies to take economic ad-
Melissa Davis: Interesting, Frank, much       rather than force disbandment, market           vantage over other technologies.
to think about. I wonder if it comes to       consolidation here is painfully slow.
whose oxen are screaming? The cus-                                                            I absolutely think that the open access
tomer? The investors who have interest        To my mind we have market conditions            fiber network architecture that Packet
in a return on their money, even if inter-    that are attractive for the use of QoS. We      Front exists to serve is the way to go.
est? How does one define, among flows,        likely have some networks and places            However even their edge router has QoS
which are and which not legitimate?           within over IP world where operational          capabilities built in.
                                              conditions will be friendly to these QoS
Francois Menard on September 12:              kinds of tools. Francois explains why his       I hope perhaps Matt Wegner could ex-
OK, we’re just dealing with bits here, but    mindset doesn’t like them... OK - fair          plain why and will cc a copy of this to
we are dealing with uncertainty which         enough - he can go to a different pro-          him directly.
remains unresolved and that runs against      vider?
an understood perception that it is OK to                                                     Francois in his posts also said: Therefore,
innovate and develop apps that do really      If we ever can get to the nirvana of open       if I want assured QoS end-to end and
consume lots of bandwidth and lots of         access fiber networks, then it seems that       flow routing, why then would I not ask

                                                           22
                                     The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
the network to perform per-session flow                                                      politician.”
control using IPv6 flow headers - and        “EvDO provides wireless data connec-
then perform admission control based on      tions that are 10 times as fast as a regu-      Given his inclusion of WiMAX, but only
the range of the IPV6 flow header rather     lar modem. Proponents say EvDO offers           after mentioning EvDO, first, I’d say that
than the DSCP bytes.                         huge advantages over WiFi, another wire-        he either went to a Qaulcomm seminar
                                             less data technology that is popping up         very recently that showcased Verizon’s
COOK Report: My question is does this        around the country in hotel lobbies and         latest CDMA release, or he’s enjoying a
describe the box that Larry Roberts has      coffee shops, and that it may even be the       free subscription to some technology let-
created edge router start-up Anagran to      long sought path around local telephone         ter not well grounded in reality.
build?                                       and cable companies’ lock on the high-
                                             speed Internet market in most residen-          Wireless and the 21st
FCCʼs Fourth Annual                          tial areas. EvDO would require wireless
                                                                                             Century Educational
                                             companies to spend billions of dollars to
Report on Advanced                           buy additional spectrum and update ev-          Paradigm
Telecom Capability                           ery cell tower in their networks with new
                                             software. But the industry is still smarting    Dave Hughes: Since I think that unli-
Coluccio: Here’s the FCC report card on      from the failure of other once promising        censed wireless, linked to the Internet
itself.                                      wireless technologies: In Europe, “3G”          is the ONLY new educational paradigm
                                             (third generation) technologies were sup-       since the little Red School House was in-
FCC 04-208, GN Docket No. 04-54              posed to transform the economy, turn-           vented, I have a view of how it should be
Fourth Report to Congress September 9,       ing cell phones into mini-entertainment         used that is even more radical than most
2004                                         centers, but reality failed to live up to the   internet advocates.
                                             hype.”
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/at-                                                    The ‘school-room’ was developed dur-
tachmatch/FCC-04-208A1.pdf                   Piquepaille: I’m not sure that telecom-         ing the last two centuries to emulate the
                                             munication companies have the cash to           workplace. A Forman (teacher) stands up
Nigel Ballard: I wonder if the FCC           invest in EvDO. But Verizon Wireless is         in front of 30 Workers (students) all com-
Chairman actually knows anything about       currently testing Lucent and Nortel tech-       ing to Work (school) at 8 AM, to not only
wireless, or is merely a politician.         nologies while other companies already          be taught academic subjects but ALSO to
                                             deployed it.                                    learn habits of work - in pace with each
And I quote: “By making licensed and                                                         other with a boss at the front.
unlicensed spectrum available for wire-      Then in August 2004 in WiFi Network-
less broadBand uses, we have seen an         ing News. “Rumors are flying that Veri-         But what is the nature of future ‘work?’
explosion of wireless access points us-      zon is in the midst of building out EvDO        By 1977 there were more white col-
ing technologies (such as EvDO and           in New York City: NYC will serve as a           lar workers than blue collar - and the
WiMAX) that allow unfettered Internet        crucial example of how the higher-speed         percentages of ‘knowledge’ workers
access across the country.” [Editor: This    mobile data networks compete next to            is increasing. Future work will be less
fanciful quote appears on page 5 of a 60     Wi-Fi. Both networks have upsides in the        and less lockstep, face to face real time,
page report.]                                city. Wi-Fi is higher speed, lower cost,        supervised, and more collaborative, re-
                                             and available in many places. EvDO will         mote from each other, self-disciplined,
I’d like to see just one WiMAX access        be lower speed, higher cost, but available      and asynchronous. So when do we start
point let alone an explosion of them!        in more places (although cellular cover-        teaching THOSE habits of work? Only in
                                             age is notoriously bad in the city).” http://   college?
Additionally, I know of no unfettered        wifinetnews.com/archives/004096.html
EvDO access anywhere.                                                                        Peter Kruckenberg: Certainly more and
                                             COOK Report: WiMax has the buzz but             more work will become asynchronous
Editor: Strange comments indeed. EvDO        real deployment, contrary to Powell’s           and remote. But it hasn’t been shown yet
is a proprietary technology of Verizon       assertion, is a year away. Om Malik’s           that these can replace face-to-face real-
Wireless. In January 2003 it was men-        September 2004 assertion on EvDO                time communication. All we know is that
tioned in a French blog that cited a Wash-   was short: “bah humbug!” http://www.            they can supplement face-to-face com-
ington post article. http://radio.weblogs.   gigaom.com/2004/09/verizon_evdo_                munication.
com/0105910/2003/01/23.html                  .php One must wonder whom was Powell
                                             trying to fool by such factually inaccurate     Ineffective communications is still, and
Roland Piquepaille wrote: But phone          statements.                                     will probably always be, the biggest in-
companies are already busy testing a new                                                     efficiency in business (and probably all
high-speed technology named EvDO             Coluccio: Nigel Ballard asked “I won-           aspects of life). Further offloading com-
(Evolution Data Only), according to the      der if the FCC Chairman actually knows          munications tasks to non-face-to-face
Washington Post.                             anything about wireless, or is merely a         processes only intensifies the importance

                                                              23
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
of effective face-to-face communica-             ready do this. Many of them have wide-        can become reality. School I.T. depart-
tions.                                           spread deployments of 802.11 as WWAN          ments which are notoriously understaffed
                                                 and WLAN. I don’t think this is a techni-     cannot even keep up with maintaining
Unfortunately, even though communi-              cal or educational issue.                     the computers in the totally “controlled”
cations, and especially effective inter-                                                       environment of the school (W)LAN. I
personal communications, is the most             Hughes: But after getting a good grip         can’t imagine what kind of support staff
critical skill for success in life, especially   on the open source Mesh devices, I will       would be required to support thousands
in the work-place, our education system          modify that. That the school should de-       of computers in thousands of homes/li-
does little to teach it directly. At least it    ploy Meshcubes throughout the School          braries each with their own user-installed
is an indirect result of being in the same       District boundaries so that, without the      network on dozens of ISPs.
classroom together.                              strict line of sight requirements that
                                                 plain server-client Wi-Fi type radios re-     Hughes: So now I will await the tradi-
Hughes: Well, if I were the education            quire, every students home could easily       tionalists to tell me the best of all pos-
Czar of America, I would require all             be within short range of a mesh access        sible worlds is for kids to take the lost
School Superintendents and Principals to         point, which itself can hop, hop, hop to      time to get to a building from home ev-
put up on the roof of their schools anten-       the school and its servers. So that ev-       ery morning, and then sit on hot seats in
nas for unlicensed radios, connect them          ery kid can be expected to do his or her      rows while a teacher deals with them like
to their school servers, AND out through         homework and assignment nights and            a factory foreman would. And wait until
gateways that the school is being charged        weekend, linked broadBand to the school       they get to college - if they go - before
for 24/7 (while they are only used a frac-       (and be able to work collaboratively with     learning the technologies of the future.
tion of the time - between maybe 8 and 2,        other students, via the school wireless
school days only.)                               network!) Thus learning how to learn and      Unlicensed wireless could support that in
                                                 work, online, and not just while sitting in   spades. Thanks, Sebastian, for introduc-
Now up until my trip to Dursland and re-         rows of last century seats.                   ing the German mesh cube to me in Den-
ally getting to understand and play with                                                       mark. Just what I need to revolutionize
Berlin Meshcube mesh radios, I WAS               And where does the money come from            the educational methods of 55,000,000
going to say “...and the school should ei-       to pay for all this? Well, I would also re-   bored American school kids and the
ther give, loan, or check out like books”        quire students NOT to come to the physi-      3,000,000 of their teachers! And know
an 802.11b rig that can access every stu-        cal school every school day, but work         what the first assignment is to the kids?
dent’s home within the boundaries of the         from away (home, library, other places)       Put up your own home wireless link to
School District (and their teachers) and         at least one day a week. And NOT build        the school!
insure that every student and teacher has        new schools for 1000 students with 1000
a broadBand wireless connection to and           hot seats to be occupied just 6 hours out     BroadBand Over Power
through the school, whether or not the           of every 24 by squirming bottom kids
parents have even an AOL account.                - bored to death in many schools today.       Line and Alternatives
                                                 Thus saving at least one-fifth the cost of
                                                                                               Retzer: I don’t disagree with anything
Kruckenberg: Some higher-ed and pub-             new school construction! And use that
                                                                                               you wrote in this message but I’m won-
lic-ed schools in Utah have tried to do          money for the future modes of learning
                                                                                               dering if you’ve looked into broadBand
this. They were met with fierce opposi-          and working by the kids! (No, E-rate
                                                                                               over power line for rural areas. Seems
tion, especially from the telecom indus-         would only be needed to buy the wire-
                                                                                               like it could, at least in theory be ideal
try, who see that as government interfer-        less to LINK the school buildings to each
                                                                                               for rural electric co-ops.
ing in the business of the private sector.       other at DS3 speeds at least, and to the
Some school districts have been sued for         upstream ISP location)
                                                                                               Savage: I have long been of the view that
anti-competitive behavior (yes, even in
                                                                                               broadBand-over-power-lines is vapor-
rural areas) because they provided free          Kruckenberg: This is an interesting
                                                                                               ware in the US. Basically, as I understand
or reduced access for staff or students          idea.
                                                                                               it, that there isn’t really a workable means
at home, and “robbed” the local ISP of
                                                                                               to get the high-data-rate signal through
business.                                        However, the idea of kids on the ‘net
                                                 unsupervised makes me shudder. Un-            the transformer, but at the same time, the
The organization I work for (a legislative                                                     US power grid, transformers are placed
                                                 less you are actively involved in the dis-
agency) could easily offer broadBand ac-                                                       so deep into the network (i.e., so near the
                                                 ciplinary side of public education, you
                                                                                               customer) that there are a zillion of them,
cess to the rural communities we connect         wouldn’t be aware of how easy it is for
                                                                                               making it uneconomic to just run a little
to, for very reduced or no charge. Any-          kids to get into very serious trouble, even
                                                                                               fiber jumper cable around each of them.
time we get anywhere near doing any-             when they are on the ‘net in a monitored
thing that could be remotely construed to        lab or classroom.
                                                                                               But I am merely an (I hope) informed
be that, we get our hands slapped by any
                                                                                               layman, not a real techie.
number of private-sector groups. Any             The ‘net and PC technology and I.T. fund-
school district (at least in Utah) could al-     ing has to come quite a way before this
                                                                    24
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
Hughes: I have been watching the ‘broad-        cation useless.                                interference, noise problems is a big mi-
Band over power lines’ discussions for                                                         nus for larger installations, especially in
quite a while, but it appears it will be five   ‘The interference on typical Amateur           thinly populated areas,
years or more before any real networks          Radio equipment shows received un-
get set up, and if I know Utility compa-        desired signal levels in excess of 60 dB       It seems to make sense for dense building
nies they will first develop, deploy it sell    over S9 on the receiver’s signal strength      blocks, but I have doubts that it makes
it to urban, or suburban customers where        meter,” ARRL General Counsel Chris             sense in rural settings.
the market concentration is, long before        Imlay, W3KD, told FCC officials on the
they will reach rural America.                  League’s behalf. “The utility and Electric     COOK Report: On October 25 we read
                                                BroadBand were contacted, and no re-           http://www.boston.com/business/tech-
But I did find it interesting that after        sponse was received.” The ARRL assert-         nology/articles/2004/10/25/utilities_
FCC Chairman Powell put up - with a             ed that both companies are aware that the      take_pass_on_offering_broadband/
great public splash, a ‘blog’ on ‘Alway-        BPL field trial has been causing harmful
sOn Network’ where he reportedly would          interference and “neither has taken any        Utilities take pass on offering broadBand
read from the Silicon Valley geeks their        steps to either resolve it or terminate the    Most firms skeptical of providing ser-
views on extending broadBand, (1) he            test.’                                         vice over power lines - By Peter J. Howe,
has never to my knowledge posted any-                                                          Globe Staff
thing after his first screed - though some      ARRL called on the FCC to instruct Elec-
FCC staffers have told me they read any-        tric BroadBand and APS to shut down the        "The nation’s top telecommunications
thing posted there but (2) a whole bunch        BPL trial immediately and not resume           regulators are convinced that electric-
of knowledgeable posters to the blog have       operation until it can demonstrate that all    power lines are finally ready to become a
been, and are, discussing and debating          interference issues have been resolved. It     revolutionary new way for Americans to
broadBand over power lines. More than           also insisted that the FCC immediately         get high-speed Internet access, unleash-
any other topic. Completely drowned             revoke any STAs granted for the Cot-           ing competition for cable and phone gi-
out my one posting on wireless. You can         tonwood or nearby operations, and that         ants."
see it at http://www.alwayson-network.          it institute forfeiture proceedings against
com/comments.php?id=4830_0_4_0_C                the two companies for knowingly caus-          "But the utility companies that would
- if you just scroll down through Powell’s      ing harmful interference.                      actually deploy the services remain over-
initial statement, you will get all the post-                                                  whelmingly skeptical. Of the nearly 160
ed comments. You only have to register a        Engineer also posted: So the battle is on.     investor-owned utilities in the United
logon id and password if you want to add        With a large number of hurdles, techni-        States, dozens have tried out ‘’broad-
a comment. Lots of the current postings         cal and regulatory before BPL (the latest      Band over power line” systems. Only
are complaining about the ‘severe inter-        acronym) is ready for prime time - and         one -- Cinergy Corp. in Cincinnati -- has
ference’ to some wireless - especially in       Podunk USA, population 300, will get           moved ahead with a significant commer-
Ham Bands (AARL has complained bit-             it. (and I wonder about the ‘last half mile    cial rollout, so far attracting barely 1,500
terly to the FCC). Here is the latest post-     BPL’ from the utility substation, over tele-   subscribers. Dozens of utilities that ran
ing:                                            phone power line wires, to one’s humble        trials of the service in the last three years
                                                rural farmhouse. By the time it gets there     took a pass on making a business venture
“DOCUMENTED INTERFERENCE:                       some politically correct outfit will claim     of it."
                                                its radiation will give cancer to egg-lay-
NEWINGTON, CT, Aug 17, 2004--The                ing chickens)                                  "Locally, Western Massachusetts Electric
ARRL has asked the FCC to immediately                                                          Co. is starting up a 25-home trial in Aga-
shut down a broadBand over power line           Buettrich: An immediate comment on             wam of a hybrid system that carries Net
(BPL) field trial in the Cottonwood, Ari-       power line technology in rural areas           traffic on medium-voltage lines and uses
zona, area because it’s causing “severe         would be, that unreliable or nonexistent       wireless gear for the last-mile connection
interference” to Amateur Radio commu-           power grids typically are one of the big-      to homes. But the state’s two dominant
nication. Electric BroadBand LLC and            gest problem in such areas, so it might        electric utilities are both steering clear."
utility APS have been operating the BPL         be risky having net services rely on it.
experiment at two Yavapai County sites          Avoiding that dependence might be              David P. Reed: Folks - two quick com-
since June under a Special Temporary            smarter. Avoid the wires.                      ments from the iconoclast who just joined
Authorization (STA) the FCC granted to                                                         you:
Electric BroadBand in March. Michael            We have seen broadBand over power
Kinney, KU7W, filed the first Amateur           lines in quite a few bigger deployments        Framing -- One probably ought to ques-
Radio complaint in June. It cited testing       here in Denmark - some 100s/1000s of           tion the assumption that the term “rural”
by the Verde Valley Amateur Radio As-           households, some Mbps of bandwidth             is a useful frame for this discussion. I cer-
sociation (VVARA) in the 1.8-30 MHz             (the systems here typically work at 4.5        tainly do.
range showing that BPL interference             / 2.2 Mbps ) The need for repeaters ev-
makes attempts at ham radio communi-            ery few hundred meters of wire. let alone      There are three reasons I raise this issue:

                                                                  25
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                               goal was to include all possible network       fueling and relative stationary location.
1) The political power related to commu-       technologies, and provide just enough          They are vulnerable to local guerillas
nications in “rural” states is just as geo-    unity through interoperability to cre-         and teenage vandalism, but the experi-
graphically concentrated as it is in the US    ate the largest possible synergy. Thus,        ence given to me by people deploying
as a whole. It’s a quirk of the US con-        the discussion ought to focus on how to        this is that once the cell phone distribu-
stitution that states full of wastelands get   integrate diverse technologies for their       tion reaches a critical mass, the locals
extra political power for their citizens.      diverse benefits, especially since there       withdraw support for the vandals and
The people in Boise drive Idaho politics,      is no one thing that we can agree on as        disrupters.
and the people in Las Vegas drive Ne-          “rural”.
vada politics.                                                                                But, as a non-iconoclast (perhaps more
                                               Kruckenberg: So “Internet” is to net-          mainstream iconoclast) from an econom-
Retzer: I disagree, at least in Oregon         works what “capitalism” is to econom-          ics point-of-view: “low earth orbit satel-
and I suspect a number of other western        ics or “democracy” to society: it doesn’t      lites” seems to me to be way over the top.
states. There is a major urban-rural po-       claim to be the best way, only the least-      It has been tried with enormous loss of
litical divide in this country with cities     worst.                                         capital and failure of companies because
largely democrat and rural areas largely                                                      of the expense and a population unwill-
republican. The republicans pretty much        Not only are there diverse and compet-         ing to bear it.
control our legislature, which means that      ing technologies, but one of the great-
rural areas get a disproportionate say in      est tensions is between the simplicity         There are simple and readily understood
matters. We also have a tradition in this      and lower costs of operating a single- or      physics here that should take the lift out
country of honoring those who live in          few-technology network, vs. the multi-         of the sails of the most rabid of visionar-
rural area. I think these are both good        demensional value offered by a diverse-        ies: specifically, the 400-600 mile high
things, but the fact of the matter is that     technology network which has a higher          orbits are high atmospheric drag regions.
the rural folks get a lot of consideration     operational complexity and cost.               Friction, at the speeds they have to travel
and respect, despite all their complaints                                                     to maintain orbit, both slows them down
to the contrary.                               As a network operator, I wish that it          as well as generates inertial heat and stat-
                                               would be possible to focus the conver-         ic electricity.
Reed: 2) Rural topography is not uni-          sation on picking one single technology,
form. There’s been a lot of success with       because it’d make my job so much easi-         Low earth orbits therefore are inherently
wireless in Vail because it is a bowl, so      er. Unfortunately, in the process making       unstable. They don’t last long. Would
the mountains create easy infrastructure.      the network so useless to the users that I     you require NASA or the FCC to build
But Vermont is bowl-free, and instead          wouldn’t have a job. Compromises.              re-usable space shuttle planes to re-fuel
full of modest, short-wavelength hills and                                                    and re-stabilize? Or would you “simply
evergreen forests. Hawaii and the coastal      Reed: Why not VLEO repeaters (also             launch more!” and have the taxpayer or
regions have to cope with water, which         known as balloons) leading to LEO (low         some unfortunate dreamer try to mass-
changes the equation for laying cables.        earth orbit) satellites? Not as a single so-   produce launch vehicles one could buy at
Fiber and electric deployment challenges       lution, but as one modest gap-filling ad-      Wal*mart prices? And, that isn’t going to
are equally diverse.                           dition to the ecology, now that we have a      happen because available launch vehicles
                                               network (the Internet) that doesn’t have       are an enormous terrorist risk, both from
3) Rural economics aren’t uniform. Not         to be wholly owned by a bunch of junk-         foreign adversaries as well as the right
all “rural” people are poor, though the        bond-funded, rent-seeking speculators          wing evangelicals here who could stop
image of poor rural folks is the political     (exaggeration for emphasis, since I love       just assassinating abortion doctors, but
icon often raised when trying to exercise      economic competition). Given the prog-         could lob them with explosives at range.
the power benefits described in (1).           ress being made at 60-90 GHz in radio,
                                               and the fact that satellites and balloons      Policy Economics of
The fallacy of the single solution -- The      can be closer than your neighbor in many
Internet was radical because it fought the     farming communities, this seems worth          Fiber to the Consumer
assumption that there needed to be a glob-     trying out, and may actually help places
                                                                                              Economically, this suggests to me the
al answer. The Internet is NOT a technol-      like Vermont or Micronesia.
                                                                                              starry-eyed dream of the “forced FTTH”
ogy, nor is it a single system. We who
                                                                                              infrastructure. Could it be done? Without
built it gave it a unitary name as a trick     Davis: Balloons, maybe. Weather bal-
                                                                                              doubt, but that would take political will,
of semantics - it is a way of reifying the     loons with small ATM switches, RF
                                                                                              a lot of time, and either monopoly pro-
idea that all communications is/should be      receivers and transmitters have been
interoperable (building on Shannon’s ob-       deployed in some inner regions of devel-       tected Cap-Ex/Op-Ex, anathema to many
                                                                                              on this list.
servation that all communications could        oping countries to provide cellular com-
be quantified in terms of bits).               munications.
                                                                                              Or run it like the sewers where some gov-
But the key idea in the Internet is that its   Balloons are cheap. Tethering allows re-       ernment agency or mandated developer

                                                                   26
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
runs the sewer line down the street. The        stable at this point or am I wrong? Clear-
home owner or multifamily association           ly Ethernet would need periodic refresh       I don’t like wavelengths, WDM or oth-
or coop, or property owner that is man-         but that’s cheap in the grand scheme of       erwise for this solution but rather simple
dated to spend the min $1500 per home/          things.                                       Ethernet because, if you start selling it all
dwelling for connection? In my opinion                                                        as Lambdas, then you have service pro-
politically impossible.                         Kruckenberg: Government doesn’t need          viders walling off customers again. Rath-
                                                to *do* it, they only need to finance it.     er, just use the simple approach that al-
Kruckenberg: What makes it politically          Governments are not good at doing this        lows any service provider to send packets
impossible is not the $1500 per home. We        kind of thing. They are much better at        via a local switch so that the customer can
pay much more than that already for side-       staying around a long time and having         buy services from any/all they choose.
walk and curb repairs and street improve-       good bond ratings, so they can get money
ments, not to mention utility connections       cheaply to pay someone to build it and        Coluccio: It needn’t be so. Once a lamb-
when the home is constructed. Most like-        spread the costs out over a long pay-         da is passed through a media converter
ly this would be funded over 10+ years.         back.                                         (transponder) it takes the form of wire-
                                                                                              line. I don’t share your concern here.
UTOPIA in Utah has already proven (as           This isn’t much different than how most
far as getting tax-payer-backed bond            utilities are run today. Governments usu-     Retzer: As for the willingness of people
funding) that homeowners will even fight        ally just pass bond issues for the con-       to pay, I had in mind this being a govern-
the strong lobbying of the local telco/ca-      struction costs and then hire private         ment-funded program. As for the busi-
bleco to fund at these levels. Plus this cost   companies to build and even operate the       ness futures of the IXC, this would give
will come down. Elsewhere on this list it       utilities. They only keep things in-house     them a tremendous lift as it would open
has been said to be at $600. The politi-        when they are small-scale and relatively      the last and rapidly mutliple demand sev-
cal impossibility is the diminishing abil-      inexpensive. Networks make this out-          eral times. You would see the full con-
ity of the RBOC, cableco and politicians        source model even more compelling, as         vergence everyone has talked about for
to hold back the demand for this kind of        the on-going costs are much more than         years.
infrastructure.                                 with other utilities.
                                                                                              Coluccio: I’m not so sure about that, at
Davis: Or a voluntary payment of the            UTOPIA in Utah is adopting this model,        least not in the sense that it has been true
connection fee, and then an enormous            where UTOPIA is essentially just a gov-       thus far. With today’s piddly DSL and
increase in cost for the additional band-       erning body with bonding authority, and       limited rate cable modem services, I’d
width?                                          everything else (design, construction, op-    agree, because those give the end user just
                                                erations) is outsourced. A few other cities   enough empowerment to begin reaching
Retzer: Visualize a government monop-           who started out doing almost everything       over the WAN for content. Move up two
oly providing local “last mile” FTTH and        themselves are now seriously consider-        or three orders of magnitude to 100 Mb/s
layer 1-2 Ethernet with QoS available           ing adopting the UTOPIA model.                or Gigabit E, and the calculus begins to
to common local interconnection points                                                        change in favor of r-t /nr-t and burst-like
with mandated open access to those pro-         Where Do You Allow                            last mile transmission that is more sup-
viding services with competitive access                                                       portive of a business model that includes
from that point.                                QoS in a Consumer                             hierarchical media caching and sourc-
                                                Fiber Architecture?                           ing at the local SP level, or at one of any
Kruckenberg: MPLS over fiber would                                                            number of horizontally equivalent loca-
work very well, too.                            Coluccio: Do we consider QoS as some-         tions or virtual locations.
                                                thing native to Layers 1 and 2? Maybe
Retzer: This would provide the high             it is in ATM, and where prioritization is     In the model I’ve just described, end
speed fixed infrastructure you need to          invoked in Ethernet. But this becomes         users could enjoy very cheap ‘on- net’
do literally anything you could imagine         an administrative factor at some point        bandwidth (meaning that they don’t leave
or want for quite a few years. It is un-        that would require the complicity of the      the local fiber access net) to the local vir-
imaginable to me that this wouldn’t be          Layer 2 provider in concert with the con-     tual video store, for example, and only
worth $1500 per dwelling unit and this is       tent provider where programming is con-       pay higher bandwidth consumption rates
coming from someone who is not a fan of         cerned, no? And as such, we’ve departed       demanded by Gigabit E access speeds
government programs.                            at that point from the plain vanilla form     when they operate at full throttle and go
                                                of down and dirty transport.                  off net.
The biggest argument I hear against this
sort of thing is government programs or         Retzer: We’re starting to see some QOS        I am interested in hearing comments on
monopolies are not very good at keep-           tags at least in layer 2, aren’t we? In any   these assumptions, since it’s been some-
ing up with technology or at reinvesting        case, if we had a government-sponsored        thing that has been gnawing at me for a
to keep infrastructure up to speed. How-        FTTH then I’d say just keep the door open     while.
ever, it seems to me that fiber is relatively   for standards-based layer 2 solutions.

                                                                27
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
Coluccio [earlier]: I didn’t realize it until   cessful and sustainable, before that can
recently (don’t know how I missed it, ac-       be answered. It’s hard to imagine it won’t    Who needs to buy an upgraded PC to
tually), but CANet3 did a some excellent        eventually be like the street or highway      “get the most” out of their sparkling new
work very early on in depicting last mile       system “partnership” between govern-          cable-modem or DSL connection? It’s
open access scenarios in their 1997 paper       ment, taxpayers and citizen and business      not like you can access any new appli-
on competitive access points (CAPs) in          users. But it’s hard to not project the fu-   cations with broadBand. Your email and
the local loop. They used WDM tech-             ture linearly, even though the future is      Web download faster, but they still work
nologies to create multiple virtual fibers      rarely a linear projection.                   just fine with that P3-450.
(lambdas), where one or two lambdas per
service provider were allocated, instead        Bandwidth is Not the                          Davis: Ten years is a long time for a lot
of the usual twisted pair handoffs. This is                                                   of small operators living hand-to-mouth.
precisely the design that I’ve advocated        Only Differentiator
be used for the purpose of sharing fiber                                                      You are correct about GRID and DATA
                                                Davis: Further, the “bandwidth only as
in ILEC feeder and distribution plant, but                                                    Center networking. I am well familiar
                                                differentiator” is an argument that fails
until now it has not been feasible due to                                                     with those, perhaps not all or as fully
                                                precisely because of the ignorance that
costs. Now that costs seem to be in check                                                     as those who work with these applica-
                                                exists over how the layered model works
to a greater degree than ever before and it                                                   tions daily. I have done the TCP Window
                                                in business practice.
is feasible to do this, the regs and courts                                                   scaling in Solaris and in Linux. Have
have stepped in to say that the CLECs                                                         never mastered it in Windows, but my
cannot use ILEC fiber (or else, the ILECs       Kruckenberg: I would point out that           personal Windows box, used only when
                                                this ignorance declines significantly as
will take their ball and go home with it).                                                    the business laptop lacks the power for
                                                people are confronted with real problems      CAD intensive apps or MSO with “Track
See Fig. 1 - “A possible GITH Architec-         that require better understanding of the      Changes” and “Comments (which do not
                                                layers.
ture”                                                                                         interoperate with OpenOffice since MS
                                                                                              broke the Word and PPT XML to prevent
                                                The cluster and grid-computing commu-
http://makeashorterlink.com/                                                                  inter-op, and therefore and MUST be done
                                                nity is acutely aware of where bottlenecks
?W5E124F49                                                                                    in Windows. On the other hand, valuing
                                                are. The Web100 initiative has worked         security, my personal XP machine is only
                                                for years on eliminating or reducing bot-
As for whether anyone would want to                                                           connected to the local network when the
                                                tlenecks in the common PC architecture
spend $1000 to S1500, I think it would                                                        broadBand is disconnected. Otherwise I
                                                (including TCP window optimization,
depend on, among other things, how                                                            use always reliable Linux to CD/DVD to
                                                modifying the slow-start/back-off algo-
much of a say residents had in the ar-                                                        Windows “SneakerNet.”
                                                rithm, TCP/IP stack performance, and
chitecture (including features and capa-
                                                more). Several IEEE 802.3 efforts are
bilities) of what was being proposed, and                                                     I do remember when I was at Cisco the
                                                driven by cluster computing needs (such
whether or not it could be included as a                                                      work on “Reliable UDP” as a means of
                                                as ultra-low-latency “data center Ether-
part of household improvements, hence                                                         getting around the TCP bottleneck. You
                                                net”). The Internet2 community has been
eligible for mortgage and equity consid-                                                      have inspired me to look up the recent
                                                a strong advocate and adopter of Ethernet
erations during tax time. The latter was                                                      progress on that. You are so right about
                                                jumbo frames for improved throughput,
proposed as one of the parameters that                                                        sizing of a machine for network intensive
                                                as well as several protocols that can sus-
communities should explore in a book                                                          applications.
                                                tain much high throughput than TCP un-
titled “The Last 100 Feet”, which I’ve
                                                der a variety of network conditions.
mentioned here a few times before.                                                            Kruckenberg: When the first mile is
                                                                                              no longer the biggest bottleneck, other
                                                Unfortunately, outside of environments
Davis: And how much more bandwidth                                                            bottlenecks will be important to remove.
                                                where there’s a real need for this kind of
would be functional? Would you then                                                           This has already been demonstrated in
                                                performance, not much is happening. Not
command a regulation to eliminate over-                                                       the grid-computing environment. When
                                                for lack of want. Intel would like nothing
subscription in the Edge/ISP zone? Those                                                      the network was good enough to sup-
                                                more than to meet real needs from users
are presently unregulated “Information                                                        port the application that the researchers
                                                for faster MB’s and CPU’s. But realis-
Services.” The cost to upgrade on the                                                         wanted to run on the grid, they could start
                                                tically, why does a user need anything
part of one or a few would make them                                                          focusing on other bottlenecks within the
                                                more than ATA-66 and a 1.5-2GHz CPU?
uncompetitive with lower cost provid-                                                         grid. Until then, what was the point?
                                                Even if they need more than that, it’s be-
ers, that is all that most home users care
                                                cause they are running some CPU-bound
about.                                                                                        Intel would like nothing more that to sell
                                                process (gaming or business analysis),        you a new MB and CPU, and Nvidia a
                                                not a network-intensive process. Because
Kruckenberg: The RBOCs have to go                                                             new GPU, that can support a new breed
                                                even if they wanted to, a 486-33 can eas-
bankrupt and the legacy voice funding                                                         of applications that require 40-80 Mb/s.
                                                ily saturate any broadBand connection in
model demonstrated to be obsolete, and                                                        Maybe Longhorn will be ready by then,
                                                the US without breaking a sweat.
the new data-driven model made suc-                                                           too (Microsoft has similar motivations
                                                                   28
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
to support performance-motivated up-           more technical document, the latter more
grades, though probably not as fast as         informational as explanation.                Server hosts do not work on the “as-
Intel and Nvidia). Linux and OS X are                                                       sumed Green Party Internet premises.”
already ready to support these kinds of        6. Absent scaling of TCP Windows, the        There is no incentive for an application
applications.                                  larger the pipe, one of two conditions re-   or ftp or storage host to allow “just any
                                               sult: the emptier the pipe, limited by the   old Internet user” to monopolize their
We have Moore’s Law operating (at least        SYN/ACK/SYN, OR the more chaotic             machine and its ability to service its pay-
to a degree) on the network side of the        the pipe with bursts and troughs.            ing customers and its other customers.
desktop--traffic doubling annually--as                                                      SysAdmins use policies to throttle back
well as on the CPU/GPU side, but we            7. Microsoft, refusing to rebuild a desk-    the bandwidth of TCP sessions. They can
are not getting there in between, from the     top operating system into a networking       do it crudely, but more and more they use
network card to the CPU (the OS and ap-        machine, took the cheap path with TCP        more sophisticated methods of control-
plications). Somehow the rest of the sys-      Windowing. Retaining the Windowing           ling their cost and their uptime with the
tem has to bridge that gap, to make it so.     system, if a squelch or lost packet signal   onslaught of MS Windows “aggressive
                                               is received, Windows simply doubles the      TCP” (doubling the session requests . .
Davis: Somebody’s Law, Jere Retzer             number of TCP session requests, again        . and they do it with amazingly simple
knows whose, notes the obvious fact that       and again, until, the Windows operating      procedures.
throughput is bound by the slowest sys-        systemsthemselves constitute a DDoS at-
tem/component/element.                         tack engine, even if the Windows hosts       Kruckenberg: At some point, it’ll be-
                                               are not already full of “bot” programs on    come compelling enough to optimize per-
Here are the throttle points:                  the machines. In other words, to quote a     formance to support the better-connected
                                               poster I bought from “Thinkgeek.com”:        end users. All of these applications are
1. older motherboards, in wide use, which      When You Earnestly Believe You Can           network-bound now, with the HDD and
only recently have broken the 33MHz            Compensate For A Lack Of Skill By            CPU mostly sitting idle. I could see sev-
barrier                                        Doubling Your Efforts, There’s No End        eral orders-of-magnitude performance
                                               To What You Can’t Do.                        increases with optimizations like using
2. ATA-66 and ATA-100 are nominals                                                          IP-based storage that can completely re-
and myths in practice                          Kruckenberg: People keep buying Win-         move the CPU and bus from a file trans-
                                               dows (whether by their own choice or         fer by speaking directly to the network
3. TCP is going to synchronize the ses-        not), and as long as they do, Microsoft      switch fabric. But nothing we do now
sion at the lowest speed. I have 7200 rpm      can take their time resolving the problems   really requires this kind of performance
drives and state-of-the-art mobos in my        that a relatively small percentage of cus-   (well, it does, but it’s not urgent to solve
lab, 100Mbp/s via switch or x-over cable.      tomers notice. You can bet that as soon      in any different way).
No matter what tool I pick to measure,         as consumers need an OS that can pump
the sustained DTR (data transfer rate)         out 40-80Mb/s without falling over, Mi-      AOL: A Cost Effective
with an ftp (or http/ftp, which is the same    crosoft will ramp up the marketing (first
thing as the http interface gives way to       to show that what we have is all that we     Way to Run a Huge
ftp for the file xfer) is 3.8 Mbp/s, about     need, then that what we have will do what    Backbone- Web Cache
the actual sustainable rate of a 10Mbp/s       we need, then that they will deliver what
Ethernet NIC.                                  we need eventually, then that what they      Vijay Gill: I run what is probably the
                                               delivered is all that we need, repeat).      world’s largest non-govt web cache in-
4. Ethernet is a “false advertising” target.                                                frastructure as a part of my day job. [Edi-
The sustainable throughput is about 30%-       Maybe Linux and OS X will become the         tor: Vijay refers to the AOL Backbone.]
40% of nominal, whatever that nominal,         choice of high-bandwidth broadBand us-       If the cache starts to bottleneck, or actu-
with short bursts up to 550Mbp/s, tran-        ers for performance reasons, like has hap-   ally if it even starts to trend upwards, we
sients to 650/Mbp/s, and breakdown after       pened within the research community.         add additional capacity. Again, I say if
that which collapses the TCP Windowing                                                      the server host is going to chop off your
with its “fast back-off/slow-start”.           Davis: 8. Assuming none of the above         arms and legs, then they didn’t need to be
                                               apply, the slowest session-setting ma-       serving that content at that rate of speed
5. TCP Windows can be scaled, but such         chine will maximize the DTR . . . trans-     _anyway_. If there is incentive to deliver,
is almost impossible on a Windows ma-          lated: one can get a THz CPU, 2000GB         the market forces will ensure that the bot-
chine or a Mac. With Solaris, Linux, OS-       of RAM, a motherboard with optics, an        tleneck is mitigated.
X, it can be done, but it takes a great deal   OC-192 interface, buy a clean path di-
of skill and know-how to take advantage        rectly to the CORE; purchase privileged      Davis: There is simply no incentive for
of the bigger pipes. Please don’t take my      one-to-any provisioning RSVP through         an application/ftp/storage host to simply
word for this. Consult IETF RFC 1323           all the EDGE and CORE providers, and         “give you all you want whenever you
(V. Jacobsen, R. Braden, D. Borman)            the server host on the other end will chop   want it.”
and RFC 1379 (R. Braden). The first is a       off your arms and legs.

                                                               29
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
There are many on this list who have           connection and TDM as a means of fram-       Coluccio: Yes, of course, there are in-
signed on recently to the “network lay-        ing. My entire Internet backbone, carry-     stances when segments along a SONET
ers” model of regulating the Internet, yet     ing well over 160 gigabit/sec at the edge    ring fail for reasons other than physical
IMHO, acknowledging that this is a news        (single counted), runs over TDM. Does it     fiber breaks and node failures, and in
list and not a place for formal research ar-   mean I am using SONET as a protection        those cases it’s logical for IP convergence
ticles, such that people often, due to con-    method? Hell no. All I am doing is using     to take up the slack. But my questions
straints of time, write partial answers:       SONET as a framing. The protection is        above speak to the physical breaks and
                                               provided at the IP layer.                    node failures, not plant operating errors
The Network Layered Independence                                                            on the digital cross connect.
Model was a stroke of genius. But to work      Coluccio: Assuming the first part is true,
with the Internet, which is comprised of       which form of TDM are you using at su-       Vijay Gill: Right now, my IP takes a bit
all the layers but only address one or two     per high speeds that does NOT depend         longer to converge (on the order of 3
isn’t going to get one anywhere but po-        on SONET. And if the answer is that it       seconds or so). We can tune it down to
lemics or victimization (from a psycho-        SONET IS the underlying carriage, then       the order of a few hundred milliseconds.
logical standpoint, these have exactly the     does this mean that when the carriers’       There just has been no point to it. And
same root!).                                   rings fail they restore traffic, through a   yes, we run VoIP over this network. Yes,
                                               process of self healing, for everything      we have circuit failures. Yes, sometimes
People talk about the Inter-State Highway      BUT your traffic? I don’t understand.        we have to say ‘didn’t catch that, repeat
as a simile of the way things should be. If    Please explain how you can be running        please?’ It is far more reliable and better
the one, then the other. But the assump-       TDM at very high speeds and still not        quality than my cell phone service.
tions for each were entirely different. The    take advantage of the carriers’ regional
Inter-States were not built by academics       SONET rings’ self-healing.                   People tend to fixate on providing 100%
and researchers. The Inter-States were                                                      of the goal at all times. But in aggregate
never commercialized. The Internet met         Vijay Gill: I do not have a SONET ring. I    across my VoIP user base, the calls that
both. Personally, I laud the Intel proposal    buy unprotected wavelengths. The wave-       drop tend to be very few as a percentage
to build a new Internet as an overlay, one     lengths are presented to me with SONET       of active users due to multi-pathing when
built out of the box with new assump-          framing. There are no rings to fail. What    a circuit fails.
tions and new connection requirements.         happens is for example, if a northern path
                                               trench gets chopped, I fall over from the    Coluccio: Wow, you had me by the horns
Gill: Ah yes, this reminds me of a very        northern path to the middle or southern      on that one, Vijay. Thanks for taking
funny article, one which I will send a         path. IP routing takes care of all this.     the congenial approach out. I owe you
link to. It makes hilarious reading. http://                                                one. I wasn’t aware that all of your traf-
www.vijaygill.com/i2.html                      Coluccio: The next question would be,        fic (or, more likely, most of it) was over
                                               obviously, if you are actually receiving     unmanaged wavelengths. I was going to
Davis: This one, I already dub “the leg-       the benefit of self-healing (even if un-     ask, but refrained from doing so, if you
acy Internet” (with a smirk of the IP big-     solicited), then does your IP restoration    were using the protection bandwidth that
ots who fail to acknowledge that an IP         have enough time to go through full con-     is actually used for ring restoration dur-
packet is not a frame, will not go directly    vergence within the 50ms time frame that     ing breaks, which is something that some
over either electrical/copper or photon-       SONET heals?                                 SPs do to cut down on costs when they
ics/light; and who, in the bliss of igno-                                                   have adequate IP protection in place. But
rance, assert that if TDM could be magi-       Vijay Gill: Ah yes, the competing pro-       you obviously went a step above that.
cally destroyed, the whole world would         tects. I am not receiving the benefit of
be immediately basked in goodness and          any self-healing anything. I know this       So, if you’re running IP over framed OC
light. I suppose that these have no busi-      because my circuits tend to go down on       “n” lambdas (I’ll assume that “n” is ei-
ness to operate, no payroll to meet, no in-    a depressingly regular basis. But having     ther 48 or 192), does this mean you are
vestors to satisfy or plead with for more      worked on a backbone that was protect-       running POS? Or some other variant of
time, no SLA’s to report and may well          ed by being built on top of (some) full      a shim’ed Layer2 insert that I’m /we’re
be vendor double agents hoping to gain         SONET rings, we then ran ATM SPVCs           not aware of?
a fork-lift change-out in an already dis-      over those. And then we ran IP over the
tressed industry collapsing with the can-      SPVCs. What usually happened was that        Vijay Gill: “n” is 192. in the US and EU.
cer of asymmetric deflation.                   depending on failure mode, the SONET         We are running Packet of SONET (PoS).
                                               would reroute, the ATM switches would        We do utilize some protected waves in the
“Honesty is the best policy, but insanity      notice and would reroute the SPVCs, and      local metro area, but that is legacy design
is a better defense.” I give you the one,      sometimes ISIS would notice and reroute      on our own dark fiber infrastructure.
and won’t plead the other.                     IP. The resultant oscillation gonged the
                                               network for a good few minutes. Life is      Some presentations which talk more
Vijay Gill: People keep getting confused       very simple in comparison now.               about the backbone are available here:
with TDM as a method to transport a                                                         http://www.vijaygill.com/oi.pdf   and
                                                                  30
                                         The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
http://www.vijaygill.com/paix.pdf Keep           with and that makes the most sense to me         model. This was articulated in David Is-
in mind the PAIX presentation is fairly          is that the interstates are open to all traf-    enberg’ and Roxanne Googin’s Paradox
old by now. Eg, the EU map is now all            fic and do not treat different traffic differ-   of the Perfect Network. Where I am dis-
10 gig.                                          ently. As in an open access network at the       satisfied with this articulation is the as-
                                                 physical layer.                                  sumption that the perfect network (public
Coluccio: Along the lines of Lead Zep-                                                            Best Effort Internet) is the only one we
pelins <sic> and tethered balloons, here         During my first 12 years of the COOK             have. And that, like it or lump it, we are
are a couple of historical anecdotes and         Report I never bored into the subject of         stuck with it. It seems to me you have two
observations of mine from about three            network architect beyond a rather abstract       other BIG components - the PSTN - and
years ago concerning some of the ven-            view of the protocol stack. Over the past        private enterprise networks and that all
tures that were making the news at that          six months with this mail list (5 months         three of these over lap each other.
time. What has happened to them, and             and its predecessor “ng peer” 1 month)
who’s taken up the slack, where rural US         I have been getting an immersion in net-         Kruckenberg: The business model of
is concerned?                                    work architecture at multiple levels and         the ISP/bandwidth provider boils down
                                                 sense of, while the Best Effort Internet         to this: figure out a way to deliver 100%
http://makeashorterlink.com/                     really works and is getting better all the       more bandwidth every year without re-
?W2C911E49                                       time, it has draw backs for enterprises.         ceiving more revenue (or only a fraction
                                                                                                  more). Which means that the ISP has to
Reed: Enjoyed Melissa’s rant, where I            As TCP/IP becomes dominant every-                figure out how to cut costs (or decrease
understood it.                                   where, enterprises are going to use it -         quality) by 50% every year. Forever.
                                                 come what may – and, since they are us-
I don’t want to focus on LEO too much,           ing it, they have to figure to what extent       Not very sustainable.
but LEO systems are functioning today,           they will co-mingle their networks with
so they hardly violate the laws of physics.      the public internet and to what extent,          COOK Report: I would like to try to ex-
There haven’t been a lot of LEO systems          driven by security worries and perfor-           plore the business models of the three
built, because they keep getting bulked          mance requirements they feel compelled           (PSTN, Best Effort Internet, and En-
up with “features” that they “must have”         to build walled-gardens?                         terprise network) and their technology
according to those who love them too                                                              and policy interactions with each other.
much. (Iridium really failed on this di-         I am fascinated by the complexity of is-         I don’t see many people asking what it
mension, for example, because compared           sues facing enterprise CTOs who have             means when the 25 to 50 dollar per meg
to Geosync satellites, it tried to put all the   tens and sometimes 100s of millions of           per month transit prices currently in effect
functionality into orbit, violating the ba-      dollars to invest in maintaining, expand-        on most of the global long haul optical
sic principle of putting only the minimum        ing or building their corporate networks.        backbones are not enough to even pay the
necessary function “into the network”).          Fearing that it would be too rudimentary         backbone’s op-ex let alone anything else.
                                                 for the network experts on this list , a list    Some telcos will die, others will morph
I don’t understand the amazingly defen-          member sent me a flurry of private emails        into more model packet network pro-
sive reaction to the mention of the Inter-       the third week of July. I have done an           viders. Wireless - unlicensed and mesh
net that was triggered by my mention of          edit of that correspondence and am wait-         – will, I hope, be the next Tsunami.
its architectural goals. Reminds me of the       ing for the list member to smooth it out
purge of the Trotskiites in style - inferring    to his satisfaction before sharing it here       But in the meantime how do we better
all kinds of weird motivations and setting       and publishing it. So part of my on-go-          understand the complexity of the whole
up straw man positions for everyone un-          ing education is still under wraps as it         and if it possible to articulate some ra-
der the sun. (Really - what does the In-         were. This process however did surface           tional sense of where we go beyond the
terstate Highway system have to do with          publicly in my “it’s time to bury nethead        Paradox of the Perfect Network?
network interoperability?)                       versus bellhead polemics introduction”
                                                 to the November issue.                           Coluccio on September 17: Inspired by
Is the Problem                                                                                    yesterday’s Light Reading article on, yet
                                                 I am not sure whether you would agree            again, the plummeting prices of band-
Changing Network                                 or not, but I am fairly well convinced that      width, I was asked a similar question
Business Models or the                           large corporate networks, for a number           elsewhere. The answers, in my opinion,
Lack of Same?                                    of reasons, cannot and do not use just the       are rather brutal and don’t reflect the usu-
                                                 Best Effort public Internet. What they           al win-win kinds of outcomes that we’d
COOK Report: Now that David Reed                 do and how they interconnect with it is a        like. To borrow my response from yester-
mentions it, I did not grasp the Interstate      story that I want to explore.                    day, I stated:
comments of Melissa at all well either.
                                                 The other issue that I see is that the public    I’d venture to say that you are not alone.
The metaphor that I am most familiar             Best Effort Internet so far does not have a      Investors in all [SPs] are wondering much
                                                 sustainable business model or economic           the same thing. It’s difficult for an IXC

                                                                   31
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
to create value propositions in an arena       ing) for same or less than what it costs         IXCs are concerned. In the absence of
that is swamped in commodity services          the enterprise to operate their own, and         the second of these two alternatives tak-
at the retail outlet. While they may try to    the enterprise needs more bandwidth              ing place, however, I believe that the first
extract attractive margins out of regional     than ATM/FR can effectively offer, it            is all but inevitable and will occur.
VoIP’ers and enterprises through acquisi-      becomes compelling for the enterprise to
tions of CLECs, the bottom line is that the    buy better-effort IP and therefore for the       “Who’ll be the ones to shake out first,
pricing of basic services, especially those    carrier to offer it. Until then, why switch,     second, third? are the questions that need
that can be carried alternatively over the     so there is very little demand for non-          answering. Comments, corrections wel-
Internet, just keeps falling farther south,    best-effort IP services.                         come.” Of course, even the latter assess-
without sufficient corresponding increas-                                                       ment is not necessarily a valid one, with
es in volume to take up the slack. New         The other factor that may come to play is        Chapters 11, 22 and 33 being what they
value propositions are needed to incent        that at some point the market may bear           are.
end users and enterprises alike to ante up     upward pressure on bandwidth prices,
the kinds of service fees that are needed.     as more companies become bandwidth               [And on September 18] Coluccio: Wel-
“Where will they come from and what            junkies and just can’t afford to scale back      come back, Peter. Regarding one of your
will those value propositions be?” are the     or disconnect. As soon as another round          comments, which effectively echoed
questions to ask, in my opinion.               of bankruptcies happen, this will be eas-        what I had stated earlier about attrition in
                                               ier to do, but some carriers are already         the ranks of SPs, I came across this link
Kruckenberg: Seems we have at least 3          doing it or have indicated they will.            at the @Link Networks site this morn-
factors that at some point have to culmi-                                                       ing that very succinctly says a mouthful:
nate:                                          Coluccio: I also noted later that many of        “From the ashes, shall rise something
                                               those value-adds that the carriers can at-       even greater.” http://www.atlinknet-
- increasing bandwidth usage, which            tach to basic transport can also be facili-      works.com/atLink/default.html
should imply increased reliance on the         tated by the enterprise IT staffs (indeed,
network, which should imply increased          the Circuit-City-going consumer user             It becomes obvious, sometimes only after
willingness to pay higher prices (for          too, at this point), adding still another di-    a discussion has taken place for a while,
same or better service) in the future          mension of competition that the SP must          that we still discuss “the network” in
                                               contend with:                                    vague, generalized and even monolithic
- decreasing revenue/unit eventually ap-                                                        terms, often forgetting the different di-
proaches $0, forcing carriers to raise or      “The lower the prices go for plain vanilla       mensions of still a greater number of ven-
sustain prices at a level that supports a      bandwidth, the more creative and value           ues that make up the whole. For example,
sustainable business, or go out of busi-       creating the carriers have to become with        my comments concerning the economics
ness, resulting in remaining carriers be-      their upper layer “services.” This has the       of the roll-your-own enterprise network
ing able to better sustain or raise prices     effect of forcing the carrier to exit the        manager have little or nothing to do with
                                               role of plain old bandwidth and switch-          economic criteria used by last mile con-
- increasing costs to roll your own net-       ing provider, further extending their            sumer access networks,
work, which makes it more attractive for       reach into vertical services.
an enterprise to buy higher-priced value-                                                       Turning 90 degrees for a moment, the fol-
add better-than-best-effort service from a     “But there is a problem with this, too. As       lowing analysis performed by Lightwave
carrier (this can also apply to company-       we’ve seen lately, many of the vertical          Magazine offers an interesting analog to
managed non-VoIP PBX or traditional            services that the carriers would resort to       what is taking place in the fiber manufac-
Centrex, vs VoIP or IP Centrex)                providing to their enterprise customers          turing and cabling industries today:
                                               are being subsumed by the enterprise it-
An enterprise can justify building their       self, with their IT staffs capable of doing      “Fiber-optic-cable Pricing:  What’s
own network for at least two reasons: the      the job sometimes better than the carri-         next?” Richard Mack /September 2004
service quality of the best-effort IP net-     ers. It’s a bleak outlook, from where I sit.     Analyst’s Corner
work is not good enough, and they can          One of two things may need to happen.
build/operate their own network (or so                                                          http://makeashorterlink.com/
they think) for less than a better-effort IP   “First, a violent and almost all-encom-          ?T28952059
service (if it were available) would cost.     passing shake out, reducing the number
Or they can stay with public-cloud ATM/        of competitors. This would result in fa-         An excerpt from about halfway through:
FR/MPLS because they don’t have band-          cilitating a place that is friendlier to price
width enough to justify building their         fixing by the surviving few. Hey, let’s          “Although improvements in fiber pro-
own network.                                   face it. That’s what we had before, al-          cessing have lowered fiber costs over the
                                               though no one wanted to call it that.            years, other cable elements recently have
As soon as a carrier can offer a better-                                                        had cost increases- at significant rates in
effort IP service (and this is starting to     “And second, government subsidies,               some cases. Prices for some petroleum-
happen, for example with Global Cross-         which no one wants to see where the              based products, for example, have risen
                                                                   32
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
as much as 30% in the past 12 months,           borhood, I have a life with non-tech peo-       was amazing to see people come almost
and that affects the plastic resins used for    ple. These folks mostly can barely find         out of the woodwork to support it. Espe-
cable jackets and tubes, petroleum-based        their way around a windows preloaded            cially when the RBOC and cableco (and
gels, and glass-reinforced-plastic strength     machine, do little with the Internet other      eventually almost all the local media)
members. Metal prices also have gone up         than email and some non-demanding web           started aggressively opposing it.
this year, affecting the costs for armored      browsing, are clueless about why they
cables. Energy and labor costs have risen.      need a software firewall, and basically         Other than what would appear to be a
In the past two years, some cable manu-         think paying $40 a month for cable mo-          handful of people, this isn’t a signifi-
facturers have offered free shipping, but       dem is a huge waste of money relative to        cantly important issue to most people.
rising fuel and transportation costs will       the value they receive from CATV.               However, that handful of people includes
make it difficult to continue this prac-                                                        many influential business owners, eco-
tice, especially with cable prices being        They use their POTS and see no reason           nomic development people and city lead-
squeezed downwards.                             to change.                                      ers. The most-represented group of citi-
                                                                                                zens is the +/- 18-34 male, most whom
“All of that puts the fiber and cable com-      So, I wonder where this political-will will     spent their high school and college years
panies in a tight spot. In addition, telecom    arise and for what need that these will re-     with very good broadBand access (if only
operators do not benefit enough from            ceive.                                          at school) and can’t live without it now.
these price reductions to substantially in-
crease their demand. A key reason is that       That you and I play with GRIDs and              When I talk to people outside my peer
the cabled fiber itself is a relatively small   PVMs for the recreation of seeing how           group about UTOPIA, most are uninter-
percentage of a new system’s overall cost:      many Mflops we can make, and modify             ested and unaware, except for the poten-
In typical metropolitan environments            TCP windows for a SCSI to SCSI file             tial tax impact to them if it fails (everyone
with underground cable, the engineering,        transfer at the maximum speed of the            knows about that). Except for the 18-34
right-of-way, permitting, construction,         NIC or SCSI or databus speed, whichever         males (and probably 18-34 females if I
splicing, and testing costs can represent       is lower, or see how we can modify the          spoke to more of them): they know all
more than 90% of the outside plant net-         “Folding At Home” programs over Linux           about it and are supportive and excited
work’s installed first costs, and that does     PVMs to both contribute to medical re-          about it.
not include the terminal electronics”           search and see how fast we can do them:
                                                                                                UTOPIA is being very closely watched
I’m sure that there are those among us          These others are watching network pro-          around the country. If they can execute
here who can draw some close analogies          grams on CATV, or home VHS or DVD,              (and those chances increase every day),
to the circumstances cited above, and           and doing the other things that non-te-         they are creating the model that other
maybe even share some of the pain with          chies do.                                       communities can follow.
these folks. There’s still plenty of pain to
go around out there.                            UTOPIA and Connecting                           Except for this project, Utah is certainly
                                                                                                no UTOPIA. We have the lowest educa-
Melissa Davis to Peter Kruckenberg:             the BroadBand Dots in                           tion funding in the nation, lots of prob-
Thank you for some excellent commen-            Utah                                            lems with teen pregnancy and meth and
tary. I agree with what you have written                                                        so forth. UTOPIA didn’t happen because
without exception, except for the “politi-      Kruckenberg: It is definitely a social          Utah as a whole decided it was our most
cal will.”                                      issue, probably generational, more than         important social issue, nor does anyone
                                                anything else.                                  expect it to directly resolve more impor-
Glad you are getting political will in                                                          tant social issues.
Utah. Here (Central MD, Greater Wash-           Utah was one of the most-wired states
ington DC Metro Area), beyond po-               (albeit with dial-up) previous to the           UTOPIA happened because a few vision-
litical pablum, this [political will] is not    UTOPIA initiative being launched. I             aries pushed it far enough to get support
even on anyone’s radar. There are so            think we also rank very well in terms           from a few more visionaries and eventu-
many other problems to solve: teenage           of educated population and high-tech            ally caught the imagination of enough
violence/gangs, ubiquitous drug culture,        workforce. However, the average salary          citizens and businesses to get it funded,
failing mass transit, schools that are un-      is still around $24,000/yr. So my percep-       which will hopefully lead to it becoming
derstaffed, police pulled from drug and         tions about Utah were very similar until a      a reality (they start construction in 6 of 11
anti-gang enforcement to provide a pres-        couple of years ago.                            cities this fall).
ence in the schools, etc for the whole set
of decaying infrastructure blues.               When a few cities south of Salt Lake start-     Coluccio: An article from the July 2004
                                                ed municipal fiber projects, things started     BroadBand Properties Magazine that
Further, in the last year, as I have settled    changing, dramatically. When UTOPIA             seems to agree with your education age
into a residential community with a part-       (an interlocal agency established between       demographic view:
ner and inherited a family and a neigh-         the cities) started painting their vision, it

                                                                 33
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA

Thinking about the                                                   “Finding that my fellow-citizens were not likely to offer me any
                                                                     room in the court house, or any curacy or living anywhere else,
BroadBand Indians – by David P. Reed                                 but I must shift for myself, I turned my face more exclusively
                                                                     than ever to the woods, where I was better known. I determined
Regarding political will, I reproduce below one of my favorite       to go into business at once, and not wait to acquire the usual
passages from Thoreau’s Walden (ch. 8), which will probably be       capital, using such slender means as I had already got. My pur-
dismissed immediately as a work by a writer who shares much          pose in going to Walden Pond was not to live cheaply nor to live
with the Green Party. For those who are not rabid ideologues,        dearly there, but to transact some private business with the few-
however, I think that it’s worth thinking about the BroadBand        est obstacles; to be hindered from accomplishing which for want
Indians among us.                                                    of a little common sense, a little enterprise and business talent,
                                                                     appeared not so sad as foolish.”
“Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the
house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. “Do you             There is quite a demand for information services in the world
wish to buy any baskets?” he asked. “No, we do not want any,”        today. Even more so for education. The problem is that few have
was the reply. “What!” exclaimed the Indian as he went out the       connected the dots to demonstrate that “BroadBand” as offered
gate, “do you mean to starve us?” Having seen his industri-          by the BroadBand Indians creates any value in that space - and
ous white neighbors so well off, -- that the lawyer had only to      that may be why those who benefit from the e-rate subsidies are
weave arguments, and, by some magic, wealth and standing             still starving and begging at the public trough for some more
followed, he had said to himself: I will go into business; I will    corporate giveaways. And a skeptic might recognize that there
weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when      is little connection between universal, speedy, but highly asym-
he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then        metric and inflexible services such as those available today, and
it would be the white man’s to buy them. He had not discovered       what might make education work better.
that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other’s while
to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to        I agree with Dave Hughes that education needs more connec-
make something else which it would be worth his while to buy.        tivity. But when the Verizons or Sprints of the world offer to
I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had    help, put your hands on your wallets. They have no expertise
not made it worth any one’s while to buy them. Yet not the less,     in education, and have shown little interest in figuring out what
in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and         will help beyond collecting the easy $$ being handed out. Not
instead of studying how to make it worth men’s while to buy          all companies are equivalent on this score - Apple Computer,
my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of sell-     for example, has done some good things in the past, because its
ing them. The life which men praise and regard as successful         management actually cared about the issue. E-rate is not the so-
is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the        lution, and seems to have often been the problem (in my region,
expense of the others?”                                              e-rate became a strategy for capture and lock-in of a new market
                                                                     to be squeezed).

Checking In On The BroadBand Univer-         first home, and it will probably be in a       http://makeashorterlink.com/
sity: Campus Technology Challenges           Master Planned Community (MPC).                ?F6C022159
                                             By understanding the challenges that
By Joel Schofield BroadBand Properties       the BroadBand campus is facing today,          Kruckenberg: The network I run serves
Magazine / July 2004                         property owners, developers and service        12 higher-ed institutions, including
                                             providers will be prepared for the de-         four research institutions, plus nearly a
“Many of you may not know this, but          mands placed upon them by their future         thousand bandwidth-hungry secondary
the higher education market is where         customers. Bandwidth still the foremost        schools, all full of inventive students
analysts and journalists look to gain an     concern                                        and faculty who are actively figuring out
understanding of technology challenges                                                      new ways to use more bandwidth. None
that will be facing mainstream America       “Today, the main challenge facing the          of them pay for any of it. It’s my job to
in the years to follow.                      BroadBand campus continues to be in-           figure out how to meet their needs and
                                             exhaustible demand for bandwidth. As           enable their innovation. The network is
“The end users in this market, typically     web-based content such as music, video,        one of the most mission-critical educa-
students ages 18-24, are the most tech-      and gaming (see: “Universities paving          tion services they use.
nically savvy demographic in the world.      the way for online gaming in the US”
They are the early adopters with dispos-     this issue) continue to rollout greater        The people on my network today will be
able income. What makes them even            products with increased availability, the      the residential and business consumers
more relevant is that upon graduation, the   demand for more band-width increases           service providers will have to support in
majority of them will move their techni-     unilaterally.”                                 the next 3-6 years.
cally advanced selves into apartments or
condos. Some may even purchase their         Continued at:                                  If you think things are tough now, wait

                                                                    34
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
until your customers really depend on          this by acquiring fiber and lighting it        just starting that process now, and expect
the network, like they do during school.       ourselves, either, we just don’t have the      it will be several years before we have
Good luck.                                     manpower. And wireless was not an op-          some good success stories to tell.
                                               tion, since can only do GigE over short
You don’t get this kind of experience any-     distances.                                     The totally unanticipated complementary
where else. You don’t get this kind of per-                                                   development of residential broadBand
spective anywhere else. One of the things      We will not reach every school with fi-        (we started our project over a year before
I most love about my job is that a lot of      ber, though we have gotten fiber-based         UTOPIA was created) makes this even
it makes absolutely no sense to the pri-       services to some incredibly remote areas       more exciting, and we are aggressively
vate sector, because they don’t have these     of the state. We are extending micro-          working with UTOPIA to find ways to
people as customers yet. It will make a        wave OC-3 and 100Mb and WiFi to areas          extend the benefits of broadBand-enabled
lot more sense in a few more years.            where we can’t reasonably expect fiber.        education to the home. We held a confer-
                                               We have tried to work with WISPs and           ence last year where we demonstrated
We are connecting some of those dots           microwave service providers (note that         and discussed some of these capabilities,
[that David Reed talks about in his            our mission statement says that we look        and even got some of the local media in-
Walden Pond text box above] in Utah.           first to partner with carriers and second to   terested in it. Next spring when UTOPIA
Using E-rate. In a way that I think clearly    do it ourselves), with no successes so far,    has some real customers, we’ll be able to
demonstrates that E-rate is just a tool, and   though we continue trying.                     make them more of a reality.
if it is used poorly, you have to question
not just the tool, but the user of the tool.   I’m not sure what the “answer” is, or if       Fighting the Zombie
                                               there even is one. But for now, amazing
We are just beginning the 2nd phase (of        things can be done with the help of E-rate,    Wars & Other Security
probably 4 or 5 phases) deploying GigE         if it is used well. Schools that understand    Issues
to every school in Utah. Not just higher-      the E-rate program and telecommunica-
ed, every single high school, junior high      tions services well can do some incred-        Coluccio: Here is an interesting an-
school, and eventually elementary school.      ible things for education.                     nouncement:
We brought up the backbone (connecting
all of our PoPs at higher-ed sites) this       We have talked to many other states about      Newly acquired P-Cube Inc., a maker
summer, along with 11 district offices.        this. The reality is that any state could do   of hardware to manage network traf-
This fall, we start connecting 175 second-     it. Unfortunately, many states networks        fic, today introduced a spam buster de-
ary (high, junior, middle) schools in 26       are not structured to coordinate such a        signed to catch and quarantine infected
school districts. Phase 3 covers another       massive project (in most states telecom        PCs launching zombie attacks (see Cisco
150-250 schools (depends on funding).          services are purchased by each individual      Takes Apps on Board).
These schools are spread throughout            district/higher-ed, and at best they may
roughly 80% of the state.                      participate in a state-wide consortium,        Zombies, PCs that have been implanted
                                               but very few states have an organization       with malicious code for use in attacking
The network is fiber and lambda-based,         like UEN that owns and manages and is          other PCs, are on the rise as more spam-
the largest deployment of this type any-       funded to provide the network for public       mers are spreading viruses and advertise-
where in the nation (to my knowledge).         and higher education).                         ments by sending out remote access tro-
It is a service provided by the RBOC                                                          jans (RAT) or trojan horses. Unbeknown
as well as almost every rural telco and        Having BroadBand is only the beginning.        to the user, a trojan horse can enter a PC
CLEC in the state.                             Then we have to figure out how to use          through an email attachment or an unse-
                                               that BroadBand. This is a chicken-and-         cured port. The horse notifies the spam-
This service was developed for us by the       egg problem to a certain extent. Since         mer after it has infected the PC; It then
telcos, to meet our vision of GigE to ev-      BroadBand is not widely available in           lays dormant awaiting the spammer’s
ery school in the state. None of the telcos    schools, it’s hard to develop curriculum       call.
we work with had GigE services when            that incorporates broadBand, or to teach
we started this project.                       teachers to use BroadBand in their teach-      The spammer usually waits until a large
                                               ing. So they don’t use BroadBand, so           number of computers have been infected
It was possible to do because of E-rate.       they don’t need BroadBand.                     with the trojan horse before commanding
Without matching funds from E-rate, we                                                        the zombies to rise. Each zombie then
could not have afforded it (in fact, by us-    Our strategy was to make the broad-            triggers a mechanism that sends out bulk
ing E-rate, we were able to replace our        Band available first, in quantities large      email. The large number of attacking
previous TDM DS-3 and T1 network               enough that people could stop worrying         computers makes it difficult to identify
with this new network, including major         about whether there would be enough            the source of the attack or take corrective
equipment upgrades to support the extra        bandwidth available, and then push for         action, especially without disrupting ser-
capacity, without any budget increase).        broadBand to be incorporated into the          vice for others.
Frankly, we also could not have done           curriculum and teacher training. We are

                                                                35
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based P-Cube, soon to                                                    around the world to quash community
be part of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:        What I’m trying to say is:                   networks. He is thinking about discus-
CSCO - message board), says its Broad-                                                     sions on the Djurlands mail list and from
Band Spam Control Solution detects            1) Yes this is a real problem for ISPs but   the conference. He read me a few of the
zombie PCs soon after they wake up and        I thought ISPs had long ago developed        things you have said.
begin sending out bulk mail.                  procedures and filters to handle it
                                                                                           John Wilson - Dave also found your pre-
Goldman: I’m doing a story on this.           Nevertheless                                 sentation on how the community wire-
But almost everyone deals with this is-                                                    less stuff in Wales and elsewhere was
sue now. Is this really new? It’s certainly   2) My inbox is flooded, just in the past     quashed by BT to be quite compelling.
generated a flood of “me-too” press re-       week or two, with solutions that promise
leases. Story in a week or two.               to handle zombies for ISPs.                  Malcolm Matson responded: You and
                                                                                           Dave are absolutely right in my view.
Ballard: At my day job http://www.ma-         Therefore, is there a real market here for   For a long, long time it has been evident
trixnetworks.com/Default.asp we intro-        an off the shelf anti-zombie solution? Or    to me that the disruptive digital tech-
duced on Monday, September 20, Active         is it just a case of the AV and AS compa-    nologies of a) ‘infinite capacity fiber’ b)
Spam Filtration to the outbound Email at      nies finding a new sales pitch? Because      smart radio (spread spectrum) and c) the
the Wi-Fi and wired hotels we manage          I maintain the AS guide for ISPs on my       digital computer would, can combine, if
across the US. It was a Hilton require-       website, I’m in contact with many AV and     left to the market to determine, to totally
ment, so we thought we’d add it to all        AS vendors. Although the list is large:      subsume and destroy the ‘telecoms sec-
properties.                                                                                tor’ as we know it. (Just as earlier tech-
                                              http://isp-planet.com/services/asguide/      nology disrupters have done - Bell with
The problem with both infected (Trojan)       index.html                                   Western Union).
laptops and deliberate spammers is in-         . . it’s not complete because there are
creasing by the week. Unless you have         _hundreds_ of companies in the e-mail        But because the telecoms sector (un-
a sendmail policy and an intelligent gate-    protection space. If I covered one each      til 1984) was a closed global cartel of
way, one user inadvertently or otherwise,     week it would take between four and six      nationalized monopolies, we have all
can choke an entire T-1 with ease.            years to cover all of them!                  under-estimated it’s ‘will to survive’ or
                                                                                           indeed, its determination to enlist the
Retzer: Hotels would be an interesting        Davis: My box has been flooded also.         aid and power of their respective Gov-
test case for a network registration/scan-    Alerted those at work who manage these       ernments to draw the future terrain in
ner like we’re increasingly using within      things, and they have discovered that        a manner that suits their survival. The
higher education. The way this works,         some significant number of those SPAM        telcoms industry still generates massive
a new computer joining the network is         emails that are supposed to block zom-       tax revenues AND, given its network
scanned for current patches as well as        bies and RATs are themselves zombies         centric topography, is a powerful agent
problems before admission to the net-         and RATS.                                    in national and international security so
work and if it fails it is quarantined.                                                    Governments are all too willing to listen
                                              I have disconnected my personal Win-         and oblige. The UK is a perfect example
Ballard: I engineer two types of Wi-Fi        dows machine from the network and            of this - having (inadvertently) enacted
networks, those where I try and make it       Internet until I have time this weekend      telco-busting legislation in 1983, BT and
as easy as possible for any old idiot to      to mimic a connection with my IDS ma-        ALL its new competitors, combined over
get on and those where I make it as hard      chine and see what traffic it is creating    the years to neuter this and drive the reg-
as possible for the ardent hacker to gain     on its own. These email relays can send      ulatory climate back in their combined
access. Hotels are obviously the former.      400-600 emails a second if the uplink        favor. (Attached is my OPLAN note for
Therefore we don’t introduce code to          will allow.                                  any of you who have not read it yet - it
load on the client device, all the trickery                                                summarizes this bit of history)
is done either in the Gateway are remote-     OPLAN and ILECS
ly in our sendmail server. Never overesti-                                                 So while the ‘fashion’ for liberalization
mate the intelligence of the consumer!        Versus Community                             and privatization took hold in the early
                                              Networks                                     1980s, so too did a new unholy alliance
Goldman: It’s my impression that most                                                      between the telecoms industry and the
ISPs are dealing with this problem with       COOK Report: On September 22 I               newly created REGULATORY regimes
tools they already have. Could you de-        emailed Malcom Matson and John Wil-          around the world.
scribe in greater detail what makes P-        son:
Cube stand out over, say, products from                                                    See The Introduction to and Ex-
sendmail.com or Rockliffe or IronPort or      Dave Hughes has me convinced that it         tracts from The OPLAN document
MessageLabs or any of the other e-mail        makes sense to discuss whether we are
                                                                                           in the two page side bar that fol-
protection companies?                         seeing a concerted effort of ILECs from
                                                                                           lows immediately on pages 37-38.
                                                                 36
                                     The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

Malcolm Matson's Open Public Local Access Network
as a 4th Utility -- Excerpts from the Concept Paper
Editor’s Note: In the first days of September 2004 Malcolm Mat-        and has had significant input to IT public policy in the UK.
son attended the Djurslands Community Network Conference in            In 2004, working in collaboration with Scottish Water, he
Denmark together with Dave Hughes. Both Dave and I first met           formed OpenPlanet Limited as an international vehicle for
Malcolm earlier in the Year at David Isenberg’s WTF 2004 Con-          working with visionary and ambitious ‘communities’ large
ference.                                                               and small to develop, design, deliver and fund Open Public
                                                                       Local Access Networks (OPLANs).
Malcolm is advocating ‘community’ or ‘location-centric’ public
local open access telecom transport networks (OPLANs) where            THE OPEN PUBLIC LOCAL ACCESS NETWORK THE
the primary ‘value’ in such networks, remains with those using         CONCEPT AND EMERGING REALIZATION … a 4th
it, rather than the owners. He advocates the structuring and fund-     Utility for the information age
ing of OPLANs as commercial real-estate - with passive, port-
folio institutional investors providing the capital in exchange for    by Malcolm J Matson
a relatively low and safe financial return. As such his ideas fit
within the realm of the network as a ‘utility ‘ infrastructure where   pp. 5-6 The Open Public Local Access Network - OPLAN
ownership of content and the network that delivers the content are
rigorously separated. Under such a scheme the OPLAN becomes            There is not, as yet, a precise and exhaustive definition of
a fourth utility. (The highway grid, electric grid, water and sewer    an OPLAN, largely because it has yet to become an univer-
grids and a telecom grid.)                                             sally understood model or widely deployed. However, we
                                                                       use the term to denote a digital network (regardless of the
His ideas fall within the general realm of the municipal networks      technology deployed) where many or most of the following
of which Jim Baller and others are such forceful advocates, and        defining characteristics are present:
the architecture advocated by, among others, Francois Menard,
and Matt Wegner. PacketFront and World Wide Packets make               • an OPLAN serves an existing local geographic com-
equipment designed to facilitate the ability of municipalities or      munity or location, ranging from a street or business park
other communities running their own networks. Increasingly it          through a rural community up to an entire city
would seem that that the municipal utility approach is the only
alternative to getting broadBand from the telco or cable co. More-     • an OPLAN is open for access and use by any party located
over it is one that makes the most sense assuming that the network     within the community it serves – both public and private
is looked at from the point of view of supporting local economic       sectors, corporate and residential
activity rather than as a service with a payback intended to sustain
stock holder investment.                                               • an OPLAN infrastructure (wireless and/or fibre) is owned
                                                                       and controlled totally independent of any service or content
Malcolm’s June 2004 paper describing his open public local ac-         which runs over it
cess network (OPLAN) is the most thorough elaboration of these
ideas that I have happened upon. There does not yet seem to be         • an OPLAN is not owned by a PTO/ licensed telecommu-
any generally agreed up business model for locally owned net-          nications operator
works other than the one being developed by Malcolm’s company,
OpenPlanet Ltd. To his credit Malcolm goes into these issues in        • an OPLAN has true broadBand symmetrical capacity suf-
more detail than I have seen elsewhere. The COOK Report Sym-           ficient to meet tomorrow’s requirements (gigabit?) and so
posium mail list offered some useful discussion after members          an OPLAN can never be based on ADSL technology
were sent the full 25 page whitepaper by Malcolm who has given
me his permission to excerpt generously from the paper in order        • ownership of an OPLAN is likely to be by a combination
to give context to the discussion that follows. As of mid October      of passive/portfolio investors (pension & insurance funds;
the paper is not on the web, although Malcolm told me that he          local authorities; private equity groups etc) or even its us-
does intend to place it on the Open-Planet web site before year’s      ers – all of whom regard it as having investment, risk and
end or else he will email it to readers if they request it (malcolm.   return characteristics more akin to commercial real-estate
Matson@open-planet.net).                                               than the conventional telecoms industry

Malcolm Matson formed National TeleCable Ltd. (NTC) in 1984            • the maintenance and future planning and marketing of an
as a vehicle for developing the concept of the 4th Utility (broad-     OPLAN are contracted out by the owners to qualified third-
Band local open access network). This analysis demonstrated that       parties
in a digital world, any attempt to vertically integrate ‘conduits’
with ‘content’ is ultimately doomed. Malcolm served for many           • there is an understanding that an OPLAN must serve the
years on the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee            ‘common good’ as well as the interests of its owners and


                                                             37
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA

this is reflected in the legal structure and contractual rela- ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) is not broadBand
tionships it has with those supplying and using it               and we share that position. This is not simply on the issue of the
                                                                 implicit speed nor for some other esoteric technical semantic rea-
• the corporate vehicle owning an OPLAN derives its rev- son. The reason why ADSL offends against any legitimate defini-
enue from an annual fee payable by every local access point tion of the term broadBand is that an asymmetrical infrastructure,
or building that is connected to that OPLAN                      as ADSL is ( 512 kbit/s downstream and 256 kbit/s upstream) re-
                                                                 inforces an old network-centric telephony assumption that “value
– it does not revenue-share with service or content providers and content” are to be found at the “centre” of the network and
as is the convention of the telecoms industry                    are to be “DOWNloaded”. The reality is quite the contrary. As al-
                                                                 ready discussed, ALL “value and content” originates and resides
• the cost (and probably the ownership and maintenance) of at the periphery of the network – to be shared/sold/purchased to
the individual connection linking any building/access point and by all users/consumers – also at the periphery. This “peer-to-
to the OPLAN is likely to be born by the building owner peer” nature of the new information world is true – whether or not
rather than the network owner (as is currently the case with it is two geeks sharing music files with each other or whether a
the water utility)                                               corporation is placing a major purchase order for Dell computer
                                                                 hardware.
• the ongoing annual tariff for being connected to an OPLAN
is ‘cost’ rather than ‘bandwidth’ related and may therefore The starkest example of this principle is the growth of Voice over
differ OPLAN to OPLAN                                            IP (VoIP) which will, in time, totally obliterate the network-cen-
                                                                 tric switched voice-telephony business. Although BT is the first
• all traffic, whether voice, video or data, that originates and public operator to recognize this, it is still missing the point that
terminates within the OPLAN, does so at zero charge to the VoIP requires no ‘operator’ as such ( www.skype.com ) and that
parties involved e.g. peerto- peer VoIP within the OPLAN the infrastructure owner cannot ‘capture’ this new service offer-
is ‘free’                                                        ing in order to try and move up the value chain any better than can
                                                                 anyone else connected to the network. While there will undoubt-
• service and content ‘providers’ are not differentiated from edly be a myriad of variations of special VoIP services, like Sky-
service and content ‘consumers’. Any party connected to or pe, they can be created and marketed on a global basis from the
using the OPLAN can freely assume either role. That is to periphery by any party with the imagination and determination to
say, a service or content provider only requires connection do so. They will not reside ‘within’ the network as conventional
to the OPLAN on similar terms to everyone else in that com- voice services have done to date.
munity in order to serve it
                                                                 p. 23 The OPLAN topography Independently owned and con-
• global connectivity beyond the OPLAN is achieved (as at trolled local passive infrastructure which is ‘open’ for any person
present) through any telecoms operator or ISP who directly with a physical presence in the community to access by payment
or via an interconnect agreement, has access to a trunk fibre of a periodic charge. This includes the incumbent PTO, all its
(or satellite) which serves any building (subject to planning competitors – either long distance network operators or service
constraints) connected to the OPLAN (i.e. the OPLAN is providers – who will be able to access the OPLAN either by estab-
‘unbundled end-to-end’)                                          lishing a direct physical connection to the infrastructure or, more
                                                                 likely, over some other long distance carrier that has decided to do
pp. 12-13 As Peter Cochrane points out: “… a telecoms so and provide carriage for third-party service providers.
infrastructure can now be provided for communities and
countries at less than 10% of that already established by the Any point on the OPLAN can communicate with any other point
incumbents. The introduction of optical fibre, short-range on that OPLAN at no marginal cost, once the periodic access
wireless, mobile phones and VoIP has really cut away the charge has been paid, (i.e. bandwidth is ‘free’ within the OPLAN).
underpinning of the industry. So the big question is: what is It is expected that this access charge will compare very favorably
the telecom sector to do, and where are they to turn for their with the current periodic charge levied by BT [British Telecom]
profits?                                                         for a copper PSTN connection to the local exchange.

pp. 17 -18 Many informed commentators are adamant that




                                                                 38
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
                                                agree that all of these platforms continue      tant it is their flawed business model that
                                                to impose asymmetric qualities and, very        is a hangover from the telephone era as
Discussion of Open                              often, walled gardened limitations on the       I argue in the paper. Given the ‘infinite’
                                                end user. So, it’s not merely a matter of       capacity of fibre, continuing to charge for
Public Local Access                             bandwidth, but an architectural alterna-        access to it on a ‘bit-per-second’ basis is
Network Concept                                 tive to the above that needs to be explored     doomed. The last thing they want to do is
                                                and advanced, else we stagnate and be           put fibre into my backroom as then their
Coluccio: From the outset of reading            relegated to watching re-runs of Law and        game really would be up!
Malcom’s paper, a question begs to be           Order and Everybody Loves Raymond
asked and answered: What is keeping the         for the next umpteen years.                     Every phone company listed on the pub-
fiber-bloated inter-states from joining in                                                      lic markets is valued on the basis of pro-
a consortium to see to it that first-mile ac-   I termed those affections that are imposed      jected earnings based upon the continu-
commodations are put in place, whether          by the oligopolies as BOFO traits in a          ation of the ‘bit-toll’ - the last thing they
optical or wireless, thus allowing for          Light Reading debate I’m involved in. I.e.,     want to do is destroy that!
a suitable outlet for their supplies? Is it     conditions that are defined and controlled
that it hasn’t occurred to them? Are there      By, Of and For the Oligopoly players.           Davis on September 27: You are correct
legal insurmountable implications to this       See: “Letting Go of B-O-F-O” at: http://        that the inter-city fiber bundles were built
that I’m not aware of? Or are they just too     makeashorterlink.com/?K42224369                 on the old telephony model, the so-called
damned broke?                                                                                   and now laughable “carrier’s carrier”
                                                I generally don’t like, even find it dis-       model, funded largely by the smart In-
Savage: This gets back to some of the           tasteful, recycling material that I’ve post-    vestment Bankers and dupable investors,
questions I was asking earlier. (1) With        ed immediately before elsewhere, but            as well as the vendors clamoring for mar-
telco DSL and cable modems most ev-             I submitted the following message this          ket-share.
erywhere, and some kind of wireless             morning and feel it is appropriate and
high-bandwidth on the way, who wants            directly in response to some of the state-      There was no business model during the
to be 4th to market? (2) What’s the killer      ments being made here. From:                    Bubble for access other than “build the
app or apps that will use 10 megs or 100                                                        backbone and they will come.”
megs or 1 gig/sec bit rates? Without that,      http://makeashorterlink.com/
lower bandwidth “works” okay for most           ?X25252369                                      Matson: That’s not true - I founded
people, in which case see #1.                                                                   COLT Telecom on precisely that ‘open
                                                Kruckenberg: I’ve been asking the same          access’ model, structured to look like
Key point: it is not obvious that there re-     question about (and to) the local RBOC.         commercial real-estate, but when Fidel-
ally is a bandwidth problem in the mass         Why are they willing to settle with the         ity Capital took control of the company
market. Obviously more bandwidth                cap of about $100/subscriber/month that         having originally bought into that model,
is better than less at the same or lower        is the maximum revenue if a subscriber          they appointed a Bell-Head from AT&T
price, but that’s equally true of ice cream,    were to sign up for every service they          as Chairman who forced it back into the
popcorn, etc. n that is, of any commodity       sell, and not be all over getting fiber any     old business model of charging for band-
at all.                                         possible way they can, and raise that cap       width. “Why on earth do we want to be
                                                at least 2-3x?                                  a boring utility when we can become a
Coluccio: I don’t see it as merely a ques-                                                      high-value, high-return service provid-
tion at this time of whether or not there is    I imagine that some of the same culture         er?”. What nobody seems to appreciate
sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the needs       that leads to this irrational position, prob-   that when we have true broadBand con-
at hand. Leastwise not for a growing part       ably also exists in the LD industry.            nectivity (a gigabit to every house) then
of the user population, if all they need the                                                    ANYWHERE on the network is as good
bandwidth for is to use applications that       When your number one objective is to            a point for service or content insertion as
have been tailored to the network con-          disadvantage your competitor, even if it        any other - the entire telecoms industry
tours of today.                                 is to your own detriment, these positions       is built upon the (now) false assumption
                                                probably aren’t so irrational. Even then,       that they are in a privileged position in
I say this because the needs at hand, if we     you’d expect that the LD carriers could         that respect, through control of the cen-
examine them closely, are more defined          collaborate to be able to disadvantage          tral office.
by the bounds and constraints imposed           the much greater competition from the
by not only by dial-0up, DSL and inad-          RBOCs.                                          Davis: So, there are two pieces of in-
equate wireless coverage, still, but they                                                       cumbency that lack a model that returns
are also affected by the more bandwidth-        Matson: Sure they are broke, and most           revenue over short-term huge Cap-Ex:
rich RBOC FSAN PONs now coming on               of them have government or regulatory           the access piece, the point of maximum
line, along with the often quirky policies      imposed ‘universal service’ obligations         discussion here, and the EDGE Zone
of the MSOs’ fastest DOCSIS imple-              that would make the capital requirements        - that torus of inter-links that must be
mentations, as well. I think that all will      and timing impossible. But most impor-          purchased or leased and inter-connects

                                                                 39
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
or hand-offs up the routing tier peering        difficult to implement modifications in        industry and were scratching their heads
hierarchy where one either pays hand-           scaling TCP Windows.                           and arguing furiously about this and that
somely for ports or ports per MB. Pricing                                                      model. I told them that in my view VoIP
and Cost constraints in the EDGE Zone           As a purely economic argument:                 was one of the biggest money-making
are severe.                                                                                    opportunities of all time - for everyone
                                                1. You rightly state that the LL (long line)   in the world, by the massive amounts of
In our discussion Jere Retzer and Pete          fiber folk built on only one sector, the       cash that would stay in their pockets rath-
Kruckenburg advance long term, govern-          backbone/Core, and are now bankrupt or         er than ending up in the telco’s pocket.
ment backed bonds to finance, based on          scraping the edges of it.                      No industry or sector has an a priori right
projections that there will be a sufficient                                                    to immortality!
“take” on the part of small businesses and      2. But, will not just over-building the ac-
perhaps medium businesses and masses            cess piece do exactly the same?                Davis: So: show me some economic
of consumers/SOHO who will pay a flat                                                          model that does not result in the death
fee sufficient to fund the operators as         Matson: Provided the access overbuild          and destruction of both the entrepre-
well as provide a positive balance into         adopts a ‘commercial real estate model’        neurs, the independent operators with the
some “sinking fund” to retire the debt.         and not the conventional telecoms model        well-funded and cash-flush incumbents
                                                of charging for bits-carried AND provid-       just waiting for the bankruptcy judges to
That last paragraph is outside the realm        ing the owner is resolute in not compet-       accept a pennies-on-the-dollar bid at liq-
of tech, network architecture and engi-         ing with its customer by offering services,    uidation bankruptcies.
neering, and into the realm of marketing,       then there will, we argue, only be room
finance, economics, and visionaries.            for a ‘single’ market-sustained local ac-      I ask quite seriously.
                                                cess network. Given we would argue that
Pete suggests 2x/3x multiples of $100/          governments and regulators should leave        Matson: That’s precisely what we want
month. There are also the initial “hook-        the local market free to overlay all or part   to see happen - the faster the better - and
up” fees for the laterals, the NI, the inside   of any local network (no licenses - just       get those assets re-deployed under an ap-
cabling, the CPE. Pre-connectorized fibre       private property rights and the rule of        propriate business model - which is what
patch cable is not the cost issue, but la-      law!) and provided the local access net-       my new company (OpenPlanet Ltd.) is
bor, conduit, digging, placing the conduit      work in question a) does not get greedy        doing. ‘Fast Failure’ http://netparadox.
in the walls and pathing it to the CPE.         and try to climb ‘up’ the value chain and      com/fccletter.html
                                                b) does not ‘drop’ bits, then although the
The lacuna in the argument that con-            barriers to entry for a second local access    Reed: Melissa’s right. The idea of a
fronts me is: what is the business model?       network would be low, so would the in-         single fiber to the home being the “best”
What is the compelling benefit to the           centive.                                       network architecture cannot be supported
mass market that includes small business                                                       by a business model that will make an
and consumers that alters the cost differ-      Davis: 3. What is the cost of “un-doing”       operator and his investors happy.
ential?                                         the EDGE, which is a model based on
                                                per-MB transactions, routing hierarchies       Reread the Thoreau comments on the In-
If downloading DVD movies in faster             requiring purchased/leased lines and MB/       dian and his baskets. They are undoubt-
than real time, how many makes the dif-         port/inter-connect? That model as well         edly fine baskets, and “optimal” by the
ference? For $300.00/month USD, I can           was based on limited per-user access and       narrow standards of the Indian and his
purchase 10 DVD’s, rent close to one            8:1 oversubscription. Fibre access would       fellow “regional basket offering compan-
hundred DVD’s, but if I am at the income        dramatically flatten the routing hierarchy     ions”. It’s just possible that the brilliant
level to support the $300.00 expense,           (which IMHO would be a good thing for          architectural designs being proposed are
when will I have time to watch?                 the Internet and the vendors of routers)       not the best.
                                                but the costs to these already struggling
Per standard email and web-browsing, the        providers would be horrendous.                 Consider, for example, that there is all
limit on my $40/month USD cable access                                                         the reason in the world for both residen-
(usually 900K) is not the access, but the       Fail Fast Yet Again                            tial and business telephony to migrate
EDGE and the host throttling the per ses-                                                      to cellular phones. They are cheaper to
sion/per connection TCP windows.                Matson: The price will be (self-inflicted)     scale, already deployed, far more use-
                                                that every ILEC and CLEC will either           ful in emergency situations when power
If I am funding a T-1/E-1/J-1, and if, I        go bust or will have their assets re-de-       goes down or you have to leave your
either have the loose cash to pay for the       ployed under the new business model. I         home, etc. And that doesn’t even count
initial “hook-up”, then I still have to see     recently was invited to a select gathering     adding in VoIP over 802.11 and the as-
the benefit - because hyper-fast access on      to consider, “Who will make money out          yet-untapped potential of 802.11a and
my end does nothing unless it results in        of VoIP?” Almost everyone else present         other UNII band local distribution stuff.
end-to-end throughput and the capability        came from current players in the telco
on the remote machine(s) AND with the                                                          So the ILECs are screwed on their main
                                                                    40
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
revenue base in the near future.               added incrementally to what was already
                                               in place before) we were witnessing the        Yes, there is a lot he “got right”. The ve-
Fiber is - in the meantime - being built       placement of 96 and 144 strands during         locity of information flow drives the ve-
out by cable operators in an HFC struc-        the rush years of '98-'00. Furthermore,        locity of capital flow.
ture that scales much more incrementally       and in the case of the fiber-only (dark)
to match demand. Those services don’t          players, they were placing as many as 864      On the other hand: I think one of the
need governmental mandates, and the            fibers per sheath, with multiple sheaths       things that a lot of people miss in their
“last few hundred meters” are growing          placed in the same trenches on the same        view of the ILEC’s and their infrastruc-
out from the residential and corporate         physical routes.                               ture. It is hidden from view if one’s expe-
LANs that are moving to wireless as                                                           rience is that of the consumer of circuit-
well.                                          At one point, I grant you, that newer fi-      switched/SS7 voice lines.
                                               bers were needed to replace some of the
Fundamentally, the ILECs and their             older fibers. Although, the folks work-        The ILEC’s make a lot of revenue and
friends are not competitive capitalists -      ing in the optical labs continue to marvel     have entire “Business Solutions” busi-
they are just like the crony capitalists in    the industry with new ways to introduce        ness units that generate revenue selling
dictatorships, surviving on government         compensation either through pre- or post-      business access data lines - two pairs of
handouts, and corrupting the whole pro-        emphasis for the many of the anomalies         copper, no new investment or even instal-
cess by trying to buy themselves power         in older fibers that were thought to be a      lation revenue for modification to the NI,
over their “customers” (if you can call        stumbling block to speeds beyond 2.5           demarc, and the smartjack . . . lines that
people who are blocked from seeking            Gbps on the long haul.                         now are toned out, coded in SDSL to get
competitive alternatives by government                                                        more distance with fewer repeaters, and
and or business conspiracies “custom-          The concept of a carrier’s carrier isn’t       moved to DSX-1 and router interconnects
ers”).                                         what I find laughable in and of itself, as     instead of the unwieldy MDF’s. Lots of
                                               much as the multiplicity of deployments        “units of DS0’s” there. My guess is that
Coluccio: Melissa stated:                      along the same railroad track, and the         one would find the resistance to opening
                                               fact that money was being thrown at the        their infrastructure is exactly loaded in
“You are correct that the inter-city fiber     3R regeneration stations in advance of         those DS-1 business lines and their exist-
bundles were built on the old telephony        their need. In fact, the concept of a car-     ing DS-3’s.
model, the so-called and now laughable         rier’s carrier is what I equated earlier to
“carrier’s carrier” model, funded largely      the Layer 1 party in the separated layers      This allows them to move capital, using
by the smart Investment Bankers and du-        model, thus making it a necessary ingre-       already paid for infrastructure and turn-
pable investors, as well as the vendors        dient to fulfilling the vision of horizontal   ing it to cash by giving it a little spark.
clamoring for market-share.”                   provisioning.
                                                                                              Coluccio: Ah yes, the good old just-in-
I’m not sure if laughable is the right word    Later Melissa notes:                           time-when-you-need-a-new-metric-to-
to describe the carriers’ carrier model, al-                                                  save- the-last-quarter’s-results DS Zero
though there were surely a number of ap-       “That last paragraph is outside the realm      Equivalent. I was once asked by some-
proaches that were taken during those un-      of tech, network architecture and engi-        one at about the time that Roxane was
dertakings that could be called thus. Even     neering, and into the realm of marketing,      divining what in the world was going on
here I think we’d have to differentiate be-    finance, economics, and visionaries.”          in the Bell quarterlies back in 2001 what
tween the purveyors that mainly laid dark                                                     a DS0E was. I told him that a DS0E was
versus those who went full tilt in lighting    Again, I differ with you, but this time        a unit of soft money used as collateral for
routes with 192s that remained unused,         only by a nit in relative terms, concerning    hard cash. I suppose I could have been
some of them right up to this date.            your exclusion of the areas of finance,        more accurate, definitely more eloquent,
                                               marketing and economics as extensions          and certainly a lot more forgiving about
What amazed me during those deploy-            of an organization’s network architec-         it, but that’s all I could think of at the
ments, even to this day, were fiber uti-       ture, when the term architecture is used       time.
lization charts of both the N. American        in the broader sense. IMvhO.
and European PTTs showing in some                                                             p.s. - I was going to say something to the
cases entire continents supported over a       Francis McInerney and                          effect that bond analysts had to make a
single or two fiber ring, where, in those                                                     living too as a trailer to my last message,
cases the top speeds stipulated were OC-       the Velocity of Capital                        but didn’t. Perhaps I should have waited
48/STM16 riding over multiple lambdas          for ILEC Investment                            an extra three minutes and posted this,
of the same fiber pair.                                                                       too:
                                               Davis: Frank, I had the opportunity to
In contrast to these earlier models, where     hear, and then speak with Francis McIn-        Bond Ratings for Bells Likely to Take a
fibers were rotated every time an upgrade      erney at Isenberg’s WTF2004, and then          Hit FP Staff 9/27/04 3:10 PM
of speed took place (as opposed to being       read Frances ‘s book.

                                                                41
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
Later this week, Standard & Poor’s             backdrop for the Bells and the potential         [snip]
(“S&P”) is expected to lower its bond          negative short to medium term impact for
ratings on the Bells, the nation’s incum-      both companies of the merger between             Wayrynen: Those were fun days, com-
bent local phone companies, the Wall           Cingular (co-owned by BLS and SBC)               panies layering Internet backbones on
Street Journal reports.                        and AT&T Wireless (AWE). The merger,             top of a traditional voice company net-
                                               which should close shortly, could serve to       works and at the same time not updating
“Continued deterioration in the Bells’         pressure bond ratings for BLS and SBC,           the metrics used for reporting results. I
cash cow wireline business and in-             according to S&P. It’s likely that the two       keep hearing echos of things like:
creased competition from cable opera-          companies will remain on negative credit
tors and voice-over-Internet- protocol         watch, and if S&P feels the companies            “What? You sold a DS3? How DS0’s do
(“VoIP”) plays will likely lead to a           have taken on too much debt as a result          we count that as? Is that like 672 ds0’s??
one-notch downgrade on SBC’s (SBC),            of the deal, BLS and SBC could see their         Huh, they are only using 9 megabits of
BellSouth’s (BLS) and Verizon’s (VZ)           credit ratings slashed further.                  that? We’ll just count it as 672. That is
bonds. However, the possibility of a big-                                                       the same as selling a DS3 loop and not
ger downgrade exists, which could send         “As evidenced by the Bells’ most recent          using all the voice lines right?”
Bell stocks lower, as the market could         results, even with progress in their data
call into question the sustainability of the   and wireless businesses, their bread and         “You sold an OC12 coast-to-coast? Do
group’s current dividend levels and what       butter consumer land line businesses             we count the local loops and the long
higher borrowing costs would mean for          continue to decline, and their overall rev-      haul separately? Whose city do we book
the Bells.”                                    enue and earnings remain essentially flat.       the results in?”
                                               Let’s also not forget that it will take liter-
“The three remaining Bells - Qwest (Q)         ally billions of dollars in new CapEx if         The reverse was even more interesting.
has, for all intents and purposes, lost        the Bells really are serious about rolling
its Bell status - have never been down-        out fiber-to-the-premise (“FTTP”) across         “What? Salesman X is getting a bonus
graded en masse by S&P, and each has at        their footprints. A big ramp in CapEx of         because he sold two T1’s of voice? Isn’t
least an A-plus rating, putting them in the    course would mean that the Bells would           my quota 5 T1’s of data per month? Don’t
middle of the investment grade universe.       have to be seriously willing to eat into         my numbers bring more to the DS0 bot-
But S&P has had the Bells on a negative        their existing free cash flow levels. They       tom line than his?”
credit watch for the past few months, and      remain in a tight spot on this front, since
the firm says that the Bells face a “more      they face a delicate balancing act of pleas-     Savage: I was at a panel discussion at
challenging environment.”                      ing dividend hungry investors, while also        Brookings Friday with (among others)
                                               fending off the competitive threat of the        Scott Cleland from Precursor Group,
“The Bells are coming out swinging in          cable firms, upstart VoIP providers and          whom I have often thought of as pro-
their own defense, with VZ questioning         wireless competitors,” we wrote in our           Bell. After discussing various develop-
why S&P would downgrade the compa-             short write- up on BLS and SBC.                  ments (he was enamored of WiMax but
ny’s bonds when it has cut its total level                                                      it wasn’t the only one), he basically said
of debt by approximately one-third over        “Finally, as rates continue to adjust up         that the conversion of wired networks
the past three years. But institutional        to more normalized levels, shares of the         from voice-optimized (ILEC) to data-
investors seem to back a ratings down-         Bells are likely to be pressured as their        optimized (DSL, cable, WiMax) was a
grade. “                                       current dividend yields become relative-         hurricane coming in, and the ILECs were
                                               ly less attractive in a higher rate environ-     like the Bahamas. I thought that was in-
“The point is that the Bells’ cash-cow         ment.”                                           teresting, coming from him in particular.
business is shrinking,” Geoffrey Gwin, a
New York hedge-fund manager who has            The WSJ piece argues that one other as-          The Vertically Integrated
sold short the bonds of BellSouth, bet-        pect of a bond rating downgrade of the
ting that their value will decline, told the   Bells is that it could make sector consoli-      Operator is Nearing
WSJ.                                           dation more costly and less tempting for         the End of its Life -
                                               the incumbents. With lower bond ratings,         McInerney Again
Angelo Manioudakis, a portfolio man-           borrowing costs would rise, making ac-
ager with Oppenheimer Funds, told the          quisitions for the Bells more expensive.         Reed: We probably will see fiber reach
paper that despite the higher than aver-       However, we believe that an acceleration         the home someday. But ultimately it’s not
age yield on the Bells’ bonds presently,       in the deterioration of the fundamentals         the point. The point is that there are much
“we don’t think they’re a good buy. Over       at the Bells, and heightened Wall Street         cheaper and lower risk approaches to de-
time, they’re going to continue to dete-       scrutiny, will make it more, not less like-      liver much greater end-user performance
riorate.”                                      ly, that the Bells accelerate the pace of        than a monolithic centrally planned fiber
                                               deal making to cut costs and boost prof-         rollout.
We shorted BLS and SBC in early Au-            its.
gust, citing the toughening competitive
                                                                   42
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
In telephony, we see this in the whining       bodies much of what’s been discussed         next technology or service comes along
that ILECs are doing about cable offer-        here at various times during the past two    and bounces you out of the way.
ings. But the cable guys are looking for       years in these symposium discussions,
handouts, too. Watch your wallet when          while providing a new and refreshing         “The problem is that big carriers have
they start arguing that they should be al-     perspective from the 4th provider van-       been trying to run high-velocity business-
lowed to block Vonage, etc. and strip off      tage point. While I’m not too keen on yet    es while being bogged down with low ve-
voice into a “quality of service” network      another provider’s involvement as the        locity balance sheets. Not only does the
that can only be joined by one cable op-       fourth, perhaps the attributes of the 4th    risk/reward profile of the consolidated
erator per area - especially when they say     that you described can be imbued and         business make it difficult to understand
that HFC is “too expensive” to allow for       embedded in one of the existing, or one      performance, but big carriers are always
competitive operators in the same region.      of their soon-to-be heirs? In any event,     looking in two directions - trying to pro-
(I live in a town with two competitive         one of a number of other similar writings    tect sunk investment on one side, while
HFC cable plants, and my quality of ser-       came to mind when reading your paper.        being urged by customers, regulators and
vice is quite wonderful, thank you).           It was published in America’s Network        competitors, to disrupt themselves with
                                               Magazine in 2002, while everyone was         lower priced services on the other.
Matson: Quite right! That’s what many          second guessing what went wrong and
of us have been saying for some time           why. This one approximates to a great        “McInerney thinks big telcos could eas-
- there is no reality to investor expecta-     extent my own feelings on the matter, and    ily “deleverage” themselves by selling
tions and current business models in the       in ways presaged some of your own, as        off the physical assets to right the bal-
telecoms sector - the vertically integrated    well (at least from the view of publica-     ance sheet while at the same time freeing
“operator” as we now know it is nearing        tion date):                                  themselves to concentrate on delivering
the end of its life! The world is at a cross                                                services which drive value by dropping
roads. Take VoIP or example.                   “One guru [Francis McInerney of North        the cost of information.”
                                               River Ventures] who got it right” And
VoIP is a massive money-spinner for            why he says telcos must shed their net-      Matson: Frank, Thanks for your kind
everyone on this earth (cash we will all       works                                        words - but there’s no monopoly on
keep in our pockets) but a dagger to the                                                    right thinking so it’s not surprising that
heart of the telecoms industry as current-     Nov 1, 2002, by: Ian Scales, America’s       clear thinking people come to the same
ly structured.                                 Network                                      ‘truths’.

But there is a way out - persuade the          http://www.americasnetwork.com/              Francis McInerney (North River Ven-
Regulators and Governments to put the          americasnetwork/article/articleDetail.       tures) is indeed correct in his implied
genie back in the bottle! .... and I bet the   jsp?id=36473 [snip]                          claim that the conventional telco needs to
industry will have a damm good try! Will                                                    shed itself of the long-term real estate of
the politicians listen? Increasingly ‘No’      “...telecom players must understand how      the infrastructure and focus on fast-ser-
as they see the potential electoral impli-     they can improve capital velocity, which     vices-fast cash.
cations of trying to take away consumer        he measures using operating income over
freedom.                                       total capital.                               I think that at the heart of their reticence
                                                                                            to do this are two mental chasms:
And a question I often ask - how long will     “Network owner and operators are prone
it be before some smart 15 year old geek       to low-capital velocity models. You build    a) the deeply embedded culture of the
makes a gizmo that enables all the mil-        a network and try and get a payback over     CLEC community is that “ownership of
lions of mobile phones to start meshing        10 or 15 years; or you buy a 10-year IRU;    the network is crucial to service provi-
with each other, thereby avoiding the bit-     or you build an ambitious constellation of   sion”. That was true of the old analogue
charging tollbooth of the network opera-       low earth orbit satellites. All have years   circuit switched world although even
tor! As we all know from our LAN in our        of payback and slow write-downs at-          there, they did not REALLY believe it.
homes - bandwidth is free once you’ve          tached to them.                              I recall having this discussion with Sir
found a means of paying for the kit - and                                                   Ian Vallence, then Chairman of British
that model is scaleable to the globe! Any-     “That’s the network.                         Telecom. I pointed out him that he (BT)
one operating a business model that ig-                                                     offered a perfectly good service, con-
nores this is asking for trouble.              “But your real business (where you actu-     necting me with my Aunt Jemima in Ad-
                                               ally make the money) is concerned with       elaide. “You don’t own the local loop in
Lebkowsky: In fact, we should probably         getting services out to customers who are    Australia - why do you need to own it this
promote inter-operability and look for the     ready to pay for them.                       end?” He thought for a moment and re-
new innovative spaces that will emerge.                                                     sponded - “Oh! That’s different - they’re
                                               “What this requires is a high-capital ve-    a phone company” Cozy-Cartel talk! But
Coluccio: Malcolm, I enjoyed reading           locity model enabling you to plug togeth-    the fact remains, there is still this em-
OPLAN White Paper very much. It em-            er technology and milk it fast before the    bedded believe (DNA?) that ‘ownership

                                                               43
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
of the infrastructure affords competitive     tially lower than implicit in their market     coming and doing something to fix it.
advantage in service provision’. We all       valuation and shareholder expectations!!       I note that even the industry’s largest
know that is only true in a digital world                                                    ILECs and MSOs, as they deploy FSANs
if the ownership is ‘abused’. This leads      Step 3: Some ILECs will see the light          via APONs and next generation HFC
to what I see as the second fear of infra-    - some will not - those that do will sal-      designs, continue on this road of asym-
structure divestiture                         vage something - those that do not - their     metry, and it is this quality that holds the
                                              assets will ultimately also become avail-      consumer down in a mostly receive-only
b) some of us are still digesting the grow-   able for OPLAN-type deployment.                mode, unable to host any meaningful
ing realization that in a world of symmet-                                                   type of ‘services,’ whether for personal
rical bandwidth abundance - it becomes        All this depends on Regulatory interfer-       web-hosting use, videoconferencing or
meaningless (and impossible) to dif-          ence, but I actually believe Powell at your    business purposes, of their own.
ferentiate between service/content “cre-      FCC ‘gets it’ even if other regulators do
ators” and service/content “consumers”.       not. I am off to Amsterdam tomorrow to         Later you suggested in your Step 1 para-
ANY point on the network is as good a         a summit of all 25 EU Member States            graph:
point for content/service creation and de-    (Telecoms Ministers and Regulators)
livery as any other point. Any business       as an invited ‘expert’ - will report back      Build an archetype/exemplar Open Pub-
model that seeks to identify and contracts    to Gordon as to whether anyone on this         lic Local Access Network (OPLAN) in a
with these two ‘old world’ differentiable     side of the pond ‘gets it’. [Editor: Not       single location as an overlay to the PSTN.
communities is doomed. But that’s im-         surprisingly the report that came back on      The sole goal being to demonstrate to the
plicit in the idea that if the CLEC were      October 15 was that the EU folk are de-        world (and passive institutional investors
to divest its infrastructure, it would be     termined to try to extend the present day      in particular) that such OPLANs can be
left with anything of competitive value!      order.]                                        structured and financed as conventional
I would argue that with the baggage of                                                       real estate. (we believe there are one
a century’s mindset, the ‘network-free’       Coluccio: A phrase that resounds from          or two unique opportunities/locations
CLEC/ILEC would be very POORLY                your last message states, “[S]ome of us        where this could be achieved with strik-
equipped to match the competitive threat      are still digesting the growing realization    ing results!)
from a million new start-ups that can fo-     that in a world of symmetrical bandwidth
cus on ‘bits’ and not ‘atoms’.                abundance - it becomes meaningless (and        Here’s what list member with the handle:
                                              impossible) to differentiate between ser-      “ftth” had to say about the UTOPIA proj-
So Frank, I share your concern about          vice or content “creators” and service or      ect yesterday, in response to my com-
building yet ‘more’ infrastructure. The       content “consumers”.                           ments about the Bell’s credit story:
OpenPlanet model/timeline is this:
                                              Maybe this holds true in yours, and other      [snip]
Step 1: Build an archetype/exemplar           parts of the world (which I say for the
Open Public Local Access Network              sake of prose only;), but from where I         re: [If true, you can rest assured that the
(OPLAN)in a single location as an over-       sit this is one of the most glaring cases      RBOCs will point to this as the reason
lay to the PSTN. The sole goal being to       where a fundamental oligopoly-influ-           for pulling back on at least a portion of
demonstrate to the world (and passive         enced architectural construct continues        their FTTP rollouts.]
institutional investors in particular) that   to hamper the content creation side of the
such OPLANs can be structured and fi-         broadBand equation (or inequation, as it       Or (and I know this is a stretch) it will
nanced as conventional real estate. (We       were) from a consumer standpoint.              serve as an incentive for public/private
believe there are one or two unique op-                                                      partnership FTTH deployments with mu-
portunities/locations where this could be     I say this because both the ILECs and          nicipalities, where the local municipal
achieved with striking results!)              their strategic partners in stemming in-       gov’t funds all or part of the project on
                                              dependent-thinking use of broadBand            more favorable financing and payback
Step 2: Once this has happened, and the       by users, the MSOs, have pretty much           period terms than the private sector and
capital markets have the appetite for more    seen to it that the asymmetric [with an        its impatient shareholders can tolerate.
- that’s the time to approach the ILEC and    ‘a’] attribute is firmly, and up until now,    Not all that different, fundamentally, than
suggest a J-V - divesting the local loop in   inextricably embedded in broadBand as          the federal RUS funding program for
any area into a new OPLAN vehicle, to         we know it today. Each camp had its own        broadBand. AT&T has engaged in such
which the incumbent had equal access on       reason(s) for starting out that way, but we    a partnership (with UTOPIA), to sell
equal terms to anyone else. The OPLAN         see very little being done to fix the situa-   services only, and that was an unthink-
would then embark upon a progressive          tion except for the offering of premium-       able position not so many years ago. So
FTTP programme. But this may be a bit-        rate alternatives, further leveraging off      there’s a glimmer of hope.
ter pill for the ILEC to swallow, because     the concept of bandwidth scarcity.
I believe that Step 1 will have determined                                                   To think that an AT&T exec would say
the value which I could place on their lo-    The only thing that is scarce here is the      the words “we don’t need to own the net-
cal assets - and these would be substan-      willingness to acknowledge this short-         work” is itself a milestone. In the case of
                                                                  44
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
UTOPIA, a private sector firm called Dy-       proceeded to bring fiber to businesses        has its own rules, and any relief they re-
namic City is operating the network, as a      and residents within those cities’ limits.    ceive in ways too uncommon to the norm
competitive open access network.               Their Web site is at:                         would ricochet and bite them in the arse,
                                                                                             as well.
Despite the claims of Qwest and Com-           http://www.utopianet.org/
cast, the local government is not compet-                                                    Their membership profiles and mission
ing with the private sector. The local gov-    It’s one of the largest FTTx undertakings     statements have morphed over the years
ernment is funding a high-performance          in the US to date.                            to reflect the changing regulatory and
platform where private sector competi-                                                       business model landscapes of the past
tion over a common infrastructure is part      What Will the Edge Pay                        15 years, from a time when they (Comp-
of the mission statement.                                                                    Tel) were predominantly resellers of
                                               For? Not a Lot                                Big Three services seeking better terms
That’s the part that Qwest and Comcast                                                       from them, and now at least one of the
don’t like, because they know how infi-        Coluccio: Pete, am I hearing you say that     Big Three, AT&T, is listed as a sponsor
                                               you think that consumers’ pricing sensi-
nitely more appealing such a “freedom of                                                     to them along with at least one RBOC
                                               tivities would tolerate or be receptive to
choice” network would be to consumers,                                                       (if you can call them that, if not an LD
                                               a $200 to $300 dollar per month com-
and also how appealing it would be to                                                        player, as well), Qwest. See their home
                                               bined loop rental and services fee levied
3rd party content, application, and ser-                                                     page and mission statement:
                                               by the local provider? Please explain, be-
vice providers who could actually market
                                               cause this runs counter to my view rather
their wares on a level playing field, with                                                   http://www.comptelascent.org/ and http://
                                               radically, unless we’re talking about the
no fear of being covertly shut out of the                                                    www.comptelascent.org/about/mission.
                                               power user who works from home on ap-
market by a vertically-integrated market                                                     htm
                                               plications that are constantly running full
power.
                                               throttle hot.                                 Odlyzko: [Editor- The context of An-
[end snip]                                                                                   drew's comment asks whether there a
                                               In your last paragraph you stated some-
                                                                                             triple play pot of gold at the end of the
Have you, Malcolm, or anyone else here,        thing very interesting:                       rainbow?]
taken time to examine the model on
                                               “When your #1 objective is to disadvan-
which UTOPIA is founded, and whether                                                         The discussion of fiber builds, etc., can
it fits the type of archetype or exemplar      tage your competitor, even if it is to your   benefit from some of the statistics in the
                                               own detriment, these positions probably
model you referenced, earlier?                                                               FCC report. The 2004 Trend one shows
                                               aren’t so irrational. Even then, you’d ex-    (Table 3.1) that telephone expenditure as
                                               pect that the LD carriers could collabo-
Matson: Frank, I entirely agree - what                                                       a percentage of all household expenditure
                                               rate to be able to disadvantage the much
we are aiming for has yet to be realized                                                     has grown from 2.0 to 2.1% in the 1980s
                                               greater competition from the RBOCs.”
- but that’s why we are focusing on build-                                                   and early 1990s to 2.4% in 2002, when
ing an small exemplar (as the Stockton to                                                    they amounted to just about $80/month
                                               The RBOCs are now a part of the LD
Darlington did for rail) http://dspace.dial.                                                 per household. (It is undoubtedly much
                                               community, is what I was referring to
pipex.com/town/terrace/adw03/peel/rail-                                                      higher for members of this list, but what
                                               above. Seems odd, but true, to refer to
ways/stock.htm http://www.railcentre.                                                        we have here is not a random sample.)
                                               them as such, and this duplicitous role
co.uk/
                                               is the subject of quite a bit of confusion    In addition, of course, there was growth
                                               today, not only in the context at hand,
We are NOT expending energy on try-                                                          in spending on cable, which is not in-
                                               but with regard to reciprocal payments,
ing to persuade political and regulatory                                                     cluded in the FCC statistics, and now
                                               access charges and the ensuing USF for-
minds of what they cannot possibly con-                                                      comes to about 1% of household expen-
                                               mulas used.
ceive - the vested interests are too power-                                                  diture, starting from a very low figure in
ful in that arena and they spend too much                                                    1980. What that, along with other statisti-
                                               There does exist at least one organiza-
time with them.                                                                              cal data, basically says is that consumer
                                               tion, CompTel/Ascent, comprised of            expenditures don’t change rapidly, and
I know nothing about the UTOPIA proj-          competitive carriers of many persuasions      so the hopes of getting $200-300/month
                                               (once mainly LD resellers both switched
ect (what a name to guarantee it remains                                                     per household are not likely to be realized
                                               and switchless) that attempts through the
a dream!!) so please point me to where I                                                     any time soon. In essence that was the
                                               strength <?> of its 400 members to opti-
can learn more.                                                                              basic flaw in the telecom bubble, the as-
                                               mize conditions by converging on regu-        sumption (made quite explicitly by many
                                               lators and the courts to get better condi-
Coluccio: Apologies to Malcolm, I as-                                                        telecom analysts) that spending on tele-
                                               tions from the ILECs. But not in the sense
sumed incorrectly that UTOPIA’s exis-                                                        com as a fraction of GDP was going to
                                               we’re referring to here. Perhaps this is
tence was wider known than it apparently                                                     double over the next half a dozen years.
                                               because they, too, tacitly benefit from the
is. UTOPIA is a consortium of fourteen                                                       That has not happened, and for anyone
                                               status quo as part of the food chain that
cities within the State of Utah that has                                                     who cared to look at the figures (other

                                                               45
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
than for capex, which, driven by unreal-        ger compiled, so the most recent statistics   in the bubble were looking for relatively
istic projections, did double in the space      go only through 2001, and are available       inexpensive choke points that would en-
of about three years) it was clear that it      in the 2003 FCC Trend Report, in Table        able them to collect astronomical rents.
was not happening.                              10.2. The average usage of a local loop       Had Internet traffic grown at the mythi-
                                                per day has been:                             cal 1,000% a year, and had there been no
Thus the conclusion is that there is no pot                                                   competitors, they would have succeeded.
of gold.                                        1995 52                                       (In fact, the Global Crossing business
                                                1996 53                                       plans were apparently based on the as-
Some More Thoughts                              1997 57                                       sumption of the realistic 100% a year
                                                1998 60                                       growth rate in bandwidth demand, and so
from Andrew Odlyzko                             1999 65                                       Winnick might have managed to achieve
– The End of Telecom?                           2000 72                                       honest success on a modest scale had
                                                2001 71                                       there been no competitors.)
Andrew Odlyzko: Gordon’s Nov-Dec is-
sue concludes with the following quote          So yes, there are signs of the beginning of   Infrastructure costs
from Daniel Berninger:                          a decline, caused by a variety of things,
                                                such as heavy Internet users getting          Notice that U.S. telecom revenues are
The most recent FCC Trend Report (May           broadBand connections and therefore not       somewhat above $300 B per year, of
2004, Table 14.2) shows a 50% decline           spending hours daily with the old dial        which about $80 B is for cellular, and $220
in the amount of usage of each residen-         links, but it is not anything as rapid as     B for wireline. (This is from memory, so
tial telephone line since 1997. The same        Berninger writes.                             not exact.) On the other hand, the cable
report shows the arrival of significant In-                                                   guys live on annual revenues of about
ternet use in 1997 (Chart 16.1) along with      A sustainable business model for the          $50 B, and manage to connect most of
rapid expansion of cell phones (Chart           Internet:                                     the households. Thus, given that the costs
11.1). The data shows what we all know                                                        of electronics are decreasing rapidly, and
from day to day experience - the infor-         I have never accepted “the paradox of the     it is primarily the basic infrastructure that
mation technology industry is annexing          perfect network,” and the claim that there    has high costs, we have enough money to
communication as an application - email,        is no sustainable business model for the      pay for a couple of competing infrastruc-
IM, VoIP, e-commerce, etc. We have              Internet. The basic thing that is going on    tures. (As David Reed noted, he has two
fewer and fewer reasons to use plain-old-       is that the core is being reduced to a very   competing cable providers even.) There
telephone-service.” http://www.daniel-          small commodity piece. It’s very painful      is also enough money to pay for fiber,
berninger.com/endoftelecom.html                 for the long-haul carriers, who thrived       if that was necessary. (It isn’t, given the
                                                on the complexity and attendant revenue       rapid advances in DSL and cable modem
While I agree with most of Berninger’s          opportunities. A very rough analogy can       technologies, and the relatively slow
report, there has not been any “50% de-         be made with railroads. A century ago         growth in user demand for bandwidth,
cline in the amount of usage of each resi-      in the U.S., their revenues amounted to       but at least in principle there is quite a
dential telephone line since 1997.” What        8% of GDP (equivalent to about $800 B         bit of money available.) The big issue
the FCC report (available, along with           a year now, far more than the approxi-        is whether this is financially stable. As I
previous reports in the series, at http://      mately $300 B that telecom collects in        note in “The many paradoxes of broad-
www.fcc.gov/wcb/iatd/trends.html, and           revenues now). Today, they are about          Band,” in the Sept. 2003 First Monday,
must reading for anyone serious about           0.4% of GDP ($35 B a year). They are          http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_9/
telecom) shows in Table 14.2 is that “av-       modestly profitable, but relatively small.    odlyzko/index.html telecom carriers’ Q
erage residential monthly toll minutes”         The process of transforming telecom is        ratios (ratios of enterprise valuations to
went from 149 in 1997 to 90 in 2002 (the        moving faster than it did for railroads,      replacement values) are far higher than
most recent year for which data is avail-       which magnifies the pain.                     1, reflecting expectations of monopoly
able). This is a decline of 40% (39.6% if                                                     profits. The big problem is that in a com-
you want to be pedantic), not 50%. Far          Long-haul fiber buildouts                     petitive situation, it is not easy to main-
more important, it refers just to toll calls.                                                 tain such valuations.
With spread of flat-rate plans, and all-        The reason most of the telecom bubble
distance plans, both wireline and wire-         investments went into redundant long-         Growth in telecom demand:
less, and users playing arbitrage by using      haul fiber appears to have been similar
cell phones, say, to bypass wireline tolls,     to the reasoning of the drunk who was         Chris Savage wrote: This gets back to
this measure does not say much.                 found on his knees near a street lamp.        some of the questions I was asking ear-
                                                Asked what he was doing, he said he was       lier. (1) With telco DSL and cable mo-
The best measure of total usage of phone        searching for his keys. How did he know       dems most everywhere, and some kind of
lines is the DEM (dial equipment min-           he lost them there? He hadn’t lost them       wireless high-bandwidth on the way, who
utes) figure. It covers all lines, not just     there, but that was where the light was,      wants to be 4th to market? (2) What’s the
residential, and unfortunately it is no lon-    so he was searching there. The investors      killer app or apps that will use 10 megs or
                                                                   46
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
100 megs or 1 gig/sec bit rates? Without        amount of money unless you establish a        connection, call management, signaling,
that, lower bandwidth “works” okay for          dominance like that of Microsoft.             customer support, and/or network man-
most people, in which case see #1.                                                            agement,” Lambert writes. “Such out-
                                                Who Will Capture                              sourcing and revenue sharing is enabling
Key point: it is not obvious that there re-                                                   smaller MSOs to enter telephony imme-
ally is a bandwidth problem in the mass         VoIP? IXC Alliance with                       diately, and then incrementally build their
market. Obviously more bandwidth                CableCos for VoIP?                            own telephony infrastructure.”
is better than less at the same or lower
price, but that’s equally true of ice cream,    Davis: From Light Reading, 29 SEP 2004        Steve Heap: Interesting article, although
popcorn, etc. -- that is, of any commod-        http://www.lightreading.com/document.         I am not sure I agree with the conclusion
ity at all.                                     asp?site=lightreading&doc_id=60095            that an IXC like AT&T could remain in
                                                                                              anything like its present shape by being
Yes, that is the key question. Now there        “Some specialized service providers, par-     the outsourced operator of the smaller ca-
is evidence that telecom is desirable, and      ticularly those focused on voice whole-       ble companies VoIP services. The larger
it has historicly grown faster than the         sale and long-haul traffic, are finding       cable companies have the internal engi-
economy as a whole, but never at astro-         new friends in the cable industry.”           neering teams to do this themselves. That
nomical rates. Since Thoreau was quoted                                                       leaves them with an initial need for TDM
earlier, here is another quote from him,        Cable operators accounted for about 2.5       termination, and the IXCs will be there to
from “Walden:”                                  million voice-service subscribers in 2003     take that traffic, but as VoIP peering starts
                                                and are likely to reach the 4 million mark    to take shape, then the calling customer
We are in great haste to construct a mag-       by the end of this year, according to a       can be routed at the IP level to the called
netic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but        new report released this week by Heavy        customer, and the IXCs become bit trans-
Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing        Reading, Light Reading’s paid research        porters.
important to communicate.                       arm (see Heavy Reading: Cable Cos
                                                Race for VoIP).                               Goldman: Probe Research seems to
Now Thoreau was wrong, Maine and                                                              think they’re all for sale. Here’s its latest
Texas did have things to communicate,           The report, “Cable Triple Play: The VoIP      on AT&T:
but it took a while for their traffic to        Card,” by analyst Peter Lambert, points
grow. A key imperative for service pro-         out that one big ally of the cable provid-    AT&T COMES TO THE BRINK: WHAT
viders is to teach their users to consumer      ers are the inter exchange carriers (IXCs),   ARE ITS OPTIONS?
more bandwidth. This is something that          competitive local-exchange carriers
the U.S. telecom industry has not realized      (CLECs), and other voice-application          CEDAR KNOLLS, NJ, September 28,
yet. On the other hand, the Koreans seem        service providers (ASPs) that are lining      2004 AT&T has announced further re-
to have absorbed that lesson.                   up to partner with multiple system opera-     ductions in staff and its stock has fallen
                                                tors (MSOs).                                  dramatically in 2004, almost 27%. The
Capital velocity:                                                                             investment community has lost faith in
                                                The upshot is that if VoIP services take      AT&T’s ability to grow in light of ad-
Francis McInerney is an interesting chap,       off in the cable business, it could provide   verse regulatory rulings and the collapse
but his ideas go only so far. Yes, you can      a new source of revenue and partnerships      of its consumer long distance business.
have high capital velocity. Dell is just        for the ailing voice-carrier world.
about the ideal example, as it often gets                                                     “AT&T, while severely weakened, has
paid by its customers before it has to pay      The cable guys are craving these partner-     options ahead of it that benefit the share-
its suppliers, so in effect operating with      ships, too, primarily because it gives them   holders,” said Allan Tumolillo, COO of
negative capital. But there is only so          a new service to deliver without requiring    Probe Financial Associates. “AT&T’s ag-
much in the economy that can be handled         a significant overhaul of their infrastruc-   gressive rollout of its CallVantage plat-
this way. Note that somebody has to pro-        ture. Lambert reports that ten MSOs have      form and its alliance with the cable in-
duce the disks, CPUs, screens, etc. that        inked deals with telecom network opera-       dustry for VoIP at least have the potential
go into Dell products. And some of the          tors to handle their voice services, and      of growing that end of the business.”
producers of those components manage            several more have outsourcing deals in
to do quite well, in spite of high capital      place with affiliated CLECs.                  “However, AT&T can either position it-
investments (Intel is the best example).                                                      self to be acquired in a ‘friendly’ manner
In telecom, you can make money off of           “Just as incumbent telcos are looking         by an RBOC or by a consortium of cable
high-investment infrastructure if you           at DBS [digital broadcast satellite] for      operators, or seek out an acquisition of its
have a monopoly. You can also make              video content, infrastructure, and exper-     own,” said Tumolillo. “An acquisition by
money off of low-investment services,           tise, a number of both large and small        an RBOCs would pull AT&T back from
but only if you are nimble (jumping from        MSOs are looking to telephony partners        the cable operators, forcing them to in-
VoIP to other, more promising services,         to undertake all or parts of tasks, includ-   vest imediately in VoIP. An acquisition of
as needed), but it is not likely to be a huge   ing not only long distance, but also inter-   AT&T by the cable operators would raise

                                                                47
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
the stakes on the telcos in the ‘battle of    the big idea that Mike Armstrong took         execs, including Armstrong. After seeing
the bundles’.”                                up when he arrived to head AT&T. The          the demo, Norm Schryer, one of the se-
                                              purchases of TCI and MediaOne were            nior AT&T Labs guys, said pretty emo-
An intriguing option for AT&T is to ac-       going to provide access to fewer than a       tionally “Judge Greene took away our
quire MCI, who has retained investment        third of the U.S. households, and so were     customers and we’re getting them back!”
bankers to seek prospective buyers. An        to be just the start. In fact, according to   About the same time, discussing the ex-
MCI/AT&T hook-up would strengthen             rumors I had been hearing at the time         isting protocols vs. new and improved
AT&T in both the Enterprise market and        within AT&T, which were confirmed by          protocols another Labs guy said to me
in its dealings with the cable industry.      Hindery in his book “The Biggest Game         something like “Can’t we just for once
                                              of All: The Inside Strategies, Tactics,       forget about the schedule and design it
PFA’s new report, “AT&T Comes to the          and Temperaments That Make Great              right?” I kept a straight face and was po-
Brink: What Are Its Options?” assesses        Dealmakers Great” (Hindery was John           lite, but inside I wanted to run screaming
AT&T’s options if it seeks a potential        Malone’s right-hand man at TCI, and ran       from the room “These guys have a $50B
buyer.                                        a large part of AT&T until he had a fall-     mortgage and they don’t care when they
                                              ing out with Mike Armstrong), the inten-      can start collecting voice revenue!”
Coluccio: Yes, this is not so much be-        tion was to offer various juicy pieces of
coming a common theme, but it’s a senti-      MediaOne to the cable barons as part of       At the time they had two great access
ment about AT&T that I’m reading more         the big deal in which AT&T would get          networks -- AT&T Wireless and Media
about as time goes by.                        to provide voice and Internet access over     One/TCI (well, the TCI plant was not
                                              those guys’ coax.                             great, but...). I thought for a bit that they
It occurs to me that AT&T for the first                                                     might do OK with these assets. But then
time in its hundred and thirty year ex-       The story (and many people in AT&T            I figured, “Well, they could always screw
istence can do something now that they        Labs - Research had big parts in devel-       it up”, which they pretty much did.
were never able to do as the dominant car-    oping it) was that this was going to be a
rier of the land before. They can walk.       great partnership, with the cable networks    Of all the big figures of the time involved
                                              providing the wires and AT&T providing        with AT&T & TCI -- Malone, Armstrong,
In not so many words, of course, but it’s     its switching expertise, something like a     Hindery -- I think Hindery had the best
conceivable, and even in line with what       50-50 deal. The fallacy in that, which was    judgment. He sold TCI and then later
they did with their residential business      fairly clear to many people even then,        Global Crossing, both at pretty much the
last month, that they could simply take       was that the cable barons had monopoly        top.
what’s good for them and cease and de-        control over their coax, while AT&T was
sist from continuing to operate all other     just one of many service providers with       Siegel: Actually, he sold GlobalCenter,
parts of their plant and assets that amount   the skills to provide switching.              the hosting division of Global Crossing,
to sure losers, selling off or subletting                                                   to Exodus. He also sold GlobalCenter for
what they can. Do they have any alterna-      Perhaps this strategy would have worked       mostly stock, the value of which plum-
tive at this point, when through optical      had the politics been handled better (that    meted soon after sale.
technologies bandwidth costs have de-         is Hindery’s claim) and/or had things
creased by as much as 95 percent during       really moved on “Internet time.” But          Menard: I think that deals between the
a period when their interest on notes and     VoIP over cable is only now becoming a        IXC’s and the MSO’s are not on the terms
their bond payments have remained con-        reality, as opposed to being a necessity      of the IXC’s, but rather on the terms of
stant, or even rising?                        by 2000, so we now have a situation in        the MSO’s.
                                              which AT&T has relatively little to offer
And it is “bandwidth” we’re talking           the cable guys, as Steve Heap noted. They     If ATT (which is not a LEC anywhere
about now, albeit IP bandwidth, as more       may buy AT&T, but if so, they won’t pay       anymore than MCI is a LEC anywhere,
and more “services” have become mere          much for it.                                  unlike Sprint), is looking for salvation on
“applications,” as so many others have                                                      Wall Street by fooling its investors into
noted during the recent past. The paradox     Frank Coluccio’s suggestion that AT&T         thinking that they got into a really lucra-
of making money through IP, when one          walk away from its fixed assets is some-      tive contract outsourcing the voice infra-
had been profitable prior to its existence,   thing that they are unlikely to do.           structure of certain MSO’s, then I think
has yet to be solved, in my opinion. On                                                     that their investors better look at the prof-
its own, in the absence of a prior history    The best thing for AT&T would be to           itability of these ventures.
of being a legacy carrier? Yes, it certain-   combine with MCI and Sprint and con-
ly can be profitable, but that’s a differ-    centrate on serving the enterprise mar-       Reed: According to Richard Greene of
ent story requiring of a different moving     ket.                                          CableLabs, the MSO’s are planning to
company to haul the left-over baggage.                                                      split off voice traffic onto a separate pro-
                                              Forster: A bit after AT&T bought TCI,         prietary Internet backbone for QoS.
Odlyzko: Interestingly enough, AT&T           we demo’d VoIP over DOCSIS to some
partnering with cable companies was           of the AT&T Labs guys and some of the         Coluccio: Why not? They’re already
                                                                 48
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
doing that on the local pipe using DOC-        move to, and away from specialized class        to sway public and political opinion in a
SIS protocols designed specifically for        switches.                                       sensible manner. They won’t pay atten-
this purpose, as well. You don’t suppose                                                       tion, and they may find it hard to under-
they’ll call the new voice services sup-       They see the benefit of the Vonage-style        stand in networking terms but ethics and
ported in this fashion something like          service provisioning, not least because         money may communicate.
“@Home,” do you? <g>                           they can reduce truck rolls if they can get
                                               the users to do installs of new lines, not      It seems to me that some of the entrenched
And if AT&T is a part of the game, as you      just new extensions on existing lines.          interests are busily preparing to eat the
note, the analogy to @Home becomes                                                             goose that laid the golden egg so they can
even stronger, since, wasn’t it AT&T that      Internet Ethics in the                          make a good showing on next quarter and
earlier provided the 5Gb/s SONET back-                                                         then year’s earnings on Wall Street.
bone to @Home in year 2000?                    Context of the Capitalist
                                               Jungle                                          Savage: Here is my cynical lawyer, in-
What the MSOs do on the back ends of                                                           side-the-Beltway perspective: Nobody
their headends and softswitching plat-         Retzer: Some of us involved with Inter-         will really care about this (walled gar-
forms toward the core is one thing. What       net2 are very interested in Internet ethics.    den/net neutrality/generic network op-
they do on their individual access pipes       A few of us met last night and began to         erator foolishness) until some existing
is something else. entiely. I suspect it is    simply list the many issues that we think       network operator does something not
here, in the access portion of the end-        are potentially critical to guide the fu-       merely stupid, but also annoying, to ei-
to-end scenario, where concerns could          ture Internet. These include obvious is-        ther (a) a very large group of people or
mount the most, as far as the openness         sues related to security and privacy and        (b) a group of influential people. The best
and discriminatory treatment issues Jere       not-so-obvious issues like openness and         analogy I can think of is AOL’s decision
referenced earlier today. QoS for the          integrity. I personally think openness-re-      (1997?) to go to flat-rated pricing with-
MSO’s voice offerings, and who knows           lated issues are potentially very critical      out, before-hand, upping the number of
what level of priority (probably none) to      as I am concerned that if service provid-       dial-up ports to handle the increased de-
the parasitic competitors, is the area I see   ers begin to degrade or block packets to        mand. While everybody loves flat-rated
as being potentially the most troubling.       their competitors this will substantially       pricing -- actually, *because* everybody
                                               degrade the value and future usefulness         loves flat-rated pricing -- immediately af-
Reed: The interconnect of these propri-        of the Internet.                                ter implementation of the new policy, zil-
etary backbones can be limited to the                                                          lions of people got busy signals instead of
MSO “club”, which allows them to func-         Reed: I am interested in principles to          modem squawks. This led to (a) a bunch
tion as an oligopoly with national reach       guide the future of internetworking. I am       of lawsuits by state attorneys-general and
(not something Richard said, but he            dubious personally that the current Inter-      associated consent decrees and (b) AOL
didn’t deny it when I asked).                  net will be the basis of the next wave of       buying a bunch more dial-up bandwidth.
                                               interoperable internetworking, precisely        Before that, the last time this type of is-
Since these guys could use no-cost peer-       because too many powerful forces have           sue became a public matter was in 1987-
ing and charge all others for the privilege    aligned to argue cases for interposing          88 when Bert Halprin, as head of the
of accessing their customers, they can         themselves for their own profit or power        FCC Common Carrier Bureau, seriously
start to develop substantial market power      over others. The current Internet will rap-     floated the idea of charging CompuServe
without being burdened with universal          idly limit its own evolution as these trolls    and its ilk high per-minute access charges
service or line-sharing obligations.           attach themselves to all the bridges of the     for their dial-up lines.
                                               network.
AT&T might be part of the game, in                                                             I’m not quite sure what current or future
which case, they could win if the MSO’s        Fortunately solutions outside the current       network operator behavior will meet the
manage to escape the regulatory burden         Internet framework are alive and grow-          “not just stupid, but also really annoying”
placed on most ILECs. Of course, that          ing (WiFi, darknets, Skype, ...). I am opti-    criterion. But if it occurs, then the pub-
depends on how necessary AT&T is to            mistic about these new solutions policing       lic/politicians will take steps to stamp it
the MSO’s when carrying out their play,        the trolls, either by requiring the trolls to   out. In the meantime, it will be business
and how much they are willing to share         focus on their customers’ needs to keep         as usual in the legal, regulatory, political
with ATT.                                      their business, or by bypassing them if         front, which basically means that the big
                                               they prove unable to control themselves         guys spend their time fending off things
Of course, maybe I’m just hallucinat-          in their own interest.                          that could hurt them, the little guys spend
ing...                                                                                         their time trying not to get stomped by
                                               Retzer: I was hoping this would inter-          the big guys, and every once in a while
Reed: Frank - it’s not the DOCSIS voice        est you. I am also very concerned for the       some relatively small thing (good or bad,
that is being split off. The conversation      very same reasons but if we can clearly         depending on your perspective) getting
was about VoIP over the high-speed in-         espouse the ethical and economic case,          affirmatively enacted.
ternet connection, which they plan to          then I’m hopeful that we may be able

                                                                49
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                               posed by ISO was NOT part of the origi-        excess profits when they pioneer new
Some Architecture                              nal concept. In particular, IP packets were    routes that create customer value, but
                                               designed as a way to carry bits between        they had better be prepared to shed some
Issues                                         what we then called “gateways”, which          of those profits as new competitors in-
                                               were interconnect points between net-          novate while they sit on their hands and
Davis: For David Reed - Please help me         works owned by different vendors.              whine about “stranded assets” and PUCs
with some translation here so I can get a                                                     that ought to guarantee rates of unin-
level set on what you are referencing, it      Now when people from the Bellhead              vested return proportional to the cost of
being clear to me by the confusion in my       world starting trying to understand the        drunken debauches enjoyed by their top
head that we use terms in very different       Internet, they needed to fit it into the ISO   management with politicians, etc. (the
universes (specifically, *internetwork-        model, and decided that IP was at layer 3.     companies referred to shall remain name-
ing* which to me is the Layer 3/4, or          The guys who did multi-protocol routers        less, though they were ILECs).
TCP-UDP/IP layers; *interoperability*          (invented by Noel Chiappa at Proteon,
mostly applies in my world to applica-         and later adopted by Cisco and Welfleet        Forster: Welfleet was a pretty good com-
tions above the usual 7 layers, includ-        (that predecessor of Bay Networks/Nor-         petitor -- they had better hardware than
ing operating systems and applications         tel) started adopting the ISO layering for     us (Cisco). OSI CLNP was not bad...but
running on either workstation or server        real, and it now is presumed that IP was       other OSI stuff was a bit much.
operating systems, function calls and          always layer 3. Actually, IP was designed
API’s between applications, and *Inter-        to be sent by horseback if need be (which      Coluccio: An excellent read, David. It’s
net* which I believe you said earlier (and     is why the carrier pigeon RFC was only         always a pleasure reading it straight from
I agreed) was a reification under a single
                                               partly a joke).                                someone who was there back when. In
semiotic name of a huge amount of di-                                                         all due deference, I would like to ask you
versity.                                       In any case, the central idea was interop-     if you are displeased with the evolution-
                                               erability. Which is why the original IP        ary path that interoperable internetwork-
If I grok your post, and please correct me
                                               plugfests were called “interop”, which         ing has taken, given what I felt was a
if I am missing your emphasis and scope,
                                               became called “Networld+Interop” when          disparaging view by you as to how the
it seems to me that you are referencing
                                               it became absorbed into the commercial         ISO constructs were adapted to the origi-
the Layer 1 access media and Layer 1
                                               world.                                         nal scheme of things, and how some of
links (specifically WiFi, darknets), but
                                                                                              the other developments may have ensued
also applications, i.e., Skype .               So this is why it is hard for me to answer     during commercialization. Any views by
                                               your question re: layer applicability.         you and others here on how it could have
So, I am a bit more than a byte confused
                                                                                              been done better would be appreciated.
about “trolls” and whom you include in         Ultimately, interoperability is about
that category. Are you referencing xSP’s       whether all users can connect their ap-        Davis: OSI was always too complicat-
in a generic sense, possibly including but
                                               plications. Darknets and other overlay         ed to handle, but I recall when I was a
not limited to telco’s, telco xDSL, inde-
                                               mechanisms provide interoperability de-        “new hand” that even the B-ISDN group
pendent xDSL, cablecos conglomerates,          spite attempts by the trolls to block them.    didn’t pay much attention to it. This was
independent cablecos, any commercial           The trolls can try, but all they can do is     late 1980’s and there was still discussion
service provider, to include, but perhaps
                                               raise the cost of interoperation.              where I was learning in Europe and CMU
not be limited to Vonage, web hosts,                                                          over whether the research project called
email hosts, “bulk email transit provid-       A troll is someone who hides under a           TCP/IP was only a localized transition to
ers” (AKA SPAM hosting services), <fill        bridge and attempts to extract value by        a global OSI, designed for the same “to-
in what I am missing>?                         threatening to prevent free passage. I         tal standards based interoperability.”
                                               have no problem with tolls that are set
Is a “troll” any old fee-for-services pro-
                                               proportional to the value provided by the      Of course, the lack of network layer in-
vider? Is the issue one of limited choice      bridge, which is bounded by the cost of        dependence was the shoot to the coal
that does not allow the free market (and       building a functionally equivalent path.       bin. The model is still useful for what the
Adam’s Smith’s Hand) to allow consum-          So someone who has a bridge and tries          IETF Network and Transport Layers do
ers to eliminate the inefficient or the abu-   to block the construction of alternative       not define . . . useful for explaining, and
sive?                                          routes is a troll, not a toll. Especially if   designing, and troubleshooting.
                                               they ask the government to grant them an
Reed: As an original “Internet hand”, I’m      exclusive right to put up a bridge, or a       Yes, IP was designed to be completely
old enough to remember that the whole          right to a profit from building a bridge       independent of any media over which it
rationale for the Internet as designed was     after it becomes technologically obsolete      would ride, and independent of any thing
as an interoperable universal network of       and no longer the lowest cost way to pro-      that it encapsulated as long as the ssaps
networks.                                      vide its function.                             and dsaps were defined at those higher
                                                                                              layers.
The concept of layering that was pro-          In other words, competitors should get
                                                                   50
                                         The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

What is the Right Thing                          I'd qualify this by saying, “what you can    all better off if they contribute to the
                                                 do” with the network is just as important    common knowledge infrastructure that
for a Service Provider to                        as accessing the network. Always-on,         has become so incredibly valuable so that
Do?                                              “broadBand” networks that enable VoIP        while IBM continues to file new patents
                                                 and videoconferences are significantly       they are also licensing many of these in-
Davis: Jere, you have brought up the             more useful than dialup. The ability to      cluding DB2 open source. The Internet
“ethics” question several times here, and        offer services is potentially much more      would not exist if competitors had not
I am interested in hearing you expound           valuable than the ability to access ser-     agreed to common open standards, which
a bit on what is behind the question and         vices. The vision of Metcalfe's Law is       have become critical parts of the knowl-
what “ethics” or what ethical rules or           one where every connected user is not        edge infrastructure.
principles that are of your concern.             only a sink but also a source. We‚re see-

Retzer: Thanks, Melissa. The following
                                                 ing this in some respect with the current    Expand Network
                                                 popularity of weblogs. Some are even
rambles too much but is a first attempt to       claiming that we‚re seeing the demise of     Availability Without
try to bring some focus and needs a lot          traditional media. I think this may be the   Restricting Services
more work. I’m very interested in hear-          next wave but let's save that discussion
ing what you and others on the list think.       for another time.                            The ethical path for network providers, in
Simply said, what is the "right thing to                                                      my opinion is to constantly seek ways to
do?” What ethical responsibilities should        The flip side of the law of network ef-      expand and improve the global network,
business assume? How about "provide              fects is that every person or service de-    not wall off their customers or prevent
value” and "do no harm” as a minimal-            nied degrades the value of the network       others from offering services. The perfect
ist set?                                         to everyone else so that if network pro-     network based on the Law of Network
                                                 viders by their actions prevent access to    Effects would allow anyone to provide
It’s trite, but true to say we "live in an in-   broadBand, VoIP, or the ability to easily    or access any service from anyone. Any
formation age.” Alan Greenspan is cred-          operate a server for example, they are       other network is provably less valuable.
ited with calling the US the "weightless         "doing harm,” which I think is unethical     This is not to say that providers should
economy” from a speech where he said             and also contrary to the reasons they are    not be able to set appropriate charges but
that while the gross weight of all produc-       ostensibly in business to provide the ser-   these should, in my opinion be designed
tion in the US really had not changed            vices they are denying.                      to maximize value of the global network
a great deal in fifty years that the total                                                    rather than necessarily maximize rev-
value of our gross product, corrected for        Are ethics important? I think they are and   enue. We saw that while the telephone
inflation has tripled. This, it was taken        not only because they "are the right thing   companies, for example were extremely
illustrated the value of knowledge and           to do,” which I think should be good         good at maximizing revenues the result-
technology.                                      enough but also for practical reasons. As    ing price structure discouraged the sort of
                                                 the public and the Third World observe       free use of the networks needed to enable
Knowledge and collaboration are keys to          business that seem less and less con-        new applications and services to bloom.
creating value and increasing productiv-         cerned about ethical behavior they in turn
ity, more now than ever. The improving           become less concerned about creating         Dave Hughes: Well, let me say how I
capabilities of the Internet have been           business-favorable conditions and we all     think the idea of ‘ethics’ in future net-
critical to this process in the last 15 years    become "capitalist pigs,” "great Satan” or   working might be framed. I will use other
and will be probably even more impor-            some other ugly label of cause. Society      terms, but since my values were formed
tant in the next. Improved productivity &        operates as a web of trust, which grows      at West Point a long time ago, much starts
new products and services yield greater          more important with technology and           with the fundamental matter of just plain
wealth per capita and hopefully less pov-        as we all become more interconnected.        honesty - the honor code I was brought
erty. Actually, the information age has in       Why should people respect intellectual       up with ‘I will not lie, cheat, or steal. Or
some ways worsened the gap between               property, for example of companies that      tolerate others who do.’
rich and poor by increasing the premium          seem to have no soul? What happened to
on access to higher education and valu-          the Andrew Carnegies of this world who       Retzer: I was an Air Force Academy grad
able social connections, which the Inter-        opened thousands of libraries to serve       but think the West Point motto “Duty,
net has in some ways helped to ameliorate        small towns across this country?             Honor, Country” has the more global per-
by enabling developing countries(and ru-                                                      spective with (our mutual) honor code a
ral areas), for example to access knowl-         We seem, instead to currently be obsessed    subset. What is your “duty” as a network
edge and to participate in the knowledge         with this quarter’s earnings, which leads    provider? Simply behaving in a honor-
economy.                                         to locking up information (take a look       able fashion, I maintain does not go far
                                                 at the number of online journals now         enough as it does not address why are
The law of network effects says, as we all       imposing substantial charges), which         you in business? I would maintain that
know that the value of the network rises         impoverishes us all. Some corporations,      your purpose should be to serve others
exponentially with each new participant.         however like IBM recognize that we’re        in some fashion. If your primary purpose

                                                                 51
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
has somehow mutated into something(s)          it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;
else like economic security or stock op-       and it giveth light unto all that are in the   But somebody was smart enough to re-
tions you’ve wandered off track.               house.”                                        alize that if Lucent’s 2.4GHz unlicensed
                                                                                              radio could connect up to Aironet’s, later
Hughes: I have generally also been able        The ‘Law of Network Effects’ is most           Cisco’s radio, and Proxim’s, and Cylinks,
to distinguish between the ‘private’ inter-    easily seen relative to developing new         etc – that everyone would sell more ra-
est and the ‘public’ interest. One of the      markets and opportunities. Customers           dios. And so they turned to the IEEE and
problems in this ‘property rights’ society,    may be reluctant to buy a product or           said ‘Lets make an interoperable stan-
coupled with its efforts to get as close to    service that is radically new and differ-      dard.’ Then everyone’s radio can talk to
‘free and uncontrolled’ marketplace, is        ent until there are at least two providers     everyone else’s radio, not just our prod-
the problem that so many transactions          of similar products. As Dave illustrates       uct, and we can still be competitive on
are seen as a Zero Sum game. Your gain         some industries, particularly networks         matters of scale, quality, features, prices.
is my loss. Leading to expending every         require you to work with the competition       And so hammered out the 802.11b stan-
effort to gain a monopoly – freezing out       to develop standards essential to creat-       dard which any company could adopt,
all others.                                    ing a market. AOL and, I suppose Com-          and then have a bigger market than if
                                               puserve and Prodigy all thought they had       they stayed proprietary. The explosion in
Retzer: Self-interest is in many ways a        better networks than the Internet and per-     Wi-Fi can be accounted for as much by
trap as it will cause you to ignore many       haps they did. However, they all joined        that cooperatively-arrived-at (not gov-
opportunities and may cause you to ac-         the Internet because they saw how pro-         ernment or even ‘marketplace’ imposed)
tively work against others. I’ll wager         viding more global access improved the         mutuality of interest standard as by any
that everyone on this list can think of        value of their networks - and customers        other one thing I can think of.
cases where they made this mistake. The        threatened to leave if they didn’t.
creation of economic value is funda-                                                          Ditto the Internet. If you get my drift.
mentally collaborative in nature so that       ʻMutuality of Interestsʼ                       That’s sort of one way to look at the ‘eth-
the more you restrict yourself the more                                                       ics’ of networking – honesty and mutual-
you degrade your opportunities. I think        Yielded Wi-Fi Standards                        ity of interest – which can also be called
RIAA and the MPAA, among others are                                                           the ‘public’ interest.
                                               Hughes: Well there is another principle I
demonstrating this very well today by
                                               have used a long time now (I have been
placing very hard walls around “their”                                                        Retzer: Where do you draw the line on
                                               nominally retired from my profession
intellectual property. The potential cost                                                     mutuality? Don’t we all benefit from a
                                               of killing people and breaking things in
savings (ie, productivity improvements                                                        wealthier society? Take international
                                               warfare, for 30 years now) – and that is
equating to greater wealth) available                                                         trade as an example. The US lost a great
                                               the ‘Mutuality of Interests’ principal. Not
over the past 5+ years proactively dis-                                                       deal of its steel, auto and textiles indus-
                                               a zero sum game but an arena where ev-
tributing their wares via the Internet are                                                    tries, among others to foreign competi-
                                               erybody has a fair chance to gain what
absolutely huge. Further, if they were to                                                     tion since World War II but in exchange
                                               *they* want – while they grant others the
proactively and competitively distribute                                                      we have much better and less expensive
                                               space to gain what they want. Its also the
their wares via the Internet they would                                                       autos, clothes and sneakers than we
                                               principal of ‘make the pie bigger, don’t
greatly expand their markets. Guess                                                           would if all the production stayed in the
                                               just fight over the pieces.’ Now that
where people are today subscribing to                                                         US. Nike, which has its world headquar-
                                               doesn’t just happen naturally. The ‘com-
movies and music, and videogames like                                                         ters just a few miles from me, for one
crazy? Korea.                                  munity’ of interests have to work at it        has benefitted tremendously. Nike had a
                                               – to find, or invent, creatively, ways one     large role in creating a prosperous mid-
Tomorrow’s media is going to be radical-       entity’s ‘interests’ can be satisfied, while   dle class in Korea and is duplicating that
ly different than today’s and it is taking     another’s is also, because the pie gets big-   success in several other countries today.
                                               ger and everybody who gives up a little
shape now in South Korea because they                                                         Not without pain, of course both in the
                                               to get in the game gets back something.
have the hunger, openness and vision                                                          US and in these countries that are tran-
to embrace rather than reject change.                                                         sitioning from rural agrarian economies.
                                               One example was the rise of ‘Wi-Fi’ phe-
We need to be very careful about “pro-                                                        China is now emerging as a world eco-
                                               nomenon. When Part 15 Rules for Fre-
tecting” information from theft as we                                                         nomic power, creating a gigantic mar-
                                               quency Hopping radios first came out
degrade its value by restricting access.                                                      ket in the process. History would have
                                               in 1984, a lot of companies jumped on
Having also retired from a profession of                                                      turned out a lot differently if instead of a
                                               the bandwagon – the first efforts were to
arms, I understand the need for secrecy                                                       Marshall Plan, the US demanded repara-
                                               make proprietary products. Code was se-
but remember that the perfect secret is                                                       tions from Germany as the allies did fol-
worth nothing. As it says in Matthew           cret – a valuable property. Sell more than     lowing World War I, in effect laying the
5:14-15: “Ye are the light of the world.       anyone else – even dominate the market         groundwork for World War II.
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.   – and one gets rich, driving others out
Neither do men light a candle, and put         of the business. Zero sum technological        Lebkowsky: Mutuality of Interest is part
                                               game. Like Microsoft has done.

                                                                   52
                                           The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
of what Open Source methods and prac-              old ones. There are damned few such ani-      ter understand the context in which your
tices are about, too, and I’ve been talking        mals, in my experience. Even inside the       search for answers to ethical questions, I
to folks in Austin about making that more          FCC stable of lawyers, many of whom           found myself going back to the origins of
explicit and figuring out what kind of             still don’t understand how two radios op-     this discussion to see if there were any
business models we have if we try to be            erating in the same frequency bands can       qualifying criteria laid out by either you
more cooperative, less competitive. Part           function without practicably interfering      or Chris Savage, with the purpose of
of the problem, I think, is that most of to-       with each other's signals.                    setting the bounds on what are arguably
day’s business professionals were never                                                          among the most philosophically perplex-
required to study or think about ethics,           So, secondly, there is more than a need       ing questions asked. You quoted Chris’s
and there’s also the sense in public com-          for ‘ethics’ instruction in engineering       Thursday message where he discussed
panies that you have to subjugate ethical          colleges. There is an equal need for engi-    the role of the telecom industry in gen-
considerations because of your obliga-             neering education in schools of law. And      eral terms…
tion to maximize profits for the sake of           unfortunately many a business executive
your investors.                                    doesn’t know enough about either, even        Savage: “…Given the scale of the tele-
                                                   if they have an MBA and are board mem-        com industry, it should be obvious why
We do have a kind of business counter-             bers of telecommunications companies.         spending (roughly) dozens of millions of
culture brewing, though, and the people            Or to put it more succinctly - American       dollars on lawyers and lobbyists trying
who’re into it are the kinds of people             ‘education’ sucks.                            to delay the advent of the new, cheaper
who’ve made Open Source and WiFi                                                                 technology, one way or another, are all
more prevalent, and their train is picking         Which, because of the ever greater pres-      dollars well spent, from the perspective
up more passengers every day.                      sure for ‘specialization’ in this society,    of the embattled incumbent.” --
                                                   and the explosion of ‘knowledge’ leads to
Hughes: Yes, I could have added ‘open              ever greater ‘education/training’ in ever     … from which you inferred certain things
systems’ or even ‘Linux’ as examples.              narrower fields, until everyone knows a       and then asked:
                                                   great deal about a very few things, and
Two points:                                        few know much about many, much less           Retzer “So what are the ethical consid-
                                                   all, things.                                  erations here? Do incumbents have a
First of all I can’t stress enough that it takes                                                 responsibility to enable new technology
real ‘creativity’ or ‘imagination’ - and the       No easy answers for that, although I have     that can bring new, valuable applications
motivation to use it, following through, to        long (25 years) felt that ‘online’ forms of   to help people be more productive and
figure out ways - technical, managerial,           education are one of the few ways to get      stimulate the growth of future even more
economic, or regulatory (government) to            lots learned from anybody, anywhere cost      valuable applications and services? What
make an ‘everybody wins’ policy work.              (in time as well as dollars) effectively.     are the implications for the value of the
And usually more than one of these. It             Called ‘distance learning’ which I prac-      Internet if incumbents intentionally fight
won’t be enough for geeks who figure               ticed on others back in 1982 (helping,        progress or worse degrade performance?
out how to get more non-interfering digi-          among other things, a theoretical MIT         Of course, the incumbents also have ‘fi-
tal signals into the same electromagnetic          physicist ‘teach’ the math and physics of     duciary’ responsibilities to their stock-
space to open up more unlicensed spec-             Chaos to one-room high school kids in         holders but I’m not entirely sure this is
trum - in "everybody’s interest." Just be-         Montana - by store and forward Fidonet        really served by this strategy.” --
cause engineers or research scientists can         and UUCP. I learned all my own Unix
prove than there are ways to have many             online from an online subscription sys-       The Bit Rate Limiter
signals in the same space.                         tem (not a college). Never darkened the
                                                   doorway of a university to learn it.          Coluccio: I faced a similar set of circum-
So long as the FCC - or incumbent legacy                                                         stances during the mid Eighties as Dave’s,
users with political and monetary clout -          Somewhere in there are some answers.          while attempting to garner dark fiber for a
regard spectrum as ‘their real estate’ as          Which are needed. For while engineers         client of mine in the heart of Wall Street’s
the Television broadcast industry does             need to know ‘how,’ if this ever more         financial district. The dilemma I faced
now - if one has a slice, another can’t            engineering-dependent society is to suc-      back then, along with others who were
have it - or share it, then capabilities will      ceed over the long run with some equi-        building MANs at the time, isn’t new to
not be matched with enlightened policies.          table balance, they also, somehow, need       anyone here, but to set the stage I’ll ex-
It takes - among other things - lawyers,           to know ‘why.’ And visa versa for the         plain what was going on anyway.
and lawmakers (elected Congresscritters)           generalists.
who know or learn enough electromag-                                                             No one was selling dark fiber. No one,
netic engineering - and can grasp the latest       Or can we ‘embed’ values in the running       of course, except rare cases where indi-
findings to be able to harness regulatory          code?                                         vidual enterprises were laying their own
and legal rules with the laws of physics                                                         and selling excess capacity to others to
that new devices can handle better than            Coluccio: Jere - While attempting to bet-     defray costs, or where a rare consortium

                                                                   53
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
was to be created to share the costs over      achieved through the introduction of pas-      plicitly stated, like the above-mentioned
extended distance routes. Since those in-      sively induced chromatic dispersion to         BRL or by an MSO imposing through-
stances were not likely to coincide either     cause pulse overlap beyond a given bit         put rate caps on the upstream flows of an
geographically or temporally with the          rate that was sufficient to emaciate the       HFC loop, then it’s legitimate and fair
demands of most of my clients, I was           data. Datacide, I called it. No one said as    game?
forced to go to NYNEX and to the only          much, but I inferred that it was set at 200
other source that made a difference, Tele-     Mb/s to be able to support a future FDDI       Thus the “ethics” question.
port Communications Group, where I             II on a “side channel” basis, but this stan-
knew the principals from another life.         dard never panned out, nor did the bit         Davis: Jere, you said a lot, and I, for one,
                                               rate limiter, as a direct consequence, ei-     appreciate your grappling with these is-
Neither would bend to the notion of giv-       ther, I’ve surmised.                           sues.
ing up fertile optical spectrum for fear of
the cannibalization that would ensue if a      Retzer: I don’t think this is in the same      “Ethics” is a most difficult arena. I stud-
client got their hands on it. Which was        category as selling Internet bandwidth         ied it in undergraduate and graduate
a well-founded fear on their part, based       and then using packet shaping or a simi-       courses at university given that it was a
on the nature of things at the time, and       lar technology to degrade access to com-       most complex and compelling puzzle.
one that ultimately came to fruition dur-      peting service providers. Rather, this is      Mostly what I learned is that ethics is far
ing the Nineties when AboveNet (nee 1:         more like simply limiting access speed so      from “clean.” There are fundamental is-
National Fiber Networks and then nee 2:        that you can sell more sort of like buying     sues with grappling to level set common
Metromedia Fiber Networks) was born.           a T-3 or GE.                                   assumptions. Even something that seems
But this did not unfold without a lot of                                                      as straightforward as “The Golden Rule”
pain and grief, first.                         Coluccio: As an interesting aside, while       which every human social group, and in
                                               discussing the BRL some fifteen years          fact in behavioral studies, even our so-
During this period I found myself in ex-       later on an internet forum I came across       cial primate cousins have evolved, has
tensive talks with the incumbent’s regular     the retired product manager from Corn-         complexities at the application layer.
high-cap sales forces, their headquarters      ing who set me straight on a few of its        The most famous and oft used “koans”
staff and their special projects people.       engineering principles, but not until after    in ethics courses are the “except in self-
The only products they were willing to         I found myself red-faced after he caught       defense, except in war, except by “name
discuss were N.A. Hierarchical T1-T3           me bashing the whole idea ;)                   the deity’s” laws”; and if “The Golden
based lines (note - that this was still pre-                                                  Rule” what do we do if the other person
SONET time) with monthly recurring             The basic difference between using the         is a masochist?
price tags that ranged as high as $22,000      BRL, as cited above, and the type of Ma-
(5k+12k +5k) for an in-and-out-of-the          chiavellian tactic that you have implied       Lawrence Kohlberg’s work in the early
same-central- office (or head-to-head          “might” be imposed by an MSO is that           1970’s established a neuro-cognitive
circuit, as it’s called) connection between    on the one hand, the BRL was an explicit       developmental ranking, akin to Piaget’s
two buildings in downtown Manhattan.           approach to protect market share that          stages of logical development, but mov-
For anyone keeping score, that quote           would have been done out in the open,          ing beyond where Piaget stopped. Given
came to me in late ‘86.                        while the latter is merely a potential tac-    that stunting at the early child like Level
                                               tic (which is scary in itself), and a more     1 is in the realm of psychopaths and other
During this veritable pilgrimage I be-         implicit approach, whose vagueness is          personality/character disorders: - Level 2
came aware of a product that was being         matched only by the uncertainties of the       is in adults criminal (Do It if you can get
marketed by Corning called a “bit-rate         classification surrounding the DOCSIS          away with it, if no authority is watch-
limiter,” or BRL, as I later dubbed it in      spectrum that supports parasitic voice         ing) -- in the Internet, the realm of worm,
correspondence to clients.                     services over an HFC system.                   RAT, data-mining thieves, spy ware and
                                                                                              ad ware intruders, virus writers, web van-
(Even if I say not another word on this        I say this because the MSO is not, in          dals;
subject, and I won’t in any event belabor      this capacity at least, a common carrier,
it much longer, the name of the product        hence it is not obliged to carry whatever      - Level 3 is rigidly rule bound that can
that I just mentioned, alone, should give      it chooses not to carry. (I’m still inviting   result in some weird logic. Religious fun-
all of you a reason to sit back, pause and     comments on this last thought. Anyone?)        damentalist literalists find a home here -
reflect for at least a couple of minutes ;)                                                   You can hear them on call-in talk radio
                                               So, taking away from the above, at least       shows, especially on the right-wing sta-
What the BRL did was intended to do            two forms of NOT doing the right thing         tions. It is good to listen now and again
was to allow a customer to buy a lim-          by the customer can and do occur. These        to understand the world we live in, who
ited swath of spectrum on a common             can either be explicitly done, or implicit     is living in it, and how democracy is very
carrier’s fiber with throughput on the         in nature. Are they equally deserving of       brittle.
customer leg of a simple WDM “y” that          your concerns over ethics? Or, is it fair
was nominally set to 200 Mb/s. This was        enough to state that if a limitation is ex-    - Level 4 is the “utilitarian stage”, well
                                                                   54
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
described by John Stuart Mill, and the          those at Level 3 or Level 4.
1960’s state-liberalism and its empirical                                                       Gentlemen, there are a lot of folk out
critics who challenge it for eliciting the      To the “Web of Trust” cited by you and          there who do not, will not, and perhaps,
“Law of Unintended Effects” and who             Dave Hughes:                                    can not behave/value to this standard of
determines the “good” for the greatest                                                          the “Human/Community Web of Trust.”
number and the criteria to which mea-           On Fri, 2004-10-01 at 23:58, Jere Retzer        In the world of “The Internet”, this is not
surements and accountability for “the           wrote:                                          merely the cyber-criminals and shysters
good”; what about minorities? What                                                              and con men of which we are aware. It
about safeguards for determining and di-        Knowledge and collaboration are keys to         also includes corporate officers bound
verting exceptions?                             creating value and increasing productiv-        by the “fiduciary responsibilities to the
                                                ity, more now than ever. The improving          stockholders”, excluding community in-
- Level 5 is the legalistic stage, inclusive    capabilities of the Internet have been          terests, utilitarian or higher.
of Level 3 and 4, but includes mitigating       critical to this process in the last 15 years
circumstances. Here find the critics of na-     and will be probably even more impor-           Some accounting here must include not
ive utilitarianism. Level 5’ers are “play-      tant in the next. Improved productiv-           only “do badders”, but also people who
ers”, not unethical or anti-social, they just   ity and new products and services yields        are careless or make mistakes with our
don’t take “all-or-none” positions and al-      greater wealth per capita and hopefully         trust, people who deliberately maintain
low for exceptions. E.G., at a four-way         less poverty. Actually, the information         ignorance and naivete, people who fail
intersection with a traffic light in empty      age has in some ways worsened the gap           to use firewalls, anti-virus, or patch.
Wyoming at 4 a.m., there is no conscience       between rich and poor by increasing the         It includes those who monopolize our
pang about running a red light.                 premium on access to higher education           shared bandwidth on broadBand connec-
                                                and valuable social connections, which          tions to download DVD’s and other huge
- Level 6 is where Kohlberg and Erickson        the Internet has in some ways helped            streams.
stopped - about as far as any document-         to ameliorate by enabling developing
ed human has gotten so far . . . what is        countries(and rural areas), for example to      And what of that bandwidth glutton vis-
called “Universal Morality”, the one that       access knowledge and participate in the         a-vis the provider? Does or can the pro-
includes “The Golden Rule”, the neces-          knowledge economy.                              vider afford to choke his bandwidth when
sity for Level 3 for people who have only                                                       likely only he will complain, and if others
developed so far, Level 4 as a guiding          Society operates as a web of trust, which       do, they get either the response that they
but not commanding value, Level 5 - but         grows more important with technology            do not have means to detect or the SLA
applies these beyond human tribalism in         and as we all become more interconnect-         provides no guarantees. (It is “The Best
any form.                                       ed. Why should people respect the intel-        Effort Internet” - the best anyone can do,
                                                lectual property, for example of compa-         given to us by the greatest minds ! )
Seems to me that you and Dave Hughes            nies that seem to have no soul?
are very evolved guys - out there in Level                                                      Dealing With Metcalfeʼs
6.                                              On Sat, 2004-10-02 at 14:11, Dave
                                                Hughes wrote:                                   Law
So now, using this as a backdrop, it is
straightforward to see that any one or          Now that doesn’t just happen naturally.         Jere, I do note that you presented a quali-
tribe of humans can argue any position          The ‘community’ of interests have to            fication to Metcalf’s Law, TO WIT: The
from any set of premises, EXCEPT that           work at it – to find, or invent, creatively,    law of network effects says, as we all
one whose development has a stable state        ways one entity’s ‘interests’ can be satis-     know that the value of the network rises
at any lower level CANNOT begin to                                                              exponentially with each new participant.
                                                fied, while another’s is also, because the
grasp or leap the chasm to a higher one.                                                        I’d qualify this by saying, what you can
                                                pie gets bigger and everybody who gives
At the upper layers, sometimes the lower                                                        do with the network is just as important
                                                up a little to get in the game gets back
ones trump one’s higher order values.                                                           as accessing the network. Always-on,
                                                something.
Example here are both the libertarian                                                           broadBand networks that enable VoIP
arguments against the income tax and            On Sat, 2004-10-2 at 15:32 UTC, Melissa         and videoconferences are significantly
the powers given to the IRS as well as                                                          more useful than dialup. The ability to
                                                Davis writes:
the Level 5 or 6 folks who want selec-                                                          offer services is potentially much more
                                                                                                valuable than the ability to access servic-
tive contributions (e.g., NONE of MY $          Only Level 6 stage folk have the sense
                                                                                                es. The vision of Metcalfe’s Law is one
to defense or “government intelligence”,        of the “global/universal” morality. Melis-
                                                                                                where every connected user is not only a
allocate my taxes to education, AIDS or         sa, who, when a practicing psychologist
                                                                                                sink but also a source.
Breast Cancer Research, environmental           waiting for IT to be beyond the “premie”
causes, etc.). The Level 5 arguments on         stage and also to admit women, did some
                                                                                                My issue with Metcalf’s Law is that it is
the Second and Fourth Amendments to             good bit of work in forensics and the law
                                                                                                neither a Law (as a “Law” in physics),
the Constitutions are fundamentally dif-        enforcement/criminal justice, and secu-
                                                                                                a “Law of the Land” (to be connected
ferent (whatever side they espouse) than        rity arenas.

                                                                 55
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
means you cannot only be a “sink” but          Open Source and contributions to it as         these should, in my opinion be designed
also a “source”, else we will cut you off,     “The Revenge of the Real Nerds against         to maximize value of the global network
AND HAS NO PROOF AT ALL.                       the faux-Nerds of MS.” Giving away the         rather than necessarily maximize rev-
                                               tools that are a huge revenue and custom-      enue. We saw that while the telephone
“Metcalf’s Law” is just an idea. What          er base control for MS begins to erode         companies, for example were extremely
is the empirical ratio of “sources” to         both the MS revenue, stop their progres-       good at maximizing revenues the result-
“sinks?”                                       sion (Linux on the back-end), and their        ing price structure discouraged the sort of
                                               market perception. MS is practically giv-      free use of the networks needed to enable
The hidden implication of “Metcalf’s           ing away their products to any Enterprise      new applications and services to bloom.
Law” as stated is its imbedded assump-         customer who “is considering” Linux, or
tion of a F(x) = Nx = y^n. (the exponent       “Unix to Linux” migrations. This is now        IF I am either an owner, major investor,
(n) being a variable as Metcalf did not        a joke in the CIO community on how to          or corporate officer with fiduciary li-
state the value of the exponent in citing      get pricing discounts even if they have no     ability to serve the best interests of my
an exponential relationship).                  real intent to migrate.                        stock holders in a company with connect-
                                                                                              ing media infrastructure (telco wireline,
What I (Melissa) would argue is that this      I suspect that both are true for IBM - it      coax/HFC, RF or MW), and I look at the
relationship is curvilinear on a topologi-     is in their self-interest in the competitive   asymmetric deflation across the industry,
cal manifold on many dimensions that           world of Enterprise networking to use the      what is the economic argument for me
specifies (x) * (x’). (x) would remain the     awesome power of loosely coupled dis-          to open my pipes to just any old other
symbolic for connected users, (x’) being       tributed computing. They sell hardware         general or specialty provider who wants
the number of other users that access any      and they sell professional services and        them?
“source” contribution.                         Business Solutions at a cost MS simply
                                               cannot compete with for price/perfor-          If melissaCO owns the pipes, and melis-
Hence F(x): nx*nx’ ~ y^n, providing a          mance/simplicity, time between Proof-of-       saCO is providing services, and wishes
model for valuing the “source” contribu-       Concept or testing of patches to produc-       to bring on new services in this rapidly
tion and setting that value on “source”        tion. With Linux, there is no worry about      changing techno-manifold, then: it seems
as one that is measured not by the con-        “global patches” that make inoperable          that “Open Access” can only be to my
tribution, but by its propagation and the      third party applications. One just turns       detriment. I have paid the marketing
propagation of what is built on it.            on what services to offer, patch only for      costs to get the active hook-ups at flat
                                               those services, re-compile if necessary        rates that are regulated.
This would vary by content sector. In the      with parameters in ./config
“Open Source” community, (nx’) has a                                                          It seems to me from a Business Strategic
high value. In the case of spam, the value     Open Access Remarks                            Point Of View that I am opening up my
may be close to zero. The case of porn is                                                     core revenue base to asymmetric warfare
an interesting one mathematically (math-       on OPEN ACCESS                                 where for any single service: (a, b, c, . . .
ematics being the only interest I have in      from the Media Access                          i, j), I have to increase my capitalization
porn), in that the ratio of (nx) to (nx’) is   Provider Point-of-View                         to compete with that many competitors
low - very few contributors serve a very                                                      who are using my base to destroy my
large number of paying but non-contrib-        I am not a media access provider, own          company.
uting users. This would be an interest-        no stock in any telco or cable co or ISP.
ing math model to explore to see how           The remarks below are simply taking a          The only counter-argument I can now
the mapping describes Internet Retail,         POV that is different from the small and       conceive, unless you all enlighten me,
vendor support, etc. In the Open Source        emerging provider and the consumer that        is to declare “public ownership” of the
community, relatively (mathematical ra-        seem to be the common themes in the            infrastructure, which is exactly what the
tio, not absolute numbers) few have the        CR:                                            MCI proposal, and others have done. The
coding and development skills to serve a                                                      argument, as best I could write it previ-
large number of users world-wide. Few          The ethical path for network providers, in     ously: if it were build with bonds under
of us contribute to support services to a      my opinion is to constantly seek ways to       gov’t guarantee, or build with “protected
larger number of folk gaining some con-        expand and improve the global network,         monopoly status to cover the capitaliza-
trol over their lives and freedom from the     not wall off their customers or prevent        tion cost and time to market”, then at
MS troll taxes, but there is an amazing        others from offering services. The perfect     some point of ROI, the goods become as
uptake of new users who become con-            network based on the Law of Network            much public domain as an expired patent
tributers on exactly those same support        Effects would allow anyone to provide          or copyright.
list “sources.”                                or access any service from anyone. Any
                                               other network is provably less valuable.       But this leads back to another argument,
The IBM case: there are those who pres-        This is not to say that providers should       the one garnered from the experience of
ent “new-gen” IBM in the way that you          not be able to set appropriate charges but     deregulation of the Power GRID: if the
do, and others who see the embrace of                                                         goal is to market to the end-users (busi-
                                                                   56
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
ness and residential) where the high mar-       stockholders.                                 side there are actual lines, switches, rout-
gins are, who will service, maintain, im-                                                     ers, bi-lateral peering, peering exchange
prove, manage the GRID itself?                  Maybe that law is “unethical” (my values      point, complex BGP routing topologies,
                                                personally), and maybe that is where ac-      etc. The result is that some sites are faster
CONCLUSION: Jere, I agree with you              tion should be directed, rather than blam-    than others. Content access speed can
on values, but what I am saying, is that        ing people in jobs doing them in the way      be improved by putting in caches, faster
they are, as stated, less than a compelling     they are legally required to do them? I       servers, fast lines, more private peering,
socio-political case.                           would love to see competition. Compe-         etc. I don’t why we should expect an in-
                                                tition doesn’t just bring down costs, it      vestment to improve access times to ran-
Can we grapple with these a little lon-         drives providers of any value-add to im-      dom, un-affiliated content, and I don’t
ger?                                            prove and not get sloppy.                     see a reason to feel bad about investing to
                                                                                              improve the access to affiliated content.
Davis on October 4: Jere and Dave, I            What I am looking for from you two,
hope I didn’t offend either of you by tak-      and anyone else, is how to structure the      Some ISPs are blocking outgoing TCP
ing and arguing the “incumbent infra-           propositions such the “win” for the little    Port 25 connections, on the grounds that
structure and provider case.” I share your      new guys is not a "lose" (in terms of         this is primarily (by number of users,
values.                                         asymmetric commercial warfare) for the        number of messages) used for spam sent
                                                incumbents.                                   by PC’s ‘owned’ and running as bots or
Business Values Are                                                                           zombies. Educating users and enforcing
                                                Please help me here.                          PC hygiene costs ISPs real money, so
Based on a Different                                                                          some feel fine about blocking port 25 by
Matrix or Axiology                              Forster: That sort of hypothetical dan-       default, and even charging a premium to
                                                ger (carving the Internet into pieces with    allow it to be open. Again, if labeled ac-
The arguments I advanced were done so           walls in between) is regularly trotted out,   curately I can’t see a problem with this.
in that they are the ones made by the en-       but I just don’t see it happening. I don’t    Vern Schruyver has some pretty good
trenched interests, backed by money/in-         see that as likely as it doesn’t maximize     rants on this.
fluence, passive customers. Some one has        revenue for either the network connectiv-
to mind the infrastructure and get paid for     ity provider or a content provider. Even      Odlyzko: The discussion of Metcalfe’s
it. It is Cap-Ex and Op-Ex intensive and        when both are in the same company it          Law caught my eye, and so I thought I
for the cable-cos will become more so if        would not maximize revenue.                   would mention a brief note that Ben Tilly
they offer SLAs.                                                                              and I are writing, and which I hope to
                                                Bundling and walled gardens can be used       have ready in a few days. Metcalfe’s Law
What “the good” or “the right” means            to get a slight premium but any more than     (which, as Melissa notes, is not a real
(ethics) differs whenever perspectives          a slight premium will drive too many          law, and does not even have the kind of
and experiences differ.                         customers to find alternatives that are       evidence that Moore’s Law has) says that
                                                reasonable substitutes. So if Land’s End      the value of a general communication
I don’t see how “The Internet” is at risk       (or whatever) ends up in a walled gar-        network of size n grows proportionally to
when any provider offers a service. VPN’s       den with very high prices, then J. Crew       n^2 (so polynomially, not exponentially),
divide the Internet into walls, but they are    or someone else gets more business. If        based on the observation that there are
not seen as a source of “carving the In-        Warner Brothers movies are only avail-        n*(n-1)/2 pairwise connections that can
ternet into pieces with walls in between.”      able on TW Cable they’re leaving money        be made. Reed’s Law (due to our David
For the general user, neither CompuServe        on the table.                                 Reed) says this value grows proportional-
nor AOL succeeded with walling their us-                                                      ly to 2^n (so exponentially), based on the
ers from “the Internet.”                        If the walls you speak of are the ‘walls’     observation that one can form 2^n groups
                                                of VPNs, then you have to accept that the     out of n subscribers. Now there are vari-
It is difficult for me to see what is the ar-   world seems to not particular want a to-      ous arguments that Metcalfe’s Law (and
gument here. If Comcast offers its own          tally flat address space. There seems to      therefore also Reed’s Law) overstates the
VoIP at its risk, it risks market accep-        be some utility in having different con-      value of a network. See, for example, my
tance. If “Open Access” means that com-         nectivity depending on context.               2000 manuscript, “The history of com-
petitors secure access to the pipes at costs                                                  munications and its implications for the
below the {(Cap-Ex build sinking fund           I think providers should have to describe     Internet,”
+ interest) + maintenance + personnel           their service accurately and (i.e. truth in
and personnel burden + capital and op-          advertising / accurate content labeling)      http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/
erating expenses for trucks and customer        , but if they want to offer service that      history.communications0.pdf
service}, then how is that an “everybody        delivers some content faster than other
wins” situation? The “fiduciary responsi-       content, I can’t see the huge problem         Tilly and I propose (and substantiate with
bility to the stockholders” liability forces    with that. The perception is that Internet    several quantitative heuristics) that the
executives to act in the interests of the       connectivity is a generic cloud, but in-      value of a general communications net-

                                                                57
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
work is best thought of as growing pro-       origination side) and dealing with spam       -- indeed, any interest at all in connectiv-
portionally to n*log(n). This is in con-      and its cognates (on the receiving side)      ity -- is limited to, at a very large maxi-
trast to Sarnoff’s Law, which says that       outweigh the marginal benefit of the next     mum, 10,000 other nodes. The utility to
the value of a broadcast network of size      user. If I were an actual economist I’d ap-   me of the next person getting a phone or
n grows like n.                               propriately modify it for uncertainty: you    an email address in Mudsuck, South Da-
                                              don’t know for sure which new member          kota, is zero, all things equal.
Metcalfeʼs Law – Is                           of the network is going to be a bad guy,
                                              but as you continually increase members,      2. Suppose the new person on the phone
Universal Access Really                       the probability of having (n) bad guys        network in Mudsuck is simultaneously
a Desirable Goal?                             goes up.                                      (a) a normal schmoe but also (b) a tele-
                                                                                            marketer with a war dialer that can gen-
Savage: I submit that you are all wrong.      So, try Savage’s Law of Networks: The         erate 100 unwanted telemarketing calls
Ubiquitous phone networks lead to tele-       value of adding members to a network          per hour, sixteen hours per day. That
marketers and phone stalkers and dial-a-      starts out high, which encourages uni-        creates affirmative negative impact on
porn. Ubiquitous snail mail leads to 30       versal access, which lets in the bad guys,    about 48,000 people per month, with no
pieces of junk for each piece of interest.    who penalize *all* existing members in        offsetting positive. Assuming the person
Ubiquitous email leads to endless spam.       an amount that far exceeds the value of       has 10,000 people who actually care that
Ubiquitous broadcast networks leads to        adding new members. Hence closed net-         he’s on the network (see above), he’s still
ads and a vast wasteland.                     works spawn open networks (to obtain          creating negative impact on roughly five
                                              the values of ubiquity), which, however,      times that much each month.
The laws in question depend on the un-        then spawn closed networks to avoid the
derlying unspoken assumption that the         hassles of openness. Yin, Yang and all        Forster: Yes, exactly so!
people on them are good, nice, pleasant       that.
folks with legitimate things to say. When                                                   Savage: 3. Two points to consider. First,
you put everyone in the world on them, in     Odlyzko: Well, let me not get into details    when the bad guys get on the network,
the service of the nirvana of maximizing      now, and wait until the paper is finished.    they create a positive impact (increase
“value” (in the telecom world we call this    Instead, let me just note that although       in marginal utility) for basically nobody,
“universal service”) you necessarily get      there is much to Chris’ argument (which       and a negative impact for thousands or
the scammers, fraudsters, abusers, etc.       is one reason Metcalfe’s and Reed’s laws      perhaps (in the case of email) millions of
                                              are incorrect), I don’t know of any major     people. Second, even when a non-bad-
Some famous law-and-economics po-             communication network where marginal          guy is added to the network, the actual
litical science type (James Q. Wilson?)       utility turned negative. The almost uni-      positive value (as compared to a neutral
pointed out that any given society will       versal trend has been towards growing         value) is limited to the people who might
always have some number of people             usage and growing spending. Counter-          reasonably be expected to want to con-
who don’t follow the rules. As long as        examples are almost always associated         tact or be contacted by that person. That
that number is small enough, things go        with superior technology displacing us-       is a tiny, tiny fraction of the total attach-
fine. At some point, though, the number       age to other channels.                        ers to any of our major networks.
of miscreants is sufficiently high that so-
ciety, in some meaningful way, “breaks        Savage: Now you are going to make me          4. What ubiquity of access does is make it
down.” In a communications network the        pretend even more that I am an actual         unnecessary to solve what has in the past
relevant metric is not number of rotten       economist. Assume for purposes of the         (but might not be now or in the future) a
people, but rather number of rotten mes-      following discussion that each person’s       difficult search problem. I suspect that it
sages. Pre-paid presorted bulk mail, war      time/utility/welfare is valued equally. In    would be pretty hard for me to identify
dialers, and email address lists for spam-    economic terms that is obviously false        in advance everyone I’d want to be con-
mers all multiply the impact of the rotten    but it is a standard assumption so let’s go   nected to. So just having everybody on
people well beyond their IRL numbers.         with it.                                      the system makes it unnecessary for me
                                                                                            to do that. Note, however, that this could
So, I would submit that the value of net-     1. Most of the people on most of the net-     be solved by organizing everything into
work connectivity probably actually fol-      works I am connected to are totally irrel-    sub-networks, and distinguishing be-
lows a traditional marginal utility curve,    evant to me. I suppose I’m glad in some       tween incoming and outgoing. I do not,
with high marginal utility (and high in-      attenuated, abstract sense that I can call    ever, want to be called by any telemar-
creases in total value) when folks are be-    anyone I want in Mudsuck, South Dako-         keter. I do not, ever, want to be emailed
ing added from a low base; followed by a      ta. But I’m not glad enough to pay extra      by any purveyor of (to list a few) viagra,
basically flat part of the curve where each   for it, if I had a choice. Similarly, most    male body part enlargers, or alleged Ni-
person added gives some more value, but       of the people on most of the networks         gerians seeking help with confidential
not much; and then it starts to be *nega-     each of us is on is irrelevant to each of     business transactions. On the other hand,
tive* when added hassles like finding         us, individually. I submit that for any       while I hope I never have a need either
the addresses of people you want (on the      given person the “need” for connectivity      to call or be called by criminal defense
                                                                 58
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
attorneys, I would like to be able to call                                                     network (whether here or there) could be
them and by doing so permit myself to           The point of all of these mental exercis-      a telemarketer/spammer and thus a nega-
get calls from them. I suspect my pref-         es is to highlight the fact that in the real   tive.
erences (my utility function regarding          world we only need or want to be con-
receipt of communications, if you want          tacted by a few people (relative to the        Wayrynen: But the telemarketers could
to sound economic) are not that outré in        hundreds of millions/billions on the ma-       be in your own home town also - given
these respects.                                 jor existing communications networks);         your reasoning you would need to cut
                                                that (e.g.) business users have very dif-      off your local market also. In fact there
5. Do the following thought experiment.         ferent connectivity preferences and needs      may be more telemarketers in your local
Suppose Yo-Yo-Dyne Industries invents           from consumers, which may (consider            market so you could be cut off from the
the ultimate unlicensed mesh phone for          telemarketers/spam) be in direct conflict      rest of the world as the world walls your
$1 each and everybody buys one. Any             with those of consumers; and that even         market off.
phone can contact any other phone. But          individual preferences on this point may
it is left to principles of emergent order      vary considerably. Moreover, the prob-         Savage: Actually, not quite. One of the
(think Kazaa, sort of) for people to iden-      ably key observation is that the network       underlying traditional assumptions of the
tify their own phone as callable, either        technologies we have used to date have         telephone network (not so much email as
by specific other phones or in general.         not been adequate to reflect any of these      far as I can tell) is that your location mat-
Does anyone think in that circumstance          realities, including both differential pref-   ters for purposes of your calling rights
that they would designate their phone as        erences and conflicts between them.            (toll calls v. local calls) as well as net-
callable by anyone, without restriction? I      When all you have is a hammer, every-          work engineering. That is becoming less
submit not.                                     thing looks like a nail. When all you          and less true with telephone (consider
                                                have is a quasi-ubiquitous network that        wireless plans and VoIP). If you look at
Forster: This is also why IPv4 addresses        gives all attachers equal send and receive     my discussion (that I would need connec-
have not run out -- in many cases (most?)       rights, everything looks like universal        tivity to at most 10,000 people) there was
people don’t want flat IP addressing in         connectivity is a wonderful thing.             not requirement that those people be “lo-
which every IP device in their home/of-                                                        cal” to me in any geographic sense.
fice/net is addressable by the entire In-       6. My tentative conclusion based on pon-
ternet, and in these cases NATs are not         dering these sorts of things is that univer-   Wayrynen: If you are going to look at the
a bug but a feature. When the Internet          sal connectivity beyond a certain point is     marginal value of something you have to
was a nice little collegial network flat        based on propaganda and ideology, not          look at it from the viewpoint of every-
addressing was a grand idea but as the          economic benefit. The underlying as-           one, not just an individual. The people
Internet has grown up there has been a          sumptions have historically been untest-       in Mudsuck are children of and mothers
lot of acceptance of topologically richer       able given the limitations on traditional      and fathers of people outside of Mudsuck
structures.                                     network technology. More intelligent ter-      - they have needs to communicate out
                                                minal devices (I’m still a stupid network      and people have need to communicate
Savage: My hypothesis is instead that           fan) may in the foreseeable future make        in. They have connectivity there so when
people would differentiate themselves           accommodating actual different prefer-         an outsider’s car breaks down on the way
based on their own preferences. For my          ences and conflicts among them possible.       through town they can call their support
professional phone I would initially al-        But I strongly, strongly suspect that the      organizations to come help them. They
low myself to be called by everybody,           traditional, pro-universal-connectivity        have Internet access so when you spend
since who knows who might be a client?          conclusion is not based on any actual evi-     the night at a motel on the way through
For my personal phone I suspect with a          dence.                                         town you can still access your email and
little bit of work I could generate a list of                                                  do your normal net activities. They have
1000 numbers that, if I didn’t get called       Wayrynen: I too am far from being an           cell phone access so that when you pass
by anyone not on the list, I wouldn’t           economist, but it appears to me you have       by the town you can still receive/initiate
care. Individual choices would of course        set up multiple examples of the worst case     important phone calls.
vary. More complicated thought experi-          scenario from a singular point of view -
ments involve modifying the capabili-           that the example people from Mudsuck           Savage: I’m not saying that the marginal
ties of the hypothetical equipment. E.g.,       have negative value because one of them        value of adding people in Mudsuck is
any call can tentatively connect subject        could cause more harm to the network           zero to their friends and family -- *their*
to announcement of identity (caller ID).        than the value of the rest.                    1,000 to 10,000. I’m saying that the
Over time a reject list would be devel-                                                        marginal value is zero to ME. Now, the
oped. E.g., a group of people could have        Savage: I was actually conflating two          MOTEL in Mudsuck might be on my list
a common answering machine to which             things. One is that the addition of random     (somewhere between 9901 and 10,000,
all “unknown” calls are routed without          people far away with whom I have no            but still...). But that’s different.
ever ringing the actual phone (think spam       contact is actually of no value to me. The
filters). Etc.                                  other is that a random person added to the     Wayrynen: That old six degrees of free-


                                                                 59
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
dom principle ensures that the people in       a name from my address book you get to         cial creatures.
Mudsuck are of value to someone that           talk to my voice mail. :-) If I get tired of
eventually is of value to everyone on the      listening to your voice mail, I just add       Wayrynen (earlier): Perhaps you are es-
network. In fact they have as much value       the number to my ignore list. Of course        pousing that the value of anonymity on a
as any other subset of people from the         I have learned that I have to unblock my       ubiquitous network is of little value from
rest of the world.                             number for those people I want to com-         your point of view. I think I could play
                                               municate with, otherwise I have to talk to     devils advocate on both sides of that. :-)
Savage First, I think the research under-      their voice mail.
lying the six degrees of separation prin-                                                     Savage: Anonymity is not really the issue,
ciple has been shown to be false. Sec-         Savage; In other words, you are limiting       I think. What I’m really basing my think-
ond, you are assuming there what you           your direct connectivity.                      ing on is that any given person’s mental
are trying to prove, which is that the fact                                                   economy has only a certain amount of
that there are lots of smaller networks of     Wayrynen: Definitely - The way most            attention to go around. Some calls are
people who want to be able to reach each       people feel about email spam I how I feel      welcome parts of our day. Others are
other implies that everybody wants to be       about the phone. What other mode of            intrusions. (I’m not talking about learn-
able to reach each other.                      communication allows anyone to inter-          ing something you don’t want to learn,
                                               rupt anyone else, force them to respond        like that your kid is sick at school; I’m
Please understand, by the way, that I am       at the callers chosen time period, and         talking about calls or emails you don’t
playing a little bit of Devil’s advocate       wastes so much time in the process?            want to get.) The intrusions are *costs*
here. I think it is a true statement that we                                                  of connectivity. Particularly in the email
don’t actually have any empirical basis        I know there are times that a simple           context, virtually all of those costs arise
to believe that universal connectivity         phone call works. To me those have been        from me being reachable by a bunch of
(everyone on some network) and inter-          the exception and not the rule.                people I don’t know.
connectivity (everyone can call or email
everyone) is better than limited connec-       Vijay Gill: Walking into someone’s of-         Wayrynen: I think my point is lost - if
tivity and interconnectivity. My point is      fice?                                          you have your phone on so that people
that there are some a priori reasons to                                                       can call you, then you end up taking calls
think, based on our experience with uni-       Savage: Good example. We have elabo-           that you are not interested in receiving.
versal connectivity and interconnectiv-        rate social norms regarding when one can       In general, it’s an archaic interface com-
ity (think spam & telemarketers) that it       and cannot go into someone else’s office.      pared to email/IM - etc where you can re-
might not be as great as we think.             Is the door open or closed? Does there         spond to incoming messages in the order
                                               appear to be a meeting going on? Is the        you desire and spend as much or as little
Wayrynen: I don’t think you can make           person seeking entry higher status (boss       (or none) time responding - which is not
an individual self important in this dis-      etc.) or is the person in the office high-     as easy to achieve with a telephone. But
cussion as any individual is of little value   er status? In the real world of flesh and      I digress...
to the whole. When they die, people will       blood, walls and doors, etc., our notions
miss them, but the network will still have     of who gets to control what kind of “con-      Kruckenberg: You can ignore a phone
value. :-)                                     nectivity” are highly refined although         call with fewer (immediate) repercus-
                                               not often articulated. Also, in the real       sions than ignoring someone who just
Savage: But the claim made by the Met-         physical world (in which our sensibili-        walked into your office :)
calfe’s Law-yers is that, indeed, adding       ties evolved) the number of people who
one individual to the network not only         would be in a position to come into our        Economic Utility of
adds to the value, but indeed adds to it       physical space -- particularly in offices
in a more than arithmetic way. We know         or homes -- is very, very limited. And in      Additional Connectivity
from spammers and telemarketers that           those places where strangers necessarily
                                                                                              Once voice is on IP, you can manage your
there are at least some whose addition to      congregate (streets etc.) we again have
                                                                                              voice calls much more like email (includ-
the network causes a decline in value, not     elaborate but typically unarticulated so-
                                                                                              ing a voice spam filter), which will (at
an increase. We know intuitively that we       cial rules about management of conflict
                                                                                              least superficially) make voice a bit more
actually will never call and never have a      over personal space.
                                                                                              like asychronous communications meth-
need to call the vast majority of people
                                                                                              ods (or at least the filter that lets through
on the PSTN. The generic “adding peo-          A simple “everyone is connected to ev-
                                                                                              interruptions can be more sophisticated,
ple adds value” claims simply ignore           eryone on the network, everyone can call
                                                                                              and there’s better control of the conse-
these phenomena.                               or email everyone at will” model funda-
                                                                                              quences of not answering the phone).
                                               mentally ignores all of that. This is part
Wayrynen: I have the YoYo Dyne solu-           of the reason I am interested in this topic:
                                                                                              Savage: All correct. All of these issues
tion in my cell phone now - if you aren’t      the disconnect between the characteris-
                                                                                              bear on the actual assessment of the
in my address book and your phone num-         tics of our communications technology
                                                                                              utility (economic sense) of additional
ber comes up as a plain number and not         and the ways in which we evolved as so-
                                                                   60
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
connectivity. Smarter end devices and         to exchange e-mail with just, for example      enable you to serve whatever customer
communications modes that allow more          all AOL subscribers.                           you want. Our goal is to help you use the
differentiated treatment of incoming                                                         latest and greatest technology so that you
messages plainly help manage the down-        Metcalfe’s and Reed’s Law were, by my          can innovate and use new applications
sides (and upsides) of connectivity. But,     interpretation simply meant to illustrate      and services that get you the most out of
again, the fact that the needs exist to be    relationships that have a theoretical basis    our service.” This ethical approach en-
dealt with by smarter end devices demon-      although you might be able to derive a         courages and enables new applications,
strates the difficulties with simple “more    rough model for a particular point in time     services, and demand to make the pie
is better” models of connectivity.            (the model would change given the con-         bigger for everyone.
                                              tinued development of new applications
Wegner: If it wasn’t for roads there          that increase the value of remote collabo-     As regards spammers, I think there are
would be no traffic accidents, car jack-      ration over time) if you recognize that the    serious ethical issues involved here as
ings, smog, road rage, encyclopedia           value of connecting to any specific indi-      well, to say nothing of spyware perhaps
salesmen, Jehovah’s witnesses, or, come       vidual probably follows a normal curve.        best saved for another day.
to think of it, the vast majority of con-     The ubiquitous nature of the Internet pro-
sumer goods, medicines, shelters etc...       vides a bonus value in that should I want      Rich Bader: Jere (and other list mem-
we’ve all come to know and love. Darin        to collaborate with someone who is not         bers), do have specific ideas about what it
is spot on, and while I really appreci-       connected it is generally easy to get them     means to be “VoIP and video-enabled”?
ated Chris’ arguments on an emotional         online.
and personal level, for me the value of                                                      What I really mean is communicate to
a network is measured in its potential to     And on October 5 Retzer: Ultimately,           customers in a way they can understand
lead to innovation-to improve the human       all media will be served as packets so the     what they should be able to do with the
condition. Due to the rapidly expanding       question is what is the best (and ethical)     network. So, with that disclaimer I think
(and accelerating) network, innovation is     way? I think that some recent comments         video-enabled might mean that you can
accelerating in all parts of society. Yes,    have been largely from a provider per-         expect smooth, reliable service for con-
opportunistic marketing innovations will      spective that aims to preserve prices – a      sumers somewhere reasonably close to
be created and irritate (and the worst is     defensive posture that in a time of rapidly    access speed and that voice quality would
yet to come. Wait till they interrupt our     changing technology is a serious mistake.      be equal or better than typical cell phone
brainwaves!) But these are easily and         Rather, I suggest a pro-active, ethical ap-    service.
better handled through other innovations      proach that focuses on building a future
(law, tech, economic...) Than through de-     network and markets that maximize net-         VoIP as a Pot of Gold?
valuing or segmenting the network in my       work value and revenues. What custom-
opinion.                                      ers today want is access in useable form       Odlyzko: Dreams of riches through VoIP
                                              to whoever and whatever they want and          are slowly dissipating, it seems, while the
Coluccio: Chris brings up some good           they expect that buying a fat Internet pipe    pressure on traditional service providers
points, many of which I’m in agreement.       will get that for them.                        is increasing (Bell South and SBC debt
Perhaps the issue is one of semantics                                                        ratings were lowered by S&P on Tues-
that would be readily obviated by the         To some extent, I think we’re talking ap-      day).
simple substitution of the word ‘value’       ples, oranges and bananas. VPNs, NAT,
with ‘reach,’ where the former is purely      CIDR blocks, etc are necessary engineer-       AT&T, Vonage Cut Prices on Internet
a subjective assessment, while the latter     ing details to keep the Internet working       Calling By Justin Hyde http://www.re-
is absolute?                                  but aren’t the sort of barrier that concerns   uters.com/newsArticle.jhtml? type=tech
                                              me. I’m concerned with routing decisions       nologyNews&storyID=6380857&src=rs
Retzer: Chris - Ironically, some of the       that say “oh, you want to send your VoIP       s/technologyNews&section=news
most troublesome participants are typi-       packets to THAT network, well let’s just
cally early adopters, so I question the       allocate about 2 kbps or send you via this     WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AT&T Corp.
logic of your life cycle. Even the small-     really awful route to see how you like         and Internet telephone provider Vonage
est town has miscreants and/or outliers. If   their service.” The result will be that at     said on Thursday they were cutting prices
behavior follows a normal curve, you’d        least some customers decide VoIP (VOD,         for their residential Internet calling ser-
expect the usual percentage of members        games, videoconferences, you name it)          vices by $5 per month, the strongest signs
behaving one standard deviation below         isn’t good enough, which may actually          yet of a price war in the nascent market.
and one above the group average.              bring about the worst of both worlds
                                              – prices crash and demand fails.               AT&T, which made Internet calling
Even though there are well over a billion                                                    services a priority after announcing its
people in China who I will never e-mail,      The better, proactive approach is to say       retreat from traditional residential tele-
the potential to be able to exchange e-       (and mean it) “our network is VoIP and         phone services in July, said it was lower-
mail with anyone connected to the Inter-      video-enabled and we want to connect           ing the price on its CallVantage service
net is worth a lot more than the ability      you to whatever service provider, and

                                                               61
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
by $5 per month to $29.99. It said the cut,   “The low barriers to entry makes the           grade their old plant. Depending on the
along with an offer of one free month for     business all the more competitive and          amount of retained capital, they either
some new subscribers, was meant to spur       currently all players are competing on         incur losses for a while and get over it, or
demand ahead of the holiday season.           price with very little differentiation,”       go into Chapter 11.
                                              UBS analyst John Hodulik said in a re-
Vonage, the largest U.S. Internet calling     search note.                                   Why would anyone think that an *IN-
service with 270,000 subscribers, an-                                                        CUMBENT* with an embedded base of
nounced a few hours later that it would       Goldman: In conditions like this, resell-      technology can make gobs of money as
lower the price of its unlimited service by   ers do well. In an article that ran today, a   a result of the advent of a new technol-
$5 to $24.99 per month. Vonage also said      business WISP notes that price competi-        ogy that makes theirs obsolete? If the
it would upgrade customers on a limited       tion in VoIP is fine by him:                   incumbents are both lucky and skillful,
plan that had cost $24.99 to the unlimited                                                   they can avoid dying. Insurgents, on the
service for free.                             AIR2LAN Pursues the Leading Edge               other hand, with no embedded invest-
                                              http://www.isp-planet.com/fixed_wire-          ment to recover or protect, and indeed
More than a dozen companies currently         less/business/2004/air2lan.html If you’re      get rich using a new technology. Once
offer voice over Internet Protocol, or        not expecting to find an innovative, busi-     they deploy it, though, they become in-
VoIP, services to U.S. residential custom-    ness class WISP in Jackson, Miss., you         cumbents, waiting for the next insurgent
ers. Most offer unlimited local and long-     haven’t heard of AIR2LAN. [September           to come along.
distance calls for $30 per month or less,     30, 2004]
with some as low as $19.95, although                                                         Given the scale of the telecom indus-
those fees do not include the broadBand       The company is using Level 3’s VoIP ser-       try, it should be obvious why spending
Internet connection that VoIP requires.       vice, which Bhagat says is competitive.        (roughly) dozens of millions of dollars
Comparable plans for traditional service      “RBOC long distance service for busi-          on lawyers and lobbyists trying to delay
from the dominant U.S. telephone carri-       ness is typically 4 or 5 cents, and ours is    the advent of the new, cheaper technol-
ers typically cost about $60 to $70 per       priced at 2.5 cents. Their business line is    ogy, one way or another, are all dollars
month.                                        $60 and our business line is $20.”             well spent, from the perspective of the
                                                                                             embattled incumbent.
The rise of consumer VoIP has been driv-      Bhagat isn’t worried about price compe-
en by the growing number of U.S. house-       tition precisely because he has not built      Reed: Why would anyone dream that
holds with broadBand Internet access,         his own VoIP network. “Level 3 is very         VoIP could create riches for anyone ex-
as well as steep declines in the cost of      active in this marketplace and I believe       cept the folks who deliver early hardware
the infrastructure necessary to run VoIP      they will remain competitive on price.”        and software?
services. Vonage, a New Jersey start-up,
was able to garner more than 200,000          Savage: Let’s assume for the moment            Matson: And the rest of humanity who
subscribers for about $103 million in         that technical advances over the last 10       will keep a shed-load of cash in their
venture capital and raised another $105       years have created a world in which the        pockets. I’m telling everyone from plat-
million last month for expanding into         amount of resources necessary to handle        forms when I speak that on that basis,
foreign markets.                              voice traffic has declined by a factor of      VoIP is probably the biggest money-mak-
                                              [x].                                           ing telecoms idea of all time!!
While industry experts estimate the cur-
rent residential VoIP market has less than    If providers with embedded old technol-        Reed: PCs created riches for Steve Jobs
1 million subscribers, they expect sharp      ogy have fully depreciated their invest-       and Compaq. But Dell pretty much en-
growth starting in 2005 as large cable        ment and paid of the debt they incurred        sured they don’t create riches for anyone
companies such as Comcast Corp. roll          to build it, they will be able to compete      anymore. We have a world that is very
out their VoIP services. Communications       in the new world by lowering their prices      effective at commoditizing anything that
consulting firm Yankee Group forecasts        by a factor of [x], but their profit margins   doesn’t continuously innovate value for
VoIP services will win 17.5 million resi-     will go from very high to less so. Bad for     customers.
dential users by 2008.                        stock price, but good for the world.
                                                                                             VoIP is just a savage form of creative
Analysts say more VoIP competitors will       If providers with embedded old technol-        destruction of voice as the primary ser-
add even more pricing pressure that may       ogy have NOT fully depreciated their in-       vice. Taken together with cellular mobile
imperil some small companies. Before          vestment, and still owe a bunch of money       voice, it’s made obvious what I have
Thursday’s moves, AT&T had already            to bondholders secured (directly or indi-      been pointing out for a couple of years
lowered the price of CallVantage once,        rectly) by that investment, they will still    now: that the traditional phone compa-
and other providers offer free months, or     have to lower their prices to compete, but     nies are the walking dead. Next year, the
limited calling plans for as little as $10    they may run afoul of obligations to pay       coup-de-grace, as PBXes and corporate
per month.                                    interest on bonds and find themselves          voice services move to cellular, with
                                              starved of capital to maintain and up-         a smidgeon of VoIP (more if the cellu-
                                                                  62
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
lar handset makers have the guts to do         commercial enterprises that have both the     solution and in general against any so-
802.11 PBXes in defiance of their “best        need and the credit/ability to pay with the   lution that mandates people subscribe
customers” Verizon Wireless, etc.).            expectation of an ROI.                        to something. The nature of the public
                                                                                             spectrum is also such that frequency con-
Retzer; Following this logic would we          Michael Dell just did what Henry Ford         flicts seem like a major stumbling block.
all be using horse-drawn buggies? Ca-          did - took an existing technology that was    On the other side of the coin, we have a
nals? Progress means business models           expensive and cheapened it. Computers         few visionaries in local government who
change - some old ones fade away. One          were initially built, after the “science      would like to use wireless for city ser-
door closes and another opens. The rea-        project phase” for research centers and       vices if we can find a good method so we
son Wintel made billions and billions is       business applications. The old IBM PS/2       at least have a potential anchor tenant. In
they exploited a long term technological       x286 (1985) and Compaq 386 DeskPros           addition to public safety, our fair city is
trend. It isn’t as though we couldn’t pre-     (1987) I had were quite beyond the abil-      known for its smart parking meters that
dict this would happen. The big question       ity of most consumers to buy.                 need to call home periodically so we have
was always, like most technologies when                                                      some potentially significant revenues.
and what exactly it would look like when       Maybe VoIP just uses the Internet to
the time came.                                 dis-intermediate the high cost provid-        Given some of the clever work I see hap-
                                               ers. Seems to me at such a point of what      pening with layer 2 network registration
[Stepping back I may ask:] So what are         economists call disintermediation and         software, I wonder if there is a way we
the ethical considerations here? Do in-        biologists call a punctuated equilibrium,     could fashion a collaborative layer 2 in-
cumbents have a responsibility to enable       there are a lot of players followed by a      frastructure that local ISPs could join
new technology that can bring new, valu-       long winnowing out phase to a stable          so that their customers could get mobile
able applications to help people be more       three player market (usually 60%, 30%,        high-speed access and if successful per-
productive and stimulate the growth of         10%) if I remember how Peter Drucker          haps even fashion a form of settlements.
future even more valuable applications         described the trending.                       This would potentially answer a couple
and services? What are the implications                                                      needs: (1) a widely available wireless
for the value of the Internet if incumbents    But I want to hear what your concerns         infrastructure that would be good for the
intentionally fight progress or worse de-      are.                                          public and especially good for public
grade performance?                                                                           safety and law enforcement, (2) a method
                                               Metro 802.11/16                               for local ISPs to offer “high speed” In-
Of course, the incumbents also have ‘fidu-                                                   ternet access that bypasses some of the
ciary’ responsibilities to their stockhold-    Networks                                      wired access problems so enables them to
ers but I’m not entirely sure this is really                                                 compete. What do you think? If we could
                                               On October 8 Retzer: If it’s still timely
served by this strategy. Comments?                                                           included some sort of settlements we’d
                                               for the list, I’d like have some discussion   have incentives for would-be providers to
I agree with Frank that if the MSOs are        of metro 802.11/16 networks. Gordon           participate, and hopefully a method to en-
simply routing their own VoIP packets          invited Nigel Ballard and Rich Bader of       sure that they don’t put one another out of
to their provider via dedicated paths this     Portland at my suggestion for this par-       business via frequency conflicts. I’m not
does not seem an ethical issue but rather      ticular topic.                                sure how you’d prevent non participants,
an engineering and business judgment.                                                        possibly including service providers who
Blocking or degrading a competitors’           I’m wondering in particular if there is a
                                                                                             oppose the system from causing conflicts
packets, however would in effect degrade       good way to build open access 802.11/16
                                                                                             however other than the bad publicity
the performance of the Internet and is         metro networks, potentially using a lay-
                                                                                             they’d probably get if they tried.
                                               ered approach along the lines discussed
therefore, I think an ethical problem.
                                               by MCI in their comments to the FCC.          Vijay Gill: This is Radio Frequency. If
                                               Portland is a bit on the far-out side so it
Davis: Jere, you have brought up the                                                         someone wants to jam the airwaves up
                                               was natural for our Personal Telco proj-
“ethics” question several times here, and                                                    with signal you’re done for. A VLAN with
                                               ect, http://www.personaltelco.net/static/
I am interested in hearing you expound                                                       restricted bandwidth will serve little pur-
                                               index.html to take off but the question is
a bit on what is behind the question and                                                     pose if someone’s radio goes on the fritz
                                               where do we go from here? If you doubt
what “ethics” or what ethical rules or                                                       (bug or willfully) and starts up a storm.
                                               the far-out part, check out cartoonists
principles that are of your concern.                                                         There is a reason cell phone companies
                                               Matt Groening (The Simpsons) or John          take so long to qualify equipment.
Andrew could bring me up short here, as        Callahan,     http://www.callahanonline.
this economic history arena is one where       com/ (warning, not for the sensitive) who     Retzer: One way around some of these
his expertise trumps my casual study, but      hail from our area                            issues is massive amounts of bandwidth
it seems to me that every technology that                                                    to spread the signal over, allowing for
                                               Oregonians are also generally a pretty
has resulted in a “revolution” other than                                                    huge amounts of processing gain. Or
                                               public-spirited but highly independent
the Internet, has been the toy of the rich                                                   active frequency hopping, or combo of
with disposable income, or designed for        bunch so I’d bet against a “government”
                                                                                             both. This means spend.

                                                               63
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                              bunch of FBsd boxes with in-kernel PP-
Here’s one way this possibly could work,      PoE/L2TP) and then you authorize each         There is no commonly available gear that
probably not the best but maybe enough        user individually or by class.                will do what you want for cheap. You can
to stimulate some conversation to find a                                                    look into ipwireless.com for some TD-
better way. You turn on your laptop or        Tony Li: Not crazy, but from a purely         WCDMA gear that is more robust than
other Wi-Fi device and are offered among      technical perspective, there are a few nits   the Wi-Fi interface, which is not robust
others “public” or some such net. If you      that I’d like to pick. Are the VLANs con-     from an RF perspective.
decide to join, you are sent to a VLAN        structed per WAP? Or per metro? The lat-
that restricts you to perhaps 64 kbps so      ter would be an obvious scalability issue,    But ipwireless.com technology will cost
that you can at least make a phone call or    so I assume the former.                       you money. You will have to pay to play,
do a little low-speed access. You’re also                                                   no matter how you slice it. TANSTA-
asked if you subscribe to a member ISP.       Retzer: Not sure the issue here. Would        AFL.
I’ll use Easystreet, http://www.easys-        you please explain?
treet.com/ for this example because that                                                    Li: Alternately, if the ISP has multiple
is Rich Bader’s company. If you say that      Li: Are the WAPs simply bridged to-           contact points in the metro so that indi-
you are, your MAC address is checked          gether? Does the ISP end up seeing more       vidual traffic domains can be isolated
with Easystreet and if they confirm, yes      than a single VLAN full of customers?         and routed, you’ll have a much more ro-
you are then you are sent to a VLAN with      What happens to customer<->customer           bust solution. In the extreme case, doing
unrestricted bandwidth.                       traffic within an ISP? If so, this implies    this implies that the ISP touches down at
                                              that you’re providing all of the WAP in-      every single WAP, but this would seem
If successful enough to make settle-          terconnect bandwidth and that the ISP         like a bit of overkill except in the abso-
ments a possibility we could also record      touches down at a single point. At some       lutely highest density deployments.
member ISP usage and have them pay            point, the spanning tree holding all of
the wireless operator for their custom-       your WAPs together starts to break down       Li (earlier): How do you deal with WAP
ers’ usage. This might not be as crazy as     and you then are into melt down.              overload? Assume some teenage black
it sounds because for some customers it                                                     hat is subscribed, how do you provide
might replace cable modem or DSL ac-          Retzer: OK, understand. We could do           fairness to other users within the same
cess. We could potentially connect the        VLAN translation with our current ex-         VLAN and between VLAN’s?
wireless operators together via our local     change gear. Scalability could be an issue
exchange so we’d have a way to connect/       depending how many wireless providers         Retzer: I’m seeing some really nice code
operate the VLANs, provide better qual-       were involved.                                written by network security engineers in
ity and possibly enhanced mobility/loca-                                                    particular designed to identify the black-
tion services.                                Vijay had some excellent points as well.      hats. If you can do that, you can send
                                              Agree that MAC spoofing is easy but           their network connection to a jail VLAN.
So, what do you think? Crazy, I’m sure.       using the MAC might be an easy, user-         If you have a suitable banner against un-
How could you make it work? Thanks            friendly way to start out but plan to grad-   permitted use, you could also file a com-
                                              uate to a more secure method if spoofing      plaint.
Vijay Gill: The best way right now is to      becomes widespread. Agree that there
assume the air link as hostile and com-       are better methods than Wi-Fi to address      From the perspective of just deploying
promised. Run end-to-end security to          frequency conflicts but the aim is to do      a L2 outsourced access service for ISPs,
your own infrastructure. The current          this with commonly available gear. Do         this makes a great deal of sense. It’s been
model that fits well and allows differenti-   you know a way to do both? Thanks!            done before with modem pools to good
ated billing and accounting is to impose                                                    effect. However, the hacks that were
session semantics over the generic ac-        Gill: No. Security can’t be added on af-      done there to ensure that the service lev-
cess. This can be accomplished by using       ter the fact. If you are going to do it, do   els are supported and that individual ISPs
PPTP/L2TP/PPPoE coupled with MPPE.            it right and do it now, before you have       can brand and differentiate their services
You run this from the end user into your      an installed base secured with MAC ad-        aren’t yet apparent.
PPPoE/L2TP concentrator (probably a           dresses.




                                                                 64
                                     The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

TeleGeography Reports Internet                                     cago, Atlanta and Jacksonville, and Seattle and Denver. Phase
                                                                   two, which is expected to be complete by May or June 2005, will
Backbone Accounts for 85%                                          cover the southern region of the United States. This part of the
International Traffic                                              project will link universities from Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma,
                                                                   New Mexico, Arizona, Salt Lake City and New York.
According to the latest statistics published in TeleGeogra-
phy’s <http://postsnet.com/r.html?c=372997&r=372433&t=             “The National LambdaRail is the next step in the natural evolu-
368906411&l=1&d=85536734&u=http%3a%2f%2fwww%                       tion of research and education in data communications,” said
2etelegeography%2ecom%2fproducts%2fgig%2findex%2ep                 Tom West, chief executive of the National LambdaRail. “For the
hp&g=0&f=-1>Global Internet Geography research service,            first time, researchers will actually own underlying infrastruc-
Internet backbones now account for over 85 percent of the          ture, something that is crucial in developing advanced science
world’s cross-border capacity used in fiber-optic networks.        applications and network research.” The problem that has faced
The balance of used capacity is dedicated to private corporate     the research community since the commercialization of the In-
networks and international telephone traffic.                      ternet is that they have become beholden to commercial carriers
                                                                   that own the fiber and basic infrastructure of the communica-
The rate of Internet backbone growth varies dramatically by        tions networks. They are often forced to sign multiyear contracts
region. Mature Internet markets in the U.S. and Europe have        that exceed their research needs. And because researchers don’t
seen relatively slow growth, just 30 to 40 percent over the last   own the access to the fundamental building blocks of the net-
year. Asian backbones have upgraded much more rapidly˜over         work, they can’t conduct cutting-edge experiments on the net-
70 percent last year˜and show no signs of slowing down.            work itself.

Despite these growth rates, a huge portion of international        Now, for the first time in years, experts say, researchers once
fiber-optic bandwidth still goes unused. On trans-Atlantic         again have full access to a research network, providing un-
routes, for example, only about a quarter of currently lit ca-     matched opportunities to push networking technology forward.
pacity is actively deployed to carry voice, Internet, and cor-
porate traffic. The remainder lies idle, either unsold or unused “LambdaRail is creating the ARPAnet all over again,” said Scot
by service providers. This mismatch of supply and demand         Colburn, a network engineer at the National Center for Atmo-
could persist for several more years due to the still untapped   spheric Research, which plans to hook into LambdaRail next
“upgradeable” capacity of current submarine networks.            year. “People in the academic community will now be able to
                                                                 play with the protocols and the basic infrastructure in a way they
The data cited above are excerpted from both Global Inter- can’t do now.”
net Geography, a research service focused on Internet back-
bones, traffic, and pricing, as well as International Bandwidth, In theory, researchers using a dedicated 10gbps wavelength, or
TeleGeography’s guide to long-haul bandwidth supply and “lambda,” from NLR should be able to transmit hundreds of gi-
demand. Detailed samples, summaries, and tables of contents gabytes of data at 10gbps without much problem. While most re-
can be found at:                                                 searchers don’t yet need that kind of capacity, some are already
                                                                   looking forward to applications that could take advantage of a
http://www.telegeography.com/products/gig/ and http://www. high-speed, dedicated network.
telegeography.com/products/ib/ AND
http://news.com.com/Optical+networking+The+next+genera For example, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
tion/2100-1033_3-5403589.html                                      in Colorado, researchers are developing new climate models that
                                                                   incorporate more complex chemical interactions, extensions into
A new showcase for optical networking technology is begin- the stratosphere, and biogeochemical processes.
ning to light up, offering a test bed for research that could help
spark a fire under the moribund industry.                          Verification of these processes involves a comparison with ob-
                                                                   servational data, which may not be stored at NCAR. Researchers
The National LambdaRail (NLR) project is linking universi-         plan to use NLR to access remote computing and data resources,
ties across the United States in an all-optical network consist-   said Jeff Kiehl, chairman of the Community Climate System
ing of thousands of miles of fiber. NLR’s research focus--and      Model Scientific Steering Committee for NCAR.
potential future impact on the commercial market--are lead-
ing some networking experts to make comparisons between     The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, which was the first
the project and the early investments that led to the Internet
                                                            research group to connect to LambdaRail in November 2003,
itself.                                                     is using the LambdaRail infrastructure instead of a connection
                                                            from a commercial provider to connect to the National Science
Last month, NLR completed the first full East-West phase of Foundation’s Teragrid facility in Chicago.
deployment, which included links between Denver and Chi-



                                                             65
Tropos Networks Uses Hardened Mesh
Wi-Fi for City-wide Infrastructure
Interview with CEO Ron Sege Describes Mesh Routing
Algorithm and Economics of the Technology Highlights
Editors Note: We interviewed Ron Sege,         applications under SRI or DARPA. They       spired protocols. The only thing that the
President and CEO of Tropos on October         were all designed to solve the problem      Tropos mesh does is to ensure that every
18. Ron joined Tropos early this year          of quickly connecting a relatively small    cell maintains information about the
after 16 years of executive management         number of resources together on the         best several paths between itself and the
positions at ROLM and 3Com Corpora-            battlefield. Hundreds of soldiers over a    wired gateways to the internet. Beyond
tion and start-ups Lycos and Ellacoya          relatively constrained area to transmit a   tracking whether a neighboring cell is on
Networks. Ron sees many parallels be-          relatively small amount of data.            a best path or a near best path, a particu-
tween today’s “Wi-Fi explosion” and the                                                    lar cell doesn’t care about anything else--
rapid market adoption of Ethernet start-       We didn’t find anything that was scal-      just those paths that its neighboring cells
ing in the late 80’s.                          able for coverage of large areas with       have chosen as their best paths. You can
                                               broadBand throughput at high data rates     have a thousand cell Tropos network
COOK Report: Could I start by asking           with low latency. We feel that this dif-    and any one cell only knows about say
for some background and perspective?           ferentiates Tropos from just about any      20 neighboring cells. It doesn’t need to
What you have been doing and how did           other company that is out there. Locust     know about the remaining 980 that are
Tropos get created?                            World, Rooftops, Meshnetworks and           not on best paths or adjacent best paths.
                                               so on. All of those guys have adapted
Sege: The company was founded in 2000          DARPA, or SRI protocols, and use            COOK Report: I guess you are saying
based on research by MIT and Harvard           spanning tree or OSPF or something          that when you start out with only 20
graduates who had previously gone to           like that for their routing. The founders   nodes you might have for each node 2
school together at Caltech. They are well      therefore decided to design their own       or 3 best paths to the upstream exit from
published in the journals Physical Re-         protocol that was intended to do one        the mesh. When you get larger you might
view and Nature for fundamental work           thing and one thing only. To find and       have three or four best paths. But when
in quantum computing and Bose-Ein-             maintain the best path from a client        your get really huge you still would not
stein condensates.                             anywhere in the mesh back to the best       have many more than 4 or 5 best paths?
                                               choice of wired gateway to the Internet.
They wanted to build the lowest cost           It doesn’t care about a shortest path or    Sege: That’s right.
and most simple system for deliver-            about what routers are doing that may
ing broadBand access without any con-          be adjacent to a best path.                 COOK Report: And when each client
straints. They were targeting developing                                                   sets up its best paths and alternative best
countries without a lot of resources or        A Mesh Routing                              paths, presumably there is some kind of
infrastructure. They wanted to do an                                                       polling mechanism and it would look for
order of magnitude better in terms of          Protocol Focused on                         an alternative best path if the through
price and performance than anything            Packet Error Rates                          put is affected in some way? How does
else that was out there. That led to a first                                               it know when it had better change what
decision to use wireless technology and a      COOK Report: When Dave Hughes               it is doing?
second to use the standard 802.11b radio       talks about the Berlin mesh people, he
more commonly referred to as Wi-Fi.            mentioned how much of the activity of       Sege: Good questions and the answers
(However, there is no inherent reason          the mesh is constantly taken up with        are part of our proprietary algorithms.
that we could not use any radio technol-       find paths and defining the process of      This is how you maintain state about the
ogy, like Wi-Max, which is intended to         routing. The problem is when the radios     best path without having to know infor-
be high volume and therefore low cost).        are defining the routing they can’t be      mation about the quality of every hop
The third decision was to use mesh             sending data. Your mesh sounds much         along the way.
routing protocols to eliminate as much         more static?
of the wired backhaul in the system as                                                     COOK Report: In other words presum-
possible.                                      Sege: I would not say static but rather     ably each client is given a recipe of
                                               focused in its scope. The excessive         things to look for and presumably it
The team did a survey of the available         growth in routing overhead as the net-      keeps two or three fall over paths to route
wireless mesh protocols and discovered         work scales is one the problems we          too if data that it receives becomes less
that all of them came out of battlefield       found early on with the military-in-        than optimal? Does that make sense?
                                                       66
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
                                              there are just routers talking to each        sumably static IP routing out the up-
Sege: Yes. And another point that you         other - selecting and maintaining the best    stream side of its interface and mesh
should know is that that the metric we        path between client and server. All the       routing attached to the downstream side
use to choose the best paths revolves         cells in the middle layer are peers. If one   of the interface?
around packet error rates or what we call     fails, the others simply route around it.
packet success probabilities.                 If half of them fail we will route around     Sege: That is correct.
                                              half of them.
COOK Report: You are looking out for                                                        Marketing to Law
lost packets then?                            Then there is the third layer that runs be-
                                              tween the mesh and the internet service       Enforcement and Later
Sege: Correct. Because it turns out that      provider’s point of presence. That layer      to City Services
the most expensive thing that happens in      is outside of our mesh and is usually ser-
a wireless network is packet retransmis-      viced by a “pre Wi-Max” point-to-point        As we matured our technology we start-
sions.                                        radio system such as Motorola’s Canopy        ed looking for the place in the ecosystem
                                              or it may actually be serviced by a fiber     where we could add the most value.
COOK Report: And by definition a              or copper link.                               This was where broadBand access was
dropped packet would imply some kind                                                        desired and there was not a lot of tradi-
of change in the operating conditions         COOK Report: You refer to this level in       tional CAT-5 cabling available. Post 9/11
of the network? Presumably there are          your diagrams as Wi-Fi cell gateways?         it became apparent that law enforcement
few enough conditions that would cause        These gateways can either be radio links      would require more bandwidth, more
packet loss such that it is possible to       to a central NOC in a place like an           mobility. More connectivity to current
model your protocol teaching it in effect     Equinix Exchange point. Or a radio            databases including video databases.
what to look for and how to change its        node would be connected to an Ethernet
behavior depending on how its environ-        which would have a wireline link to the       We decided in effect to market our sys-
ment changes.                                 upstream Internet connection?                 tem to local law enforcement agencies
                                                                                            as an effective way to quickly build a
Sege: Yes. It is a very dynamic protocol      Sege: Right. In our model any of our          giant hotspot over an entire city that
where you want to minimize false posi-        Wi-Fi cells can either function as a wire-    would then connect back into the city’s
tives as well as false negatives. The heart   less mesh node or a gateway depending         traditional wired infrastructure. This led
of what we do is in the sampling inter-       on whether backhaul is connected to it        to a decision in early 2002 to build a
vals and how you weigh various samples        or not. In this way you can inject more       ruggedized out-door unit that could be
as they relate to your overall packet suc-    capacity into the mesh simply by making       attached to a street light and would have
cess probability. This is all a part of our   a connection between an Internet point        lightening protection and surge protec-
intellectual property as refined over the     of presence and a particular node. This       tion and so on. We also made it “law
hundreds of deployments that we have          makes the system very flexible and dy-        enforcement quality” which meant that
undertaken during the time that we have       namic as you add more subscribers and         it supports a secure VPN and encrypted
been working with these protocols.            user intensity goes up.                       inter-mesh communication.

COOK Report: I am tying to understand         COOK Report: What gives each cell or          We sold our first system to an agency
your network topology as you show it          node its routing capability?                  here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
in you white papers. You seem to have                                                       They gave us a bunch of advice on
your nodes routed back to a kind of cli-      Sege: Every Tropos device has the same        how to make the system even better.
ent server that makes the upstream link       routing capability. Every node functions      We launched the product that we are
to the Internet but I am not sure that I      as a full-fledged layer 3 IP router that      shipping today in September 2003. In
understand how the components relate          makes its routing decisions based on          parallel, we hired a public safety sales
to each other.                                the information coming off of the air         force from Motorola. Out of 100 or so
                                              interface. We maintain full state infor-      customers in total, we have sold about
Sege: Let me try to explain. You have         mation about IP addresses and manage          50 systems to law enforcement agencies
three wireless layers. There is the layer     associations, for example, between an         including San Mateo, Coprus Christi,
that connects to the 802.11 b/g client in     IP address and a MAC address. This            Milpitas, New Orleans, Los Angeles,
the user’s laptop. The end user’s client      enables mobility of clients within our        Boulder City, Miami Beach and many
will always connect to the best Wi-Fi         mesh. A police car for example can drive      others.
cell using standard Wi-Fi algorithms.         all around Oklahoma City and its IP ad-
This is one layer. The next layer toward      dress will never change. Even across IP       As we started selling to municipalities
the Internet is what we call the intermesh    subnets.                                      they started asking us if we could do
layer. This interconnects our cells with                                                    other things with the network like pro-
each other. This is a fully distributed       COOK Report: Then a Wi-Fi gateway             vide and connect the hand held devices
layer with no client and no server - rather   with an upstream connection has pre-          of meter readers and building inspectors.

                                                               67
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
The next question was whether we could        the protocol?                                wanted to connect one node to your DSL
open up the network for public access. In                                                  line at home and you want to put the other
some case the interest was just residential   Sege: Yes.                                   two nodes around your neighborhood,
use. In other cases it was for low income                                                  you’d have a mesh. You could just plug
economic development use.                     COOK Report: And you get your exten-         them in. They would configure them-
                                              sive scalability because the routing over-   selves and start providing service. With a
We have sold public use networks in Cer-      head that the mesh imposes on each node      Command Line Interface (CLI) you can
ritos, California, Philadelphia, Chaska,      is very minimal. Is that correct?            program the nodes to your heart’s content
MN and many others.                                                                        directly from the device or you could buy
                                              Sege: Other than the nature of our rout-     the network management station. It is
COOK Report: While everyone has               ing protocols and the decisions that they    quite a flexible system.
heard about Philadelphia’s plans, I am        make on how to select a route, there is no
not aware that they have selected you as      real difference between the philosophy of    COOK Report: What do nodes cost in
the vendor. They are talking to various       our system and that of the Internet. It is   small quantities?
people presumably?                            fully distributed. If you want to add more
                                              capacity, you simply add more nodes and      Sege: There is an outdoor node that is en-
Sege: They may be talking to folk other       gateways.                                    vironmentally hardened. It is designed to
than us but they have so far bought three                                                  be hung from light poles and survive salt
networks from us and installed them in        Radio and Network                            and fog and wind and lightening strikes.
different parts of town. It was only after                                                 It transmits at 4 watts and has very high
they did the third installation and saw       Characteristics                              receive sensitivity. It is built like a cellu-
how well the networks were performing                                                      lar base station. This unit has a list price
                                              COOK Report: What is the function of
that they announced that they were going                                                   of about $3200. There is an indoor unit
                                              the network management server?
to deploy across the entire 135 square                                                     without all the environmental harden-
miles off the city.                                                                        ing but which runs the same full suite of
                                              Sege: It is a server that uses SNMP to       routing software. However it transmits
                                              communicate with network devices and
COOK Report: So if things continue to                                                      at 200 mili-watts. This lists for $1,800.
                                              provides all the usual functions that an
go well for you in dealing with the city                                                   Both prices are in quantities of one.
                                              SNMP management station does. We
you could have quite a huge customer?
                                              then overlay tools and metrics related       COOK Report: What would determine
Sege: Yes. We could indeed. Chaska,           to the mesh itself. These show you the       whether you would use something like
Minnesota is big another customer, with       actual paths and the standBy paths and       Canopy for backhaul as opposed to your
2,000 users in about 16 square miles. The     the link qualities on each path including    own mesh nodes? Would it be geogra-
product that Philadelphia is using has        how much throughput you are getting.         phy?
been shipping for about a year.               The workstation collects all the data from
                                              the SNMP MIBs. It is a separate physical     Sege: Geography but more important it
COOK Report: Are Philadelphia, Chaska         device that serves as a window into what     would be a matter of how many subscrib-
and Cerritos using the same hardware          the network is doing. Were you to hit        ers were on the network. We recommend
and software?                                 the network management server with a         the industry standard rule of thumb for
                                              sledge-hammer, the network itself would      access networks of 30 to 50 kilobits per
Sege: Yes. They are all using the same        continue to operate unperturbed.             second backhaul needed per subscriber.
radios with essentially the same features.
Now we continually update our software        COOK Report: Rather than an operation-       COOK Report: How many clients can
with new features based on customer           al part of the system, it is then a window   talk to a single node without degrada-
requests. Popular recent additions are        into what the system is doing?               tion? Twenty?
V-LANs and security features. But in all
                                              Sege: Yes. It is the means to allow an
the cases I have mentioned it is funda-                                                    Sege: It depends on what the clients
mentally the same product that is being       operator to understand the system’s state    are doing. The capacity of the node is
described.                                    at any one moment as well as manage the      determined by the capacity of the Wi-Fi
                                              devices, perform software upgrades, etc.     protocol itself. If I had a video camera
COOK Report: Let me go on to some per-                                                     pumping a 30 frame per second video
formance issues. You talk about a mesh        COOK Report: What is the minimum
                                                                                           stream into the network, we could likely
system that delivers at least a megabit       ticket of entry for someone to play with
                                                                                           support that one client and no one else.
of bandwidth at its edges no matter how       your system? Dou you have to buy 4 or
large. Is this bi-directional? One meg up     5 nodes and a management station or can      Given the real throughput of a Wi-Fi
and one meg down? Can you do this with        you buy less?                                stream of about five megabits each direc-
stability and without dropping presum-                                                     tion with an average use of 50 kilobits
ably because of the adaptive nature of        Sege: Three nodes make a mesh. If you        per client we could in theory support 100
                                                                68
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
clients on one node. We would design                                                         nate your call to the PSTN.
more conservatively aiming at 20 to 30        COOK Report: That reminds me to ask
clients per node.                             you about Wi-Max. Larry Roberts said           Let’s say that a year from today Philadel-
                                              that you had done a study comparing            phia has their entire city network installed
COOK Report: Under what conditions            your system to Wi-Max. If I remember           and you will be paying perhaps $16 a
would you use 802.11g?                        correctly you found the throughputs to         month to use this network anywhere in
                                              be about the same?                             Philadelphia. You could be anywhere
Sege: We use g when it makes sense. We                                                       in the city with a Wi-Fi phone and call
find it provides more oomph under some        Wi Max and Wi-Fi Cell                          anywhere across the Internet at 2 cents a
conditions.                                                                                  minute. That is going to be a new model
                                              Phones                                         for telephony in a year’s time. You don’t
COOK Report: So in a city installation                                                       even need SIP gateways because Skype
there might be an instance or two where       Sege: WiMAX is a welcome develop-
                                                                                             provides that service already.
it would make sense to run 802.11g and        ment however there is a lot of misunder-
if so you could easily do so?                 standing today about its potential. The
                                                                                             COOK Report: Are you doing anything
                                              things that are being suggested Wi-Max
                                                                                             in New York yet?
Sege: Yes.                                    is capable of just fundamentally violate
                                              the laws of physics and/or practical-          Sege: We haven’t announced anything
COOK Report: Who makes your ra-               ity. You can’t deliver multi-megabits of       yet, but we are active there. The City has
dios?                                         throughput over 30 square kilometers           two different projects underway. In one
                                              from one antenna with mobility. You            they have raffled off rights to mount on
Sege: We design our own radio systems         can’t get that much capacity on the            city light fixtures and the other focuses
based on off-the-shelf chipsets. We have      airwaves. Maxwell’s equations won’t            on building a private broadBand wire-
found no radio on the market that trans-      allow it.                                      less network for public safety throughout
mits at 4 watts and receives at -98dBm                                                       the city.
sensitivity. Our radios are specially de-     It’s not that we are not fans of Wi-Max.
signed for outdoor use. We use an off-        It does make some improvements on the
the-shelf processor board to run our own      Wi-Fi media access control layer. It is the    More on Tropos
routing protocols. But we design our          first attempt ever to standardize radios in
own radio power amplifiers and most of        licensed bands especially 2.5 GHz, 3.5         Aiirmesh: Wi-Fi Cities Come Calling
the other components. You can find the        GHz and five GHz frequencies. In that           October 29, 2004
detailed specs by looking in the products     sense it provides welcome competition          http://www.Wi-Fiplanet.com/news/ar-
section for the 5110 data sheet on our        to Qualcomm and others. But you are            ticle.php/3428821
web site.                                     still going to need high cell density and
                                              all the other things that the radio industry   Cities such as Philadelphia and San
COOK Report: Where are they assem-            wishes you didn’t need.                        Francisco, which are investigating large-
bled?                                                                                        scale Wi-Fi deployments, have Aiirmesh
                                              Another area where we do see big pos-          Communications on speed-dial.
Sege: Right here in the United States.        sibilities over the longer term is the
                                              augmenting of cellular telephone net-          Noted for using Wi-Fi to create a wire-
COOK Report: And financing from               works using Wi-Fi phones connecting to         less mesh network for the 50,000 resi-
VCs?                                          a Tropos network.                              dents of the Cerritos, CA., Aiirmesh “has
                                                                                             been contacted by Philadelphia and San
Sege: We are funded by Benchmark              COOK Report: How close are we to hav-          Francisco,” says Tony Esfandiari, CEO
Capital here in California. As well as        ing Wi-Fi cell phone that can replace the      of Aiirmesh.
Voyager Capital, Integral Capital Part-       measured use cell phone networks of the
ners and Intel.                               large commercial cell phone players?           Recently, a number of cities have ex-
                                                                                             pressed interest in offering Wi-Fi
Let me call your attention to the fact that   Sege: It will happen. Very early in 2005       throughout their locales.
we have done a lot of work comparing          there will be Wi-Fi phones that look
the economics of our solution to the          exactly like a cell phone on the market.       Philadelphia wants to start in 2005 build-
economics of a 3G cellular data solution      Instead of cellular radios they will have      ing a Wi-Fi network for its 1.5 million
and what you will see from our white          Wi-Fi radios. They will contain the free       residents. The city expects to spend $10
paper is that we are 20 times more cost       VoIP Skype clients and the like. Any-          million to unwire 135 square miles.
                                              where there is a Wi-Fi access point you
effective in delivering a bit to a user on
                                              will be able to make a VoIP phone call         New York City also is deep into the
the street than are the cellular data folk.
                                              using the Skype-out service to anywhere        planning phase of creating a Wi-Fi net-
http://www.tropos.com/pdf/price-perfor-
mance.pdf                                     in the world and Skype out will termi-         work for those living in that East Coast

                                                               69
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
landmark.                                      Valley area, who use the location as an       More About Mesh City
                                               alternative to going into LA.
“We will not stop until every San Fran-                                                      Networks, Economics
ciscan has access to free wireless Internet    “Anyone with a Centrino chip” will be         and Competition
service,” declared Gavin Newsom, that          able to get free Internet access through-
city’s mayor. With Wi-Fi service already       out the 142,000-square-foot center, ac-       Buettrich [responding on November 15
available at the city’s baseball park,         cording to the Aiirmesh CEO.                  to the interview with Ron Sege]: in our
Newsom is planning on deploying Wi-                                                          world s $3200 mesh node is out of ques-
Fi in the Union Square shopping area,          “As a technological leader, Los Angeles       tion.
Chinatown, City Hall, the waterfront and       should be on the forefront of providing
throughout housing projects and com-           Wi-Fi Internet access,” said LA Council       Ballard: They are competing, and quite
munity centers.                                member Jack Weiss, the pilot project          successfully right now, with the likes of
                                               proposal’s author.                            BelAir. Whilst the BelAir unit incorpo-
“Cities want to offer Wi-Fi like a util-                                                     rates two radio’s fully loaded, B/G for
ity,” says Esfandiari. While Wi-Fi is          “An extensive study with the Univ. of         serving clients and A for backhaul, said
often viewed as an attractive alternative      California is underway” to track the num-     unit comes in at around $22K which
to cable or DSL for broadBand services,        ber of users and other statistics resulting   makes $3,200 look like a steal!
cities need to investigate the risks and       from the Wi-Fi pilot, says Esfandiari."
benefits of deploying Wi-Fi on a city-                                                       Buettrich: I am not doubting that and
wide basis.                                    COOK Report: What is the relationship         I don’t think it is in conflict with what
                                               of Airmesh to Tropos?? Tropos claims          I said.
Aiirmesh made news last year when it-in        Cerritos and so does Airmesh. Does
partnership with Tropos Networks, and          Tropos make the radios and Airmesh do         After all markets and customers vary.
Pronto Networks-began installing a Wi-         the Installations?                            And don’t get me wrong - I wasn’t saying
Fi mesh network spanning 8.6 square                                                          that the Tropos box was necessarily too
miles of Cerritos. At the time it was billed   The article said: “Aiirmesh made news         expensive for what it is. We haven’t even
as the single largest Wi-Fi deployment in      last year when it-in partnership with         looked into the specs in detail.
the U.S. Now cities are considering using      Tropos Networks, and Pronto Networks-
the wireless networking technology to          began installing a Wi-Fi mesh network         What I am saying is that there will, in
cover millions of citizens and hundreds        spanning 8.6 square miles of Cerritos.”       some markets, be a demand for a “no
of square miles.                                                                             bells and whistles” unit with two radio
                                               Ballard: I was actually brought in yes-       cards (probably a/b/g), outdoor ready,
 What is spurring the expansion of Wi-Fi       terday to consult with a town that has        and with enough CPU and memory to
in cities? “Homeland security is a driving     decided to deploy the Tropos system and       run the appropriate mesh routingsoftware
force in urban areas,” says Esfandiari.        will also use Pronto to handle all the        and so on.
Cities like New York and LA want to use        billing and authentication.
Wi-Fi to link police, fire and emergency                                                     And that such a box should cost less than
services.                                      I have problems with the existing single-     $1000. Calculate for yourself whether
                                               radio Tropos solution especially as the       that sounds doable. I’d say it does.
Aiirmesh recently announced it has begun       radios are only 802.11b today. As the
a six-month trial which the company            Tropos uses a variant of WDS to back-         Hughes: Doable? Absolutely! About
hopes will convince Los Angeles plan-          haul on the same channel as it is serving     99.9% of all the rural and small town/
ners to use Wi-Fi throughout the city.         clients, therefore the available bandwidth    villages people in the world are a market
                                               is only around 2.5Mbps. Perform one           - about 6 billion of them, few of which
 Through the trial “the city of LA is going    hop and you halve that, two hops and you      have costly PTT wireline telephone ser-
to get a feeling” for the benefits of Wi-Fi,   don’t have anything usable to play with.      vice but would grab voice wireless ser-
says Esfandiari.                                                                             vices far faster than they would go for
                                               This town was unsure that multiple hops       computers and wireless, requiring lit-
 To convince LA of Wi-Fi’s potential,          halves the throughput and greatly in-         eracy before they even can be used. They
Aiirmesh is unwiring the Marvin Braude         creases ping times. I might be flying         and small-scale, super small business
San Fernando Valley Constituent Service        down there in two weeks in an attempt         entrepreneurs from the jungles of Laos
Center in Van Nuys, CA. Located 15             to get them to pull the backhaul off the      to the tip of Argentina would setup un-
miles North of LA., the government cen-        Tropos and into a Canopy solution.            licensed VoIP mesh networks where the
ter is the home of the mayor’s office and                                                    no bells radios were down in the $100 a
a number of other planning agencies. The                                                     radio range.
center is a frequent destination for law-
yers and engineers in the San Fernando                                                       Now hurry up Sebastian, and get that


                                                                  70
                                     The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
German company to finish its mesh de-        the Nortel guys who developed this stuff.     tion. Even if there are four hops, they are
velopment, stick a handset on it with SIP    We’ve had a test deployment here at MIT       just delighted with anything better than
protocol, knock on the door of Vonage as     for quite a while now (though it is not       10 kilobits per second, even if there is a
soon as they start going under as the US     our primary campus WiFi solution).            little bit of latency. That in turn has cre-
Telephone companies gang up on them                                                        ated a very significant near-term market.
and saturate the US market with VoIP,        It’s important to say that we didn’t de-
and start selling systems everywhere         sign this for Nortel, but our research into   Toward the end of the page Nigel says:
BUT the US.                                  viral, scalable radio network approach-       "Mesh technology (especially the Tropos
                                             es did inspire and validate their own         solution) is fast becoming the de-facto
Matson: Dave - I’ll drink to that! But       view of an emerging market opportunity.       solution for municipal deployments. The
once Sebastian DOES get his SIPPed-up        Looks like the dogs are interested in the     speed of deployment and lack of infra-
meshbox going, I’m not sure I would          dog food, too.                                structure wiring seem to be the drivers.
introduce it to Vonage. I have some in-                                                    Performance it seems, is considered sec-
fluential Chinese guys who might ‘ get       COOK Report: David thank you. Based           ondary. He adds: An interesting Tropos
the point’ AND provide entry to a market     on you remarks I did some more dig-           PDF well worth reading." http://www.
that they tell me is quite big. Eh? Up and   ging and came up with http://www.             tropos.com/pdf/price-performance.pdf
at-em boys!                                  nortelnetworks.com/corporate/news/
                                             newsreleases/2004d/10_13_04_wire-             On November 19 Ron Sege responded to
COOK Report: From Converge! Net-             less_mesh.html                                the above questions: Economics
work Digest, v.11, n.222 Nov 17 2004
                                             This seems to be a general description        -We have in the last year developed quite
The city of Taipei, Taiwan selected Nor-     of what The Taipei system does. It men-       detailed economic models describing our
tel Networks for huge wireless mesh          tions the media lab and National Taiwan       deployments. I am happy to share the
network that is expected to encompass        University as testing deployments and         summaries for those interested. The bot-
10,000 wireless access points in service     Data Ventures Inc as deploying the Nor-       tom line is: For a “mixed use” network
by year-end 2005 and serve an area of        tel solution in cities in the US.             where we can amortize the cost of the
272 square kilometers, where 90% of                                                        network over multiple uses (police, fire,
Taipei’s 2.65 million people live.           Ballard: I have some material including       ems, municipal services, public access)
                                             a lot of Mesh-related links here: http://     opex/sub/month is down around $6 and
The Taipei City Government has signed        www.joejava.com/mesh.htm                      capex/home passed is as low as $30.
a contract with Qware, which plans to                                                      This is due to many factors, including
operate a wireless broadBand network         France Telecom were testing the Nortel        Wi-Fi eliminating client device subsidies
based on Nortel’s Wireless Mesh Net-         solution and told me it was very slow         and truck rolls and making radios cheap,
work solution. For this project, Nortel      in operation and that they weren’t im-        telco backhaul being dramatically re-
will provide its Wireless Mesh Network       pressed.                                      duced due to the mesh, installation being
solution, including the Nortel Wireless                                                    dramatically simplified again due to the
Access Point 7220, Wireless Gateway          COOK Report: Nigel Ballard’s web page         mesh and Wi-Fi, no radio license costs,
7250, Nortel Optivity Network Manage-        on mesh is a superb reference. The links      etc. Overall quite disruptive.
ment System, and other related network       and Nigel’s five point evaluation make
management elements. Nortel’s Wire-          it well worth a visit. Nigel includes the     Taipei/Nortel--We also competed for the
less Mesh Network solution uses 802.11       following quote: Rajeev Chand, a senior       city of Taipei project, however did not
standards, allowing users with Wi-Fi         equity analyst with Rutberg & Co., a “re-     have the sales presence or distribution
enabled laptop computers or handheld         search-centric investment bank” in San        to win phase 1 of that deal (other phases
computing devices to access the network      Francisco was asked for his thoughts on       are up for grabs). NORTEL’s design
without new hardware or software. Fi-        mesh recently:                                required ~10,000 access points because
nancial terms were not disclosed.                                                          the link budgets of their radios are not
                                             Q: Some people have downplayed mesh           that good. They connect within the mesh
Reed: I know quite a bit about this.         in the past. What’s changing?                 using 5.8GHz links which require quite
Based on a series of interactions a couple                                                 strict line-of-sight, futher limited their
of years ago with the Viral Communica-       A: Some of us were wrong about this           range and flexibility. Tropos better link
tions group (headed by Andy Lippman          space. Two or three years ago we thought      budget and use of only 2.4GHz radios
and me) at the Media Lab, Nortel’s wire-     that mesh outdoor Wi-Fi would have            meant that we could have provided the
less division made a strategic decision to   technology performance issues that            same or better coverage with <1/2 the ra-
develop a carrier-grade deployable WiFi      would prevent its applicability in key        dios. Our protocols are also more robust,
infrastructure that would provide easy       markets. What we have seen in the past        scalable and proven-see next point.
deployment of hotspots over a wide area      two or three years is that, for the mu-
that provide authentication and seamless     nicipalities, cost rather than performance    Protocols--David, our mesh protocols
roaming. I’d be happy to direct you to       turns out to be the large value proposi-      were invented by our founders (Sri and
                                                              71
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
Chari, who are copied here) while at MIT      SSIDs. The police network can be given         - Los Angeles: Economic development
and Harvard. We refer to our mesh as a        priority in terms of bandwidth to main-        - San Mateo, CA: Public safety
“client server” mesh rather than an “ad-      tain critical service levels. All this will    - Milpitas, CA: Public safety including
hoc” one. This is because ours is com-        help us deliver VoWiFi service as well.        video surveillance
pletely optimized for the common case                                                        - Tokyo (NTT Communications): Public
of connecting a client through the mesh       Customers--Tropos has been selling its         access
to the best backhaul point or gateway,        outdoor products for a little more than        - Doha, Qatar: Traffic management/cita-
rather than for the case of connecting cli-   one year, developing for about 4 years.        tion system
ents arbitrarily within the mesh. Sri and     Overall we have more than 100 paid-for
Chari can take you through the details,       customers, almost all municipalities or        - We are also in active discussion with
but it turns out this allows us to keep       service providers who serve municipali-        300 or so municipalities and/or related
overhead <5% regardless of mesh size          ties. Most in the US. Most are repeat pur-     service providers in the US, including at
and provide 2-10x better throughput than      chasers--always a good sign. The major-        least 7 “NFL cities” regarding >1 sq mi
ad-hoc approaches. This in turn allows        ity are police and fire agencies but this is   trial deployments. Applications include
us to be fully distributed with the flex-     rapidly changing due to broad applicabil-      those above plus wifi parking meters
ibility to inject backhaul into the mesh      ity of Wi-Fi (the Ethernet of radio as Ron     and traffic control/citation systems (eg,
wherever and whenever needed.                 Crane and I agree).                            Lasercraft)

Security--because the concepts of “jam-       A sample of notable announced deploy-          Buettrich: a bit about the economics
ming” and “unauthorized use” are often        ments (all more than 1 sq mi contiguous)       of the Taiwan projects -
mixed up, I will touch on both. Regarding     are:                                           h t t p : / / p u b l i s h . g i o . g o v. t w / F C J /
jamming: First, any radio can be jammed,      - Corpus Christi: public safety, meter         past/04101581.html
regardless of it being in licensed or unli-   reading and soon public access
censed bands. As Ron Crane recently           60 sq mi of coverage                           Pennsylvania
reminded me of, it is probably easier to
make a jammer in 2.4GHz than other            - Chaska, MN (suburb of Minneapolis):          Legislature Tries to Kill
bands--mix a microwave oven with a de-        public access and soon public safety.          Wi-Fi Nets
feated interlock and an Intermatic timer      Charging $16/month for service which is
(or a brave perpetrator). Even in this        generally 600Kbps-1.5Mbps symmetri-            From the Baller Herbst list on November
case, however, the jamming would be           cal per user. Signed up an amazing 2,000       19. Quote: Various sources say Verizon-
localized to a portion of the network and     subscribers out of 7,500 households in         backed anti-municipal bill would kill
our mesh protocols and fully distributed      town within 2 months due to the low            Philly Wi-Fi plans. . .
system would route around the problem         price. 16 sq mi of coverage
and maintain service on the rest of the                                                      http://www.broadBandreports.com/
network. The mesh protocols could actu-       - Oklahoma City, OK: Public safety             shownews/56898
ally localize the source of the jamming       only. 400 sq mi with Tropos WiFi cells         http://www.wetmachine.com/index.php/
and police could address it.                  deployed both fixed on traffic signals         item/175
                                              creating an “infrastructure” mesh, and         http://www.Wi-Fiplanet.com/news/ar-
Regarding unauthorized use: As you            mobile in the trunks of police vehicles        ticle.php/3438161
know, Wi-Fi is regularly adding secu-         creating a “mobile” mesh. 400 sq mi of         http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/
rity features that both authenticate and      coverage when fully deployed by June of        business/10210849.htm?1c
encrypt. We have adopted these (WPA,          next year                                      http://www.Wi-Fiplanet.com/news/ar-
802.11i, 802.1x, AES, etc) into our sys-                                                     ticle.php/3438161
tem. Incidentally, this is one of many        - New Orleans, LA: Public safety for           h t t p : / / w w w. t e c h d i r t . c o m / a r t i -
ways that using popular WiFi radios           video surveillance. A good description         cles/20041118/113228_F.shtml
helps advance our solution. In addition,      is here
our protocols operate at layer 3 so can       http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.       .. but maybe the Philly Wi-Fi plan is
and do maintain session persistence           com/originalContent/0,289142,sid40_g           safe, if it’s a free service . . .
throughout the mesh. Thus we maintain         ci1024829,00.html                              h t t p : / / w w w. m u n i w i r e l e s s . c o m / a r-
VPN connections as police officers roam                                                      chives/000502.html
throughout town which provides IPsec          - Philadelphia, PA: “Mixed use” public
security throughout. Our physical net-        safety, municipal services, public access,      ... a different angle on the Pennsylvania
work can be virtualized to provide vari-      digital divide economic development.           legislation
ous logical networks of varying security      A few sq mi today but the City has an-         h t t p : / / w w w. z w i r e . c o m / s i t e /
levels. For example, the police network       nounced plans to cover all 135 sq miles        news.cfm?newsid=13398051&
can run WPA with hidden or “cloaked”          next year. Lots has been written on this:      B R D = 2 2 1 2 & PA G = 4 6 1 & d e p t _
SSIDs while the public access network         Google “Philadelphia Wi-Fi”                    id=465812&rfi=6
can run WEP or be open with advertised
                                                                 72
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
                                               An interesting general question was            traffic, the same effect occurs over a larg-
                                               raised. Why would sellers participate          er time scale. The buyer is not locked into
Symposium                                      in such a system? Both Alex and Jere’s         today’s price and volume commit for 12
Discussion                                     comments below are accurate.                   months, when their traffic could double
                                                                                              or halve in a couple of months, because
Continues                                      It can be because they have excess capac-
                                               ity, either by being under their commits,
                                                                                              say they land or lose one deal. Knowing
                                                                                              they will always get a fair price is a huge
                                               or having “valleys” under their 95th per-      factor for any buyer who doesn’t want to
October 11 to                                  centile... It never hurts their bottom line,   spend a lot of time renegotiating and/or
November 9 Highlights                          because the seller controls the amount         regretting.
                                               they sell and the minimum price at which
                                               they are willing to sell. If a seller wants    These factors are true whether the seller
Bandwidth Market                               to sell more at certain times, and less at     is a reseller with no network of their own
                                               others they can. Because it’s allocation       (i.e. 100% variable cost of bw), or a net-
Retzer: This concerns some really inter-       based, there’s no statistical game as there    work with a global footprint who owns
esting capabilities/software offered by        is with usage based pricing. There’s no        their fiber and also does not buy transit
Invisiblehand Networks - software to en-       oversubscription. Sellers understand that      from anyone (i.e. 100% sunk cost of bw),
able an Internet bandwidth options mar-        they can only sell the amount of Mbps          and anything in between. Note skillful
ket. Forwarded with permission. Tickler:       which can be sustained with no conges-         avoidance of calling them “tier N ISP” ;)
what is bandwidth worth if you don’t use       tion, taking into account their overall
it? I think Nemo would be happy to join        traffic engineering and downstream ca-         Not all sellers have to address all aspects
this list if there is interest:                pacity.                                        of the market. It’s a free market after all.
                                                                                              As Jay pointed out, we’re not here to tell
alex@pilosoft.com wrote: I would ven-          But there’s a bigger reason beyond sim-        sellers what the price should be. It can
ture a guess the Invisible Hand sellers        ply “dumping” excess capacity (although        be high in the short term, low in the long
either are overcommitted and are selling       that itself is quite important).               term or vice versa, high for one network
off excess capacity at a loss or that IH                                                      and low for another. It all depends. Over-
represents a tiny portion of the total traf-   Longer term, the value for the seller is       all the trend for the last 3-4 years has
fic that they just do not care about it.       that they average more money for a given       been downwards, but how fast or how
                                               available capacity.                            slow changes depending on whether
I have no idea the mechanics of their                                                         there is more excess capacity among the
deal or connection but it’s very inter-        First, because the ability to buy on de-       sellers in a given market, and how unique
esting. What is the value of excess ca-        mand attracts customers who would not          a particular seller is.
pacity? Said another way, how much is          come to that seller otherwise. And the
your current unused bandwidth worth an         seller can satisfy them without compro-        Of course, IP traffic will grow fast and
hour, one hour from now? The answer,           mising their existing traffic because it’s     be very unpredictable for years to come,
of course is zero. Think in terms of an        *allocated*. They can do it without in-        both locally and globally. Traditional IP
options market. As the time that the op-       creasing their network cost (sunk cost of      pricing methods, like 95th percentile,
tion expires approaches the value of the       pipes, or sunk cost of transit commits),       was designed by sellers to protect them-
option drops to zero.                          and with near-zero cost of sales.              selves against this uncertainty, which is
                                                                                              perfectly logical. The problem is it shifts
From: Nemo Semret:             Thanks to       Second, since the bursty buyers are only       the “penalty” of uncertainty fully on the
alex@nac and alex@pilosoft for jump-           buying on demand, all else being equal,        buyers. Moreover, the penalty is spread
ing in there and clarifying. The system        they can pay a higher price per unit. If       across all customers on average, because
allocates bandwidth in small time incre-       they could buy 100Mbps for 1 hour, they        if you get more congestion than expect-
ments, and as large as several months in a     might be willing to pay $0.10/Mbps/            ed, everyone suffers not just the ones
reservation market. It’s not usage based,      hour, for a total of $10. But in today’s       who caused the congestion. If you raise
it’s “on-demand”, i.e a buyer get band-        market, you’d have a hard time selling         prices, it’s hard to know how much po-
width (e.g. a committed access rate) al-       them a 100Mbps for a month at that price       tential business you’re missing. A better
located to them and that allocation can        which works out to $72/Mbps/month,             approach is: give the buyer the responsi-
change in real-time as needed. I’ll just       i.e. $7,200 total. Imagine that happening      bility of buying what they want, they can
say it’s _not_ a re-invention of routing,      over and over again 24x7 and you can           overbuy or underbuy it’s up to them, and
it’s all about pricing and allocation of       see how the seller can average a higher        it should be because they understand their
bandwidth. But no need to explain Mer-         price. Think Tetris. Market pricing is the     own demand best. Like in any market, if
kato here, you can read all about it on our    joystick that makes the blocks fall more       you have the appropriate pricing mecha-
website or contact anyone at invisible-        neatly and leaves fewer gaps.                  nisms, you will get the desired degree of
hand.net for more info.                                                                       risk/uncertainty for each participant, and
                                               Third, even for buyers with non-bursty         if you do, you will get a net efficiency
                                                                73
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
gain (i.e. less waste), which benefits both   raw/core material.                             Unlike energy, the “take-or-pay” contract
buyers and sellers.                                                                          has not been the result of regulation, but
                                              That is very useful for determining how        rather, until recently, technical limitations
Coluccio: Jere wrote: “what is bandwidth      much capital to put into the industry and      and industry culture (Salespeople look a
worth if you don’t use it?”                   what projects to pursue. Energy compa-         lot different than traders).
                                              nies invest capital differently at $50.00
Frank replied: What you’ve done, ef-          per barrel than at $30.00.                     Fixed Bandwidth
fectively, is to take perhaps one of the
most popular misnomers of the times and       One might argue that even a semi-effi-         Contracts Do Not Permit
questioned the existence of the property it   cient bandwidth market would have miti-        Efficient Planning
is supposed to represent. For bandwidth,      gated the extremely excessive amounts
within the context that it is used today -    of capital that poured into the datacom        Fixed-contracts are not efficient ways to
- being bits per second -- can hardly be      sector and caused many problems for            plan. They are not based on real-time de-
regarded as existing unless it “is” used,     companies and individuals when it self         mand and only partially on some compa-
or unless it is a heartbeat signal keeping    corrected. Would an accepted bandwidth         ny-specific estimate of supply. Compared
things alive. In which case it is used.       futures contract have put the breaks           to an exchange they take a long time to
                                              on some network builds? Would being            put in place. Compared to an exchange
Retzer: I was probably trying to be far       able to see existing bandwidth capacity        they are expensive to put in place (sales
too coy. What they have at large exchang-     for sale on certain routes and in certain      commissions). Buyers typically buy more
es is a way to sell bandwidth for short-      datacenters have postponed buying more         than they need. Un-contracted for capac-
term commitments. They have created, in       routers?                                       ity sits idle until a contract is put in place
effect, an options market where you buy                                                      (seller is unhappy). Or a contract is put in
future bandwidth today. Now, one prin-        Although bandwidth is a different type of      place and then capacity is secured (buyer
ciple that is very important to the options   commodity than oil & gas, I have tried         unhappy and harder and harder to do).
market is that an option becomes worth        to see the similarities and appreciate the
less the closer you get to closing so that    differences. I was an energy banker in the     And contrary to popular belief fixed-
if I need a gigabit for an event six months   80s when FERC (Federal Energy Regula-          contracts are not very predictable. Under
from now I’ll need to pay more than if        tory Commission) deregulated the price         pressure, i.e. Bankruptcy court, disrup-
I can wait closer to the last minute (and     of gas.                                        tive technology, they quickly disappear.
risk not being able to get it). The benefit                                                  Perhaps ironically, spot markets coupled
to those selling bandwidth is this is an      Deregulation caused the creation of a          with hedging available through futures
opportunity for them to get revenue from      gas exchange selling spot and future           contracts, offer more predictable pricing.
some otherwise unused capacity. Most          contracts. It completely transformed the
generally have plenty of spare capacity       energy industry eliminating the ineffi-        When considering the argument “lower
on their networks because they have to        cient “take-or-pay” contracts. Take-or-        prices negate the need for an exchange”,
plan for future demand.                       pay contracts were fixed price, long-term      we might want to look at the unit price of
                                              contracts between pipelines and gas pro-       things traded on other exchanges. In those
I think it is a neat business concept.        ducers. Their pricing did not reflect the      cases unit prices do not matter much.
                                              real-time market demand for gas.               Some stocks sell for pennies. What does
Paul Stapleton: Hello Everyone. Thank                                                        matter is the transaction processing fees
you Gordon for inviting me to the list. It    In the 80s FERC Order 436 gave buyers          and the standard contract unit (i.e. one
is hard to keep up, but insightful every      the right to buy directly from gas field       barrel of Brent Sea Crude for oil).
time I do get to browse (lurk?) which I       producers. This brought unused capac-
have done since early summer.                 ity to market and lowered the price. The       In fact an open exchange will cause even
                                              “take-or-pay” pricing in the fixed con-        lower unit prices more quickly than if
I am “academically” and economically          tract was way above market. Buyers and         the industry stays with take-or-pay. I am
interested in Bandwidth Exchanges and         Pipelines simply walked away from their        from the school that believes the price of
am familiar with Merkato and Invisible        “take-or-pay” contracts. In the short-term     all communications commodities con-
Hands.                                        there was disruption and bankruptcies          stantly move toward zero. But transpar-
                                              due to the dramatic difference between         ent pricing allows for a smoother ride
Hopefully I’m adding a few things to          “new spot prices” and the old “contract”       down which allows better planning.
chew on:                                      prices.
                                                                                             On the other hand, industries that have
For any investor (read Wall Street, VCs,      This is, in part, part of the reason for the   exchanges still offer a plethora of prod-
Operators) an exchange provides the           datacom collapse. Networks basically           ucts. For Bandwidth, there can continue
ability to “SEE” the present and future       operated under negotiated “take-or-pay”        to be all sorts of SLAs and QOSs and
PRICING, as well as part of the available     contracts. And still do.                       other cool acronyms that sell for a premi-
CAPACITY for sale, of an industry’s                                                          um. The contracts traded on the exchange

                                                                   74
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
simply offer a baseline.                       of 150,000 users and more. DS-3/STS-          national (and US domestic) voice min-
                                               1 trunks are still adequate for the bulk      utes. Minutes are something that are far
I realize these are high level macro-eco-      needs with plenty of room for all but a       easier to buy and sell, as the demand is
nomic comments and do nothing to ad-           very few heavy lifting applications. And      there now, the supply is growing as dif-
dress the actual technical implementa-         these guys aren’t going to take just any      ferent alternative ways of getting to the
tion. Invisiblehand’s website does offer       old link available. Their mandated secu-      destination are developed (VoIP etc), and
some good white papers on that which I         rity needs (government regulation, stat-      buyers and sellers can be “linked up” in a
am beginning to understand.                    ute, and liability + stop-loss insurance      matter of minutes. Arbinet has developed
                                               requirements) demand private high secu-       a good business in meeting the needs for
Coluccio: Jere, I’ve re-read the trailers in   rity links and their accountants want con-    well-priced, defined quality termination
your original post - more carefully this       trol on SLAs. So, in my humble opinion,       - and didn’t get involved in any forays
time - and I see where the disconnect ex-      this is a dead-end on the enterprise side.    into bandwidth trading.
ists between our lines of thinking. While      I cannot imagine enough small business,
I was (incorrectly) equating absolute pipe     SOHO, and end user traffic to cover the       Bandwidth trading (ie in terms of DS3s,
denominations (e.g., T3, OC12, etc.) to        cost of sales and cost of operations +        OC3s etc.) always seemed to me to be a
the traded commodity, you are referring        general overhead.                             case of the industry having lost its mind
to router-enabled capacity. In your case                                                     for a time - there was never any real rea-
it could be an upper bound of throughput       Coluccio Melissa said: “And these guys        son why someone would want to know
within a larger swath of route capacity        aren’t going to take just any old link        the price of a point-to-point transmission
(e.g. guaranteed some percentage of 45         available. Their mandated security needs      circuit at some point in the future, and
Mb/s within a route that might be provi-       (government regulation, statute, and li-      the provisioning issues of a single circuit
sioned by a pipe rated at 622 Mbs.             ability + stop-loss insurance require-        meant that there was almost no liquidity
                                               ments) demand private high security           - it simply took too long to provision and
My point of reference uses hard pipes          links and their accountants want control      turn up a useful piece of capacity.
as commodities of trade, and is a direct       on SLAs.”
reflection of what the exchanges that I                                                      IP internet access is an interesting oppor-
referenced earlier did (TateXchange, Ar-       You’ve noticed that too, eh? During the       tunity though - much closer to voice min-
binet, etc.).                                  “hey-day” you referenced I’d listen to        utes in many ways. There are opportuni-
                                               resident genii within client organiza-        ties to have multiple sources of supply
Whereas your model trades in algorith-         tions pronounce ‘the hell with the quality    for Internet access - that is pick the one
mically measured throughput guarantees,        of their operations, bandwidth is band-       that is either best priced at that time, or
something like the peering arrangement         width,’ and proceed to take the providers     gives the best quality to destinations you
tracking software that one might find at       of their evening meal monies. Of course,      are interested in. Then there is the oppor-
an Equinix peering exchange does. Are          many of these recently-promoted staff         tunity to “buy” the capacity you need for
we in sync thus far? And if not, I’m all       types couldn’t tell you the difference be-    a short period of time. Finally, you could
ears.                                          tween a T3 and a teepee, but they were        buy access to certain providers networks
                                               hot and heavy into the thrust of buying,      only - you may have a particular wish to
Davis: Lightpath was another band-             and they had to prove that they could         gain access to cable company networks,
width-on-demand and bandwidth-broker           drive a hard bargain.                         for instance.
that bit the dust, the CEO being a friend
of mine. When the O’Dell and Sidgewick         And your observations concerning the          Coluccio: Steve, thank you for making
curve was the delusion of the day, every-      core abundance with nowhere to go were        the distinction regarding Arbinet. I’d
one rushing to have as many Lightpaths         right on, too. Recall the creation of pool-   intended to, but avoided it for brevity
as the vendors would loan money for,           ing points and passive fiber optic meet       purposes, getting into the minutes area,
this model of business, and efforts at the     me rooms in out of the way places to help     which included Jeff Pulver’s minutes
software that would provision, account,        alleviate this condition? Everyone who        exchange for VoIP minutes, among oth-
and bill was a heydey.                         had an uncle with an unused warehouse         ers, that he fashioned I suppose along
                                               somewhere near a railroad track sudden-       the framework of a commodities desk
It was more complicated with the peer-         ly found themselves in the colo business.     that he was familiar with while at Cantor
ing structure than most had imagined.          And the problem associated with colos,        Fitzgerald.
Despite the capacity density availability      of course, is that, unlike data centers and
in the core, there just aren’t many places     storage farms, consolidating colos is an      While reading the remainder of your
where one can provision end-to-end with-       oxymoronic proposition to begin with.         message it became vaguely apparent to
out time consuming negotiations and fee        And so it goes ...                            me that the software that is commercially
exchanges with intervening networks.                                                         available today to ISPs and enterprises
                                               Heap: Just one correction on the Arbinet      alike in the way of cost-based (including
In my current job, I have been doing traf-     references. Arbinet always focused on a       latency, packet loss, etc.) route selection
fic planning for national organizations        much more liquid market - that for inter-     tools could be tweaked to do the kind of
                                                                75
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
sizing, arbitration and selection that Jere’s   Gbps - more busy getting the first 10-100      regard to VoIP networks. Consider the
speaking of, minus, probably, the billing       kbps in place.                                 business models. So far, free networks in
part. Although, this would first require                                                       European cities mostly seem to have no
that the selling entity has ready sources       In wireless community networks I work          business model of their own. This is typi-
of capacity on line that were being paid        with bottom up approaches, be that Djurs-      cal of what happens when goods (here:
for at the time of execution, which must        land or Nepal. I see parallels between         bandwidth) are abundant. Their value is
the case with IH, anyway, or else they’d        telco and music industry (or are there?)       seen as zero.
not be able to meet commitments.                - two industries sitting on products with
                                                asymptotic value of zero (fiber/copper         Forster: I like an analogy to car parking:
Retzer: Correct, and I meant Internet           - (audio) file). Transitions into service      in some places (center of large cities, air-
bandwidth trading as opposed to pipes.          rather than property based models are          ports, etc) parking is an issue and one has
I agree that the glut makes the price of        overdue. They are selling sand in a (fully     to pay to park. Most everywhere else it
bandwidth so low that commodity trad-           symmetric) desert                              is free and parking space is designed and
ing of Internet bits is a very tough, but                                                      built along with the buildings and roads.
still interesting market. One thing we see      Coluccio: Please give an example of one        In cities we need roads, sewers, water,
in the NYSE and other exchanges is the          of the cities that you cited, i.e., one that   electricity, etc. I think that network con-
importance of market-making mecha-              just about no longer requires its telco for    nectivity will cost somewhat less than
nisms such as commodity traders to move         voice services, for the abundance of wire-     those basic necessities. Of course, many
capital efficiently. This could be a very       less VoIP. Is that wireless you speak UNII     times people still pay quite a bit for small
good thing. They claim their software,          or licensed or auction-derived?                bottle of water.
Merkato is a key to making it work. See
http://invisiblehand.net/                       While I am fascinated by this prospect,        Buettrich: The thinking is very much:
                                                even the most egalitarian among us must        ‘we have backhaul links anyway (a mix
Wetzil: From my point of view, the              eat. Maybe that’s why, just like yourself,     of private DSLs, institutions’ fat lines,
bandwidth prices have fallen so low,            I too am not an ISP or a public network        community owned fiber, etc) so why not
30 Euros/Mbps, that this product seems          builder (except in the enterprise space)       use it?’ Note that while these networks
to me like an “usine à gaz” (very com-          and do not have to worry about a sustain-      extend the range well over what 802.11
plex mechanism with uncertain utility).         able business model, since my business         inventors might have expected, economi-
It could potentially interest ISPs but as       exists elsewhere.                              cally they are treated just as expected.
Melissa said certainly not the enterprise                                                      They are replacing some Cat5 cable and
market. Band-X was a company that tried         Buettrich: The cities I cited as being ‘just   are not seen as business relevant as such.
to enter this market in Europe, but failed      about there’ are not yet predominantly
lamentably. My motto for networking is          wirelessly there.                              Forster: Right - technically there’s no
“keep it simple and stupid” if you want                                                        particular reason to favor a homogenous
to have chances of success, otherwise it’s      An example is Copenhagen: There you            network (e.g. only wireless for access).
hazardous.                                      have community owned networks have             We have lots of wired infrastructure
                                                now aggregated some 10,000s of end             which is perfectly good and usable, so
Sebastian Buettrich of                          users (out of an inner city population of      why not use it in hybrid configurations?
                                                500,000 and total of about 1,5 million),       Now, in many cases much of this existing
Freifunk and Djursland                          who have free (as in beer) telephony           infrastructure is owned by some existing
Wireless Community                              within their networks and potentially be-      provider, and large providers are usually
Nets                                            tween all of these networks. The numbers       very slow to adapt, so these hybrids will
                                                are growing. Are those numbers relevant?       be first built by various alternate provid-
Buettrich: it seems that my entry angle         I d say they are getting there.                ers, but the Internet’s network of net-
is quite a bit different from many on this                                                     works (Catanet) is quite powerful.
list. I am - 1. in Europe and working with      Coluccio: While I’m at it, whose lot is be-
developing countries - not US. I am more        ing sustained through this wireless VoIP,      Buettrich: However, what today is aggre-
often discussing Berlin vs. Bhutan than         and how is this service being monetized?       gated users of infrastructure will (could)
California vs. Utah                                                                            tomorrow become real infrastructure.
                                                Buettrich: These wired (fiber-based)
2. I am not part of telco / ISP business.       networks are run through housing coop-         Wireless Urban
Therefore I have no business models to          eratives, and while they are cheaper than
be worried about. If telco is a dinosaur,       old ISP and telco services, they re in the     Infrastructure in Search
then we are closer to the mammals, I’d          same league. billed as part of the rent, by    of a Business Model
hope.                                           the way.
                                                                                               Forster: Right! I see a variety of service
3. I have no need to build demand for           Now, a few comments on perspectives of         provider/infrastructure operators emerg-
                                                wireless urban networks, especially with       ing. Schools, business parks, MxU’s, etc.,

                                                                   76
                                         The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
large enterprises, are all both consumers        Third your customer hasn’t spotted the        nomics, since WiFi is much cheaper than
of infrastructure and providers of another       free network leaking in from the street       residential wiring).
level of service.                                outside yet.
                                                                                               Buettrich: Quite interesting in that Jim
One interesting point is that’s it’s easy        (Bringing up the conflict of ‘ownership       Forster understood those ‘aggregated
to make an 802.11 Access Point provide           of airspace’ of course - who owns the air     users’ to be schools, business parks,
dual-mode service: one SSID for users            just outside the hotel window?). You will     MxU’s, etc., large enterprises, while I
that belong to the enterprise, and a dif-        ask: “Where is VoIP in all this?”             was thinking about ‘adaptive and adapt-
ferent, public SSID for guests. With only                                                      able smart edges’ (to quote David Reed’s
a little bit of work the packets from these      Well it is there all the time - however,      post under this thread).
two different user classes can be kept           with today s wireless standards, I still
distinct and the public SSID packets al-         can’t see wireless VoIP as a competitor       It is true – that [model #1] serving in a
lowed/forced to tunnel out of the private        to GSM/UMTS and future mobile net-            dual mode does/could fall out of corpo-
net to the global Internet. Cisco has start-     works. But as a complementary service,        rate security requirements as a byproduct.
ed to deploy this in some of our buildings       yes. The next milestone is probably full      The fact that it is not being picked up, at
so that visitors/vendors/partners, etc., can     roaming and uninterrupted SIP sessions        least not where I live, is probably partly
get to the Internet while in our vicinity.       while changing SSID. The phones we            due to misunderstood (inter)network se-
The interesting thing to me, is that you         have now don’t do that yet.                   curity thinking, and partly due to lack of
don’t really need any extra equipment to                                                       incentive. Is not the key question: who
allow this sort of thing; it sort of falls out   David Reed: Jim Forster’s note (regard-       can potentially cover urban areas in the
of the basic security requirements.              ing parking, virtual 802.11 access points,    first mile (10m to 100m, rather) fog, and
                                                 etc.) just reinforces my view that those      has a reason to do so?
Buettrich: On the other hand, there are          who focus on “the network” as if it were
of course various commercial attempts:           a physical thing are completely unable to     Density? Motivation? Consider [mod-
telco ex-monopolists team up with Mc-            understand networking.                        el #2] smart end points & their users,
Donalds, Seven-Eleven, Starbucks, etc                                                          meshed or not. The operational model
for city wide coverage, flat rate of about       The Internet, at least, is an epiphenom-      is small units. The motivation is to keep
15 USD per month.                                enon - it is the connectivity gained by       your node up so that you have connec-
                                                 INTERconnecting NETworks in such a            tivity yourself. It is quite basic - a mesh
But for several reasons, this won’t really       way that applications can interoperate        pseudo-franchise. The density and mo-
work.                                            independently of the underlying tech-         tivation is there - and ‘mere economics’
                                                 nology. Don’t confuse the Internet with       - Are they for model #1?
First with wireless standards we have to-        the hardware that Cisco sells, or the fi-
day, you wont cover a city even if you           ber that some access provider deploys.        Looking at density: consider the study
have all the fast food chains teaming up.        That creates a false illusion of ownership    of London state of wireless by our friend
a few hundred spots isn’t enough, neither        and control that cannot be maintained,        Julian Priest. Take a look at the density
is a few thousand. Strangely enough the          as long as the endpoints are sufficiently     maps. There is some neat war flying too
only networks who can potentially do             adaptable and adaptive.                       at http://informal.org.uk/people/julian/
this are the grassroots free networks. Will                                                    publications/the_state_of_wireless_lon-
they? Second who in their right mind             It’s the smart edges that create the Inter-   don/
likes to write their email or make a call at     net, not the backbone. (The backbones
Seven-Eleven? Third why bother paying            merely compete for the business of the        While I’ m typing this, sitting in front of
when 10 free networks can be stumbled            edge systems, which will switch provid-       my stereo, living room, inner city Copen-
into at the same spot?                           ers whenever the provider tries to throttle   hagen a quick kismet sweep tells me that
                                                 them). Whenever a provider tries to over-     I’m within reach of 11 other private net-
Then there is corporate type access at           charge, that merely creates an economic       works with reasonable signal strength....
hotels ans so on, typically around 5-10          incentive to put more intelligence into       and of the eleven there is not a single cor-
Euro the hour (typically clock hour, not         the edges. Thus the Internet provides the     porate one.
usage hour). From what we hear, it’s a           ultimate form of “market discipline”, po-
loosing business. But it still seems to          licing providers.                             Comments and
work because first you want it to work
                                                 The success of wireless technology is         Elaboration on the
Second you can rely on corporate cus-            being boosted by a combination of real        Berlin Meshcube Radios
tomers, who will pay whatever simply             economics and greedy attacks by the
because the single persons doesn’t pay           fixed line operators. This is true both in    Sebastian Buettrich: Here are my com-
him/herself and who are not known to be          telephony (cellular vs. wireline) and in a    ments on Dave Hughes Interview with
educated customers anyway.                       limited way in Internet access. (The ini-     Gordon Cook as published on pages 15
                                                 tial growth in WiFi is due to mere eco-       – 19 above.

                                                                  77
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                               Hughes: So while most ‘range’ calcula-           and-Play Jane setting up a rooftop link
EU Power Rules (see #1 on page 15).            tors sort of assume an average -83dBm            between her house and her lover’s. So my
[Editor’s Note: Sebastian’s comments           sensitivity for Wi-Fi radios, the better the     advice is - don’t pick a lover who lives
marked #1 through #10 are hot linked in        radio the better the sensitivity and thus        more than one mile away unless you are
your Adobe PDF to the places in the in-        far better the range. And usually, the cost.     willing to buy really sensitive radios!
terview text to which he refers.]              Huge difference, for example, in range
                                               from a $150 Cisco 350 802.11b Wi-Fi              Buettrich: #2 The 902-928 MHz fre-
EU rules limit 802.11b/g to 100 mW             radio which touts -95 dBm - and is more          quency range conflicts with GSM (not
EIRP. For 802.11a, however, we have            costly - and a Linksys $75 special, which        GPS) cell phone frequencies (the lower
another band (and one that is different        appears to be -83 dBm, using the same            GSM band at 900 MHz) in Europe. (Edi-
from US regulations here): 5.47-5.725          max US-permitted gain antennas (total            tor: this was already corrected on page 16
GHz and 30 dBm / 1 W both indoor &             36dBi). The difference in range jumps            above.)
OUTDOOR.                                       from a calculated 9 miles in the US for a
                                               Linksys to 27 miles for a Cisco 350 Wi-          Hughes: Right. I can never remember the
This, together with the problems and           Fi! But both are ‘Wi-Fi’ radios!                 initials. And that is too bad. Because, af-
limitations with 802.11g (partly due                                                            ter a lot of American wireless ISPs who
to 802.11b backwards compatibility),           Buettrich: In answer to Dave’s question          thought Wi-Fi radios which operate at
makes 802.11a an attractive alternative        - Djursland uses Microtik (Latvia) boxes,        2.4GHz frequencies were the cat’s meow,
for wireless infrastructure. In fact, the      and the Atheros chipset.                         but can’t punch through trees or walls
Djurslanders are using 1 Watt 802.11a.                                                          worth a damn, began to realize there is
                                               Hughes: Now I don’t know the sensitiv-           a physics relationship between frequen-
Hughes: That’s good news! The one              ity rating of the 802.11a radios used in         cies and obstacle penetrating character-
problem I have when calculating and            Dsjurland, but using this example you            istics and that 902-928MHz radios can
evaluating wireless range capabilities         can see how dramatic a difference such           go through lots more than Wi-Fi’s can, a
by running the numbers (frequency, ra-         obscure little facts can make. When I ran        whole bunch of 915MHz radios started
dio power, antenna gain at transmitter,        the EU permitted 30dBm for a 5.7GHz              showing up on the market. I only live 1/2
cable loss, receiver sensitivity, receiver     radio, and assuming a 50mw hardware              a mile from my office, through a stand of
antenna gain, cable loss, and desired          transmission power (17dBm) hooked to             trees in a park and a brick building. No
‘margin’ in dB for robust connectivity)        a 13dBi gain directional antenna (giving         way will a Wi-Fi radio, even with max
is that, while its hard enough to find out     the EU legal max of 30dBm) at BOTH               gain directional antennas at both ends,
what the hardware transmission power is        ends, with zero cable loss (power over           punch through. So I, and my two sons
- 40, 50, 100mw - from the manufactur-         Ethernet to the radio right at the antenna       who live another 1/2 to 3/4 miles away
er’s spec sheets, it’s like pulling teeth to   outside) then, for a 802.11a radio with -        through more trees and roofs are happily
get out of them the radio ‘sensitivity’ in     83dBm sensitivity and if one shoots for a        connected at near T-1 speeds using ugly
dBm of their products. Most of them who        15dB theoretical operating margin (which         and ancient (10 year old) 902-928MHz
build el cheapo consumer-priced radios         rule of my thumb I always shoot for to           frequency hopping ‘Hopper’ radios from
really don’t want you to know! Try find-       maintain a robust wireless link come rain,       Canadian Wi Lan company.
ing THAT in the online spec sheets for         shine, or occasionally wet leaves) I get a
popular radio brands. I have found that        ONE MILE range for the 802.11a.                  But some companies are smart. When, 10
tech support frequently doesn’t actually                                                        years ago we were asked by the NSF to
know either.                                   BUT, if the sensitivity of the radio is really   hook up buildings in Ulanbattar, Mongo-
                                               good - like some more expensive Ciscos           lia, which also has GSM phones, I think,
Buettrich: And even if they wanted you         have, of -90 to -95dBm, the range can be         the radios we used had a software switch
to know, they wouldn’t know themselves.        4 miles, but drops to 1 mile for a -83dBm        which lets the radios drop out 902-915 as
We see chipsets and internals change           Linksys radio! This is a huge difference         I recall, but operate then at 916-928MHz,
within one hardware version - of which         for the 56Mb backbone for an outdoor             which was permitted both there and in
they are too many to begin with. For           community network. I would sure like             Australia. This business of different
many boxes, power and sensitivity are          to know the rated hardware power and             countries having different frequencies
highly dependent on temperature. We’ve         sensitivity for the 802.11a radios used in       tied up sure should make a business case
seen extreme behavior in D-Links. As a         Djursland. Cause I keep getting e-mails          for Really Smart software-defined ra-
result even the best tech support engi-        from all over the world for wireless wan-        dios. Hell, I even made a suggestion to
neers wouldn’t really know what’s out on       na-bees asking me ‘What’s the best radio         Michael Powell FCC Chairman that the
the shelves. On top of all that, no mat-       for my little community network?’                FCC should encourage and authorize un-
ter what quality control says, cards vary.                                                      licensed radios which are so smart they
There’s Monday cards and Sunday cards.         Buettrich: Almost as good a question as          have a GPS receiver in them which knows
Isn’t it beautiful? A bit of analogue alche-   ‘how far will this radio reach?                  where the radio is, can download auto-
my surviving in modern times.                                                                   matically from a satellite the latest FCC
                                               Hughes: This is mind bending for Plug-           technical rules for permitted frequencies,
                                                                   78
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
power limits, for that spot on the earth,                                                     when you find you have only a regular
and then set the radio to those parameters     Buettrich: Yes, they are using some. But       SMA cable end. Or you have two female
automatically, without Wireless Jim or         consume.net is not predominantly Lo-           N connectors instead of one of each.
Jane having to ‘know’ anything, or fig-        custworld nor mesh. I asked Julian Priest      Drives the most experienced installers
ure out written rules! (that is ALSO the       (co-founder consume.net) to comment,           crazy. ONE (only one) of the reasons I
way the FCC could authorize unlicensed         and he writes                                  chose some Smartbridge Wi-Fi radios
radio operations in places where other                                                        from Singapore to install in Namche,
devices - like television broadcast in the     “The consume blurb is right. It aspires to     Nepal instead of excellent Cisco radios
700MHz ranges - are already operating,         mesh and some bits of it (James’ bound-        up there two days and a plane ride away
licensed.) Why? Because I sure would           less project etc) do, but most of the rest     from even Kathmandu, was because they
like my digital community radios to be         of it is hand stitched (managed mesh)          have standard ‘N’ connectors right on the
able to penetrate buildings like radio and     with a fair bit of “hotspotism” and access     radio. No need for infuriating ‘pigtails’
television signals can!                        point activism.”                               which are (1) bizarrely connected and (2)
                                                                                              more points of failure.
So are there any ‘smart’ radios operating      Buettrich: #4 Let me clarify the organi-
at those lower frequencies - thus better       zations:                                       But when I asked one of the senior tech
penetration - in Europe?                                                                      managers of Smartbridges over the
                                               The MeshCubes are made by 4G Sys-              phone from Singapore how did they get
Buettrich: There is lots of stuff in e.g.      tems, http://4g-systems.biz/ . Their open      away with FCC certification for N con-
aeronautics and maritime field, part unli-     software site is http://meshcube.org/          nectors right on the radio, rather than
censed. Regulations for 900 - 1000 MHz                                                        pigtail needs, he didn’t realize they had!
are actually more confusing than one           Sebastian Buettrich is the Co-Founder          I told him the only other company I knew
would think.                                   of http://wire.less.dk and the associated      that did that got away with the certifica-
                                               NGO ‘Foreningen wire.less.dk’ - There          tion of their radios because they added a
But there is nothing of the same relevance     is close cooperation between 4G and            sentence in their Manual that ‘This ra-
as WiFi.                                       wire.less.dk, but no identity between          dio must be installed by a Professional
                                               the groups as such. Likewise, there are        Installer’ - who presumably knows the
Buettrich (earlier): #3 Vendor of the          strong links between wire.less.dk and the      FCC rules and not just how to screw two
Meshbox (as opposed to Mesh Cube)              Freifunk association and movement, but,        connectors together.
hardware and software. This is Locust.         again, no identity of groups or organiza-
http://Locustworld.com                         tions.                                         And when Cisco (through Jim Forster)
                                                                                              generously donated three Cisco 350 ra-
While Locustworld’s software is based          Hughes: Yep ‘Collaborative, collabora-         dios so the Sherpas could put up a Cyber-
on Open Source ingredients and open            tive’ is the name of now and future tech-      cafe at 18,500 feet Everest Base Camp
standards like the NIST’s AODV, http://        nical based organizations/non-profits/and      (5 days walk to Lukla and 40 minute
w3.antd.nist.gov/wctg/aodv_kernel/ they        businesses.                                    flight from there to Kathmandu) linking
do not GPL their code. As a result you                                                        a Satellite feed to the tent on the Khumbu
have the creation of a GPL fork, http://       Buettrich: #5 The 4G access cube has           glacier on the 50th Anniversary of the
sourceforge.net/projects/meshbox/              RP-SMA connectors. http://meshcube.            first climb to Everest top, so the climbing
                                               org/meshwiki/HardwareSpecs                     parties of 2003 could send email home to
Then you have the Consume project.                                                            mom, I had to not only insist he also ship
This is “a collaborative strategy for          Hughes: Yeah, nothing like the alphabet        ready-made-with-right-SMA connector
the self provision of a broadBand tele-        soup of connectors. I THINK the FCC            13.5dB Cisco directional antennas, and
communications infrastructure.” See            in new rules is dropping the long stand-       with exactly 20 feet of connecting cable
http://Consume.net and read more at:           ing (from the beginning of rules for ISM       so it would all work plug and play.
http://consume.net/twiki/bin/view/             Band unlicensed radios in 1984) require-
Main/GeneralFAQ#What_is_the_Con-               ment for all such radios to have ‘propri-      But when the Sherpas, even with Nepal-
sume_project_ Consume started already          etary’ connectors and/or pig tail connec-      ese from Worldlink of Kathmandu radio
in 2000, does not predominantly use            tors instead of sensible, damned near          engineers - who could barely tolerate
Locustworld’s Meshbox, nor even mesh           universal ‘N’ connectors for everything.       staying at that altitude (altitude sickness
for that matter. Its nodes are a mix of dif-   David Reed, do you know whether that           and the Khumbhu cough that comes from
ferent technologies and vendors.               rule has gone into effect?                     the dry air) wanted to try a different an-
                                                                                              tenna - omni - at the cyber tent location,
Hughes: But when I asked some of the           There is nothing as frustrating in the field   they discovered they couldn’t because
Consume guys and John Wilson from              (and I’m talking about rural and remote,       they didn’t have any, or the right, pigtails
the UK, they said they were using some         not just in metro areas with lots of tech      with SMA one end and N at the other!
Locustworld radios which are much im-          stores) as trying to hook up a Wi-Fi radio     And they had not added another Yak to
proved and work for them.                      with a Reverse Polarity SMA female plug        the 18 already required to get the gear,
                                                                79
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
batteries, and solar panels up there over     the whole world’s community+commerci          (Note however that Meshes may make a
4 days just to carry tool kits with battery   al+field science interest?                    lot of sense even when (semi)static.)
inverters etc, to tear apart the cables and
rewire them all.                              Buettrich: #8 Nobody at this point in         To name but a few challenges and note
                                              time has tried 1000+ node meshes - please     that this is not a complete list:
I would like to find that first $%#&! FCC     correct us if we are wrong here! This is
OET Engineer who said, as the first rules     the case regardless of specific implemen-     - address allocation - - metrics: calculat-
were being promulgated for ISM Band           tations, see e.g. the MIT Rooftop docs.       ing link quality, transparent to the actual
unlicensed radios “We don’t want Joe                                                        routing algorithms
Sixpack buying an unlicensed radio then       We have had tests with both MobileMesh
walking over to Radio Shack, and just use     and OLSR with 30-40 nodes, on mixed           - multi hop performance - - QoS (e.g. for
a standard cable with a standard antenna      hardware (linux/Windows/Mac laptops,          SIP on Mesh - - physics: meshing with
with a pair of standard ‘N’ connectors and    MeshCubes, WRTG54’s, ...)                     non-duplex radios - - CPU power limits
slap up a high gain antenna way beyond                                                      for dynamic routing protocols
the permitted antenna-gain power rules.       see e.g. http://wire.less.dk/wiki/index.
So we will make it hard to do that.”          php/MobileMesh                                Hughes: I am going to edit my Inter-
                                                                                            view with Gordon to correct the errors
And has ever after made it hard for every-    Buettrich: #9 Freifunk, 4G and wire.          you pointed out in it, Sebastian. Thanks a
one else too.                                 less.dk are completely independent from       bunch for your detailed review!
                                              one another. They are very different en-
Buettrich: #6 Regarding stacking Mesh-        tities. But it is true neither one is into    Buettrich: Listing challenges is a bit of
Cube boards, see http://meshcube.org/         proprietary solutions. The business and       stating the obvious, as is listing peoples’
meshwiki/CubeFun. You would definite-         social models are not based on keeping        reasons to be skeptical - latency, band-
ly have to consider heat problems when        software closed.                              width, security, etc etc -
building this kind of cube.
                                              Buettrich: #10 Mesh routing protocols         Now, we all know that there is a lot more
Hughes: Also power draw. I was disap-         are, as anyone who has ever worked with       going on in mesh research than what’s
pointed to discover that the Mesh takes 4     the subject will know, a highly complex       openly communicated and available. so,
watts of power. And pretty much assumes       field and very much work-in-progress          some reinventing of wheels to do, and
‘grid’ municipal power will be available      right now.                                    some re-use possible. Whenever you take
wherever they are used. I was happy to                                                      a closer look at specific approaches, be
learn it CAN take 12volts DC however. I       Without going into detail, here are a         those open or proprietary, it s obvious
install remote radios using 12v batteries     few key points: Mesh topologies do not        how everybody is just ‘boiling with wa-
with solar chargers. And lots of remote       have to be dynamic. However, in recent        ter’ (a german phrase - is there an english
‘community’ wireless networks are going       years, and in connection with wireless        equivalent? :) - no matter what the glossy
to have to do the same.                       networks, the term “mesh” is often used       white papers say.
                                              as a synonym for “ad hoc” or “mobile”
Buettrich: We know that we can get            network.                                      Just to mention one sub-area - Metrics:
cubes and the likes down to around 1.5                                                      (and I seem to share that opinion with Ni-
- 2 Watts, if we need to.                     Hughes: Confusing.                            gel Ballard, on whose page I read ....)

Buettrich: #7 All details of MeshCube         Buettrich: Yes, and I might come across       “ 3. Bad coding. A number of the exist-
operation - mesh, ap, dhcp/fixedIP - can      as being picky sometimes.                     ing mesh algorithms have a fundamen-
be adjusted to user’s needs. Standard                                                       tal flaw, they route using ‘hop count’ as
cubes come with DHCP server. Mesh             But, so many people hear ‘mesh’ and           the metric, and this usually means lon-
routing protocols and DHCP are a com-         think nothing but ‘a bunch of mobile          ger links, which require more EIRP (or
plex matter, however, and DHCPing             phones/PDAs’ or ‘metal boxes dropped          a better quality receiver), and this leads
within meshes must today be seen as an        off behind enemy lines’ when some semi-       to more co-interference, which reduces
unsolved problem.                             static scenarios are clearly among the        capacity. “
                                              most interesting ones. See MIT rooftop
Hughes; I am flying to the NSF next           or the Berlin OLSR Mesh (node count           Now, of course there s more advanced
week to discuss mesh + alternate (fuel        now 80), or scenarios suggested in cases,     ways of doing metrics than just ‘hop
cell or ‘harvested’ power) + DHCP +           discussed on this list.                       count’ or ‘link quality’, but still it strikes
routing + many many node issues to see                                                      me how much intelligence still would
if they will throw some money at my op-       Obviously, combining the two character-       need to be added to that field alone, if
eration to solve some of these issues (or     istics of a mesh topology and ad hoc ca-      you seriously want to scale that up. For-
at least model them for others) You guys      pabilities is a very attractive proposition   tunately, routing protocols give you a lot
in Europe ready to help me solve it - in      - Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (MANET).             of freedom regarding how you do your
                                                                 80
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
metrics, so there s room to move.              Market research firm iSuppli on Monday       works that are at best several years away
                                               described a largely lackluster outlook       from being developed.
We have started with some concepts on          for WiMAX, which it said is surrounded
what factors we’d want to work into met-       by hype and will likely fail to catch on     Cellular phone makers have invested
rics - looking down that list, there’s work    beyond niche applications. Established       more than $100 billion to roll out third-
to do.                                         broadBand access providers see no rea-       generation cellular networks, which can
                                               son to adopt yet another technology for      handle data at speeds suitable for games
Editor’s Note: Dave did correct several        delivering data at high speeds, the com-     and video. By the time fourth-generation
black and white instances (GSM as op-          pany said.                                   networks roll out, WiMAX could be the
posed to GPS for example). I have pro-                                                      preferred choice.
vided clickable links from the numbers         Industry-wide demand for WiMAX
here (#1) and so on back to the places         equipment will not top $1 billion until      “With a higher bandwidth capability than
in the interview on page 15-19 above           2007, according to iSuppli’s forecast.       existing 3G cellular technologies and
as noted by Sebastian. Readers then can        Divided up among many industry play-         reach ... rivaling that of a typical cellular
move back and forth at will to see the         ers, that amount might barely register at    technology cell site, WiMAX has the po-
context.                                       a company like Intel, which reported $30     tential to be adopted by wireless carriers
                                               billion in revenue last year. By 2009, the   as 4G data-centric technology,” accord-
WiMax – Hype or Not?                           market will reach only $2.5 billion, iSup-   ing to the iSuppli report. Even then, the
                                               pli predicted.                               company noted, there are several hurdles
Hughes: Read the following article and                                                      to overcome -- including the availability
tell me whether you think it is hype or        “These applications will not be large        of wireless frequencies licensed by gov-
not? Or is it the death of unlicensed          enough to sustain the multitude of silicon   ernments, and approval by top-tier wire-
Wireless?                                      suppliers and equipment manufacturers        less carriers.
                                               who have expressed interest in develop-
Wi-Fi Successor Called High-Speed              ing products for WiMAX,” iSuppli said.       Reed: How could it be a successor to
Hype, for Now                                  “The hype surrounding WiMAX ... as a         WiFi? It does something entirely differ-
by Daniel Sorid (October 12, 2004)             fixed wireless access technology will re-    ent, doesn’t provide good access inside
                                               main just that -- hype.”                     buildings.
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.
jhtml? type=technologyNews&storyID=            [snip]                                       Buettrich: I agree with Dave Reed – It
6480696&src=rss/ technologyNews&se                                                          is something entirely different, so asking
ction=news                                     According to iSuppli, incumbent suppli-      whether it will be or not be WiFi’s succes-
                                               ers of Internet access are deeply invested   sor is an irrelevant question. Its introduc-
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - At virtu-            in their own infrastructure for delivering   tion to markets surely comes with a lot of
ally every turn, Intel Corp. executives        broadBand Internet access via telephone      hype and marketing blah (“Non Line of
are heaping praise on an emerging long-        or cable wires, and will be unlikely to      Sight) but that’s for the respective depart-
range wireless technology known as             spend more for a new wireless technol-       ments to deal with. For real projects and
WiMAX, which can blanket entire cities         ogy “that offers no quantum leap in capa-    their tech choices, it’s not relevant.
with high-speed Internet access.               bilities over their current offerings.”
                                                                                            Forster: I think it’s hype. So much hype
Just as Intel helped popularize Wi-Fi,         Beyond broadBand, WiMAX faces simi-          that the actual value in 802.16/WiMax
a short-range technology now widely            lar challenges. A report from ABI Re-        may be lost in the usual disappointment
used in airports and in coffee shops, the      search on Monday said efforts to posi-       after the inevitable under-delivery that
world’s largest chip maker hopes to usher      tion WiMAX as a Wi-Fi killer -- Intel, for   follows over-promising. I think there’s
in the “WiMAX era” -- using the tech-          instance, plans to support WiMAX in its      little danger in WiMax killing unlicensed
nology to displace cable and DSL Inter-        notebook computer chips in 2006 -- will      wireless because unlicensed is now too
net access and segments of the cellular        fail. “WiMAX enthusiasts sometimes           well established in lots of unassailable
phone market.                                  claim that it will ‘kill’ Wi-Fi. Nothing     positions -- enterprise, home networking,
                                               could be further than the truth,” a note     hot spots, etc.
Yet as it heads into turf fiercely protected   from ABI said. High power consump-
by the telecommunications and cable in-        tion makes WiMAX an unlikely choice          802.16 in general, and 802.16 on licensed
dustries, WiMAX is likely to gain little       for battery-powered devices like laptop      spectrum in particular, is quite a bit more
traction, at least for several years, ana-     computers and personal organizers.           appealing to a classic large service pro-
lysts said. The demand it does find may                                                     vider than 802.11-based approaches. The
come mainly from rural markets outside         The best potential for WiMAX, according      issue is that while there may be some
the United States.                             to iSuppli, may lie in precisely the area    good trials with 802.16, I don’t think the
                                               least promoted by companies like Intel       large service providers feel any urgency
                                               -- in combined voice, video and data net-    to make large deployments soon, which
                                                               81
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
is one of the points in the article.            claim to have a mesh protocol that really
                                                works. Anyone have contacts there? Or           If successful, the FCC could push to open
Larry Roberts: Suppliers I have talked          with similar outfits?                           up other licensed bands to coexistence
to of high power WiFi believe in their re-                                                      with unlicensed devices, and encourage
search and tests that WiMax has no better       Jim Southworth: If you like Tropos for          other regulators round the world to fol-
range than WiFi at 200 milliwatts. WiFi         its mesh network, you’ll love http://www.       low suit. Intel and others are lobbying to
can then cover a city with a mesh in 1/4        Ascentry.com . My company is working            increase spectrum for Wi-Fi and WiMAX
mile circles.                                   closely with them for some military and         in order to stimulate their own sales po-
                                                Homeland Security First Responder ap-           tential.
Buettrich: It would be interesting to hear      plications. These are for both fixed and
what this is based on.                          mobile mesh infrastructure using WiFi           This year, the 802.22 group was desig-
                                                now and other spectrum soon.                    nated to develop a standard. The 802.16
Peter Ecclesine: Try comparing WiFi                                                             faction argued that cognitive radio work
BPSK OFDM (7 dB C/I) with WiMAX                 Coluccio: Thanks for bringing the aware-        should be under its tent, rather than in a
QPSK OFDM (10 dB C/I) and for the               ness of Ascentry’s existence to the list. I’d   separate group, but was defeated. So the
same EIRP, see what the distances result.       not been aware of their claims in the past,     quest to turn 802.22 into a real 700 MHz
                                                which are impressive - especially with re-      alternative is underway.
Roberts: Wi-Fi is being used in Taipai          gard to their cross-platform capabilities.
and other cities to cover the entire city.      With regard to their use of 9-11 and re-        WiMAX is flexible in its channel sizes
A city that owns its own power can just         lated backdrops to bolster their own ends,      and can use the 6MHz width of the TV
put them on power poles at little cost. The     however, now that’s another matter, and         channels. Below 900MHz, range could
result they believe is that WiMax will not      one that I, for one, wish they’d consider       be three times that in 2.4GHz, reducing
over come WiFi. They do believe WiFi            changing, for whatever its worth.               the number of base stations required well
may overcome cellular in places like                                                            below 3G’s requirements, making mobile
Taipai (dense cities). It is 20 times less      Cognitive Radio Brains                          WiMAX clouds an even stronger propo-
expensive (according to them) to deploy                                                         sition against cellular. Both in licensed
than cellular.                                  Organize                                        and unlicensed modes.

COOK Report: Larry are you willing to           COOK Report: Is this article on 802.22          The first focus of the 802.22 effort, re-
say more? Do you have any pointers to           worth paying attention to?                      ports the Rethink report, is on rural fixed
sources that say more? I wonder what Joe        http://dailywireless.org/modules.php?na         wireless access. “This is ideal spectrum
Plotkin might have to say about the situ-       me=News&file=article&sid=3134&src=              for deploying regional networks to pro-
                                                rss10
ation in New York City? I’d love to hear                                                        vide broadBand service in sparsely popu-
something about that. If it works in Tai-                                                       lated areas,” said Carl Stevenson, interim
                                                “Work begins next month on one of the
pei it would presumably work there?                                                             chair of the new group, in a statement.
                                                IEEE’s most important, and most politi-         “Our goal is to equal or exceed the qual-
                                                cally charged, projects, to devise an ‘in-
Roberts: The unlicensed installation                                                            ity of DSL or cable modem services, and
                                                telligent’ air interface (cognitive radio),
takes so much less work than licensed that                                                      to be able to provide that service in ar-
                                                that can tap into unused television fre-
several vendors I have talked to believe                                                        eas where wireline service is economi-
                                                quencies, reports Rethink Research.
that cellular and WiMax will go slower                                                          cally infeasible, due to the distance be-
as a result. One WiFi metro scale ven-                                                          tween potential users.” In fixed networks,
                                                This will be the standard for fixed wire-
dor is http://www.tropos.com/ who sells                                                         802.22-based technologies could achieve
                                                less systems that use cognitive radio tech-
200 milliwatt transponders and has con-                                                         40 kilometer range and complement local
                                                niques to switch automatically to a clear
tracted for several cities. I see a real race                                                   Wi-Fi and 802.16 backhaul, he said.
                                                area of the band, and to avoid interfering
here for new WiFi unlicensed operators
                                                with other occupying devices.
or cities and the cellular phone industry.                                                      The 802.22 leaders, apparently, don’t
WiFi phones are now being produced in                                                           want their work too closely identified
                                                The IEEE is particularly focused on sys-
Taiwan and Japan or one can use a PDA.                                                          with 802.16 (WiMax). But, in the view of
                                                tems for the underused US television
The result could be massive loss of rev-                                                        Rethink Research, it would be a serious
                                                spectrum between 54MHz and 862MHz,
enue for cellular and fixed line Telcos in                                                      blow to the vision that the FCC is putting
                                                which is being vacated (reluctantly) as
a short period after WiFi covers a user’s                                                       forward, if the cognitive radio work be-
                                                broadcasters move to digital. The FCC
primary area.                                                                                   comes bogged down in politics and radio
                                                proposes to open up 300MHz of this              turf wars.”
COOK Report: This case study is well            UHF/VHF spectrum as its first major test
worth looking at. http://www.tropos.            of software defined or cognitive radios. It     Coluccio: I submit that anything that as-
                                                would permit fixed access systems trans-
com/solutions/casestudies.php                                                                   sists in getting high capacity backhaul
                                                mitting up to 1W in power and portable          capabilities out to sparsely populated ru-
Does anyone know any more? They                 devices up to 100mW.                            ral areas is worth paying attention to. It
                                                                    82
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
was just yesterday that I read an account       h t t p : / / w w w. e e t a s i a . c o m / A R T _   was born in those regions.
in BroadBand Properties Magazine cit-           8800351548.HTM
ing the APPA’s (American Public Power                                                                  Also, there are a host of other recent ef-
Association http://www.appanet.org/ )           Cognitive radio: An opportunity lost?                  forts, some not terrestrial wireless, that
conclusion concerning how few access            by John Notor                                          are attempting to solve the lingering ac-
networks were being deployed in locales         h t t p : / / w w w. e e t a s i a . c o m / A R T _   cess issues. The NRTC is working with
that were extremely distant from urban          8800351547.HTM                                         various trade groups like NRECA (rural
areas. And the reason for this was the                                                                 coops) and the NTCA (rural telcos) to
high costs associated with backhaul to          WLANs are jump-starting cognitive ra-                  deliver “broadBand” via their Wild Blue
those locations. They concluded that the        dio by Bill McFarland                                  satellite initiative.
closer an MEU (municipal electric util-         h t t p : / / w w w. e e t a s i a . c o m / A R T _
ity) was to an urban area, the more likely      8800351549.HTM                                         802.22, I believe, will have little chance
it was to extend its internally-developed                                                              of success. The thinking of those who
communications capabilities to residenc-        "Cognitive radio might seem to be a                    supported the PAR is that WiMAX is
es, as well.                                    radical concept, but WLAN designers                    an urban or suburban technology only.
                                                have already implemented many CR                       While this may be true so far as major
Two potential solutions raise their heads:      techniques, some of which are quite so-                operators intend to deploy it, it is in no
One, the rural access network could attach      phisticated. Because these techniques                  way true for many of the vendors work-
to a regional fiber network that could also     can be expanded in an evolutionary way                 ing now to build WiMAX systems. While
conceivable connect to a statewide fiber        to achieve the full promise of CR, they                there is great enthusiasm about WiMAX
grid. Or, two, a wireless regional net-         point the way toward the future of wire-               for those giants who have endorsed it for
work (as discussed in the above 802.22          less communications."                                  mobile applications, the vendors realize
proposed architecture) solution could be                                                               markets still exist for smaller operators
fashioned in the same way.                      "The basic premise of CR is that radios                and municipal groups to use WiMAX to
                                                can better use the available spectrum by               provide fixed access in these rural areas
Of course, either of these then becomes         detecting their environment and adapting               and there is nothing in WiMAX profiles
the potential subject of yet another glitch,    accordingly. Regulatory agencies such as               that prevents it from being effective in
and that is, just how far do municipali-        the FCC require that 802.11a radios de-                rural. That is why vendors like us will
ties compete with incumbent carriers?           tect radar signals and avoid interfering               also be building micro base stations, not
It’s one thing to build out a network and       with them. This ability to dodge radar                 just the heavy iron for scaled cells. Af-
compete in the local town or village, but       requires a significant amount of CR-type               ter many years in this market, we know
to compete over greater distances then          adaptability and it is just the beginning of           operators will buy and deploy a good
becomes another matter, altogether. Or          WLAN CR capabilities."                                 system in rural areas as long as it can be
does it?                                                                                               deployed economically. (In fact, such ar-
                                                Clearing interference for cognitive radio              eas have been our bread and butter, espe-
But one could counter: “If the incum-           by Bill Krenik                                         cially in the U.S.).
bents were there providing services to          h t t p : / / w w w. e e t a s i a . c o m / A R T _
those rural communities in the first place,     8800351550.HTM                                         With all the investments and support the
then the entire argument would be ren-                                                                 WiMAX Forum is gaining, there will be
dered moot!”                                    802.22 (Cognitive Radio)                               few vendors willing to invest in an en-
                                                                                                       tirely different standard like 802.22 that
Yes, I think it’s worth paying additional       Deemed a Non Viable                                    is intended specifically for places where
attention to, if we could intelligently proj-   Competitor to WiMAX                                    mass sales, by definition, cannot be real-
ect the architectural implications with                                                                ized. An even so, any would-be ratifica-
specific references to the kinds of foot-       Patrick Leary: As it turns out, I’m at an              tion of 802.22 is at least three years off
prints and frequency re-use that would          APPA event at the moment (their annual                 (by the PAR’s own comment to the Com-
ensue. Has the model, or the subject of         Community BroadBand Conference).                       mission in its formal request to urge the
same, matured to that extent, yet?              This is my 4th one and we’ve been very                 Commission to prevent unlicensed any
                                                active with this group. I disagree with                access to the TV bands until a standard
Editor's Note: From the Open Spectrum           APPA’s conclusion about the existence                  can be realized) and any actual product a
mail list Bob Horvits posted on Novem-          of few access networks in the very rural               conforming to such a standard at the very
ber 16: Electronic Engineering Times            areas, unless they are talking only about              least a year further. Four years is way too
Asia published a nice set of articles about     their own members (though about 10 of                  long to wait, especially when WiMAX
cognitive radio today on their website.         their members do deploy our systems in                 can be there in the rural markets within a
Registration is required but free:              rural markets). Many operators of many                 year and thousands of deployments using
                                                different stripes are increasingly deploy-             one of the many proprietary solutions are
CR hailed as “next big thing” in wireless       ing out to the edge. In fact, the current              there already.
by Patrick Mannion                              unlicensed wireless broadBand market

                                                                    83
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
There is also a new WiMAX/802.16 busi-          It happens that we are discussing WiFi         issue of relevance, i.e., whether what
ness case white paper. It seems topical.        vs. WiMAX at the moment, but the same          is being stated about a given protocol
This was just published by the WiMAX            dynamics for attributes other than mesh-       and/or medium has an equal degree of
Forum.      http://www.wimaxforum.org/          ing and routing have occurred here in the      relevance when stated about the residen-
news/downloads/WiMAX-The_Busi-                  past. Someone help me out here ...             tial as it does for the enterprise setting,
ness_Case-Rev3.pdf                                                                             and vice versa. Also of interest to me is
                                                Davis: Well said, Frank, and much need-        where, exactly, does one draw the line
Matson: For me, WiMax, in one im-               ed to be said.                                 between the two.
portant respect, is a step in the wrong
direction. Unlike WiFi, 802.16 (for not         Matson: Once you and I have bought the         Matson: As I understand it, with WiMax,
all 802.16 will be WiMax) reverts to the        WiFi “pieces”, the “bits” between us are       the only way to ensure that this principle
old telco topography of forcing all ‘my         free to travel unhindered as there is no       remains the same is if you and I ALSO
bits’ to my intended recipient via a ‘spe-      potential for ‘bit-toll-boothing’.             control the central node. But then that
cial node’ - the control of which may or                                                       causes an issue for my neighbor who wants
may not be in ‘friendly’ hands from an          Davis: Malcolm, I am sure I am missing         to enjoy the same guarantee of autonomy.
end-user’s standpoint. With WiFi - there        some point you are valiantly trying to         Hence the reappearance of a third-party
is nothing implicit within the topology of      make, but below is what I get out of your      ‘operator’ who, once it has land-grabbed
the technology itself that places an inter-     comments above:                                the WiMax spectrum in a specific loca-
mediary ‘gateway’ between end-users!                                                           tion will, bet your bottom dollar, use that
                                                I don’t find anything compelling the con-      position to leverage itself up the value
Ballard: I’m aware that WiMAX is per-           clusion of your value statement “may not       chain by ‘toll-booth’ charging on a basis
ceived to currently be made entirely of         be friendly.” WiFi is almost totally na-       which is more than a straight ‘mortgage
unobtanium by many, but that isn’t strict-      ked. Anyone with any desire and a quasi-       cost recovery’ of the network hardware
ly true.                                        techno disposition can be a “war-chalker”      costs over their economic life. WiMax
                                                and make mince-meat out of your WiFi           permits the adoption of a business model
Alvarion’s BreezeMAX 3500 is installed          WEP or WPA. 802.11i languishes while           (old-telco style) which WiFi really does
and under trial with 11 carriers globally.      the prices of the hardware fall well below     not - which is why it is so powerful. Go
Alvarion uses an expensive ASIC which           the ability to install crypto-coprocessors     into Starbucks and if you don’t want to
currently has the de-facto WiMAX code           with the necessary key-lengths to keep         pay the outrageous fee for access to their
running in it. The carriers don’t want to       information streams private, or even reli-     hotspot - move to the front of the store
wait for WiMAX Forum certification. So,         ably insure two-way authentication.            and chances are you will find an ‘open’
WiMAX exists and the standard is being                                                         network to connect to. Go there with your
used to pass packets in several countries.      So, maybe the mark turns on what you           WiMax card and they’ve got you!
                                                mean by “friendly” And that, it seems to
Economics and                                   me to be a market choice to be made by         So I go with the ABI Research report -
                                                free economic agents. I can pay the toll       WiFi will be pushed further and further
Security of Wireless                            and some increment more for the hard-          by innovative end users and will remain a
Architectures                                   ware and gain some freedom from the            ‘special’ technology for this very reason.
                                                “war-chalkers” and ‘WiFi sniffers” (now        Buy 2 WiFi cards and you have a network
Coluccio: In one instance, i.e., the ad-hoc     free for the download and longer reach         and free communication between them
mesh, we have a level of free-form traf-        antennae for the price of dirt), or I can      - buy 2 WiMax cards and then look for
fic taking place, and in the other we have      just run bare-arsed naked and invite the       someone to let them speak to each other
some level of orchestration (architecture,      vandals, and crackers, and freeloaders         - and charge you for it! It’s a world of
if you will, controlled by someone do-          right into my network.                         difference. The move towards OPEN net-
ing administration), including various                                                         work is unstoppable and the emergence
levels of aggregation where the dreaded         Besides, though I can have a WiFi local        of WiMax will be a great spur to further
trolls may exist. If we ignore the threats      net, say to share printers or snoop on chil-   WiFi development and deployment - not
of toll-taking for the moment, my current       dren’s on-line activity, I can also see my     the other way round.
level of anxiety points to how well ad-         neighbor’s porn preferences and the lady
hoc’ing can scale before, at some point,
it becomes inevitable that aggregation is
                                                across the street having a “one-handed         Regulatory Issues
                                                typing” cyber affair. But I still have to
necessary to facilitate backhauling to the      have a “troll-booth” to get anywhere else.     Hughes: I agreed with Malcolm until he
core.                                           “Networks to nowhere” may be some              came to the conclusion: “The move to-
                                                people’s idea of fun, but lack a great deal    wards OPEN network is unstoppable...”
Or, alternatively, is this not necessary, due   of functionality.
to what I’ve read concerning the coming                                                        Anything that is controlled by Govern-
of “edge crawling” taking place, instead?       Coluccio: It seems that we run into this       ment (including use of Spectrum) is not

                                                                   84
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
unstoppable. Anytime a government               or ‘Hot Spots.’ So high no small ISP            it. And those smart 15 year olds in Palo
decides that Wi-Fi permits terrorists to        can make it) And India is taking its own        Alto and Bejing will always out manuev-
communicate unhindered and with strong          sweet time changing rules. And of course        er in my view.
encryption, all uses could be declared il-      the VoIP over the last 5 miles wireless at
legal, and FCC authorized manufactur-           13,000 feet in Nepal I set up for Sherpa        Maybe we can agree that the ‘unstop-
ing stopped in a heartbeat - whether us-        kids to take distance learning classes from     pable march of open networking’ can
ers obey or not. (I doubt if Cisco would        Nepalese speaking Sherpas in the US is,         be massively delayed, distorted and dis-
refuse the order) The University of New         as far as I can tell, prohibited. Only sav-     rupted. And your great and eventual suc-
Mexico retained me to design and install        ing grace is that the Sherpas do what they      cesses are testimony to that! But short of
an unlicensed wireless network (Wi-Fi           think right regardless - and the Nepalese       ‘forgetting what we now know’ - I see
and UNII) on the Sevilleta - a 40 by 30         tech police get out of breath on the slopes     little prospect of it being politically pos-
mile tract of land through which an Inter-      of Everest.                                     sible to take the ‘wheel away from the
state Highway passes in Southern New                                                            people’ across the entire globe.
Mexico which is owned and controlled            Now if Wi-Fi unlicensed has these prob-
by the US Department of Interior. Nearly        lems, I wonder what happens when the            Coluccio: Malcolm wrote:
at the last minute the Fish and Wildlife        corporate lobbyists for the likes of Intel
Service who manages the research area           - which has an obvious goal of being the        “I believe that there are massive vested
informed UNM that the Department of             supplier - or monopolist - of all the chip-     interests at stake here and that there is a
Interior has prohibited all Wi-Fi on all        sets needed for Wi-Max, starts lobbying         point where these enter into an unholy
Department of Interior lands (gee, I guess      beside commercial-rate wireless services        alliance with governments against the
that includes all National Parks, Monu-         who want themselves to dominate local           common interest.”
ments, Wildlife Refuges, Bureau of Land         markets and gives the Media as well and
Management lands?)                              Congress critters lots of technical gobble-     Coluccio: True, it doesn’t necessarily
                                                dygook trying to suppress Wi-Fi in cities       have to be the STATE in many cases. I’m
There were provisions for ‘exemptions’          and towns?                                      reminded of the shifting ‘interests’ that
but the rule was the rule. Took me lots                                                         even a single entity can make when the
of time describing exactly what we were         Whatever the technical and economic             tide of regulation and industry pursuits
doing (hook up roaming antelope and             merits of Wi-Fi versus Wi-Max there are         change. As in, when the Napster back-
spy on fish in tiny ponds among other           lots more real-world considerations than        lash occurred a couple of years ago. The
dangerous things) to a Washington DC            just that.                                      major cable operators were aligned with
located DOI technology ‘expert’ through                                                         the content and studio folks with respect
4 levels of bureaucracy before the waver        So I am not as blindly optimistic over          to MPAA and RIAA actions against ‘of-
was granted.) (I mean frequencies, power        how little Wi-Max will affect the unli-         fenders,’ whereas the regional phone
used, antenna gains, location, accessibil-      censed (including but not limited to Wi-        companies were in open defiance to any
ity by bad guys, encryption, IP security,       Fi)as many on this list are.                    rules that would have had them disclose
control et cetera). What were they wor-                                                         the names of those customers who were
ried about? Unauthorized persons getting        Remember the saying “No Good 802.11b            indulging in P2P sharing of music and
into the Internet through the University,       Deed goes Unpunished”                           movie titles.
then Government Internet. By posing as
an armadillo, I suppose.                        Matson: Dave - of course you are right          With the push now by ILECs to provide
                                                that ‘state’ intervention is always bound       triple play services to the masses in com-
And of course, in the UK, when I laid out       to threaten. (especially when the technol-      petition with the cable operators, I don’t
an architecture to connect up small rural       ogy actually threatens the central power        think that they will be as likely in the
villages in Wales, using a mix of 802.11b       of the state itself) So like you, (and I keep   future to demonstrate the same level of
at EU power levels (100mw only EIRP),           upbraiding my colleagues on their naive-        autonomy and defiance to those interests
and 5.8GHz radios which were SUP-               té ), I believe that there are massive vest-    as they once did , and indeed may be-
POSED to be approved for general unli-          ed interests at stake here and that there is    come one of the lead enforcers of DRM
censed use by the UK Spectrum authority         a point where these enter into an unholy        copyright laws, as those laws begin to
‘in a month’ the UK Defense establish-          alliance with governments against the           seep down from the ceiling onto living
ment put a halt to the 5GHz rules - on the      common interest. So your caution is right       rooms and personal area networking ap-
ground of potential ‘interference’ with         and my unqualified statement, mislead-          pliances.
their stuff. I think it took about 2 years to   ing.
sort out, and I am not sure its over yet.                                                       The Security Issue
                                                But I truly do think that the ‘genie is out
Yes, governments - even ‘enlightened’           of the bottle’ - just as the ‘GIN’ was in the   – Making Mincemeat of
ones are already dropping cigars in the         days of prohibition. For WiFi to be oblit-      WPA
sweet Wi-Fi punchbowls. (Malta just             erated from the world will need such a
slapped a huge fee on any Wi-Fi ISPs            united global coalition that I don’t bet on     Davis: WiFi is almost totally naked. Any-

                                                                 85
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
one with any desire and a quasi-techno        As for problems of the first part: opera-     Davis: Neither of them could set up WPA
disposition can be a “war-chalker” and        tions, administration and management: in      on either router, despite repeated calls to
make mince-meat out of your WiFi WEP          these neighborhoods, the SSID was ad-         tech support, downloading new firmware
or WPA. 802.11i languishes while the          vertised and neither WEP nor WPA was          for the WAP and the PCMCIA cards, and
prices of the hardware fall well below the    used, or even MAC address access con-         my reading to them the Knowledge Base.
ability to install crypto-coprocessors with   trols. We seem to have trained consum-        It took me about a week to get WPA set
the necessary key-lengths to keep infor-      ers for Plug-n-Play. The box comes up         up, more firmware upgrades, and calls to
mation streams private, or even reliably      naked, and seems to stay open.                escalation on tech support. At this point,
insure two-way authentication.                                                              the cracker came out and the crack was
                                              Vijay Gill: This is a part of the OAM.        amazingly simple. He bypassed WPA
Vijay Gill: Melissa, would you expand         Having SSID not being advertised or us-       with buffer overrun attacks, obtained ad-
on the details of how someone with            ing MAC address access controls is an         min rights on the WAP, created a back-
a quasi-techno disposition can make           exercise in security through obscurity.       door.
“mince-meat” of our my WPA?                   Trivial to break through either. The box
                                              coming up naked is also not a fault of Wi-    Gill: This is not a problem with WPA.
The problem isn’t price of hardware and       Fi, it is a problem with making it easy for   This is a problem with the code on the
installing crypto-coprocessors. The stan-     Jane Doe to get her stuff set up. This is a   WAP. In other words, this is not a techni-
dard PC curve has made a mockery of           training issue, not a technical issue.        cal issue with WPA.
specialized silicon. The problem is oper-
ations, administration and management.        Davis: Given what I have said above, and      So, given all that has been said, what is
And making it simple enough for aver-         know to be the case, selling default wide     to prevent someone from using a buf-
age Jane to use. Eagerly awaiting your        open WAPs, and out-of-the-box Win-            fer overflow attack on some specialized
technical breakdown of the weaknesses         dows 2000/XP with the default account         silicon with adequate key lengths? Still
in WPA.                                       with Administrative privileges is giving      eagerly awaiting the answer. Specialized
                                              matches or poison to a child. If these sys-   silicon quote below: “ prices of the hard-
On October 15 Davis: You are exactly          tems were drugs or consumer products          ware fall well below the ability to install
correct, Vijay, to lay the problem on         under regulation, neither the FDA nor         crypto-coprocessors with the necessary
operations, administration and manage-        Consumer Products Safety Commission           key-lengths to keep information streams
ment, but wrong, I believe in substituting    would allow them to be sold.                  private, or even reliably insure two-way
the PC over specialized silicon.                                                            authentication.”
                                              Gill: Nice analogy, but a bit overwrought
Before the technical details, let me say      in my opinion. This is well known, and        Davis: Vijay, I have re-read my post.
why this is important. Trendmicro has         doesn’t apply specifically to Wi-Fi over
released data that shows, from 2003 to        other technologies. An open windows           On WEP, I know we could have compro-
2004, that malware is showing an accel-       box on a cable modem will be compro-          mised WEP with the completely random-
erating increase in “greed” intrusion over    mised in a few seconds to a few minutes       ized key string. It just would have taken
“destructive or nuisance” intrusion, spe-                                                   longer and we had a lot to do. On WPA, I
cifically, mining for identity and finan-     Davis: I purchased two name brand wire-       didn’t say, and didn’t mean to imply, that
cial information. Few consumer based          less routers. WEP was easy to set up and      we “broke” WPA, only that we were able
software firewalls (Sygate and Panda          my cracker friend broke them in short         to by-pass it with one of the easiest, most
being exceptions) have egress filters or      order when the key strings were defined       preventable, and longest running vulner-
even egress warnings. Panda ships with        from strings given by my consumerish          abilities in the book: specifically, the buf-
defaults to allow any egress access for       partner and stepson. They fell to crack-      fer overrun.
any of the Microsoft applications - mean-     er dictionary attacks in short order. The
ing that if allowed, the machine is sus-      problem was a bit more difficult for my       The issue with buffer overrun attacks is
ceptible to malware re-directs in the form    cracker when the passwords were gener-        not the specialized silicon, but the code
of macro-worms, rats, Trojans, or down-       ated with the Unix utilility <<pwgen>>        that either runs in software or firmware.
loaded HTML, or CGI scripts.                  with the “easy to remember” parameter         Crypto-cards are specific crypto-copro-
                                              set, very difficult with the completely       cessors. They do not do general comput-
Known to me from other sources is that        randomized strings. Problem with the          ing or examine MAC addresses or IP and
these worms, Trojans, backdoors are on        completely randomized strings was that        Layer 4-7 protocol matches. All they do
the order of <300K and execute as com-        the typing entry was difficult for these      is decrypt or encrypt to offload the main
piled C/C++ binaries that enter with high     consumers to match.                           processor and memory from this highly
privileges via the Windows TCP stack. I                                                     computationally intensive task.
was in a research project for a client, and   Gill: If the friend couldn’t easily crack
enlisted a friend of a friend, whose real     WEP with a randomized key, then that          Further, an attack on a crypto-card would
name I didn’t want to know.                   friend really needs some better tools.        be counter-productive. The attacker
                                                                                            would only get garbage as an output. An

                                                                 86
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
attacker would want information before        asked me the idiotic question of “can         application that listens on other non used
it is encrypted or after it is decrypted,     you break into our current defenses?”,        but vulnerable ports. When an attack
or only want to submit inputs without         like that somehow qualified me for the        comes against the box (attack can be as
having to use the keys and receive unen-      security position, which by the way grew      simple as something trying to connect to
crypted output.                               to own all the deployed architecture but I    a service that it has no reason or no busi-
                                              never could take over MIS, and this was       ness doing so), it tears down the connec-
The reason for crypto-cards is exactly        the only area that was ever hacked. In 2      tion and does not respond, and also adds
the reason for layered operating systems      years of working for this Dallas compa-       them to a ipchains deny list, in an instant.
(e.g., Unix, IOS, xBSD), or layered net-      ny, I was responsible for 2500 machines       So if someone or something is doing a
work stacks - to allow special functions.     spread globally, running without fire-        horizontal scan of a class C, finds an ac-
Crypto-cards are specially designed just      walls, packet filtering and running DNS       tive IP, and then does a ‘vertical walk’,
for doing this one thing: IPSec-Triple        as the front end. (This was the nature of     they will hit a blocked service, and if
DES with or without KEA (Key Ex-              the product. You simply could not create      99% of these idiots offer a SYN packet,
change Algorithm for PKI), AES at 128         a bigger target than one running BIND or      which they do, oldcolo.com pastes the
or 256 key bit lengths. Without the cryp-     SENDMAIL, times 2500).                        source address. to a deny list, and the
to-card, especially with AES, which is                                                      offending source IP never gets an ACK
now the Government standard (128 now,         I never got hacked. They were getting         packet back. It just sits there, as a black
256 by 2006), you can have bandwidth,         slammed before I got there. So what did       hole, like what Melissa states above.
but no throughput.                            I do to prove I could break in to their in-
                                              frastructure? The company started with        The safest way to prevent attacks is to
Earlier Davis had written: He then put        5 employees. I was #25, so when I went        not connect to a network. Safer is to turn
backdoors on the Windows boxes of the         for the interview they had about 19. It       off a machine. But then goofballs like me
two wireless laptops and re-directed them     eventually grew to 250. Anyway, I said        can still talk your way in to pick up a box
to his Linux laptop where he was running      ok, even though I knew this was an idi-       and walk out. It is remarkably easy. But
software that allowed his Wireless card       otic question. Went to their server room,     since we have to connect to networks, I
to be a WAP.                                  talked my way into the cold room, said I      also agree with her that the problem is
                                              was just hired (I wasn’t and they didn’t      operations and management. Security
My wired network also sits behind the         know me from Adam), picked up a loose         101 is really simple. Turn off all services
cable router. He used several buffer over-    5u server, and walked out of the building.    before connecting to a network, then wait
run attacks to break into the consumer        I’d just broken in and walked out with the    for the phone call. Ask for a justification
perimeter firewall router, obtain admin       crown jewels.                                 of a service, why is it needed, then and
rights, read the ARP table, and there he                                                    only then is a service turned on with the
was stopped by my Linux bastion Fire-         This stuff is fairly easy. Electronically.    absolute proviso that it be added to an
wall router which appeared as a “black        I ran a PEN Test and learned passwords        Access Control List simultaneously. This
hole” - nothing there.                        easily, had a guy come in and acquire         should be a first line of defense. Then re-
                                              leases on most of the client machines.        porting is a must as well. But 99.9999%
General Network                               Pretty easy. It still is today. If you look   of the people on the planet blithely go
                                              at what Melissa said at the bottom of her     about connecting their machines to net-
Security                                      missive, you will find -                      works with nary a clue what is happening
                                                                                            to the interface of their box. Here, look at
Editor’s Note: I sent Melissa’s reply         Davis: My wired network also sits be-         the following....
to Vijay to David Hughes who is Dave          hind the cable router. He used several
Hughes’ oldest son asking if he wanted to     buffer overrun attacks to break into the      1097852560 - 10/15/2004 09:02:40 Host:
respond. Funny thing is Dave Senior did       consumer perimeter firewall router, ob-       80.51.230.14/80.51.230.14 Port: 445
the same thing. David’s been on my lists      tain admin rights, read the ARP table,        TCP Blocked
before and I will now add him to this one.    and there he was stopped by my Linux          1097852854 - 10/15/2004 09:07:34 Host:
David wrote back                              bastion Firewall router which appeared        81.56.145.38/81.56.145.38 Port: 445
                                              as a “black hole” - nothing there.            TCP Blocked
David Hughes Jr.: “Both Gordon and                                                          1097853513 - 10/15/2004 09:18:33 Host:
Dave sent this to me.”                        David Hughes Jr: Well, yes. And by the        151.41.163.106/151.41.163.106 Port:
                                              way, this is partly what Dave Hughes          445 TCP Blocked
Um, gents, this is the rule rather than the
                                              WISP does, and why it has not been            1097853577 - 10/15/2004 09:19:37 Host:
exception. I agree with the idea of mock-
                                              hacked in 2+ years since I got my mitts       80.55.160.106/80.55.160.106 Port: 445
ery of hardware and crypto-coprocessors       on it. Dave’s WISP is running in a non -      TCP Blocked
to defeat bad people with bad intentions.     standard, non-traditional way. It has a lot   1097853701 - 10/15/2004 09:21:41 Host:
There are a million ways to defeat securi-    of services running on a single box. Most     200.207.8.80/200.207.8.80 Port: 135
ty, and most are easy to really easy. When    of which are known vulnerable services.       TCP Blocked
I went to Dallas for job interview, they      Among other things, I run a real simple       1097853734 - 10/15/2004 09:22:14 Host:
                                                               87
63.16.9.158/63.16.9.158 Port: 445 TCP          that allows ARP tables to be read outside     ror having to do with C-code and fixed
Blocked                                        a domain, means that, you might as well       length stacks, wherein the host program
1097853773 - 10/15/2004 09:22:53 Host:         just hand someone the keys.                   does not check the bounds on the size of
200.77.224.121/200.77.224.121 Port:                                                          input stored in a designated stack or heap
135 TCP Blocked                                You know what is REAL scary to me...          array. In a buffer overrun attack, the mali-
1097854213 - 10/15/2004 09:30:13 Host:         the announcement by Google of this new        cious intruder writes data past the end of
82.135.7.229/82.135.7.229 Port: 135            searchable service that works to your         the allocated array to make maliciously
TCP Blocked                                    desktop. All files, email, everything.        desired changes to the program “state(s)”
1097854452 - 10/15/2004 09:34:12 Host:         Anyone who allows version 1 of these          adjacent to the array. Stack overruns ex-
216.75.180.138/216.75.180.138 Port:            Google services to run on their machine       ploit buffers in the stack to 1) insert the
135 TCP Blocked                                is out of their minds.                        malicious code executable binary native
1097854500 - 10/15/2004 09:35:00 Host:                                                       to the machine being attacked (scanners
200.217.221.242/200.217.221.242 Port:          I mean, email for heaven’s sake, is clear     such as nmap will report any computer or
135 TCP Blocked                                text. Anyone who knowingly puts any           network element OS in its database back
1097855168 - 10/15/2004 09:46:08 Host:         sensitive data in an email is out of their    to the scanner). The executable binary is
218.162.117.198/218.162.117.198 Port:          minds. It’s all a big, hairy mess. These      most often a short set of instructions that
445 TCP Blocked                                companies that are throwing all kinds of      spawn a shell with root privileges. Stack
1097855274 - 10/15/2004 09:47:54 Host:         FUD about security then come along with       overruns also can sit above a currently
203.136.128.18/203.136.128.18 Port:            a bigger and bigger hammer to solve it        active program and change the return ad-
135 TCP Blocked                                are taking advantage of what has far more     dress to the attack code. HEAP overruns
1097855762 - 10/15/2004 09:56:02 Host:         to do with a 30K file that crushes most       attack application dynamically assigned
213.13.205.253/213.13.205.253 Port:            known attacks on a Linux box, that plus       memory space, where user strings such as
445 TCP Blocked                                some other things I do. They are no bet-      the UID, passwords, cryptokeys and file
                                               ter than the drug companies who create        names are overwritten by the attacker to
Since I received this message, these are       problems and diseases that I never knew       gain privileged access.
the blocked attacks against oldcolo.com        I had, but “by-crackie” they now have a
in the last few minutes. All of them are at-   drug to solve it now. It’s shameless. Un-     So, the issue of attacking “specialized
tacks against Microsoft services, against      necessary. But caters to an needy public      silicon” is not the point and is easily seen
known intranet only services. They are         that would rather eat at MacDonalds than      to be irrelevant. The issue is software,
blocked. But these are battering the inter-    slow down and understand what ingress/        firmware, and I/O quality software dis-
face, and this is running rampant across       egress means in their own networks, and       cipline and quality control. If one has
all networks, constantly. More than con-       lives actually.                               open source software, these are usually
stantly. It is a solid bet that all of these                                                 detected early and patched. For propri-
source IPs are compromised boxes. I            More info than what anyone wanted. I          etary software, especially on PC’s where
think I saw in the last 2 months some-         just shake my head, and I agree with Me-      the software is not-independent of the op-
thing like 51,000 attacks against oldcolo.     lissa. And by the way, string match buffer    erating system (e.g., Windows), it can be
com. Now multiply that to all connected        overflows to gain access in order to inject   almost statistically impossible and more
machines in the world. Korea under AP-         rootkits as she talks about continues to be   expensive than most schedules and bud-
NIC is horrendously hacked because they        the rage, after all this time. Sheesh. Any-   gets allow.
idiots set up MS and Linux boxes without       one have a clean room they want me to
protecting them, and they spew out more        walk in to and pick up a box? It is pretty    To answer Sebastian: for the buffer over-
unintended traffic than you can shake a        easy.                                         run attack and the Layer 2 DoS/DDoS at-
stick at. Purposeful attacks come from                                                       tacks is the “Strong Application Proxy”
Europe.                                        Buettrich: Melissa and Vijay,                 to provide the function of insuring that
                                                                                             all protocol header lengths comply with
Melissa has it right. This suggestion about    That was interesting reading. Now let’s       RFC requirements.
adding more processing to defeat this stuff    put all the issues aside that are OAM,
has little to nothing to do with protecting    hardware specific, windows specific, and      For the DoS/DDoS, as a residential user,
infrastructure. The first line of defense      user space.                                   just set the perimeter router to drop all
on Dave’s wisp for instance is a 30K ap-                                                     ICMP. Some “Nethead” traditionalists
plication that hardly uses any resources,      What is to prevent someone from using a       think that is rude, but this one thinks
but it crushes anything that comes at it.      buffer overflow attack on some special-       they must live in the last century, and I
While you just have to know what you           ized silicon with adequate key lengths?       have never heard a compelling argument.
are doing, manufacturers create enor-          Or from using layer 2 DOS attacks?            A residential user should drop all other
mous compromises to satisfy the ease for                                                     incoming connections from the Internet
the customer with the result of creating       Davis: For those who may not be familiar      Commons, with the possible exception
cracks that you could drive a Mack truck       with what a buffer over run is: A buffer      of SSH if they are savvy enough to want
through. I will say that any infrastructure    overrun is a software/programming er-         a remote login (and have a static IP ad-

                                                               87
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
dress).                                        something like 1.5x the “insecure” cost.       much bigger input pipe and a huge router,
                                               This can happen and it may take a few          such that the DoS/DDoS attack fails for
For services for businesses that must be       silicon generations before we see it, but it   lack of power to fill it.
offered, e.g., web, email, other B-2-B         is the only way out of this situation.
(business-to-business) and G-2-B (gov-                                                        Vijay Gill: Yes, because huge routers are
ernment to business), use a hosting ser-       Forster: This may be great for various         so cheap.
vice unless the enterprise is large enough     reasons, but does it do anything to defend
to provide those services --- and the con-     against the armies of bots? If the black       Tony Li: And they have such hunking
sequent protections --- for itself.            hats take over 100K machines, then I           huge control processors. Typically, you
                                               should think the packets emitted would         can buy any J-random laptop with more
Defending the Routers                          be authentic packets.                          oomph.
Against SYN and ICMP                           Vijay Gill: You may see my ideas on this       Davis: Apologies: wry irony rarely works
                                               at http://www.vijaygill.com/acm.pdf            in tech groups and tech writing. I try to
One DoS/DDoS attack strategy is to                                                            catch myself when realizing I am doing
“fill the pipe” with ICMP or SYN at-           Li: The part that I was on about was the       it, but I didn’t here.
tacks such that the router cannot handle       ability to defend the control plane. Hope-
the requests. For ICMP attacks, simply         fully, we would be able to authenticate        So: the correction to literally what I
drop and wait, or divert them into a hon-      BGP and IGP relationships, thereby pro-        meant:
eypot, log the packets, and call the FBI.      tecting the infrastructure. The alternative
For SYN attacks, the router, the ratio of      is to move the control plane out-of-band,      “You can get serious as the “technical
CPU and memory must be higher than             which no one is willing to bite off on         thought leaders of the Internet”, create a
the bandwidth of the incoming pipe for it
                                               yet.                                           movement with momentum while edu-
to survive the time-out period.                                                               cating yourselves about the massiveness
                                               Forster: If defending against armies of        and ubiquitous of the asymmetrical cy-
Vijay Gill: What exactly does “the ratio
                                               bots is what it takes to support global        ber-warfare affecting everyone and driv-
of CPU and memory must be higher than          communications, then perhaps we’re             ing costs through the roof . . .
the bandwidth of the incoming pipe for         seeing a diseconomy of scale as small
it to survive the time-out period” mean?       groups that have a more common value           “Or . . . spend yourselves into bankruptcy
I do this type of work on a day job and        system, and can at least to some degree        one at a time in a futile effort to protect
I’ve yet to calculate the ratio of the cpu     enforce those values, do not need so           yourselves . . .
and memory and correlate it against the        much heavyweight processing.
bandwidth of the incoming pipe. An ex-                                                        “AND, if you don’t “self-regulate” as an
planation would be useful here.                Last year David Reed suggested that an         industry, find yourselves bankrupt any-
                                               overlay of tunnels could obscure the end-      way because eventually regulation will
Tony Li: Don’t bother. The amount of
                                               points and so possibly defeat DOS attack.      come as a “public health measure.”
CPU necessary to withstand a SYN at-           Since the endpoints could create these
tack is totally out of proportion to the       tunnels thus the network could remain          Anarchy is the chief breeding ground of
cost of the bandwidth in the router, so
                                               stupid as it would not need to participate     despotism. In my humble opinion the
you’re barking up the wrong tree. The          in the DOS prevention. I’m overly sim-         “free speech and exchange of informa-
cost of processing bogon packets has to        plifying and unfortunately can’t find the      tion” that is built into the Internet Culture
come down so that it costs the same or         reference to the paper with the ideas.         WILL (not should) be attenuated just as
less than the cost of packets transiting the                                                  the First Amendment’s free-speech rights
router. Otherwise, the black hats can sim-     I’m quite a bit skeptical of this unless       have been.
ply drive everyone into the poorhouse by       endpoints were multiply-connected to
using ganged bots to slam us. We (collec-      the net by numerous physical media,            Property Rights will be established along
tively, as an industry) cannot afford to put   which I think is long time off (if ever).      some lines in the sand to deal with ‘zom-
large amounts of commercial compute            David, I’m sure you could represent this       bie botting’, spyware, adware, email-re-
power everyplace in the net just to deal       idea better than I have; if you could send     lays, spam, DMCA/RIAA. The question
with these attacks. Please remember also       out the reference again I’d be interested      is not whether but by whom and where
that the ganged bots are ‘free’, so when it    in what Tony & Melissa and others think        the line will be drawn.
comes down to a war of resources/cost,         of the idea. Otherwise, I fear, DOS does
we lose too.                                   indeed drive a need for great functional-      My sense is that if WE, the tech leaders,
                                               ity into the network packet forwarding         fail to act, there are other extant groups
The only stable end state that we can get
                                               paths.                                         more than willing to act in their self-in-
to is when all packets are strong crypto
                                                                                              terest to do so - groups antithetical by
authenticated, we can do it at full box
                                               Davis: One defensive strategy is to get a      180 degrees to the Internet Culture.
bandwidth, and the incremental cost is

                                                                89
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
                                              sus QoS? I don’t think so because from         net Commons allows the concentration of
Is it surprising that I already know of       what I understand of Vijay and Tony’s          defensive Cap-Ex and Op-Ex. Use of In-
dorms at two colleges (and this is just       position on other issues, it would be rea-     tranets, Extranets with asymmetric cryp-
personal information) where the students      sonable to place both in the core of the       to keys (IPSec/KEA), and IPSec/KEA
are already committed to “search and de-      network and the best effort internet camp.     VPNs - not merely for remote or mobile
stroy” vigilante-ism. Several times, their    So do we have some different business          users, but also Site-to-Site transmission
critical educational functions have been      model, architecture and security views         among businesses and customers, busi-
impaired for several days due to worms        going on here? Ones that I am just not         nesses and suppliers reduces the EF (Ex-
and trojans. They are tired of having to      grasping well yet?                             posure Factor).
re-build their machines to keep from in-
fecting each other. They have built Linux     Is it possible to sort out the differences     Or, instead of a very expensive BFR, as
bastions to protect themselves, config-       here in a reasoned and rational way? If        the younger Dave Hughes says, just get
ured <<ip-chains>> and Snort, built Win-      so, it seems like it would be worthwhile.      a cheap Linux box or Linux cluster with
dows “honey-pots.” They have frags and        Certainly Melissa’s comments above I do        a BigIP Layer 4-7 load balancing. Dual
time-bombs and logic bombs.                   understand and I can’t find any reason-        AMD 64 with 4GB and a GigE card will
                                              able ground on which to disagree with          handle an OC-12 of bandwidth, and go
They don’t care if they are trashing “in-     them.                                          down from there to 10Mbits for several
nocent zombies” - it is the Law of Effect                                                    T-1’s on a single Athlon FX53 with a Gig
that they care about. The ethics is: if na-   Coluccio: Even though it’s an understood       of Ram.
ive Windows users don’t care enough to        premise (or it should be), I think it’s nec-
protect their own machines (firewalls,        essary to differentiate between what is        Back to Wi-Fi Security
anti-virus, spyware, malware, patches/        considered to be “the Internet,” as we’ve
Service Paks, use of safer browsers), then    come to know the existing patchwork            Buettrich: Melissa - thanks for yet an-
they are simply “passive co-conspirators      of interconnected networks that happen         other interesting look at details.
aiding and abetting the enemy. If I know      to use a common protocol suite (most
of two, there must be many more.              often), and the World Wide Web and its         However, I wasn’t so much thinking
                                              future heirs, before positing on where the     about brute force or SYN flooding or DoS
The security threat of what Tony rightly      applicability of freedom of speech is a        or DDoS attacks, but rather the ‘Michael’
names “gang-bots” goes straight to the        worthwhile issue to explore.                   type of attack. But maybe that is not seen
heart of “community networks.”                                                               as an issue in WPA (anymore)? I am not
                                              My communications with you, for ex-            exactly a WPA security expert.
So, Tony, and Sebastian, YES for strong       ample, using Email supported by the In-
authentication.                               ternet is no one’s business but ours. What     Davis: Yes, Sebastian, WPA is still sus-
                                              I post on the front page of a Web site         ceptible, by its design to the Michael DoS
I would also like to hear from those of       might fall under a different set of consid-    attack, as well as other weaknesses. Here
you at ISP’s to understand just what are      erations, and still another set of concerns    is the skinny (also a reply to Vijay on how
the issues preventing you from doing ac-      might exist when posting to a forum like       to break WPA):
cess-scanning and running anti-malware        this one, or one that is accessible by the
protection for your own customers?            general public.                                WPA – designed by vendors as an interim
                                                                                             standard while IEEE developed the re-
COOK Report: I am fascinated by this          My point being, no single guideline or         placement: 802.11i.
exchange. Tony’s response makes sense         focused set of guidelines will apply to all
to me but the breadth and depth of my         facets of communicating over the open          The arithmetic factors:
technical knowledge is not great enough       Internet. Any thoughts on this?
to really know who’s right and who’s                                                         1. A key:
wrong.                                        Davis (Earlier) : Another is to have dual
                                              links and virtual IP/load balancers at the     1.1.40 bit IV (Initialization Vector). With
But is there a case of right versus wrong?    ISP POP, such that one link can simply be      PSK (Pre-Shared key) is selected by the
Is it a case of ‘it depends. . .?’ WITHOUT    shut down, and on the other the Layer 4-7      user and typed into both the WAP and
getting into a war of religion and the dan-   load balancer drops both ICMP and SYN          each Wireless Access Card software con-
gers associated there with, is it possible    into the black hole bit bucket. This strat-    figuration file.
for the very smart, very savvy people         egy cuts one off from incoming customer
here to come to some agreement? Or at         traffic, but does allow the host business      1.2.RC4
least to understand better why there is       to get out and transact business on a Di-
disagreement?                                 saster Recovery basis.                         1.3. The Media Access Control Uniform
                                                                                             Identifier on the Wireless card.
What are the sources of the disagree-         Dramatically reducing the number of au-
ment? Core versus edge/ best effort ver-      thorized and rogue Gateways to the Inter-
                                                                 90
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
Such that IV * RC4 * * MAC-UI                 cost of breaking has to be high enough        outside or on top of their building.
                                              that someone sitting in a parking lot can’t
2. TKIP for key creation and key rotation     break it without considerable effort. And     Ecclesine: And there would need to be a
– a new key for each frame or a pre-set       WPA is still good against that.               band plan for it to be built in to a lap-
rotation                                                                                    top. WiMAX cards could come from op-
                                              Ballard: I’ve been reading this thread        erators, but internal RF probably has to
3. PSK or 802.1x Extensible Authentica-       with interest.                                know a band to plan on using.
tion Protocol for device authentication
(not user authentication)                     WEP is flawed, but hardly anybody uses        Leary: I do not expect WiMax to be only
                                              it. The largest Wi-Fi network in the USA      a carrier technology, though that is where
4. 8-byte MIC (Message Integrity Code         bears the SSID of Linksys and is on           the scaled deployments will likely exist.
or Michael) to guard against forgery at-      channel 6 and the administrator login         I expect lots of adoption by enterprise
tacks                                         and password are the factory defaults,        and municipal for both point-to-point
                                              why is this? Because hardly anybody           and multipoint. For munis, we expect the
WPA uses the IV sequence to guard             ever changes the defaults. Joe and Jane       systems will serve both the fixed public
against replay attacks                        Public are lazy. So we now have newer         access and fixed connections for public
                                              encryption methods appearing in low-          agencies/schools/etc. It is quite possible
802.1x authentication choice (PSK or          end consumer products, I still maintain       that muni deployments might use ITFS
802.1x EAP) left to vendor deployment.        that they’ll go mostly unused in the do-      bands now locally “owned” by a local
WPA supports EAP (Extensible Authen-          mestic setting.                               university, etc.
tication Protocol) and PSK (Pre-Shared
Key) It requires WAP firmware sup-            WiMAX Again                                   Matson: Talk of it superceding Wi-Fi
port, software device driver support for                                                    is misguided in my view (and the view
the wireless card, and Operating System       As to WiMAX, while it is “unobtanium”         of most in WiMAX), except for perhaps
support. MIC (Message Integrity Check)        to the many WISPs out there, those with       helping to push Wi-Fi into areas where
was designed to require little computa-       ‘special’ relationships to Intel have been    it works best, such as small, localized
tional overhead. There are only 20 bits of    running trials for a while. I’ll be doing a   cells for public access and commercial
security checking.                            keynote on WiMAX at ISPCON in No-             hot spots. These would exist as an un-
                                              vember and I hope to reveal some facts        der-layment of sorts within WiMAX
The Michael Attack: MIC is nicknamed          on the capacity/range issues. My per-         macrocells. Ultimately, WiMAX will be
“Michael.” The attack is based on an ex-      sonal feelings are that Wi-Fi is a very       portable and mobile by means of using
ploit in the Michael Code to deny service.    bad choice for a city-wide network even       handsets, PDAs, and laptops, but expect
Per the operation of MIC, if the WAP          though the CPE cost is under $40, it sim-     these to only be commercial efforts and
receives two packets with bad (non-ex-        ply doesn’t scale and there is no QoS in      most likely in licensed bands.
pected) MICs, the Basic Services Set is       the MAC.
shut down for one minute. A stream of                                                       Coluccio: Malcolm, thank you for those
these shuts down service, constituting a      Reed: I think WiMax is an interesting         well-thought-out replies. There’s enough
denial of service.                            technology, but if Nigel is right that it     there for me to contemplate for a while,
                                              is merely a carrier technology, then any      so I’ll return to them later on or during
Other WPA Weaknesses: WPA is also             concept of it “superseding” WiFi is con-      the weekend.
susceptible to attack when vendors use        fused at best, and misleading more likely.
the Pre-Shared Key (Linksys and Net-          It might be a complementary technology.       Security – Can the
gear), rather than 802.1x/802.11i EAP
(Extensible Authentication Protocol).
                                              And maybe the “Wi” prefix is intended to      Startups Beat Cisco and
                                              suggest that in its branding.
When the IV is based on a non-complex                                                       Lucent?
pass phrase, the packets can be captured      But if it supersedes anything, it will be
and subject to dictionary attacks.            HFC or EPON or APON or DSL. Per-              For the moment, I am posting below a
                                                                                            Forbes article that I peeled off another
                                              haps it will compete with 1xEVDV or
Finally RC4 is known to have weak-                                                          board, as is, which addresses some of the
                                              1xEVDO or GPRS, but the experience
nesses that are exploitable, though more                                                    areas being discussed by Melissa and Vi-
                                              of getting nationwide coverage with data
computationally difficult. RC4 is consid-                                                   jay. In fact, it also on some level address-
                                              only networks by Metricom would argue
ered “basically sound” but not for sensi-                                                   es a similar form of dichotomy between
                                              that it’s cheaper to bundle data with cel-
tive applications where the risk of com-                                                    the classes of networking models that we
                                              lular voice service if you want to reduce
promise is non-trivial to the data store or                                                 seem to be getting into with regard to
                                              market risk. And having it built in to a
transaction.                                                                                modalities, be they public or trolled, as it
                                              laptop will do a typical apartment, office,
                                                                                            were. Here’s the article:
                                              or home dweller little good, since they’d
Vijay Gill: Yes and if they really want in,   probably prefer to have WiMax antennas
they can just break into your house. The                                                    http://www.forbes.com/

                                                               91
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
forbes/2004/1101/064.html      (Not    So)    The Multitasking Pizza Box                    monitor and a computer that handles bill-
Simple Simon                                                                                ing and authentication and authorization
                                              The Airlok 525 does the work of sev-
                                                                                            of users. The all-in-one approach wipes
                                              en machines at a fraction of the cost.
by Daniel Lyons, 11.01.04                                                                   out the glitches that arise when WISPs
                                              TRADITONAL STACK PRICE Con-
                                                                                            buy a router from Cisco, content cache
                                              tent cache $35,000 Bandwidth manager
Simon Lok despises big guys like Cisco                                                      from Network Appliance, performance
                                              26,000 Firewall 22,000 Router 20,000
and Lucent. He’s developed a cheaper                                                        monitor from Hewlett- Packard and so
                                              Authentication server 12,000 Portal ap-
networking box he says will crush them.                                                     on. This mishmash is wasteful--each box
                                              pliance 7,500 Management tool 1,000
                                                                                            requires its own microprocessor, though
                                              Total $123,500
Simon Lok is brash and brilliant and in-                                                    one could serve all--and needlessly com-
tense, a 26-year-old computer scientist                                                     plex, since each box has its own software,
                                              LOK’S SOLUTION PRICE Airlok 525
with a teensy company and big, con-                                                         requiring WISPs to manage six different
                                              $19,650 Total $19,650 Source: Lok Tech-
queror dreams. He has developed an el-                                                      systems.
                                              nology.
egant little networking box that shuts out
intruders and costs 80% less than the gear                                                  Mixed systems are also prone to break-
                                              Never mind that Lok’s six-person com-
hawked by the giants he despises-- Cisco,                                                   downs, and troubleshooting is tricky
                                              pany has sold only 70 Airlok boxes, as-
Lucent, those guys.                                                                         because each vendor blames the others.
                                              sembled by Lok himself and a part-time
                                                                                            Lok’s solution:Put everything in one slim
                                              intern working out of rented warehouse
“I want to kill them all,” he says. “I want                                                 box, using one or two AMD chips to
                                              space in Vero Beach, Fla. And never mind
to crush them, because these incum-                                                         power everything, a custom chip for se-
                                              that Lok Technology aims for a mere $1
bents are selling stuff that doesn’t work,                                                  curity and unified software with a point-
                                              million in sales this year and that more
and that annoys me. They’re engaged in                                                      and-click design for easy setup. Lok uses
                                              than a dozen venture capitalists have
profiteering. There’s nothing wrong with                                                    off-the-shelf parts and OpenBSD, a free
                                              looked at the company without investing.
making money, but not when you’re sell-                                                     version of Unix. The smallest Airlok
                                              To hear Simon Lok tell it, it’s only a mat-
ing things that don’t work right.”                                                          supports up to 300 concurrent users and
                                              ter of time before giants like $22 billion
                                                                                            costs $3,000 versus $20,000 if a WISP
                                              (fiscal 2004 sales) Cisco collapse under
Anyone who has had to run a data net-                                                       buys all the features separately. A larger
                                              the relentless assault of his genius. He’s
work, he says, knows exactly how he                                                         Airlok, for 5,000 users, costs $20,000
                                              serious. “I’m smarter than those guys,”
feels. That frustration drove him to start                                                  and does the work of seven devices cost-
                                              he insists. “I’m going to chop them off
his own company, Lok Technology,                                                            ing $120,000.The biggest Airlok supports
                                              at the knees.”
which now targets the next big wireless                                                     50,000 users and costs $70,000 versus
market--Wi-Fi and a new wave of WISPs                                                       $500,000 or more for equivalent separate
                                              [snip]
(wireless Internet service providers) that                                                  devices.
offer Net access over free airwaves and
                                              In 1998 Lok learned that one of his cli-
charge people for the ride. The firm’s                                                      [snip]
                                              ents was about to spend $70,000 on a pair
Airlokdevice handles most of the core
                                              of Cisco routers to handle the simplest of
chores of running a network, signing up                                                     J. Russ Grant, a tech manager at the
                                              tasks. “I said, ‘Are you crazy?’ So I went
new users, checking passwords, routing                                                      American Airlines training center in Dal-
                                              home and in less than a week I built them
traffic and, most important of all in this                                                  las, ripped out a Cisco router and other
                                              two boxes that would do the same job--
leaky, insecure age, protecting networks                                                    gear and put in an Airlok 5-series last
                                              for $7,000. That’s when I knew it could
from hackers and viruses.                                                                   year simply because of its advanced se-
                                              be easy to develop my own product.” He
                                                                                            curity features.
                                              started Lok Technology in 1999, creating
The Airlok’s advanced security is where
                                              two products for the paranoid--LokMail,
Lok’s true ambitions lie. His quixotic                                                      [snip]
                                              for bulletproofing e-mail systems, and
quest is to make the entire Internet a
                                              LokVault, to safeguard storage networks.
secure place to do business. Right now                                                      He likes the Airlok because it takes a
                                              [snip]
we’re not even close, he says. “The In-                                                     “tough love” approach; when it spots a
ternet today is a house of cards. We’ve                                                     virus on a computer, it automatically
                                              But customers weren’t interested in Lok’s
got these viruses taking over machines,                                                     blocks that machine, “blackholing” the
                                              sophisticated security machines. Un-
causing billions of dollars in damage,                                                      user, and notifies Grant. In 12 months
                                              daunted, he retrenched and redesigned,
and for the most part they are written by                                                   on Airlok his network has never crashed.
                                              aiming at Wi-Fi. Though only the size
amateurs, kids.” He frets that one day real                                                 “The Airlok has the best firewall I have
                                              of a pizza box, the Airlok 525 contains
experts will wreak havoc. “What if all the                                                  ever seen,” says Grant, who believes
                                              the guts of a half-dozen machines that
banks are shut down because they all run                                                    the product could even change the Web
                                              WISPs usually buy separately, includ-
the same infrastructure--Cisco routers                                                      itself.”Imagine if Comcast or other ISPs
                                              ing a router, a firewall, a storage cache
and Microsoft Windows? Ultimately it                                                        started using Airloks. If someone got
                                              to store Web pages locally for faster call-
will result in catastrophe.”                                                                a virus, the system would just shut that
                                              up, a bandwidth manager, a performance
                                                                                            person down before it could spread. This
                                                                 92
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
could make hackers obsolete.”                   the aggregate, the losses are huge. For       how emotional I get) think that “fire-
                                                the self-disciplined cyber-thief, the risks   walls” create secure systems. Those of
For now Lok has more urgent worries.            are minimal.                                  us who were trained in security (and that
Ever frugal, he has run through $2.4 mil-                                                     was my research focus) knew then and
lion in five years and needs funding. He        Add to that the “troll-booth tax” on Win-     know now that the only sensible security
has applied for patents and is working          dows machines of aftermarket firewall         mechanisms would be based on end-to-
on what’s next, which he won’t discuss          (and don’t count on the one MS gives          end authentication using strong crypto
(something in security is a good guess).        with SP2), virus software and subscrip-       controlled by applications aware of the
“I’ve thrown the entire book of what            tions that may or may not be updated or       entities on both ends).
I know at this problem,” he says. “We           configured correctly.
can’t afford to be using lousy products                                                       We knew then that the worst risks were
with no protection anymore. We’re all           Nigel is correct that what features are       those that involved “inside” attacks
inter-connected. If you have a problem,         available for WPA wireless are simply         (where firewalls were useless).
all your neighbors suffer.”                     not used, because they are not set up,
                                                easy, or plug-n-play. Buffer overrun at-      Davis: Insider threats are more than
“For what it’s worth, folks at Cisco, with      tacks are easily eliminated with prop-        the “disgruntled employee” or dissem-
54% of the market for corporate Wi-Fi           erly designed coding practices or with        bling corporate spy. Insider threats, for
webs, say they haven’t heard of Lok. And        programming languages that auto-check         the most part now, is malware (trojans,
truth be told, Simon Lok probably won’t         their buffer code input boundaries. In my     worms, rats, spyware, etc) brought into
put them out of business. But someday           opinion, the moral zeal to provide access     the organization by naive or lazy users
might Cisco make this security wunder-          isn’t enough. Like Lok, I feel a moral im-    and those who go (or allow their families
kind an offer he can’t refuse? It could be      perative to make things safe or lock of-      to go) to the “sacred” Internet Commons
good for Cisco--and it wouldn’t be so bad       fenders out as contagion quarantine.          with business machines instead of their
for the rest of us, either.” [End of excerpt                                                  own. It also comes from using those mo-
from Forbes article.]                           Machines Can be Made                          bile devices (laptops, IP-based PDA’s)
                                                                                              on public wireless networks and gaining
Davis: Frank, thanks for this wonderful         Secure – Humans Are                           infection just for being there.
article. What Lok is saying about the mu-       Another Matter
tual security vulnerabilities of intercon-                                                    “EF” is a term the ISC has placed into the
nectedness is worth the weight of all the       David Reed: Melissa, as one who was a         security business - meaning “Exposure
equipment his products replace.                 co-designer, let me say that the Internet     Factor.” The EF ranges from “0” with
                                                Protocol was designed by people *very*        the least exposure to “1” for the great-
The Internet Protocol was built for infor-      interested in sharing with safety.            est. A Windows workstation is given an
mation sharing, not security and privacy                                                      automatic rating of “1”. This is the case
. . . to share data, not protect it. That was   In particular, there was a very complete      whether it has a COTS based firewall/
thirty-forty years ago. We live in a differ-    design of end-to-end security done for        anti-virus or not, and guaranteed if In-
ent world now, in a culture of very differ-     TCP and IP, based on work of my of-           ternet Explorer is used. There are those
ent values. In the early days, we valued        ficemate Steve Kent. Vestigial elements       who are arguing for increasing the upper
the privilege. This has been changing           of that design work (such as the notion       bound for Windows, Mac OS-X, Solaris,
since the general user, first from Com-         of a virtual header, and the separation of    and Linux workstations where the user is
puserve, than AOL, were given Internet          header checksum from data checksum)           logged on with an account with adminis-
Gateways, and the Internet as a utility to      still are visible in TCP, UDP and IP v4       trative (root/wheel) privileges.
which they had a right and a utility they       as deployed. The TCP handshake was
could exploit under its anonymity.              designed to allow incorporation of an         There is a shocking absence of feedBack
                                                authentication step as part of the hand-      measurement and analysis in organiza-
To me, having been through it twice per-        shake.                                        tions of which I am familiar. They may
sonally, and on a volunteer basis with                                                        have “policies,” “standards,” “guide-
a former banking relationship, it isn’t         But all of that design was thrown out due     lines,” procedures, but no standard sta-
cheap to deal with fraudulent credit card       to NSA’s forceful “request” to DARPA          tistical quantitative analysis tools or
issues or bank theft as the result of data-     to do no work on protocol security in the     regimens to measure how effective those
mining malware so easily done on Win-           DARPA Internet project, plus the very         policies, standards, guidelines, and pro-
dows machines and Internet Explorer.            strong letters written to MIT and others      cedures are, much less how the expensive
                                                asserting that ITAR controls prevented        gear is operating. Such statistical quanti-
One gets one’s own money bank, at cost          development of secure communications          tative analysis is standard in manufactur-
of time. The bank loses twice - with the        systems in universities.                      ing on the product lines. The financial
overhead and the deductible from stop-                                                        sector is now adopting these, and there is
loss, and the increasing risk-transfer fees     What galls me at this point in time is        a slight incursion into health care.
(insurance), and the cost of reporting. In      that idiots, morons, and other fools (see

                                                                 93
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
David, I am tickled to reinforce your          “random looking bits” with approximate         We now have grown “Firewall” into a cat-
message by posting “RAH!” to it. I have        bit-length boundaries - lurks until the        egory, not an entity. Besides the “Packet
worked with PGP, good only for small           individual uses the private key or BIO-        Filter” firewall of which you note, that
groups with shallow degrees of kinship,        METRIC (which is just a binary or JPG-         works in the middle of the stack on IP ad-
and PKI. In Continental Europe and             like bitmap) - sends the private key and       dresses and TCP/UDP permit-deny rules,
Canada, I am given to understand, PKI is       the PIN home - searches the Outlook ad-        there are:
encouraged, supported and highly regu-         dress book and sends itself to the email
lated by the national governments, each        addresses it finds - erases all evidence of    - application proxy firewalls (Layer 7) -
Country having a single top level CA           itself having been there, including event      IP is not forwarded. The firewall accepts
(Certificate Authority) and Certificate        and application logs                           the connection request and later the infor-
Policy/Superordinate hierarchical Certif-                                                     mation packets from the internal sender,
icate Practices Statement, then enforcing      Typical Malware Trojans                        examines it against its policies and rules,
those policies and practices on “subordi-                                                     and then forwards it on to the destination.
nate CA’s”. Identity Proofing for citizens     and Security Protection                        Application specific proxies must be run-
is rigorous, but government sponsored. In      Tools                                          ning. A telnet proxy will simply drop an
the US, the Federal Bridge is as close to                                                     ftp packet.
a tightly regulated CA as one can get, and     The rather trivial to add extension of
certificates are only available to Federal     the malware was to scan and export the         - circuit-level gateways (Layer 5): similar
employees and Federal contractors.             data files, by recognition of the easy to      to the application gateway in that the vir-
                                               locate Windows file extensions, all of         tual circuit sessions are maintained sepa-
NIST (National Institute of Standards) is      the Microsoft Money, Intuit Quicken and        rately on each side of the gateway, but the
charged by Congress after 9/11 with be-        TurboTax, and Kiplinger TaxCut data.           circuit level gateway does not examine
ing the authority for security standards.      This not only gave all the banking and         Layer 7 protocol information
Note their Special Publication SP-863          financial status information, but also ab-
which specifies requirements for levels        solutely all the information required for      - Stateful Packet Filtering Gateways
of assurance in identity proofing, certifi-    identity theft.                                (work at all 7 layers of the OSI Reference
cate and identity management, crypto.                                                         Model, though mainly at Layers 3-4).
                                               You are absolutely correct about fire-         The Stateful Packet Filtering Gateway is
But, this is, after all, the US, private en-   walls, but without secure Operating Sys-       the “defacto” standard now, maintaining
terprise being politically (translate finan-   tems, placing asymmetric key based au-         “state” at all seven layers in its tables. It
cially) strong. Anyone can buy a certifi-      thentication tools in the hands of ordinary    filters in both directions, not allowing
cate, say from Verisign or a few others,       consumers doesn’t guarantee the identity       forbidden traffic out, and dropping any
but the identity proofing is based on the      binding or protect others against fraudu-      incoming packets where the state transla-
weak tie between the alleged personal          lent use or imposters. Still, the code was     tion tables from inside show no match.
identity and the credit card in something      written by master professionals and re-
as weak for non-repudiation as an on-line      quired a good deal of skill.                   We have NIDS and HIDS (Network Intru-
transaction (which is to say, so weak as to                                                   sion Detection Systems) and Host-based
be legally un-enforceable).                    Yes, firewalls that work only at layer 3       Intrusion Detection Systems. They are a
                                               and 4 of the Network stack are very blunt      combination of protocol analyzers and
As you know, the strength of end-to-end        instruments. Strong identity/key bindings      packet sniffers. Either is difficult to ad-
authentication is the binding between a        and strong crypto can and will provide         minister; both require constant updating,
physical identity of a person or device        secure information streams over “always        frequently in-house, and generate huge
and the bit stream, bits being undiffer-       insecure and assumed to be hostile” net-       logs that aew worthless if not examined.
entiatible. It also depends on behavioral      works, transaction logs can be set up to       In greater than small organizations, these
policy, specifically protection of the         provide for credible and legally defen-        require parsing tools to target critical
private key or physical token, and with        sible non-repudiation (non-deniability).       strings (usually sophisticated grep/agrep/
strong authentication, both the token and                                                     sgrep tools). They are worthless against
the PIN/token and the biometric, biomet-       The problem isn’t on the technology side,      unknown signatures.
ric and the pin.                               it is on the human side. Security and trans-
                                               gressions thereof are not the malefactions     A NIDS is useless with encrypted traffic.
If an intruder can get access to the cer-      of machines but of humans. “Social Engi-       For encrypted traffic, a HIDS is neces-
tificate holder’s machine, and this has        neering” is a huge threat, lazy passwords      sary and its daemon must be listening
been done at least in the lab on Win-          (and lazier IT managers and organiza-          above the network layers.
dows 2000/XP/2003 machines, the typi-          tional executives that allow passwords at
cal malware trojan does the following:         all, much less do not enforce password         Common to both are: a sensor, an ana-
- inserts a keystroke logger - calls home      length/character inclusion policies and        lyzer (rule-based, statistical-based, sig-
- searches the hard drive for a section of     password change policies).                     nature -based, and anomaly based), and


                                                                  94
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
a security administrator interface. Anom-      ing IDS’s”, but the deployment must be          constant in terms of users, machines, and
aly based IDS’s are also called “learn-        careful and on a subnet that is relatively      usage, else the baseline can never be es-

                                                                        tions by obscure back room techies parading as ignored policy

The Internet is the Most                                                recommendations.


Political of All Technologies                                           Retzer: They don’t understand the technical, policy, political,
                                                                        economic or ethical issues. We have enough trouble struggling
                                                                        with the technical and policy issues ourselves, let alone the poli-
Jon Lebkowsky: [Editor: In answer to a concern expressed
                                                                        ticians who mostly have law or business degrees. It all looks
about government involvement in the affordability of broadBand
                                                                        like so much spaghetti with endless opportunities to screw - and
services. ] I’d really love to believe that there is a bipartisan in-
                                                                        they’re right. I think a substantial part of the problem is we have
terest in broad (if not universal) delivery of these services.
                                                                        no commonly accepted set of principles to guide our thinking.
Savage: Chairman Powell (republican FCC chairman) may be
                                                                        Hughes: Yet the Internet is not just about the Internet, wired or
wrong, but he seems actually to believe that the best way to pro-
                                                                        wireless. Its about freedom of speech, about property rights, in-
mote broadBand (DSL or cable-modem-type services, not gigE
                                                                        tellectual and otherwise, about legal theories over ‘open sourc-
or whatever) is to remove restrictions on incumbent phone com-
                                                                        es,’ copyright and patent law, (the failed Lessig case before the
panies so that they can compete more effectively with cable.
                                                                        Supreme Court), about privacy, about crime and punishment,
                                                                        about national security, about the threat to commercial and big
The obvious rejoinder to this approach is that he’s just creating
                                                                        money dominance of media - that has a free pass to produce
a duopoly, which won’t really compete to expand the market.
                                                                        mis-information to billions of people under the mantle of ‘free-
His responses: (1) it sure seems to be working so far; (2) he
                                                                        dom of speech’ which grew out of the only affordable mass
just authorized BPL; and (3) he’s making spectrum available for
                                                                        ‘communications’ which goes back to Gutenberg - but where
unlicensed broadBand use and encouraging WiFi.
                                                                        ‘speech’ no longer means what it once did, and uncorrected by
                                                                        other mass media, only by suable blogs, email, and web sites,
Powell works in an incredibly politicized environment. This
                                                                        about global economics, about the very meaning and definition
constrains what he can do in many respects. He cannot (in prac-
                                                                        of ‘value’ and ‘money,’ about the very nature of modern educa-
tical terms) just take spectrum away from all those useless UHF
                                                                        tion for the future, about access to ‘information’ - the lifeblood
stations and devote it to broadBand. Neither can he take steps
                                                                        of democracies - about the integrity, and the universality, of the
that will promptly punish the incumbent phone companies for
                                                                        act of voting, about delivery of goods and services to the corners
being so slow off the blocks. Politics is the art of the possible.
                                                                        of the world - or more precisely to 6 billion brains on this planet,
He’s not doing too badly by that measure.
                                                                        and in turn their ability to be ‘producers’ and not just ‘consum-
                                                                        ers’ - to archaic laws and regulatory practices which perpetuate
These policies, IMHO, will basically work to get DSL and
                                                                        non-longer-needed (because economies of scale are no longer as
cable-modem grade broadBand to perhaps 75% to 85% of the
                                                                        economically necessary as they were in the age of wire and ana-
population -- those portions served by large phone and cable
                                                                        log circuits) communications monopolies. And about the mean-
companies. The more rural parts of the country will be catch-
                                                                        ing of national ‘sovereignty’ in a borderless era. The Internet is
as-catch-can. Arguably we could expand so-called “Universal
                                                                        the most Political of ALL technologies.
Service” subsidies to include broadBand, but the universal
service funding system (basically a bunch of internal-to-the-
                                                                        But you wouldn’t know it from the behavior, understanding, or
phone-business subsidies) is widely understood to be badly bro-
                                                                        publically pronounced policies of those running for office. And
ken, and there is little stomach to expand it. On the other hand,
                                                                        you wouldn’t know it from the political naiveté and disinter-
many smaller companies are, on their own, deploying DSL. Plus
                                                                        est of engineers and scientists - in societies that are now more
WISPs in rural areas are, I gather, making some progress with
                                                                        driven by electronic technologies than at any time in the history
WiFi.
                                                                        of mankind, who, like Oppenheimer just want the bomb to go
                                                                        off, and never thought about the consequences of what he had
From this perspective, while both republicans and democrats
                                                                        wrought, until it did and he began to think outside of ‘just en-
will give lip service to the need to promote broadBand deploy-
                                                                        gineering.’
ment, in fact I suspect that, at high levels, both parties’ policy
wonks basically view it as a problem that is well on the way to
                                                                        I don’t suggest that this maillist go off into these vast and es-
solving itself -- at least well enough to declare victory.
                                                                        sentially uncharted seas- with the same intellectual rigor atten-
                                                                        dant to ‘just’ technical issues areas. But I DO suggest there are
Hughes: I would be happy if only there were serious interest
                                                                        damn near NO forums where the political wisdom of historians,
by EITHER or ANY political parties or candidates OR voters
                                                                        anthopoligists, students of government and law is matched by
in ‘Internet’ and enormous related issues. I see no evidence of it
                                                                        the intellectual rigor of engineers - who know everything about
and haven’t going clear back to the origins of the previous Ad-
                                                                        engineering and nothing about the human condition.
ministration. Lip service is all I have noted. And a few revela-

                                                                 95
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
 Now I’ll get off my soapbox, and get into the NSF building in an          really important;
 hour and see where vast sums of taxpayer money is being wasted
 on whether or not one twig will survive longer than another twig          But we also know that many along the way have lost their
 when irradiated. While damned near none of the $4 Billion a year          moral compass. How do you judge an industry that charges
 is spent on how best to connect up the minds of 6 billion humans          the elderly and less educated the highest price? Ask yourself
 on this planet.                                                           who in this country pays the highest long distance charges
                                                                           per minute, and probably the highest local service charges
 Retzer: Dave Hughes said: The Internet is the most Political of           and you will probably find they are mostly on social secu-
 ALL technologies. I reply: Precisely, so how do you untangle this         rity. What happened to the times when we gave seniors a dis-
 spaghetti? I think you need to go all the way back to square one          count? This is the business that wants us to “trust us with
 and start with ethics and ask yourself:                                   your network?” How about hackers who have convinced
                                                                           themselves they are engaged in a moral practice because they
 - We know that value comes from people working together and               argue the telecom and software companies are immoral and
 caring for one another; - We know that innovation (which re-              incompetent? How about legislators, and us for that matter
 quires freedom, education and investment) is critical. We know            who refuse to say it’s wrong for companies to put spyware
 that ‘progress’ (read increased productivity) requires change and         on your machine?
 that network technologies will continue to improve for many
 years if encouraged but will only make a difference if adopted.           If you start with the premise that we all ought to do the right
 We know that for the network to reach it’s full potential it has to       thing and adopt some bedrock principles you have a founda-
 be fully open but also secure and reliable. We know this stuff is         tion you can build upon. Otherwise, its all quicksand.

tablished.                                      or application vendor has done the few          know about the “designed and thence re-
                                                simple things that were done in Lotus           jected” security code for the Internet Pro-
Reed: Why have these obvious ideas              Notes to provide security. This would not       tocol and TCP.
never been properly deployed? Well they         be hard to do.
were in some systems (I had a little to do                                                      Per the old saw: “No one ever got fired
with the use of encryption in Lotus Notes,      Coluccio: David, I was fascinated by the        for buying IBM or Cisco,” no one ever
which was end-to-end secure as an over-         revelations in your attached post concern-      got fired for recommending more secu-
lay network from the beginning, and was         ing the security industry’s stranglehold,       rity devices, procedures. OTOH, people
the first customer for RSA’s technology).       as it were, or as you put it, protection        do get hung out for recommending things
                                                racket. Likewise, I received a good sense       that the internal corporate managers say
But frankly, the problem has been that a        in knowing that you along with your co-         interferes with “the normal business” pro-
bunch of charlatans have sold the world         designers didn’t take security lightly, as is   cess of their staff . . . and that includes
on the idea that “firewalls” and other add-     often the assumed case by the inter-net-        the few trivial extra steps to have strong
ons can create security, and a lot of idiots    working world at large.                         authentication based on asymmetric keys,
and profit-seeking morons continue to                                                           authorizations based on that authentica-
promote that b.s. And this trend continues.     I’m reminded of what takes place a couple       tion.
Despite the fact that it is trivially obvious   of layers down the stack in commercial
that one cannot provide effective security      building premises wiring practices, where       Sarbanes-Oxley, Section 404 is changing
if one only watches packets flowing by in       the building industries have consorted,         that for internal network traffic and trans-
the middle of the network, there are prob-      quite tacitly if not transparently, to form     actions.
ably a trillion dollars worth of effort try-    what I call the “copper cartel.” The cartel
ing various ways to do just that.               is responsible for probably one third of        There is hope!
                                                the world’s (exaggerating, but you get my
Why do people support such efforts?             point) air conditioning and UPS systems         Why do they tolerate it? In my humble
Well, besides the obvious point that it cre-    needed to support four closets per floor        opinion, in order, they are afraid to p---
ates paychecks for a collection of market-      due to the distance 100 m constraints of        off Microsoft, then Cisco, either of which
ers exploiting the gullibility of customers     copper, while totally ignoring the distance     will go to their bosses and put them on a
(who remind me of the cargo cults in the        transparency afforded by fiber and vari-        “McKenzie List” (translate - you might as
South Pacific), it also creates points of       ous forms of wireless.                          well plan for another job).
friction for trolls to hide under bridges in
the name of “security”.                         How may other cartels impose on the in-         Security and Hot Spot
                                                dustry? And, indeed, how many do we
                                                ourselves belong to, unwittingly, as well?
                                                                                                Authentication
Hence the title of this rant: “Can you spell
“protection racket'"? I continue to be fas-                                                     Retzer: I don’t think you can have a se-
cinated by the fact that despite its success    Davis: David, excellent post and right on
                                                                                                cure, reliable Internet without holding
in the market, and its clear utility, no OS     insights. I learned something, as I did not
                                                                                                people accountable. That said, you can

                                                                    96
                                         The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
still allow free speech and anonymous            this capability in spades and WiFi doesn’t    I like a Carrot & Stick approach.
access with a two-tiered system that al-         seem to qualitatively add to the issue.
lows anonymity but with significantly                                                          First the Carrot: The merchant sponsored
restricted privileges. If you want to serve      Wayrynen: I think the cat is already out      “free hotspots” could offer electronic
content and services (including P2P), on         of the bag. There is no need to go find a     coupons provided by the merchants that
the other hand you should be required to         community-supported free wireless hot-        run hotspots to positively motivate mem-
identify yourself. This is pretty consis-        spot to make mischief - you can just stick    bership signup. The real positive is be-
tent, btw with the DARPA study.                  an antennae out your window and hook          ing connected to a communiy network,
                                                 up to your neighbor’s WAP that is most        however discount coupons could be the
I also don’t think that there is a conspira-     likely 100% wide open. Said another           initial superficial motivation to enroll in
cy, per se by the computer security indus-       way, even if you get all the local leaders    exchange for a valid ID.
try but rather poor code by the dominant         together there are still many ways to get
software vendor. The security industry           on the net without much authentication        Then the Stick: Again, the real stick is
just exploits the situation - thank heavens      going on.                                     exclusion from the community ( MAC
for entrepreneurs and free markets.                                                            address? credit card number?). Once the
                                                 Yokubaitis: Good points. However, the         value to the individual of staying con-
Ron Yokubaitis: “Free” Wireless “hot-            ‘friends’ phone is traceable to ‘friend’      nected to the community is established
spots” by and large operate without any          who will have some idea who used his          in the individuals mind, then they do not
authentication. This will come to be seen        private phone. Hotspots cycle many more       want to lose that valuable privilege. Use
as a large security gap through which            people a day being publicly accessible.       this psychological asset to your advan-
passes mischief and crime increasing             Hotspot owners (i.e. sandwich or coffee       tage.
with hotspot growth. A criminal can pull         shops) have little idea who was on today
up outside a “Free” wireless “hot spot”,         let alone a week ago. There are no au-        We have found through h implementing
upload and negotiate forged purchase or-         thentication logs. Whereas, dial-up ISPs      at Giganews.com a worldwide policy on
ders and bank draft instruments, then go         like AOL do have radius authentication        copyright infringement that subscribers
off into the night without a trace or trail to   logs that can be, and on occasion are, re-    value access to a good Usenet News-
follow. The trail evaporates at the IP ad-       viewed by law enforcement.                    group Provider more than posting in-
dress of the ISP supplying the bandwidth                                                       fringed material and do not want to lose
to the “Hotspot”.                                I submit that unauthenticated WiFi adds       that Privilege.
                                                 to the existing problem. The problem is
With freedom comes responsibility.               NOT WiFi, but lack of authentication.         Thus, when Giganews is Notified at
With regard to “free” hotspots I would                                                         dmca@giganews.com by a Copyright
paraphrase that to: With “Free” hotspots         Lebkowsky: Sorry to respond so late,          Holder ( or Agent/Lawyer) we send *one
comes responsibility (authentication). In        Ron, but since Austin Wireless City does      and only one* email to the subscriber in-
other words, the price of “free” is verifi-      require authentication, and many of the       forming them again of our AUP against
able authentication. Why not?                    local hotspots are operated by Austin         posting copyrighted material to our
                                                 Wireless City, I assume your issue is with    Usenet servers.
I have mentioned this problem to local           the degree to which that authentication is
leaders who promote communitarian                ‘verifiable.’ What steps would you sug-       We temporarly suspend posting privi-
“Free” wireless “hotspots”. It does not          gest that we take?                            leges pending the offending subscriber
yet seem much of a concern. I would like                                                       sending an email wherein they positively
to know if others on the list share this         Yokubaitis: That said, “Austin Wire-          assert that they understand and will com-
concern?                                         less City” has the peer pressure power of     ply by not posting copyrighted material
                                                 Community. It is also a positive “Privi-      without permission again and acknowl-
Siegel: I hadn’t considered the problem          lege” ( not a Right) to be connected and a    edging that if they do so again we will
before, but I agree with you that it is          privilege one would not want to lose.         cancel their account without further no-
worth being concerned about.                                                                   tice (block their credit card number from
                                                 As I mentioned earlier, the price of Free-    sign-up again).
Tony Li: While one could certainly do            dom is responsibility, paraphrasing, the
that, it seems to me that we already have        “price” for the privilege of connecting       I call the above policy “two strikes and
this issue, regardless of the access tech-       to the Awesome Austin wireless commu-         you’re OUT”. A few years ago Giganews
nology involved. One can get an AOL              nity is authentication based on provable      received several hundred DMCA Notices
disk, find a ‘friends’ phone and have ef-        identification, just like the pre 1993-1994   a day that we had to repsond to. With this
fectively anonymous access already to-           Net. Then, ALL the Geeks were identi-         tough policy we are down to a few per
day. If that’s not strong enough for you,        fied and authenticated thus allowing for      week and our volume of traffic has grown
there are also other mechanisms available        a high level of TRUST to develop. Open        many fold. People do not want to lose the
that will anonymize your IP packets fur-         Unix Shell servers, etc.                      quality of the Giganews newsgroup com-
ther. In short, the bad guys already have                                                      munity. If they are prone to cause trouble,

                                                                 97
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
then they go do it on someone else’s net-     situation with free hotspots.                  It is infeasible to completely prevent pen-
work who is more liberal or lax.                                                             etration, misuse, malware, etc. We have
                                              This need for an ID is pretty important, I     to accept that it will happen, and then
In short, it scales and does so worldwide     think. Talking with Scott Bradner briefly,     look at the costs of reducing it in places
across cultures. No matter the culture of     he said that while Harvard has a ton of        that care. It’s frustrating that ISP’s don’t
the 180 countries Giganews serves, we         WiFi, it’s their policy to not allow totally   implement source address filtering, but
get compliance because the subscriber         open access.                                   what should one do? I think it’s to early
does not want to lose access to what they                                                    to give up and tell the world to not bother
consider a valuable Usenet Network.           Tony Li: Have you ever tried to get a stu-     with any net cleanliness and hygiene.
Austin Wireless is another valuable net-      dent at an academic institution to trade       Perhaps at some point the worst offend-
work community to which people will           something for access to their account? In      ing nets will be blackhole’d by the more
not want to lose access.                      my humble experience, having done that         careful and concerned or perhaps those
                                              job before, the price is typically a beer,     that don’t take normal and reasonable
Matson: I really don’t get this. It seems     and a lousy one at that.                       protections will be held liable for conse-
there is a desire to focus on trying to en-                                                  quences.
dow the infrastructure with some capa-        Forster: Well, no I haven’t tried to do
bility and responsibility for the power to    this; I certainly believe your story but I     It took society years (hundreds?) to make
solve our anti-social problems in society.    don’t think it’s totally relevant. In your     large scale polluters liable for their nega-
Not only will it NOT do that, but if we       example, the cost of account/net access is     tive externalities. The case that comes to
vest the responsibility for “my” security     not free, it’s a beer, and also, it involves   mind was in the 1800’s when hydraulic
in “someone else” - then we end up with       negotiation and transaction overhead. A        mining in the Sierras was filling in San
a ‘cops and robbers’ scenario where the       certain amount of leakage is tolerable; I      Francisco bay with silt; the mining com-
robbers will ALWAYS outwit the cops           imagine most schools would try to pre-         panies said “Not my problem”, the Su-
and be one step ahead of them.                vent large scale unrestricted access.          preme Court said “Yes it is”. If the cost of
                                                                                             security is only borne by those folk who
In the context of the “free wireless hot-     I would make an analogy to various safe-       must care about it will be an uphill battle
spot” discussion - think of this. Any rob-    ty and health laws and regulations: our        and maybe futile. Some of the cost must
ber can stop his car outside my house in      roads and highways have speed limits           be pushed to those that otherwise don’t
the middle of the night and, using my         and signs. They are hugely imperfect but       care, perhaps through liability. Of course,
electric light “hot spot”, read the direc-    yet I think still useful.                      any legal action is quite a bit more dif-
tions to his next victim’s home by using                                                     ficult in the net due to the international/
the light leaking between my net curtains.    Li: As a very wise man once said, secu-        amorphous structure of the net. The net
Am I therefore an accessory to his crime?     rity is so hard because it is primarily an     is always going to be messy and irregu-
Is it reasonable to expect me to install      economic issue. If you spend X on de-          lar, that’s for sure. So is the rest of life.
heavier curtains to cut down crime-as-        fense, then it can be penetrated by spend-
sisting light leaking from their homes        ing Y on assault. And most of the time, X      Ballard: I am informed (rightly or
into the streets? Is the power company        is greater than Y.                             wrongly) that AOL are currently at the
implicated? What’s the difference?                                                           table with Wi-Fi hot spot aggregator Bo-
                                              As any good general will tell you, try-        ingo trying to negotiate a take over. This
Surely, we need to start to rediscover and    ing to defend EVERYTHING is a losing           I think is indicative of the migration to
recreate new and technology-appropriate       battle, you will spread yourself too thin.     broadBand, even for an ISP of AOL’s
ways of “authenticating” who we inter-        Trying to defend the entire access front       size. AOL are clearly trying to diversify
act with and tools which control our own      of the Internet is not wise, nor practical.    their model from those millions of dial-
visibility to the rest of the world.          For example, we have been trying to get        up accounts to broadBand and now ad-
                                              ISPs to perform source address filtering,      ditionally Wi-Fi clients.
Retzer; Absolutely. Unfortunately, I think    a zero capital cost function, for a num-
we’ll have to learn the hard way that we      ber of years, and have made little to no       Retzer: Could be a good thing. AOL
need this. Hotspots and free startup ac-      progress. How do you expect to motivate        needs to find a way to broadBand given
counts with AOL and MSN are simply            providers to support security functional-      our current vertical, “facilities-based”
more pathways into the network.               ity with a clearly non-trivial cost in this    competition - layers would be much bet-
                                              environment?                                   ter, in my opinion but given the model we
Forster: True, although I thought free                                                       have it's good that some want to invest in
startup accounts on AOL required a valid      Whoʼs Responsible for                          wireless, isn’t it?
credit card, so that’s a tie to an off-net
ID. It’s true the blackhats trade in stolen   Security Failure?                              Wondering, what you think of this latest
CC numbers but think how much worse                                                          patent by Nomadix from a hotspot opera-
                                              Forster: I agree that the economic analy-
it would be if no CC was required for                                                        tor’s point of view:
                                              sis is the best way to look at the problem.
the first N months. That’s effectively the
                                                                  98
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
http://wifinetnews.com/archives/002848.        systems are able to be used to steal, time,    planning to rape my neighbor’s child.
html                                           goods money whatever from businesses,
                                               we can be darn sure that businesses will       Frankly, this is NOT a problem. It’s pure
Matson: Sadly, none of us take seriously       rise up and use their political muscle to      fantasy that my open wireless access
the issue of determining, inter-action by      demand protection.                             point at home is a way for terrorists to
inter-action, where we want to position                                                       operate in secret. Stop reading paranoid
ourselves on the PRIVACY-PROFILE               The Internet decentralizes many things         fiction. There are REAL dangers that re-
continuum. In ancient times, society was       and does give people power and freedom         quire real attention in this world, includ-
very adapt at inventing tools to do this       they never had before. Melissa has made        ing terrorism. But they aren’t found in
- guilds and clubs, masks and ‘letters of      this point about responsibility in the past.   paranoid dreams.
introduction and commendation’ to name         I am afraid that the quite logical response
but a few. We need smart software-gen-         from business if the current wave of virii,    My objection here is NOT political - it
erated tools that anyone can use and we        worms, and other attacks is not brought        is that I don’t think it is helpful to live
need to realize it is ‘MY’ problem. Sure       under control will be for business to de-      in the world of your fears and fantasies.
as anything the likes of Al-Qaeda have         mand a crack down. If it is pushed to the      I’m a pragmatic guy, and the kind of solu-
got these issues sorted in their heads and     wall, can business get a crack down that       tion you are proposing doesn’t provide a
have the appropriate tools!                    won’t destroy the Internet? I suppose it       practical solution to a practically relevant
                                               depends on your definition of “destroy”.       problem.
Reed: “With freedom comes responsibil-
ity” is just too vague a phrase. In a free     Business people would, I think, be un-         It’s like telling me I should verify every
society, it is my responsibility to protect    willing to countenance the kind of world       charitable contribution I make to make
those minorities who are persecuted by         that David suggests they should. Whether       sure that I am not giving money to a bad
the majority, even when that majority          they should do so is an entirely different     guy. That’s a really effective solution ... I
operates through the government. As a          matter.                                        guess I won’t give any charity money.
separate point, it is not my responsibility
to mistrust everyone and treat them as if      On October 21 Reed: This is not intended       And I really shouldn’t let a passing mo-
they are a criminal if they are unknown        to be a political rant, but sometimes peo-     torist use my phone, because he might be
to me.                                         ple lose sight of the big picture. I suggest   signaling the terrorists that the coast is
                                               two key observations:                          clear to blow up the WTC. But why stop
You may fear all “others” - if so, I sug-                                                     there? Corporate officers do bad things
gest that you consider that that is NOT        1) The track record of protecting the world    too. So if I can’t verify all the operations
the only viable stance for a society, and in   from bad things by mandating zillions of       of a corporation are legal, I suppose I
particular it is not conducive to a society    small protective actions to be carried out     should not do business with them.
that wants to get the benefit of coopera-      by all citizens is pretty poor. It has many
tion.                                          failure modes, and itself creates oppor-       This is not political. It’s just pure techni-
                                               tunities for mischief (such as using the       cal pragmatics. Now can we go back to
I don’t believe that anyone has proven         authentication thus required against the       talking about technology without project-
that the authentication of people at the       innocent beneficiary). It’s easy to imag-      ing our existential fears onto it?
point of communications access actually        ine that it would work, just as it was easy
generates more benefits that it creates a      to imagine that the enormous expenditure       Davis: Terrorism, or the blocking of com-
drag on society.                               of effort on the so-called “v-chip” would      munication among terrorists is NOT the
                                               protect our children from indecency (as        issue I was addressing. Given the some-
To quote another too-vague quote: “we          far as I can tell, it merely redirected the    what publicly known fact that Al Qaeda
have nothing to fear but fear itself”. Get     profits of the CE industry into the pock-      requires a BSEE from a Western Univer-
your fear out of the debate.                   ets of some politically connected entre-       sity before one is admitted even as a cy-
                                               preneurs). The bad guys will find access,      ber-apprentice in their organization takes
COOK Report: May I attempt an “on the          as they always do.                             this task well beyond what Netizens can
one hand on the other hand” response?                                                         do.
                                               2) It offends me that some of you guys
On the one hand David Reed’s response          view my gift to others of access conve-        Economic Penalties of
above is eloquent and appropriate. On the      nience is viewed entirely as if it were a
other hand I think it can be argued that,      dangerous act for which I must be man-         Lax Security
from a business point of view, David’s in-     dated to act as a policeman. I suppose
                                                                                              Just speaking for Melissa, I am referring
tention to trust won’t get too far. Whether    you also feel that if I give a homeless guy
                                                                                              to the more frequent issues, somewhat in
it should get far is another question en-      a meal, I will be encouraging a dissolute
                                                                                              order of frequency, this being a route of
tirely. But business has to make a profit      lifestyle, or if I put a bench in my front
                                                                                              propagation for:
to stay in business - at least so we are       yard I should collect ID cards from any-
told. Therefore if computer and network        one who sits there because they might be

                                                                99
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
1. standard destructive worms, trojans,        CD/DVD transfers from the Linux/So-            DMZ’s. These are a dead-weight cost on
viruses, spyware, adware 2. rats and           laris boxes).                                  business, and one of my customers logs
other data miners that steal and export                                                       10,000 intrusion hits a day. We have re-
identity and financial information for         What about my freedom and property             duced actual intrusions from the outside
remote identity theft in the form of false     rights? Is “open access to anyone under        to .001 actual intrusions.
passports, visas, credit applications 3. the   any conditions”, including spyware and
actual rifling of bank accounts and credit     adware, email bots, trojans, spam not          So, David, this is a technology and eco-
cards/debit cards 4. phishing 5. email re-     interfering with my freedom? If my ma-         nomic issue to me, and one that goes to
lays and email-address-stealing bots           chine is slogged down, uncleanable, and        the heart of “connectivity for the mass-
                                               requires a re-install, is that not interfer-   es.” We have drivers’ license laws, drunk
Someone on this list, and it might have        ence with my freedom? If I am not able         driver laws, laws for truckers to restrict
been you, introduced me to the term            to use an electronic address book with-        fatigue/time on the road, aggressive driv-
“troll tax” and “protection racket.” What      out jeopardizing my friends and business       ing laws, speed limits. There are the fatal-
else is the tax on consumer and business       associates not an interference with my         ity issues, but also the pervasive upward
machines for anti-virus, anti-spyware/ad-      property rights and freedoms?                  pressure on auto insurance that affects
ware, host based software firewalls other                                                     everyone and drives up costs. We have
than a troll-tax and a protection racket?      I am trying to avoid a “political solution.”   gun laws, public health quarantine laws.
                                               Political solutions are made when pas-
It seems to me that this is not political,     sions and demands are high, mitigated by       Hence, the looming political regulation
but is technological and economic. Given       highly funded special interests, have the      threat is there. I am not full of answers,
that Enterprise server/client licenses are     subtlety and flexibility of a frag cluster     but trying to find another way, a tech-
far less expensive than individual licens-     bomb.                                          nological way that is economically fea-
es, also patch managers, it seems to me                                                       sible.
that the MSP/ISP could provide those           Hardly, I am trying to find a way, an eco-
services less expensively than individu-       nomic way that makes technical sense, to       This is an issue that should appeal to both
als. Even moderately effective SPAM            change the field of play. I am working to      libertarians and utilitarians.
and Web Filtering software or appliances       figure out a way to provide some greater
are simply not affordable by individuals       modicum of security to naive users and         Reed: Perhaps I was misunderstood in
operating from SOHO.                           do so by saving businesses and those us-       part. I do not suggest that people should
                                               ers some money, allowing MSP/ISPs to           leave connections open for anyone to
What about the customers who do not            derive some revenue.                           use. I was merely suggesting that people
elect the slightly increased cost-recovery                                                    should not be required to police their
fees? Let them go, as the benefit to the       I was in a meeting all day yesterday with      connections based on imagined threats
others increases the value (unpatched,         both incumbent and emerging long line          that may originate from those whom they
unauthenticated, un-scanned machines           and incumbent and competitive access           choose to trust.
are not allowed in this semi-closed com-       people. There were only a few engineers,
munity).                                       many more execs and finance people.            I mentioned terrorism as the extreme risk.
                                                                                              Spam control cannot require a stronger
It also seems to me that this is a value       Is the Internet Too Far                        solution than terrorism.
for which people would pay. I watch
consumer-types buy a hard drive for            Gone?                                          It’s clear that some folks (the blackhole
$100USD or so, or sticks of RAM for                                                           vigilantes) believe that punishing the in-
that or less, then pay CompUSA or Best         One of the discussions turned to the topic     nocent will get the innocent to punish the
                                               of the Intel proposal for building a new
Buy upwards of $70USD to install them.                                                        evildoers. I’m one of those innocent peo-
                                               Internet based on 21st century require-        ple who, when punished, is more likely
Further, many of these worms and bots          ments and standards. There was the con-        to go after those who attack me. I think
are very difficult to remove, even for one     sensus in the room, no minority from           this is pretty common. So if you really
such as me. After two re-installs, and rec-    the working task groups that the present       want to enlist people in a social good,
                                               Internet is “too far gone.” The phrases
ognizing I have to have a Windows/MSO                                                         don’t think you can achieve it by punish-
                                               “gang warfare”, metaphors of “urban
machine to communicate for work and                                                           ing them.
                                               street culture”, and “Mad Max Culture”
Gordon (since I won’t pay for another
MSO license for my Mac and the Code-           were used.                                     As a simple example, my reaction to at-
weavers Wine shim for running MSO on                                                          tempts by the government to punish con-
                                               My business these days is building corpo-
Linux won’t give me either the memory                                                         tributors to Islamic charities is to contrib-
                                               rate and government “Walled Gardens”
space or the “track changes/comments”                                                         ute more to my favorite Islamic charities,
                                               with dramatically collapsed Internet
features of Word, nor will OpenOffice),                                                       and at the same time, find ways to put
                                               Gateways, elimination of rogue gate-
for my own time and labor, my Win ma-                                                         that government out of business.
                                               ways, concentration of heavily fortified
chine is “sneaker-netted” (jumpdrive and
                                                                   100
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
And in the case of “email blackhole lists”     It’s the CIO’s kid who puts a cool “audio
my goal is to discredit the people who run     CD” in his dad’s laptop to play in Win-        Reed: No need to butter me up. I’ve al-
them, publicly, and if needed, discredit       dows Media Player, which (in the guise         ways thought that ideas stand by them-
their other activities as well.                of code that masquerades as DRM code           selves, and reputation may be useful as
                                               that autoloads into the laptop) loads the      a first level screen, but never adds to or
David Reed: As I mentioned in my ear-          keystroke logger and the trojan, which         subtracts from the correctness of an argu-
lier post, a little encryption and key man-    then happily runs in the deepest part of       ment. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.
agement can go a long way to limit dam-        the corporate network.
age in most places in the Internet. SSL,                                                      Davis: So, I ask for you to grant indul-
for example, is far from perfect, but it’s     Davis: It isn’t a hundred percent, but the     gence here to help me see what I am miss-
amazingly good and cheap to use.               bot-gangs are easily used to run a SETI        ing about what I see as the major gateway
                                               like loosely coupled batch routine to          offered by the open wireless connection
Instead of inventing new solutions for         break the encryption. The public key is        and your statements that this is not the
non-problems, why doesn’t Cisco, for ex-       public, and if this extracted and export-      opportune area from which to stage the
ample, lead the way by requiring SSL and       ed set of random digits computes as the        attack.
SSH to configure routers. Why doesn’t          private key, then the attacker owns that
Microsoft stop using passwords and start       digital identity.                              First: I totally agree about the route of the
giving out personal certificates for free                                                     insider threat posed by family members
when you get a copy of Windows?                The countermeasure is to use a hardware        sharing business machines. It also applies
                                               token that does not allow the operating        to family machines.
These are not perfect answers, but they        system to “see it.” The software pres-
would add two orders of magnitude to the       ents itself as a common device driver for      You said: “But my point is that the easiest
cost of hacking.                               a defined system call, computes the pin        place to perform the attack is not at the
                                               (something you know) or the biometric          shared wireless access point in the poor
Davis: Every Corporate or Government           (something you are) against the encrypted      consumer’s home.”
network on which I work has an enforce-        private key in the hardware token (some-
able security policy and procedures that       thing you have), and returns a result.         It would appear to me that the open WAP
require SSL at a minimum for router con-                                                      is the most vulnerable point. Not that
figuration. This, as you well know, does       They are expensive one-off, but the Gov-       the NAT that the WAPs do is a security
not apply to the Internet router cloud.        ernment just contracted a dramatically         tool. Too much has already been written
                                               reduced cost (they can’t do it for pre-        to discard that worn out myth. Where the
The reason I think we have to exert some       scription drugs for seniors, but they can      WAPs are defended is that they also block
effort here is that the Microsoft certifi-     do it for smart cards) and the cost is dirt.   incoming connections on the WAN port.
cate isn’t going to do the job, nor PGP as     That price is easy to replicate in lots with
practiced. Anyone can key-gen on their         a buying group.                                But, if a war-driver with his detector, an-
own machines, claiming to be whom-                                                            tennae and signal redirector pulls a wire-
ever they want. PGP, as you well know,         The point is, with a tightly coupled OS        less desktop or laptop onto his WAP, the
was invented to be used by small groups        like Windows, it is a piece of cake for an     target will never know. The attacker is in
of folk separated by no more than a few        attacker to get in and elevate privileges      from the inside - in as a peer on the Layer
well-trusted degrees of kinship.               to admin level and do whatever he wants        2 switch. How many people even change
                                               to the unsuspecting consumer’s machine.        the default IP addresses or know what
The risk, and it is major, on a Microsoft                                                     ARP does. The consumer’s machine is
machine, is the combination of the ubiq-       The denial of “don’t piss off Microsoft”       totally open (absent some software fire-
uitous key-stroke logger used to steal         allows otherwise responsible folk to keep      walls, etc) to attacks.
credit card info (stolen from the point of     their head under the water of that river in
entry, and not over the SSL SET link) and      Egypt as long as they haven’t drowned.         This is what I need for you to explain to
the tiny trojan/rat that searches the hard                                                    me. The open WAP isn’t the booty, it is
disk for random digits in the well known       We are going to have to attack this at sev-    the machine behind it, with Quicken or
key size ranges, then launches itself via      eral layers.                                   MS Money or a nice place to put a key-
the Outlook address book and erases it-                                                       stroke logger for on-line purchases and
self and its history.                          How and Where Do                               save it in hidden files which the attacker
                                                                                              owns until he runs his route again . . .
Reed: I completely agree that these are        You Defend? Or Cast                            or a place to install some bots for CPU
the basic elements of an attack. But my        Blame?                                         cycles to break TKIP IV’s now having
point is that the easiest place to perform                                                    the MAC addresses in his own ARP table
the attack is not at the shared wireless ac-   Davis: David, I am honored to be in this       on his machine. Or just another route of
cess point in the poor consumer’s home.        discussion with you, your experience,          propagation for email relays, viruses, and
                                               knowledge, and reputation.                     other worms, Trojans, and rats through

                                                                101
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA

Open Source Security                                               nologies that allow different networks using risk metrics to col-
                                                                   laborate on attacker profiling and remediation. http://opensims.
Infrastructure Management                                          org/media/reallyscary.swf

System                                                             http://opensims.org/media/reallyscary.swf Security infrastruc-
                                                                   ture management is largely a systems integration problem. The
Lebkowsky: This might be relevant: http://opensims.org             acronym “SIMS” begins with the letters “SI” for good reason.
Editor: Here is text from the home page.                           The point of releasing OpenSIMS and AgentSDK as an open
                                                                   source project is to address that problem directly, and build a
OpenSIMS is an Open Source Security Infrastructure Man-            common set of solutions. So far, installations of this code base
agement System.                                                    have been tested on Gentoo, RedHat, Fedora, and Debian. Mac
                                                                   OS X and FreeBSD are in test now with several other platforms
Most networking environments include some security devic-          currently under development.
es. There is, generally speaking, network equipment which
provides security features: routers, switches, firewalls, IDS,     In contrast to other projects, we wanted to build the server-side
anti-spam, anti-virus, web servers, mail servers, NAT, VPN,        code to be platform-independent and highly extensible. Java
authentication, etc.                                               and XML provide that, working in the context of many excel-
                                                                   lent projects at Apache. Flash and other real-time animation GUI
OpenSIMS provides a way for tying together the open source         technologies extend a new kind of analysis and visualization to
tools used for security management into a common infra-            enterprise network security.
structure. It leads toward the development of new SIMS tech-

the Outlook address book.                      campus network and the HP corporate
                                               network. Each of those networks have        I would say that my success at this is only
Tell me what I am not seeing.                  intrusion detectors that are constantly     in the 30% range. With personal family,
                                               registering heavy-duty scanning attacks,    lower. E.G., my sister-in-law says that
Reed: Indeed, the poor consumer is hurt        etc.                                        AOL protects her and her children. My
by the intruder. That’s pretty bad for him,                                                brother-in-law says his corporate VPN
but blaming him for the actions of his at-     My telephone gets Phishing attacks ev-      protects him. They are partially right
tacker is absurd.                              ery once in a while (people who want        but have been unsuccessful at being able
                                               to know credit card info and claim to be    to understand the vulnerabilities of the
I think it would be great to provide him       charities, etc. who I assume to be Phish-   browsers and browsers that write to reg-
with tools to defend himself. But the          ing because no one would call me claim-     istry and escalated privilege files in Win-
threat is not significantly greater from the   ing to be from the National Rifle Associ-   dows. My son is aware for college as his
wardriver than from his connection on          ation or some organized religious charity   campus and his dorm have been subject to
the ISP side, which also places him under      and ask for money if they knew me :-) ).    repeated worm induced DDoS, spoofing,
attack. I had a friend who in high school                                                  smurf, paper and project theft. His dorm
found out where the telephone punch            So what’s the new problem? Why blame        now sits behind a Linux bastion stateful
down blocks for a large apartment build-       the consumer who leaves his network         packet filtering firewall with stealth IDS
ing were wide open, and he had great fun       open? He’s the one who gets screwed         running. At home, he trusts McAfee or
tapping people’s phones with remotely          first.                                      Norton despite having been the victim of
activated recording devices - which were                                                   malware that disables or hides from both
(as they are now) in the clear. Same with      Instead blame the credit card companies     or either. Only my mother-in-law, who at
cell phone scanners; easy to get credit        who can’t deploy a system that has a “one   least knows she is clueless and who runs
card numbers, passwords, etc.                  time number” for phone orders, or any of    a business from her home has allowed me
                                               a number of other simple ideas.             to give her pretty good security (Sygate
The social engineering attacks are just as                                                 with the egress firewall, no automatic
easy as they’ve always been, and ward-         Security Education and                      windows updates, Panda Titanium daily
riving has not added much to them, if at                                                   auto-update and continuous virus).
all.                                           Other Human Factors
                                               Issues                                      My successes have come after referrals
I run an open access point at my house                                                     from my bank to consumers who have
which my neighbors see. I don’t think          Lebkowsky: I think this points to the       been the victims of credit card theft and
any of my home computers are at signifi-       real solution: we need more & better con-   bank fraud. I demo SuSE Linux out of
cant risk, because I take the same precau-     sumer education about standard security     the box and they see they can do their
tions there that I do with the computers I     practices, no?                              relatively uncomplicated work/activi-
bring in every day and attach to the MIT                                                   ties with relatively trivial transition time
                                               Davis: Per consumer education:

                                                                 102
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
from the Win environment. We use Evo-         and converted automatically to XML. I          Davis: Users, in my assessment, are just
lution (Outlook clone for familiarity) for    tell them I care about the integrity of my     not knowledgeable enough to protect
email and either Opera (configured to kill    system and my personal time and I care         themselves more than minimally.
cookies, files, and histories at close) or    about their’s, so they won’t get any ugly
more recently FireFox for browsers, and I     beastie anomalies from me. Else they can       IMHO, what we are doing in this realm
set a cron to empty the /temp directory.      freely download Open Office and com-           is on the model of the joke of the “war
                                              pose or make a PDF from their MSO.             on drugs.” Users just can’t “Say No!” to
Software firewalls aren’t of much use                                                        these vermin. Many don’t care, thinking
against the lazy security coding of most      I don’t like being forced to do something,     they have nothing personal at risk. Those
browsers. With a xNIX system, there is        and that includes being forced to have to      that do are in no better condition than the
protection because the OS was designed        play with the security weak MSO. I have        good people in drug-gang infested neigh-
to be loosely coupled. A user account         to use IE for my electronic time sheet, so     borhoods.
may get hosed, but it is much more diffi-     I capture all the porn popups and other
cult to compromise the entire system if it    adware stuff and send them every day to        Is It So Bad that We
is patched frequently, and the SuSE YaST      the IT department with a note that these
On-Line update and the Ximian Red Car-        do not occur when I access the other cor-      Must Abandon and then
pet will handle that for the naive user.      porate apps with Opera or FireFox or           Replace the Current
                                              Mozilla.                                       Internet?
Also with xNIX, services are default off,
unless turned on. The user created to op-     Retzer: Near as I can tell, infected lap-      Such was the sense of the meeting I at-
erate does not have default root/admin        tops are the biggest threat within the uni-    tended last week . . . that the current In-
privileges. Later editions of Windows are     versity and probably the corporate mar-        ternet is just let it be “the Commons” for
doing some risk mitigation, but the inher-    ket.                                           those who want no better, and to build a
ent flaws in the tightly coupled OS and                                                      new one with new requirements, more
the tightly coupled bundling of IE and        Davis: Jere, laptops are indeed a huge         secure protocols, strong authentication,
Outlook (which will execute any code it       problem, but also troublesome is the           tighter controls on the function calls and
receives that asks for the privilege) are a   home user who accesses the institutional       write privileges of browsers, email trac-
fatal flaw. I don’t know how MS is going      network from a home computer with or           ing, and many other things. It will be more
to extricate itself from that morass.         without VPN. The VPN only secures the          expensive, but there just seems to be no
                                              link, not what goes through the “tunnel.”      political will to fix the one we have.
Mozilla’s Firefox and Opera are acceler-      Although I have no statistics, my guess
ating security efforts, by designed in con-   is that the home machine is a far greater      COOK Report: Can you even begin to
trols and making themselves very loosely      risk for propagation of cybervermin (mal-      describe what the “new one” might look
coupled.                                      ware), precisely because of its multiuser      like? Will it differ from organization to
                                              multi-use.                                     organization - ranging all the way from
So, Jon, I strain to keep up. I don’t know                                                   enterprise owned fiber strands to some-
how to go about educating consumers be-       Retzer: Scanning newly connected ma-           thing more like an extranet where there
cause there are so many vulnerabilities at    chines for vulnerabilities and infections is   may be shared physical layer while the
every layer from 3 on up.                     rapidly becoming a mandatory practice.         enterprise figures out the subset of the
                                                                                             world it wants to talk to and tries to keep
It seems to me that the Internet “industry”   Davis: Though those folk not associ-           out everyone else?
is open to the charge that they haven’t       ated with business/corporate/govern-
wanted to scare possible subscribers          ment networks may not appreciate this,         Is this likely to occur incrementally or
away. I rather think that the “network        the IT Departments must be sensitive to        may there be a tipping point where it hap-
layer independence” made it possible to       user complaints. Unless top management         pens more globally?
just tunnel focus and let someone else        across business units are behind the poli-
handle the problem.                           cies, the user complaints about the delays     Davis: It is difficult to forecast in more
                                              (or anticipations of user complaints) are      than general terms. What is of signifi-
Personally, I have gotten to where I am       restrainers on implementation.                 cance is that this meeting took place
emphatically saying even to business                                                         among the people and interests that were
colleagues and customers: if you want         Retzer: We also need better ways to help       invited.
me to read your Word doc, send it to me       laptop users keep their systems clean. I
as .rtf, and absent any macros, “track        personally think it’s pretty simple, but       Four things you can count on:
changes”, “comments”, etc. Those won’t        shocking how many people don’t at least
come through. I receive all email on my       keep their AV up to date, use zone alarm       1. The physical layer is just the physi-
Linux machine after filtering at my bas-      or something similar and anti-spyware          cal layer. Network Layer independence
tion host. Any MSO file (Word, Excel,         like spybot sd.                                makes the physical layer irrelevant gen-
PowerPoint) is opened with Open Office

                                                               103
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
erally, and of local significance (mean-       interest in why the ISP’s weren’t doing       ers 2/3 by putting money behind MPLS
ing, pick your choice depending on your        more, citations being made to Speakeasy       convergence with IPv6.
budget, availability, or other require-        as an innovator, and more recently AOL
ments). As David Reed said here a few          and Netscape which are providing some         Gordon, I don’t know how to answer
weeks ago, IP could be delivered by pony       virus, spam, and authentication mea-          your questions about the scale tipping.
express as far as it knows.                    sures.                                        There are a lot of experiments that are
                                                                                             going on and likely to continue to be go-
2. Applications above the OS are not on        6. There was no interest in being intru-      ing on. Not everyone shares the value
the discussion table.                          sive, or interfering with anyone’s free-      that the Internet should make the entire
                                               dom who wanted to run in the anarchy          world transparent. I, for one, don’t want
3. As for what is: what I can say is that      of “Internet 1.0.” The only interest was      to interact with everyone, or anyone I do
a lot of very big players are totally fed      when these interests were interacting         not choose to interact with.
up with the cost of the cyber-vermin, 30       with interests who were more closed and
year old protocols that are insecure, the      protective.                                   The question at the meeting for which
anonymity that drives the cost of business                                                   I had no answer at all is the one I have
sky high due to fraud and security efforts     The general outlines, still non-specific,     been asking on this list: “do not the uni-
---- and this includes a lot of the big ser-   are that the legacy Internet was a science    versities and the engineers and other
vice providers who cannot meet SLA’s           project, it did become commercial. But        technologists of the Internet see what
with DDoS, smurf amplifiers, spoofing,         unstable economies cannot exist in anar-      is going on, and if so, bring forth some
spam. Corporate types feel at risk legally     chy. The sense is that there are too many     “Commission” recommendations for fix-
for the porn spam and the pop-ups and          interests in the “Internet 1.0” to do much    ing it, even if broad outlines? And if not,
have zero way to deal with its intrusion       to advance any efforts for end-to-end         why not?”
into work life, DNS poisoning affects          privacy and QoS (meaning here just any
ecommerce and corporate websites, and          preferential alternative to ‘Best Effort’).   Retzer: Of course, they do.
places financial transactions at risk.
                                               Commercialization and the play of the         Please forgive me if I reverse the ques-
4. The sense was that a single medium          commercial sector means predictable           tion. When the Internet was commercial-
with 30 year old protocols cannot be ex-       control based on economic allocation.         ized in the 90s, the commercial networks
pected to handle the diversity of interests    The intent is not to lock out the poor, but   took over with relish that they would
and uses. Many saw the inevitable culture      to make sure that everyone has a stake        make our experiment work in the real
conflicts among the K-12-undergraduate         and works from “mutual vulnerability”.        world. The universities rapidly lost their
education interests of a few sources and       That doesn’t mean that these interests        access to the backbone routers and also
many sinks; the university and science         won’t use the “Internet 1.0”, only that       for the most part lost what I’d call “lead-
R&D culture of open systems and open           they will stop depending on it and will       ing edge” access since transit prices were
information sharing; the closed culture        build moats to protect themselves from        very high. Internet2 was established to
of corporations, governments, military,        its intrusion into commercial life.           “recreate the leading edge research and
and others who must protect the privacy                                                      development network” to essentially get
of certain information for legal reasons,      So, AAA is on the table (Authentica-          the universities back in the game, to give
privacy/ethical reasons, and competitive       tion, Authorization, Auditing) - and that     us both access to a research and develop-
reasons.                                       is from email tracing back to a machine       ment network to develop new stuff and
                                               with IPv6 (many don’t know that IPv6          blinding speed so that we could use the
Retzer: How about a secure overlay net-        can be spoofed), but there are all sorts      valuable apps and services we need like
work, VLAN/VPN structure for starters?         of checks in addition being discussed,        supercomputing.
I’ve maintained for some time now that         including PKI, smartcards, biometrics. It
many are fed up and ready to give up           isn’t that fraud prevention can be 100%,      I’ve been active in Internet2 for a few
anonymity in exchange for security. An         but the effort will screen out all but a      years and have attempted several times
overlay doesn’t completely solve DOS           few. Wireless is receiving microscopic        to engage commercial service providers
attacks but is a great start. Did you read     inspection.                                   to become active in the health sciences in
the DARPA report? It hits these issues                                                       particular. I’ve commonly heard the re-
at a top level. My feeling is that if we       There are proposals for a “secure IP”, and    sponse from others involved with Inter-
started a secure overlay that there would      David Reed can likely comment more            net2 as well, “no thanks, we don’t need
a groundswell of players migrating. You        on that, but this also involves collabora-    Internet2 because we’re way ahead of
would need a qualification for networks        tion among Service Providers. “Reliable       the universities doing the real business
to join, however in that they would need       UDP” is on the table as a means of con-       of the Internet.” Of the corporations that
to agree to keep their part of the network     gestion avoidance, as TCP slows things        do engage, some do so mainly for bet-
clean.                                         down on big pipes, but UDP is an issue        ter contact with universities to sell stuff.
                                               for firewalls and for authentication. An-     I exclude, however a few very important
Davis (two more things): 5. There was          other line has been convergence of Lay-       corporations like IBM that are actively
                                                                  104
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
involved in developing applications in        intuition has proven wrong over and over.      vidual seats” of Lotus Notes at a reason-
partnership with member universities.         Our brains start reasoning with metaphors      able price (competitive with Mosaic and
                                              that are just plain incorrect models of the    Eudora). They could have done this, but
The universities (and possibly NSF) as a      real world.                                    preferred to keep the Lotus Notes world
consequence probably were late realizing                                                     small and highly privileged, which was
that security needed a lot of work and that   Once you have an organized human ac-           great for selling to IT managers in the
industry would like this. They formed a       tivity with more than about 5,000 people       short run.
task force with Educause, which you can       involved, I think you cannot possibly
access through the Educause web site.         manage to implement security without           IT managers, however, are the last people
However, the initial focus of the federal     taking into account behavioral factors.        to understand mass popular trends, so the
government seemed to be that the uni-         The problem of the “secure network” is         Internet solutions grew up outside their
versities were the problem rather than the    not that it is impossible, but that it does    purview, and they had make a difficult
solution so that the first couple years of    nothing whatever to deal with the fact         shift to adopt them.
the task force focused on cleaning up the     that the humans involved just cannot
universities’ act. Most have made huge        know how to operate correctly within           Mark my words - if you build a “special
progress in that regard.                      it, even if they all believe in it, and such   walled-garden” net, it will suffer the fate
                                              large organizations never have common          of Lotus Notes, unless you are extraordi-
Internet2 also last year began a new group    belief systems about security vs. other        narily lucky.
called SALSA, referring to Security at        important organizational objectives.
Line Speed that is addressing issues from                                                    I myself think that if you want a truly se-
an engineering perspective including ar-      Viz. the many foreign service officers         cure society, you ought to engage in the
chitecture, authorization and access. I       who take it upon themselves to share           struggle to deploy easy-to-use secure so-
attended one of the first meetings where      highly classified documents with “the          lutions that ordinary humans can use and
there were active representatives from        opposition” because they trust their op-       trust. The IT managers will eventually
Cisco, Juniper, and Network Associates        posite numbers to help them get their          need what you do, because they cannot
among others in addtion to university         governments more aligned, or the shar-         understand the problem they will really
leaders in Internet research and some na-     ing of classified information by a com-        need to deal with, so their “intuition” is
tional labs. See http://security.internet2.   mander with uncleared members of his           just plain wrong.
edu/                                          troops, etc.
                                                                                             Retzer: here is what Network World
Does Business Try to                          Second, you have a problem that results        says in its October 25 issue: Dawn of the
                                              from the sheer numerical dominance of          digital dead Brain-eating zombies seem
Abandon Internet I?                           connectivity value creation - Metcalfe’s       downright cuddly compared with their
                                              Law and Reed’s Law. Larger networks            cyber counterparts.
Reed: Melissa’s comments on political         create more option value among their us-
made me think of a couple of things.          ers, as a power or exponential function of     By Cara Garretson Network World,
                                              their size. This already killed the prede-     10/25/04
First, if you create a closed-off hyper-
                                              cessor networks to the Internet.
secure network, you have a problem of                                                        This Halloween ask yourself what’s more
sorts. You want to attract those who will     I’ve written many articles about how Lo-       frightening, being chased by an undead
keep it secure, but discourage those who      tus Notes (a much more secure messag-          corpse that wants to eat your brain or hav-
will create holes. This is like the problem   ing and information sharing architecture)      ing your PC slow to near-dead because
of “insiders” in a corporate security sys-    was killed by Internet mail and WWW as         it’s been turned into an unwitting spam
tem. It’s been true since time immemorial     a result of missing this point. In fact, I     server? Hey, a zombie’s a zombie.
that most (50-99%) security problems are      spent a lot of time in 1992 trying to tell
due to insiders using legitimate access       Jim Manzi and John Landry this (remem-         Unfortunately, the zombies that have tak-
(intentionally or accidentally). So you       ber I left Lotus in 1992 to focus on lon-      en over swaths of cyberspace are causing
have to limit who is allowed inside.          ger-term research problems, but still felt     more harm than their brethren of horror-
                                              strongly that Lotus could “own” a big          film fame. The latter is a person who is
This means, of course, that you have to
                                              piece of the future networked world).          believed to have died and been brought
interconnect the “secure” world to the
                                                                                             back to life without speech or free will,
insecure world. And there’s where the         The basic point I made was that Lotus          which pretty much describes the cyber
problem always occurs.                        Notes’ security architecture was blocked       zombie, too, as it silently spits out spam
                                              from scaling beyond the enterprise             unbeknownst to its owner.
I think the bug here is that the “human       boundaries, not by technology per se,
intuition” that “centralized control” will    but because Lotus refused to create an         “There are thousands of new machines
always work to manage any large-scale         inter-enterprise scalable interconnect ar-     infected [by zombies] each day, but no
problem is just plain wrong. The human
                                              chitecture, and refused to market “indi-       one really knows just how many,” says

                                                               105
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
Dave Rand, CEO of Kelkea, a company           but as a rough consensus, something like       spam, which, as bad as it is, is probably
that sells software called Zombie Killer.     80% of all SMTP spam presented to mail         the least of our concerns.
(Rand laughs off the fact that his prod-      servers is currently coming from infected
uct’s name is a misnomer, given that          Windows systems (“zombies”).                   Whoever is controlling those zombies has
zombies are already dead.)                                                                   access to an enormous amount of com-
                                              This trend started as a trickle about two      puting power and bandwidth. Moreover,
Full article at http://www.nwfusion.com/      years ago, underwent geometric increase        they also enjoy network diversity, mak-
news/2004/102504widernetzombies.              in the spring of 2003, and has continued       ing their operation exceedingly difficult
html                                          upward ever since: I can’t see any sign        to disrupt -- because it is everywhere and
                                              that it’s been reversed, or for that matter,   nowhere. And with even a modicum of
Davis: I loved the line that “there is no     even being seriously addressed.                care, they can probably make themselves
longer a difference between network and                                                      very difficult to trace (i.e. by concealing
security.                                     (We’re also seeing substantial popula-         their points of control, or redirecting them
                                              tions of zombies on corporate and edu-         through multiple layers or zombies, etc.)
Also, just got word last night about the      cational networks. Granted, systems in         And - as far as I can tell - we, where “we”
escalation in the war of destruction be-      these environments tend to be better man-      is everyone who isn’t controlling them,
tween the Nimda confederacy (lots of          aged than those belonging to home users,       don’t know who is: are we up against 4
variants) and a re-formed and re-juve-        but the avalanche of viruses, worms, spy-      attackers or 4,000?
nated MyDoom organization that is not         ware, adware, etc., has been a problem
only threatening to reduce Nimda to the       for them as well. For instance, Ronald         I could spend the rest of the afternoon
nuisance of a Word macro-virus, but to        Edge, writing in Usenet’s news.admin.          constructing a list of all the things those
bring TrendMicro, Symmantec, McAffee          net-abuse.email earlier this month, com-       zombies could be used for. One thing that
to their knees.                               mented:                                        we’ve seen already is advertising touting
                                                                                             distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) at-
Per the Cara Garretson note below: do         Edge: A couple of weeks ago studies            tacks-for-hire; one thing we may have
any of you ISP/WISP operators monitor         released suggested numbers of new sys-         seen are test runs to gauge the effective-
for the kind of upload traffic that would     tems being zombied, that is, taken over        ness of the possible future DDoS attacks
indicate that an innocent person’s ma-        range at a minimum estimate of 30,000          against various targets.
chine has been turned into a spam server      and a high estimate of 70,000 every day.
or a DDoS zombie?                             We are starting to see troubling signs of      See, for example:
                                              PCs we maintain that are locked down
Speakeasy alerted me one time, one of         and updated as tight as possible manag-        http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl
the last times I dared use Windows on the     ing to get infected, we suspect either by      =story&cid=2026&ncid=2026&e=4&u=
Internet. It got in undetected by McAfee      web browser or by email, since the holes       /latimests/20041025/ts_latimes/deletin-
host firewall and anti-virus. Pumping to      there and the vulnerabilities are now com-     gonlineextortion
the uplink max on SMTP.                       ing faster than we can respond to. MS is
                                              certainly not responding fast enough, e.g.     and
COOK Report: Note the following ar-           with an operating system that is not to se-
ticle says that the vulnerabilities are be-   curity what cheese is to Switzerland.          http://news.com.com/British+cybercops
ing exploited faster than people can track                                                   +nab+alleged+blackmailers/2100-7348_
them. That is ominous. Where is this all      Kulawiec: I’ve CC’d Ron on this note in        3-5278046.html?tag=nefd.top
headed? Does it make any sense to even        case he wants to comment further, but the
consider the possibilities?                   impression I get from his comments and         These zombies also render moot any pre-
                                              others is that even people who are very        tense of security and privacy: after all,
From Dave Farber’s list we read a com-        clueful, very diligent, and working their      those who are remotely controlling them
ment by Rich Kulawiec rsk@gsp.org that        tails off are being overwhelmed with           have FULL control of them, including
cites an earlier remark by Ron Edge.          problems that are arising much faster          the ability to retrieve any file on them (or
                                              than they can be addressed.                    replace it), retrieve username/ password
The Internet is well on its way to becom-                                                    combinations or grab them as they’re
ing one vast bot net, a survey (http://       I should also pause to note that in some       used, use any service that the former
www.staysafeonline.info/news/safety_          cases home systems and corporate sys-          owner of the system has credentials to
study_v04.pdf) by AOL and the National        tems are synonymous: some people work          use, and so on.
Cyber Security Alliance suggests.             from home via VPNs, others use laptops
                                              which may be connected in different            (Which is one reason why all currently-
Rich Kulawiec: This meshes rather             places at different times, and so on.)         proposed mail sender authentication
closely with what those of us in the anti-                                                   schemes have absolutely no value at
spam community are seeing: estimates          But this problem has far worse impli-          the moment. All of them presume that
vary depending on who’s making them,          cations than those associated just with        the mail origination points are secure.
                                                                  106
                                        The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
They’re not.)                                   I think it said something about 80% of the       not more. There is no major incentive for
                                                spam is from bots, not 80% are infected.         them to destroy the very infrastructure
Let me suggest just one scenario: what          I also think the idea of a DDOS against          they graze upon. However, that being
do you think would happen if an attacker        a city highly improbable in the isolated         said, we have a few cases which do worry
unleashed a serious DDoS attack against         sense. The current Internet is too thor-         us - namely total warfare by state actors
selected US city, state, and federal net-       oughly intermeshed. A DDOS against the           and obviously, some non-state actors in-
work resources on Tuesday, November             entire net or North America seems more           tent on causing economic disruption.
2, 2004? (with perhaps a few major news         likely.
web sites thrown in for good measure)                                                            The malefactors motivated by economic
Oh, I’m aware that voting processes are,        Something that continues to bother me,           gain may take down a company or a few
in theory, insulated from exposure to           however is that I think sooner or later          nodes in an ISPs network purely for the
the Internet: but I’m willing to bet that       someone will get lucky or we’ll have sev-        purposes of demonstrating their ability
in practice that’s not true, and that suf-      eral attacks converge to effectively bring       but in general will not try to destroy the
ficiently aggressive and well-targeted at-      the whole thing down and I frankly don’t         very fabric which enables them. I am dis-
tacks against infrastructure such as rout-      think there is a real plan or method to re-      counting sociopaths here. Now we look
ers, firewalls, DNS servers, mail servers       boot. Once down, all that intermeshing           at state and non-state actors - their meth-
and web servers would have a noticeable         will make it harder to isolate and recover.      ods are very similar.
disruptive effect.                              I suspect it will take days. This will have
                                                a tremendous economic impact - think of          To cripple most of the infrastructure, a
I have no idea what we do if that happens.      how travel reservations occur now, for           few strategically placed explosives in
(Well, actually, I do: first we engage in       example. I almost hope it happens sooner         Equinix Ashburn in VA, 60 Hudson in
a serious round of partisan finger-point-       rather than later, however because if it         NYC, landing points on the west coast
ing. It’s what we do whenever there’s a         happens soon at least most of the phone          and New Jersey will effectively destroy
crisis. ;-) )                                   system should stay up. Five years from           most of the connectivity. There are a
                                                now, it would be catastrophic.                   very few fiber routes that cross the Mis-
I suspect that it will take a crisis situa-                                                      sissipi for instance. A few bridges hit with
tion like that, or something of a similar       Reed: Regarding a DDOS attack against            truck bombs will see the connectivity de-
nature, to provoke serious action on this       an “entire city” or net. It’s easy to get car-   stroyed. For most people, any surviving
problem. (I very much hope I’m wrong            ried away with non-quantitative think-           connection points will be swamped by
about that.)                                    ing.                                             traffic, rendering them useless.

But...The end-users are largely unaware         I am somewhat skeptical, and before one          As I build backbones, we use lots of di-
of the problem, and even those who are          starts thinking about this, recognize that       verse physical path waves and fibers.
aware often lack the (admittedly ex-            you need to satisfy at least two conditions      And as I look at turning up yet another
tensive) skills to solve it AND keep it         to have a massive denial of service:             cross-country OC-192, there just isn’t
solved. The ISPs which connect most of                                                           any available that do not, at some point,
the users have been in steadfast denial for     1) that people who have communications           share the same trench as one of my previ-
what is now going on years; only a few          capacity (at least apparently) will not be       ous OC-192s.
have begun taking belated and half-heart-       able to communicate, and
ed measures like blocking outbound port                                                          Reed: Vijay - your point on the lack of
25 (SMTP) access -- and even that only          2) that there are sufficient resources           physical diversity of paths *is* one of the
deals with spam issues, and then only in        available to sustain a continuous attack         areas worth worrying about, but we don’t
part. And Microsoft...well, let’s just say      against all connectivity points needed to        have very good data to tell either way.
that there’s not much help coming there,        block every path.
especially for users of older versions of                                                        Gill: We do. See Sean Gorman’s phd
their OS. And even if there were -- I’m         I’ve spent some time thinking about              dissertation. I believe it may have been
not sure how much good it would do, as          this, and despite a great deal of creative       classified or something. There was a big
the points-of-entry for mal-ware are so         thought on my part, I cannot figure out          brouhaha over it some time ago.
numerous (see Ron’s comments above)             how to block all diverse paths simultane-
that it’s not clear that it’s possible to re-   ously in a well-connected net.                   Reed: That’s not a DDOS attack, which
ally and truly secure these systems.                                                             was what I was referring to. DDOS is an
                                                Vijay Gill: There are well-connected nets        attack carried in packets from distributed
How Vulnerable is the                           and then there are well diversified nets.        points (a coordinated distributed algo-
                                                                                                 rithmic attack).
Internet as a Whole to a                        One assumption which will be a good
Zombie DDOS?                                    working model is this: Most criminal             Gill: Yes, sorry I wasn’t clear enough ear-
                                                people attacking the net for monetary            lier. The assumption was that the people
Retzer: I don’t think it is nearly that bad.    gain need the net as much as we do, if           using DDoS type attacks would be the

                                                                  107
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
for-profit malefactors. The people seri-       And earlier David Reed wrote: However!        It’s constantly failing and restarting -
ously looking to damage the internet           There is a scenario that DOES worry me.       that’s the normal mode. Bootstrapping
would probably go straight to strategi-        The current tendency is to centralize and     the Internet of today is incredibly easy,
cally placed truck bombs.                      consolidate control of the network for a      comparatively.
                                               variety of reasons. Largely driven by the
Reed: One of the problems in the cur-          human notion that having a king or FBI        Vijay Gill: This isn’t true as much to-
rent network is that there is no effective     director or DCI is a way to feel safe and     day as it was back when I was involved
transparency regarding common-mode             secure, by personifying the “daddy” that      with a very large service provider a few
failures. I have two connections from          makes us all feel safe (cf. Lakoff).          years ago. At that point, we have several
my home to the public Internet, from two                                                     hundred customers on (at that time state
providers. But I cannot determine to what      The centralized daddy is a single point of    of the art routers). We reached the point
degree failures would be independent or        failure, and does create the possibility of   in the network that if a customer facing
correlated.                                    paralyzing DDOS attacks that were not         router had to be rebooted, we would go
                                               possible otherwise.                           into an infinite loop as the router tried
In fact, any SLA guaranteeing 99% up-                                                        to initialize nearly a thousand interface
time carries little information in this        This is the paradox of “getting things un-    DB entries while trying to bring up BGP
context, because if the 1% failure is fully    der control”.                                 and compile access lists. The CPU would
correlated with the 1% failure of my al-                                                     peg at 100% processing the IDBs and the
ternative path, I get no resiliency benefit    Coluccio: I see David’s point, for it         routing protocol adjacencies would drop,
from paying for two providers.                 draws to an obvious conclusion. Al-           causing significant amount of churn. It
                                               though today I’d be suspect of anything       was pretty interesting to watch. We fi-
Gill: There are physical path failures,        that resembles a central control point in     nally solved the problem by turning off
which probably are more correlated than        a single geographic location. It would        the backbone facing interfaces till the
people would like to think - for example,      be more likely, if control, although cen-     router had rebooted and initialized the
most buildings have at most one or two         tralized along the definition of a single     IDBs, and then we would turn back the
entrance facilities for telecom to enter the   authority, hypothetically (or not), would     backbone interfaces, allowing the rout-
unit. What you are looking to get protec-      more likely be distributed using mirror-      ing protocols to come back. This isn’t
tion from are failures of the network in       ing and dual or tertiary failover sites in    a major issue in today’s hardware, but
terms of routing errors, provider hard-        diverse geographic locations.                 definitely we “rang” then network when
ware failures etc.                                                                           doing maintenance.
                                               I’m reminded here of a NY Times article
Reed: Consequently, I want to be able          I read about twelve years ago, which de-      Reed: I don’t doubt that there are design
to ask vendors for independently failing       scribed how the Internet’s seven or so        weaknesses in the Internet that create
service probabilities in my SLA. Or be         root servers were in some cases hidden in     points of attack. But its current state is a
able to validate independent failure. But      university dorms, developers’ closets and     whole lot more resilient than the power
I am barred from probing the topology of       in student computer labs, and that there      grid, because it is not centrally owned
my service provisioning by “trade secret”      were no backups for those at the time,        and controlled.
arguments from those providers.                if I’m not mistaken. Hopefully there are
                                               backups today ;) The point being, even        I’m not trying to be a pollyanna here - I
Gill: This is only true for residential type   under those conditions and circumstanc-       think we should be thinking about what
connectivities. At the large scale, we         es the ‘Net seemed to have no trouble         might be possible in terms of large scale
can ask for geographical information on        surviving.                                    DDOS. We should be designing a system
paths and we get them. We use GIS tools                                                      that doesn’t have dominoes lined up that
to ensure our pathing is diverse.              Are There Systemic                            will fail one after the other.

Reed: Being barred from probing topol-         Design Weaknesses                             But one has to look carefully at the actual
ogy is a bad thing for the Internet. The       in Public Internet                            details before extrapolating that because
incentives for ISPs is to cut corners on       Operation?                                    one can orchestrate an attack on a *sin-
things like this. Which is why we almost                                                     gle* small but visible target, one could
certainly have too much fiber in common        Reed: Regarding “rebooting” the Inter-        just scale that up linearly. I can’t see how
trenches, where a single cut can disrupt       net, this is not like the power grid. The     that can be made to work.
way too broadly. However, that’s not a         power grid is synchronous. All genera-
DDOS attack from the users, that’s an          tors are part of a single, completely non-    Sterling: I’ve been wanting to ask this
insider attack on the ISPs.                    modular machine that requires that every      question for a long time...back in the
                                               generator spin at the same frequency.         early days of ASNs and BGP4. Those of
Gill: Or an outside attack on the infra-       Bootstrapping that is INCREDIBLY              us that had newbie networks circa 1994
structure.                                     hard. But the Internet is not synchronous.    desperately wanted to multi-home and
                                                                                             peer...and in several instances I witnessed
                                                                  108
                                      The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
newbie router geeks accidentally make         Now the attack you worry about is the one      privileges. The browser and IE/ActiveX
false announcements which collapsed           that never happens but it seems to me that     bugs, and the Outlook bugs, are all in the
networks like...oh say... Sprint’s.           the above leads to a scenario where you        applications. Worms are almost entirely
                                              could have millions of attackers clogging      application-level exploits.
Vijay Gill: Or turned on test cef in a lab    up things so badly that it’s very difficult
router that was connected to the internet.    to get defensive/patch software and when       Davis: David thank you for your excel-
                                              they get it network staffs wind up hav-        lent post that provides precise focus rath-
Sterling: Since that time I’ve always         ing to take their networks down to install     er than the blunt hammer of blame.
wondered in the back of my mind...what        updates one machine at a time. This, it
would happen if a well-multi-homed ASN        seems to me could effectively bring the        And, Vijay, per an earlier one (I was on
fell into the hands of the bad guys? Are      Internet down for several days and I can       holiday this weekend), very shrewd ob-
there protections these days to prevent an    only guess how long it would take to           servation and well focused that the thieves
ASN false-announcement quagmire??             clean up home machines.                        will not destroy their harvest fields (the
                                                                                             open Internet).
Vijay Gill: A bit. Things like max-prefix     So, what do we do? I posed the idea quite
have been deployed for a while.               some time ago that we seriously need to        Jere, for all the reasons David cited and I
                                              revisit the idea of out-of-band control        respond below . . . and as per earlier post,
Please see http://www.vijaygill.com/          between the major networks for starters.       I think that we are disbelieving that we
work/ppt/nanog-rf.pdf                         This wouldn’t help a great deal, however       are really in Kansas for us to think that
                                              if the edge networks are all badly infect-     educating users or equipping users is
There is not a large major network I have     ed. We clearly need to address all those       likely to produce any significant or even
worked on that now does not implement         vulnerable/infected machines out there,        measurable result in this code pollution
a variant of max prefix (depending on         however. How?                                  environment.
vendor obviously) This is a self correct-
ing problem if people do not implement        The economic impacts of such a scenario        I have been trying for some time to incite
at least that much protection.                would be huge, especially if it affected       EDGE providers to become MSP’s for
                                              phone service, not only because of direct      their consumer base. What I get usually
Retzer: Rebooting is a ridiculous concept     impacts on things like airline reserva-        is, “it would be nice but . . .”, here cit-
with today’s Internet, which is exactly the   tions, but also the fallout for our industry   ing that it is a niche they have no skill at,
point. If someone proposed such a capa-       because then no one would want VoIP or         that they don’t want to lose customers by
bility * sort of like a big red emergency     critical applications to use the net.          making things difficult, that the end-user
button we’d have security experts all over                                                   is price but not value sensitive.
say it would be a prime target and in that    Security of the
way a vulnerability. Consider, however                                                       This does not go to David’s “Big Dad-
where we seem to be headed.                   Operating System and                           dy”, nor do I advocate such. I am more
                                              Browser                                        inclined to Frank’s perspective that “con-
The general pattern for enterprise re-                                                       trol” does not imply “centralized com-
sponse over the past few years has been       Li: For those of you that favor security in    mand.” Control at the “Big-Daddy” level
get patch and anti-infection tools includ-    depth, you might start with thinking about     would only increase vulnerability simply
ing ingress filters from vendors and ap-      security of the OS. Most infections today      as a function of the inertia of bureau-
ply, then isolate infected machines and       exist because the market leading OS is         cracy. Distributed control driven by base
clean. Edge networks, however have            somewhat more primitive than an OS             assumptions of mutual vulnerability have
become extremely porous due to VPNs,          was 30 years ago. If we had true, strong       to be the reigning commitment.
laptops, wireless and multi-homing. At-       memory protection, real processes, a file
tacks are becoming increasingly clever at     system with protections and a notion of a      The rule-based and signature-based sys-
eluding filters, although filters and other   file that was ‘untrusted’, we would go a       tems the Enterprises have available, and
tools like IPS and IDS are also becoming      VERY long way to making these trivial          the Symmantec/McAfee level are blunt
more sophisticated. A substantial num-        hacks a thing of the past.                     and inflexible hammers. The MyDoom
ber of machines remain vulnerable to old                                                     consortium have threatened to bring those
threats and bot-nets are ballooning. A few    Reed: The operating system kernel in           companies to their knees with morphing
recent attacks have also been so aggres-      Windows XP has all of the above fea-           code. Only with the distributed capability
sive that network engineers have found        tures. The problem is *not* in the operat-     can we move to the next level of using
it nearly impossible to patch machines        ing system, it is in the applications and      neural net pattern identifiers and fuzzy
while on net before they became re-in-        the culture of the applications architects.    logic controller decision makers. They
fected, making it necessary in some cases     99% of the viruses and worms in Win-           will still be a step-behind, but at least a
to install patches offline one machine at     dows are not bugs in memory protection,        close step behind.
a time.                                       file system protection, etc. but bugs in ap-
                                              plications that then can exploit the user’s    Reed: It’s quite sad, but the pressure of

                                                               109
                        COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
the marketplace, plus the really stupid          a fierce guerilla force, where networking      invites the intruder inside, right through
idea that the operating system is the            and security are fundamental values, and       any kind of firewall (absent the still crude
source of security, has encouraged the           peer-to-peer reputations fiercely entan-       filtering that web filters not affordable by
other desktops (i.e. Mac, Gnome, KDE,            gled globally. The other is a business, run    the consumer) can do.
among others) to start creating exploit-         by budgets, schedules, project managers
able “features” very similar to those of         who lack clue about quality. The former        IE is the total worst. Mozilla (and its prog-
Windows XP.                                      assumes that an application of interest is     eny, Safari, Galeon) are better, but only
                                                 the creation of its developer, and those       as a matter of degree and not kind. Op-
Davis: Well said, David, though I venture        who share the interest do not assume it        era is much much better and the Mozilla
that the way the lines are drawn between         is complete or consistent. It is shared,       shift to Firefox indicates their aware-
application and operating system in Win          and run, and beaten up on with sugges-         ness of “cleaner browsers that remain
vs ‘NIX are not so clean as your mini-           tions and patches, which are then tested.      in their own space and write inside their
treatise might indicate. In this regard, the     Exploits are run, and so on through what       own space” is now part of the browser
Mac OS-X Panther is a bit of a hybrid.           many 4-Win companies call: “the too            culture. Neither are easy to install on the
                                                 rapidly changing Linux/BSD environ-            Mac OS-X.
‘Nix is a truly layered OS. Kernel-space         ment.”
and User-space are, while not completely                                                        Reed: My current favorite operating sys-
in the case of the browsers, at least very       The proprietary companies run with a           tems (Gnome/Debian and Mac/Panther)
independently layered. The ‘NIX OS is            different set of assumptions. They build       are full of exploitable applications. Just a
rather a rather difficult, clearly not impos-    applications that demand high privileges,      simple example is IE on the Mac. But the
sible, but rather significantly more diffi-      that write, just as spyware and adware         frequency of installs requiring “root” is
cult, environment for malware because            and many worms do, to the registry and         now very high on all GUI systems.
the nature of its loosely-coupled layers         replace existing files. Their objective, for
make intrusion from user space where             the mass market, is to make it easy to in-     So it’s really foolish and shortsighted to
the applications run into kernel space.          stall and easy to use.                         blame only Microsoft. Secure applica-
The same is not true with the tightly cou-                                                      tion architectures in a network environ-
pled Microsoft OS - which is still a desk-       You note the increasing necessity to in-       ment require thinking about some very
top OS, single user, single session that         stall as administrator or root. Everything     tough issues that have little to do with the
has been modified, not re-written from           I have to install in Windows has to have       traditional access-control functions men-
the design assumptions, to exist as a net-       this privilege, and then much of it will       tioned above. Authentication, authoriza-
work machine. In ‘NIX, unless a user is          not run when I am logged in as my non-         tion, and accountability must be managed
operating as << root >> while connected          privileged user account.                       in the design of applications - so browsers
to a network or when networking is en-                                                          need to be able to easily sandBox their
abled, or a member of a group with root          Here, my experience of a few months            actions, GUIs need to make clear where
privileges, and provided strong authenti-        with OS-X Panther has been a huge dis-         keystrokes are being sent, screensavers
cation (two factor) or at least very strong      appointment. There is nothing I have           need to be blocked from reading the un-
(brute force attack resistant) passwords,        installed that does not require the admin      derlying screen images and then sending
it is neither easy nor predictable for an        account privileges. It is not easy then to     them out over the network, etc.
intruder to gain privilege escalation.           go to user space and run the application
                                                 as the user, or as more than one user. I       All of the above problems are untouched
The MS OS, on the other hand is a wal-           cannot say that I have really dug under        by ANY of the modern GUI desktops.
lowing barge where everything must be            the hood, but if it requires my ‘NIX skills
loaded, and it keeps itself afloat by mov-       to do things with it, it won’t meet its de-    To fool yourself by disparaging Micro-
ing its ballast . . . its constant requirement   sign requirements, which is for a single       soft into thinking it can’t happen to Mac/
as a messaging system to run high privi-         user appliance, and where network se-          Linux/Unix users is pure folly. After all,
lege processes to allow the rest of it to        curity is done by experts. My G-4 with         the first worms and rootkits were devel-
know what each part is doing. It is tightly      1.25 of RAM is way too slow to hold my         oped on that “secure” base technology,
coupled with its applications. Its GUI is        interest as other than something for its       and only 9 months ago the base Debian
very tightly coupled with the kernel, ap-        OOB (out-of-box) applications for mul-         servers were thoroughly compromised
plications tightly coupled via .dlls and         timedia and i-Tunes. It offers me nothing      by a script-kiddie attack.
other privileged system and library calls        I cannot already do with Linux and my
with both.                                       Linux machines are much faster - and do        Davis: True on the GUI’s but not so
                                                 not have IE.                                   cleanly cleaved, IMHO. In ‘NIX, the
Going to your “culture” of applications                                                         GUI (KDE, Gnome, etc) are not tightly
developers, I totally agree. The “cul-           I also agree (previous post) that the          coupled with the OS. They are applica-
tures” of the Linux/BSD COI (commu-              browsers are one of the biggest risks of       tions that run in above the kernel - with
nity of interest) are very different from        any and all OS, because the sloppy and         few exceptions. They do not have to be
those of proprietary systems. The one is         careless design architecture of the code       loaded, and can be shut down after load-
                                                                     110
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
ing (init 3). On ‘NIX machines that are in     their premises to a carrier hotel, then we     looking fake.”
the DMZ -- (open to the Internet at least      can sell them Internet Transit over it (bet-
for the specific service), the GUI is not      ter margins than in IX points) and other       http://www.computerworld.com/news-
running. There is no need for it and it        services (backup hosting, SAN etc..).          letter/0,4902,97213,00.html?nlid=AM
consumes resources. If it isn’t running, it
cannot be attacked.                            The issues I’m seeing are 1) the price of      Davis [in a comment to Bill St Arnaud
                                               the setup fees (15 000 Euros). Even if in      about UCLP]: But academic culture and
This is not possible with the Microsoft        Paris, you can always use the sewers to        business culture are not the same. The
OS.                                            access the premises. 2) the lack of skilled    one is built on open sharing, collabora-
                                               people in corporations who can run and         tive research, commitment to the peers
And yes, malware can be written and run        manage their own fiber. I’m mainly in-         and to the field and not necessarily any
on NIX machines, and has been. Here the        sisting that they will have a FastE or         institution. The other is institutional and
culture matters greatly in terms of discov-    GigE connection to the Internet and will       demands loyalty to that institution, works
ery, rapid response by the global commu-       be billed on 5-10 Mbps commitment. I’m         in an economy based on secrecy of strat-
nity, and fixes almost immediately.            trying to find out what other advantages       egy and proprietary information, privacy
                                               they will be getting in buying their fiber     of financial information, regulation of
There is no perfect security, and no secu-     (multi-homing capabilities,). I’m not          privacy of personnel and health records.
rity person will ever aver that they own a     convinced that they need CWDM yet. I
secure network or secure machine.              will let you know the success i have in        David Reed: Melissa - I fully appreciate
                                               selling fibers in Paris ;)                     that there are differences of culture here,
Bill St Arnaud: To my mind the funda-                                                         having worked in both (and I still do) as
mental problem with Internet security is       Coluccio: How does your goal differ            well as the government culture.
the Microsoft operating system. Until we       materially with that of selling an IRU to
have a new system that is designed from        the customer, if indeed it does? I’ve not      However, I find it hard to connect 3 of
the ground up to address security, viruses,    read anything yet that speaks to the dis-      your last phrases to any requirement on
spyware etc I don’t see much hope in the       tinctions between asset ownership versus       network facilities. In specific, where is
short term, other than educating users, of     indefeasible right of use. Assuming the        there any reasoned analysis of the net-
solving these problems.                        life expectancy of the fiber and the terms     working infrastructure requirement re-
                                               of the IRU contracts are in line with one      sulting from:
Damien Wetzel: I should say that I to-         another, might not there actually be more
tally agree with Tony and Bill. The first      desirable tax incentives to go with an         - privacy of financial information, - regu-
thing would be to have a decent OS. As         IRU in some circumstances than to own          lation of privacy of personnel records, -
an engineer I’ve always found Windows          the fiber outright? I’m not saying there is,   regulation of privacy of health records.
completely messy, going against basic          I’m merely asking.
logic and good sense (I’ve often tried                                                        It would seem to me that these are NOT
to think over this opinion without luck)       Wetzel: In fact, in France you talk about      network requirements. Each of these re-
. My opinion is that for backward com-         IRU when you address a telco or ISP            quirements are not focused on external
patibility, they are in the impossibility      customer. But when you address a cor-          users or hackers, but begin with very
to do a safe and good OS. I think Cisco        porate customer 90% of the times IRU           narrow restrictions on internal users. In
may have the same issue with their IOS.        sound like a Chinese word, as well as ev-      particular, the ideal would keep all IT de-
I’m not saying that *nix are the panacea       erything that relates to fiber. So we will     partment workers from having any mean-
but at least it offers an alternative to the   encompass the fiber with other services        ingful access to such records.
short comings of MS. The inconvenient          like transit. And propose to the corporate
is that it’s not easy to configure and use     customer an all in one package, with a         Such protection, if done properly, would
so it’s not really good for your mum or        maximum lease time of 3 years. I sell him      begin at the database application level,
grandpa.                                       that once he got it’s dedicated fiber pairs,   and protect any data copied or computed
                                               if will be able to scale easily when new       from those databases with strong encryp-
So I think that there is room for a new        networking needs will come.                    tion. It would make sure that any data en-
Internet based OS that would replace MS                                                       tered was validated by strong procedures
and help us to build a safer Internet.         Retzer on November 5: From Computer-           that prevent modification by any but a
                                               world, phishing is taking, in my opinion       small number of authorized users.
I’m working for a French company Neot-         an ominous turn now:
elecoms that used to be MFN (Abovenet)                                                        In other words, this justification has no
France. When MFN went into Chap 11,            “A potent new program circulating on           bearing whatever on who provides the
the French employees bought out the Par-       the Internet embeds itself on a user’s         network infrastructure, or on coopera-
is Fiber Ring built by MFN. My goal is         computer and either overwrites saved           tion.
to find corporate customers near the fiber     bookmarks or redirects the victim from
and convince them to buy their fiber from      the intended banking site to an authentic-     Now I am sure that the IT department is

                                                                111
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA

Stupid Versus Smart:                                                  matter,” he said. “We thought that technology triumphed over
                                                                      dollars. And it doesn’t.”
Isenberg versus Nolle                                                 Nolle echoed the argument that venture capitalist Rod Randall
Editor’s Note: The following reminds me of the debate I had           made yesterday: Stupid networks don’t make money and thus
with David in June at Supercomm in Chicago.                           can’t be sustained. Nolle clearly doesn’t believe, as Dave Pass-
                                                                      more suggested yesterday, that the incumbent local exchange
STUPID VS. SMART: A GREAT DEBATE By: Eric Krapf,                      carriers (ILECs) are in danger of entering a “death spiral” as
Editor of Business Communications Review                              they face declining revenues in their traditional lines of busi-
                                                                      ness. Instead, Nolle sees the ILECs as the only carriers with
Greetings from Boston and Next Generation Networks 2004.              a hope of survival, as their scale, assets and incumbency give
For those of you who couldn’t make it to this year’s conference,      them better margins, even with declining revenues, than any
we’ll be filing reports daily to try and give you some sense of       competitor could dream of.
what’s going on at the event. All of our daily reports can also be
found online at http://www.bcr.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2 From my vantage point, Isenberg scored his most effective
                                                                   points when he focused on the original “Stupid Network” argu-
Industry debates are fun when they get down and dirty, and con-    ments that time has borne out, namely that applications we now
sultants David Isenberg and Tom Nolle didn’t disappoint when take for granted, like email, likely would never have emerged
they squared off in the NGN 2004 Great Debate, which posed from a telco “smart network,” because of the painfully large
the question, “Are Smart Networks A Dumb Idea?” Both men amounts of time and money that those organizations typically
deployed their utmost rhetorical tones and stagy gestures as spent before introducing any new application. I have a tough
they argued their cases.                                           time imagining AT&T or the RBOCs fostering the Internet, left
                                                                   to their own devices (which tended to have 20-year amortization
Isenberg, of course, coined the term “Stupid Network.” He periods).
and Nolle stood at separate podiums on either side of the same
stage, but they addressed each other from different planets. This     On the other hand, Nolle is right when he points out the lack
was best demonstrated when Isenberg asked audience members            of a real business case for a lot of these innovations. Isenberg
for a show of hands: How many are employed at large com-              had tried to make the argument that customers demand the new
panies? When about a third of the audience raised ‘em high,           applications that the Internet is enabling; Nolle’s response was
Isenberg asked them to keep their hands up if they felt that, in      to stride over to moderator Dave Passmore and offer him $20
these large companies, they were “working up to their creative        for his car. His point: Just because you want something and you
potential.” His point being that the Internet’s “stupid” core is      want to pay a certain price for it, doesn’t mean you can or should
what allows for innovation and creativity at the edges, which         get it at that price. Or, as Nolle more bluntly put it: “Screw what
Isenberg suggested is the domain of the small, entrepreneurial        the customer wants, unless you can have a meeting of the minds
technologist--while the big carriers, with their stifling legacy of   with the guy who has to produce it.”
top-down-ordered “smart networks,” allow people to stagnate.
                                                                 Isenberg’s retort: “When you say, Screw the customer, I think
Nolle’s response: Raise your hands again if you work for a large that pretty much sums up the Smart Networks point of view.”
organization. Now keep your hands up if you value the ability
to “pay your bills and feed your families.”                      Sorry, I didn’t mean to wimp out with an “On the one hand...On
                                                                 the other Hand..,” writeup of this debate. But I also don’t think
That was the heart of Nolle’s argument: “Economics really do it’s my job to decide who was right and who was wrong.

asked to help set up such secure systems.     captioned requirements and applications.       former, one can provide critique of syllo-
But if the IT department is doing its job     I hope you would agree that neither “rea-      gistic form or inductive sampling or ana-
properly, it should NOT be claiming that      son” nor “analysis”, when taken as de-         lytical methodology. Of the latter, there
this has anything to do with how the data     scriptions of cognitive function and not       is either agreement or disagreement, not
pipes are organized. And any such claim       being used in their other and rhetorically     “rightness” or “wrongness.” Of the latter,
makes me (as someone who worked in            provocative sense as value words (what         where there is disagreement on premises,
1975 on the Massachusetts state study on      A.J. Ayer describes as “merely more so-        assumptions, values: there is simply noth-
computerized records and privacy) very        phisticated forms of ‘RAH’ and ‘BOO’”          ing more to say. This is easily illustrated
suspicious that the IT department doesn’t     (Language, Truth, and Logic, circa 1904)       in one of the major points of contention
understand its job - perhaps the CIO          are pure, complete, and consistent.            in the recent presidential debates: either
should be fired?                                                                             A. The War in Iraq is a subset of the war
                                              Reason and analysis are simply cognitive       on terrorism; or B. The War on Terrorism
Davis: Totally in sync on your “reasoned      operations that are decedent to an axi-        was a non-overlapping independent set
analysis” observation regarding the above     ology or assumptions or values. Of the         (War set) parallel to the war on terrorism

                                                                  112
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005
until after the insurrection attracted the     reservation trunking. It includes those       passwords? Who would police to en-
terrorists. There is no debate. Pick one       things, but filters through prejudice, ex-    force usage periods, that traffic would
or the other and the set of reasonings and     perience, perceived threat (informed or       not be redirected or copied (MITM), that
analyses follow.                               not, specific or generalized), economic       the switch/OXs’s resources would not be
                                               & legal, policy, perceived liability. Con-    commandeered. These may not be issues
This prolegommena is important here            formance amplifying decisions grease          for the R&E culture, were cross-insti-
precisely because both of us agree that        through to execution. Deviance amplify-       tutional grants, research teams, mutual
there is no network layer issue, and we        ing proposals wallow through the human        dependence on each others resources are
both agree on limiting access to IT and        transaction attractor basins, are filtered    well integrated into the thought patterns.
encrypting sensitive traffic while con-        through power spikes as they move in a
trolling access via strong authentication.     multi-serpentine fashion through various      The excitement I feel over UCLP is ex-
Those can be assumptions, axiologies, or       centers of influence, where even the ven-     actly in the R & E community for re-
values we share, and are also the result       dors play some valenced role.                 search that can be open (non-classified).
of our inductive knowledge and experi-                                                       With distributed computing and grids, we
ence.                                          The kiss of death here is the retort: “Yes,   (science) can take on so many more prob-
                                               good idea in an ideal world.” The busi-       lems and attack them more methodologi-
Yet, what is true of us is not true for all.   ness of business, as opposed to the busi-     cally than the sum of all to now.
Enterprises, corporate or government,          ness of technology, is one of predictabil-
are not moving in a single progression,        ity, controlled risk (varies depending on     It is just my point of view that surren-
in awareness or implementation, either         institution and dynamic events), stabil-      dering the notions of contracts, tort law
with each other or within themselves. In       ity, contracts, control. This is increas-     protection, predictability, the confusion
my experience, they still think of cyber       ingly the case in the post-Bubble era as      of privacy with security, the baboon-up-
security at the network layer; do not, un-     the business managers are placing tech        welling in terms of “need for control”
less challenged, differentiate network         in what I agree is its rightful place of a    will take some time. UCLP must some-
from network application (port filtering/      service to business requirements. IT          how provide some capability to meet
translation from web filtering from spy-       CMM, ITIL, BPE, Kaizen, Six Sigma             those tests.
ware/spam), and are still struggling with      models are spreading with the pace of
figuring out how/when/whether/where to         raging western forest wildfires in a dry      Reed: Melissa - thanks for your re-
implement PKI or Biometric two factor          July. Cost as well as security, but more      sponse.
authentication, tie the authentication to      basically transition in power and decision
a virtualized Directory service such that      control, are drivers.                         Perhaps the frustration I feel is that IT
authentication is global whereas authori-                                                    security decision-makers around archi-
zation is local.                               UCLP will have to meet these tests. I am      tecture very often seem to make really
                                               not criticizing it as a technology. I don’t   bad decisions based on poor technologi-
So, if you accept that what counts as “rea-    think it is even new, as we were work-        cal understanding of the problem they are
son” and “analysis” depends on the point       ing toward it back in 2000 with the new-      trying to solve and the architectural solu-
of view of the observer, that there are an     ly acquired by Cisco Cerent box within        tion space that is available to them.
infinity of points of view with none of        service provider networks . . . a product
them special, then I can agree that I of-      development model that would provide          Forster: I think that observation can be
fered no network layer or network facili-      for a pool of bandwidth that users could      extended to most upper management
ties “reasoned analysis” while offering        use a web front end to access and request     decision making, both in IT and the rest
to you now the “reasoned analysis” from        provisioning. The difference as I read        of business. :-) That is the challenge of
the cultural analysis: to wit:                 Bill St. Arnaud’s papers is that these were   management.
                                               commercial endeavors whereas CA*net
My point was not “reasoned analysis”           is an R&E endeavor. The former still          Davis on November 9, 2004: Yes, Jim,
vis-a-vis the POV (point-of-view) of           has the central control, bandwidth/time       and Yes, David.
“network requirements” or “network fa-         and duration, priority were contracted
cilities requirements.”                        at a price, and invoices made per SLA.        From what I have observed, IT execs take
                                               The customer had the legal protection of      an odd course from most other tracks in
My point was not in the network layers at      a contract and tort law, the accounting de-   corporate and government America.
all, but in the layers above the layers, the   partment had charge codes and expense
axiology of perspectival differences. My       codes. The provider made sure the traf-       CEO’s and COO’s rarely climb without
vector was to address how the business/        fic was private (for whatever purpose         significant operations, marketing, sales
enterprise culture “thinks” about security     – net meetings, SANS, etc.).                  experience, along with some budgeting.
and the very meaning of what an asset                                                        CFO’s don’t start there, but usually work
is. This isn’t about light paths, user or      With direct control of the switches and       up from cost accounting or analytic fi-
centrally controlled, or about Sonet mux       OXs, how many persons would have the          nance and usually through close associa-


                                                               113
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
tion with IT and software development          chapters of any Cisco training book, then     contractors, consultants.
and deployment for business systems.           they are helpless against the conflicting
                                               demands of conflicting interests exercis-     At the top, there is also the corporate
In IT, as far as I know, there seems to be     ing dynamic press on their positions, any     counsel’s office - which corporate charter
a bifurcation, as if the upper management      coalition of two or three can be career at-   (quoting someone from thirty years ago,
level is a business-schooled caste, and the    tenuating.                                    maybe Tom Peters) is to become like
technical, engineering, architects in net-                                                   beavers or the Tennessee Valley Author-
work and software, if not actually blue-       Security is a pablum value word no dif-       ity: specifically to locate any running
collar, at least have a bluish glow about      ferent from freedom and democracy and         stream and dam it up. In corporate envi-
the neck. The cultural myths and lore          “the blessings of liberty” and “interstate    rons, there are the external auditors with
seem to reinforce that: the empty suits        commerce”: to wit, security is part of a      their IT whiz-kids with their own biases
bowing and scraping vs. the BOFH’s             stew of values, including productivity;       and ignorance. In government this role is
with bellies overhanging belts, scruffy        attaining management objectives within        played by the IG (inspector general).
facial hair which would strain the moni-       time and resource constraints; not up-
ker of beard, shirts pulling at the buttons,   setting or impairing the users or taking      To me, the entire system is like Home-
chest hair hanging out at the collar, and      too much time away from production            land Security: trapped in its own bal-
liberal use of the epithet “user” and other    for training; not bringing down the criti-    kanized inertia, each ethnic group with
four letter words.                             cal application; not requiring extensive      its own jealous history of wounds and
                                               and risky re-coding by expensive vendor       memories calling out for contention, at
Like the Emperor without any clothes,          consultants (also time away for meetings      the minimum, and revenge, given the op-
this state of affairs renders both the com-    and project planning, project request-        portunity.
pliments on the Emperor’s taste in fashion     presentation-approval cycles); where the
as well as mockery of the subjects and an      change fits in with other objectives to       We work at the edges, just like with any
unwillingness to be ruled (sometimes de-       which there are already commitments.          coming scientific revolution when the
feating command by “work to rule rules                                                       assumptions at the core have become
the work.”).                                   The business process application stew-        loosened and straggly, waiting for critical
                                               ards have enormous influence, as do the       threshold events to blast away the veneers
If what the IT Exec/upper manager              networkers, the network security types,       of denial and usher in a new regime.
knows is mostly business and some light        the application portal types, the telecom-
lectures consistent with the first two         munications types; employees, vendors,




                                                                  114
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005




Interview, Discussion, and Article Highlights
                               Click on blue page numbers belwo to go to those pages


                                               the hardware and software. Tests it to      fee. The reality is that it has turned
Introduction: Build Your                       meet hotel specifications. Acquires the     our business around. People come to
                                               bandwidth for the network and manages       us and bring the business meetings and
Own Comes More into                            the resulting network.                      colleagues along with them. They all
Vogue.                                                                                     bring in their laptops. They buy coffee
                                               COOK Report: So I can hook up and           and bagels and refills. Meanwhile across
Customer owned networks and secu-              use whatever email client I normally do     the street you may well have a Starbucks
rity issues move forward along with            just as though I were in the office or at   that is still trying to charge $10 a day for
new developments in mesh wireless.             home?                                       its Wi-Fi connection.

p. 1 Progress toward new technology and        Ballard: Yes. All outbound port 25          COOK Report: Starbucks wireless hasn’t
new services does not easily come from         traffic is captured managed in a tenth of   been very successful anywhere has it?
the current state of shaky and dynamic         a second and redirected.
unpredictability. As we shall see later in                                                 Ballard: Correct. It is owned by
this introduction, more and more people        COOK Report: So in a sense you are a        Deutsche telecom whose pockets are
find it attractive to try to escape from       kind of ISP for the hotels?                 very very deep. It’s turned into a bit of a
some part of the uncertainty they face by                                                  mine-shaft into which they keep pouring
building or, where that is not practical,      Ballard: The bandwidth isn’t coming         millions of dollars. What happens is that
buying in order to directly own one’s          from us. We may sell it to them but we      you have a street corner with Starbucks
infrastructure. Homeowners install their       don’t supply the bandwidth ourselves.       at $10 a day. When Joe’s Coffee shop
own LANs. More and more infrastruc-            We do however manage and monitor all        across the street from Starbucks puts a
ture networks are built by municipali-         their equipment remotely through SNMP       free Personal Telco node in, people start
ties. A large business gets security and       traps and ICMP. We offer live in house      to realize that their email doesn’t get
control over its own networking needs          24-7 support for the guests.                anymore interesting if they pay $10 for
by building its own network. Even at                                                       the privilege of checking it. Email is
the research level, Internet 2 is now buy-     COOK Report: Essentially then they          email after all.
ing its own fiber - as Canada showed the       pay a monthly fee to the carrier for
world how to do some years ago with            network bandwidth and another fee to        p. 13 But in a larger sense I think we
CA*Net4.                                       you for network management and email        are seeing too much of my city has a
                                               redirection?                                bigger Wi-Fi network than your city. I
p. 8 Increasingly in telecom, if it is worth                                               keep hearing new examples of this. A
doing, it is worth owning. If the edge         Ballard: Yes.                               lot of people making claims and setting
controls and gives value to networks,                                                      expectations have no idea of the techni-
folk at the edge must own and control the
network infrastructure. From a Super-
                                               Personal Telco                              cal limitations of Wi-Fi. But even worse
                                                                                           they have no-idea who is going to pay
computer center’s directly owned fiber         Editor's summary: Ballard sees wire-        for this or how they will ever make any
to coffee shop Wi-Fi networks we find          less connectivity as an amenity that        revenue. Everyone I talks seems to think
that networks are increasingly built by        hotels will have to provide their guests    it will be easy. ‘We just get some consul-
their own users.                               for no extra charge. In Portland coffee     tants, buy some bandwidth and stick up
                                               shops, he and like minded Geeks have        350 access points.
Hotel Wi-Fi nets,                              formed a team to help coffee shop own-
                                                                                           I say why 350 access points and they
Business Model                                 ers get on the net for little more than a
                                                                                           respond: the previous city stuck up 300
                                               $47 a month DSL fee that turns coffee
Problems                                       shops beer gardens and many other pub-      and we need to be bigger in our connec-
                                               lic places into free Wi-Fi hotspots.        tion to the internet. But can we charge
p. 9 Nigell Ballard of Matrix Networks,                                                    for it? I’m like: I don’t know – why don’t
explains a business model where one                                                        you tell me?
                                               p. 12 We ask them how it has been for
company serves as an outsourcing spe-
                                               business. They say you know we were
cialist for installing and operating Wi-Fi                                                 They go “I don’t know. We are really
                                               cautious fearing that we would just get
in national hotel chains. Matrix installs                                                  vague about a business model. “ I re-
                                               bums who just buy a single cup of cof-

                                                               115
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
spond: “you are vague because there is        sions?                                        from entry into any access point. Since
no model. You are going to have to give                                                     any radio can be an access point into
it away.”                                     Hughes: About three inches by two and a       the mesh, the network doesn’t need to
                                              half inches by an inch and a half high. It    have one powerful radio at the highest
They tell me with a look of disbelief:        has two antennas on it. You can actually      elevation in order to perform as an ac-
you mean the city is going to have to         stack up to eight of these radio circuit      cess hub.
suck up a million and a half per year         boards on top of each other. It is series
in operating expense from now till the        of flat cards with pins punched down at       Symposium Discussion
end of time? We don’t mind donating           a right angle where they can be nested
fixed amounts of money they saw but we        - one on top of another.                      p. 22 COOK Report: To my mind we
don’t like getting involved with recur-                                                     have market conditions that are attrac-
ring costs. I say well you are going to       The cube that I got from them had two         tive for the use of QoS. We likely have
have to do it because people will not pay     cards in it. One was an 802.11b card          some networks and places within over
for this because there is so much free        driving one antenna. This antenna is a        IP world where operational conditions
stuff out there.                              5dB antenna. It is practically identical to   will be friendly to these QoS kinds of
                                              the antenna that is used by Linksys.          tools. Francois explains why his mindset
Djursland, Friefunk                                                                         doesn’t like them... OK - fair enough -
Meshcube                                      p. 17 When then they are in the ad hoc
                                                                                            he can go to a different provider?

                                              mode, they go to the next radio that          If we ever can get to the nirvana of open
 p. 15 Hughes: To understand the Dan-         they can see. And the software pushes
ish project and this Freifunk group that                                                    access fiber networks, then it seems
                                              the data to and through the next mesh         that there is more room for Light Read-
is really a movement you have to un-          node. But here is where the overhead
derstand how this parallels the commu-                                                      ing’s characterization of Andrew’s world
                                              starts to make an impact. Hop, hop, hop.      view
nity network scene in the US - except         The Linux operating system in each
in this case “community” means across         mesh cube radio is being updated every
Europe and throughout the third world.                                                      http://www.lightreading.com/document.
                                              two seconds with a map of all the other       asp?doc_id=58966
200 people who attended the conference        radios in that mesh network. Doing this
came from 32 countries supported by a         takes part of the available bandwidth and
grant from George Soros. The website                                                        “QOS (quality of service) and measured
                                              damps down the performance capability         rates are moneymakers. Odlyzko says
announcement was http://www.freifunk.         of the over all system.
net:8080/sc2004/wiki/StoryBehind                                                            encouraging users - and network usage
                                                                                            - is the secret to a successful service.
                                              Every-radio-knows-every-other-radio           Charging flat or simple rates does this,
p. 16 Hughes: The Meshcube radio              that means that every radio keeps a rout-
is being produced in a way that is                                                          while trying to charge extra for QOS
                                              ing table for the whole mesh in real time     guarantees does the opposite. It adds
reminiscent of the way that radios have       - that is to say at a minimum for those
been manufactured for sale to the hams                                                      complexity to the network and confuses
                                              radios operating in the mesh on the same      users.”
in America. These are profit making           frequency with the same SSID or chan-
manufacturing companies but they sell         nel. This must be done in order for data
to highly technical users implementing                                                      COOK Report: Now Light Reading’s
                                              to be routed across the mesh.                 framing the question that such rates “are
community networks with unlicensed
radios according to European spectrum                                                       moneymakers” in my opinion sets up
rules.                                        Mesh Routing Issues                           a straw man that is too easy to knock
                                                                                            down.
The Meshcubes are hardly what you             The mesh algorithms have to figure out
would call mass market. But they can          what routing paths should be taken. This      Moneymakers? Who knows? Is ANY-
be bought as plug and play. The have          gets very mathematically complicated          ONE making money?? Can QoS “de-
sold out about the first 600 radios at        when you get up into any kind of num-         vices” not be looked on as tools that
about 200 Euros - $240 - each. It can be      bers because of the overhead that it re-      give networks some control over their
bought as a kit or bought assembled as a      quires and the optimization of the mesh       services and therefore tools that some
cube. It has a set of quite industry-stan-    protocol codes.                               networks will want to use to consoli-
dard off-the-shelf printed circuit boards.                                                  date some kind of economically sound
Except for the development effort, there      In Berlin they have not pushed it beyond      equilibrium? Until we get to an open ac-
doesn’t seem to be much proprietary           a mesh of thirty or so where each one         cess nirvana, we will face the nasty last
inside it. It looks like it could be cloned   is on a building. What I thought they         mile situation and we will have to deal
fairly easily.                                were doing, that is doable with this two      with the fact that a best effort end-to-
                                              card approach is allowing data from the       end internet allows some technologies
COOK Report: What are the dimen-              users PC to be hopped across the mess         to take economic advantage over other

                                                                 116
                                     The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

technologies.                                that broadBand-over-power-lines is va-          Policy Economics of
                                             porware in the US. Basically, as I under-
I absolutely think that the open access      stand it, that there isn’t really a workable    Fiber to the Consumer
fiber network architecture that Packet       means to get the high-data-rate signal
Front exists to serve is the way to go.      through the transformer, but at the same        pp. 26-27 Davis: Economically, this sug-
However even their edge router has QoS       time, the US power grid, transformers           gests to me the starry-eyed dream of the
capabilities built in.                       are placed so deep into the network (i.e.,      “forced FTTH” infrastructure. Could it
                                             so near the customer) that there are a          be done? Without doubt, but that would
p. 23 Coluccio: Here’s the FCC report        zillion of them, making it uneconomic to        take political will, a lot of time, and ei-
card on itself.                              just run a little fiber jumper cable around     ther monopoly protected Cap-Ex/Op-Ex,
                                             each of them.                                   anathema to many on this list.
FCC 04-208, GN Docket No. 04-54
Fourth Report to Congress September          But I am merely an (I hope) informed            Or run it like the sewers where some
9, 2004                                      layman, not a real techie.                      government agency or mandated devel-
                                                                                             oper runs the sewer line down the street.
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/       Hughes: I have been watching the                The home owner or multifamily associa-
attachmatch/FCC-04-208A1.pdf                 ‘broadBand over power lines’ discus-            tion or coop, or property owner that is
                                             sions for quite a while, but it appears it      mandated to spend the min $1500 per
Nigel Ballard: I wonder if the FCC           will be five years or more before any real      home/dwelling for connection? In my
Chairman actually knows anything             networks get set up, and if I know Utility      opinion politically impossible.
about wireless, or is merely a politician.   companies they will first develop, deploy
[snip]                                       it sell it to urban, or suburban customers      Kruckenberg: What makes it politically
                                             where the market concentration is, long         impossible is not the $1500 per home.
COOK Report: WiMax has the buzz but          before they will reach rural America.           We pay much more than that already for
real deployment, contrary to Powell’s                                                        sidewalk and curb repairs and street im-
assertion, is a year away. Om Malik’s        p. 25 Boston Globe: “The nation’s top           provements, not to mention utility con-
September 2004 assertion on EvDO             telecommunications regulators are con-          nections when the home is constructed.
was short: “bah humbug!” http://www.         vinced that electric-power lines are final-     Most likely this would be funded over
gigaom.com/2004/09/verizon_evdo_             ly ready to become a revolutionary new          10+ years.
.php One must wonder whom was Pow-           way for Americans to get high-speed
ell trying to fool by such factually inac-   Internet access, unleashing competition         UTOPIA in Utah has already proven
curate statements.                           for cable and phone giants.”                    (as far as getting tax-payer-backed bond
                                                                                             funding) that homeowners will even
Coluccio: Nigel Ballard asked “I wonder      “But the utility companies that would           fight the strong lobbying of the local
if the FCC Chairman actually knows           actually deploy the services remain over-       telco/cableco to fund at these levels. Plus
anything about wireless, or is merely a      whelmingly skeptical. Of the nearly 160         this cost will come down. Elsewhere on
politician.”                                 investor-owned utilities in the United          this list it has been said to be at $600.
                                             States, dozens have tried out ‘’broad-          The political impossibility is the dimin-
Given his inclusion of WiMAX, but only       Band over power line” systems. Only             ishing ability of the RBOC, cableco and
after mentioning EvDO, first, I’d say that   one -- Cinergy Corp. in Cincinnati -- has       politicians to hold back the demand for
he either went to a Qaulcomm seminar         moved ahead with a significant commer-          this kind of infrastructure.
very recently that showcased Verizon’s       cial rollout, so far attracting barely 1,500
latest CDMA release, or he’s enjoying a      subscribers. Dozens of utilities that ran       Davis: Or a voluntary payment of the
free subscription to some technology let-    trials of the service in the last three years   connection fee, and then an enormous
ter not well grounded in reality.            took a pass on making a business venture        increase in cost for the additional band-
                                             of it.”                                         width?

BroadBand Over Power                                                                         Retzer: Visualize a government mo-
                                             “Locally, Western Massachusetts Elec-
Line and Alternatives                        tric Co. is starting up a 25-home trial in      nopoly providing local “last mile” FTTH
                                             Agawam of a hybrid system that carries          and layer 1-2 Ethernet with QoS avail-
pp. 24-25 Retzer: I don’t disagree with                                                      able to common local interconnection
                                             Net traffic on medium-voltage lines and
anything you wrote in this message but                                                       points with mandated open access to
                                             uses wireless gear for the last-mile con-
I’m wondering if you’ve looked into          nection to homes. But the state’s two           those providing services with competi-
broadBand over power line for rural          dominant electric utilities are both steer-     tive access from that point.
areas. Seems like it could, at least in      ing clear.”
theory be ideal for rural electric co-ops.                                                   Kruckenberg: MPLS over fiber would
                                                                                             work very well, too.
Savage: I have long been of the view

                                                              117
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
Retzer: This would provide the high            6. Absent scaling of TCP Windows, the
speed fixed infrastructure you need to         larger the pipe, one of two conditions re-    Vijay Gill: I do not have a SONET
do literally anything you could imagine        sult: the emptier the pipe, limited by the    ring. I buy unprotected wavelengths.
or want for quite a few years. It is un-       SYN/ACK/SYN, OR the more chaotic              The wavelengths are presented to me
imaginable to me that this wouldn’t be         the pipe with bursts and troughs.             with SONET framing. There are no rings
worth $1500 per dwelling unit and this is                                                    to fail. What happens is for example, if
coming from someone who is not a fan           7. Microsoft, refusing to rebuild a desk-     a northern path trench gets chopped, I
of government programs.                        top operating system into a networking        fall over from the northern path to the
                                               machine, took the cheap path with TCP         middle or southern path. IP routing takes
The biggest argument I hear against this       Windowing. Retaining the Windowing            care of all this.
sort of thing is government programs or        system, if a squelch or lost packet signal
monopolies are not very good at keeping        is received, Windows simply doubles the       Coluccio: The next question would be,
up with technology or at reinvesting to        number of TCP session requests, again         obviously, if you are actually receiving
keep infrastructure up to speed.               and again, until, the Windows operating       the benefit of self-healing (even if un-
                                               systemsthemselves constitute a DDoS           solicited), then does your IP restoration
Bandwidth Bottlenecks                          attack engine, even if the Windows hosts      have enough time to go through full
                                               are not already full of “bot” programs on     convergence within the 50ms time frame
p. 29 Davis: 1. older motherboards, in         the machines. In other words, to quote a      that SONET heals?
wide use, which only recently have bro-        poster I bought from “Thinkgeek.com”:
ken the 33MHz barrier                          When You Earnestly Believe You Can            Vijay Gill: Ah yes, the competing pro-
                                               Compensate For A Lack Of Skill By             tects. I am not receiving the benefit
2. ATA-66 and ATA-100 are nominals             Doubling Your Efforts, There’s No End         of any self-healing anything. I know
and myths in practice                          To What You Can’t Do.                         this because my circuits tend to go
                                                                                             down on a depressingly regular basis.
3. TCP is going to synchronize the ses-        Kruckenberg: People keep buying               But having worked on a backbone that
sion at the lowest speed. I have 7200          Windows (whether by their own choice          was protected by being built on top of
rpm drives and state-of-the-art mobos in       or not), and as long as they do, Microsoft    (some) full SONET rings, and then we
my lab, 100Mbp/s via switch or x-over          can take their time resolving the prob-       ran ATM SPVCs over those. And then
cable. No matter what tool I pick to           lems that a relatively small percentage       we ran IP over the SPVCs. What usually
measure, the sustained DTR (data trans-        of customers notice. You can bet that         happened was that depending on failure
fer rate) with an ftp (or http/ftp, which      as soon as consumers need an OS that          mode, the SONET would reroute, the
is the same thing as the http interface        can pump out 40-80Mb/s without falling        ATM switches would notice and would
gives way to ftp for the file xfer) is 3.8     over, Microsoft will ramp up the market-      reroute the SPVCs, and sometimes ISIS
Mbp/s, about the actual sustainable rate       ing (first to show that what we have is       would notice and reroute IP. The resul-
of a 10Mbp/s Ethernet NIC.                     all that we need, then that what we have      tant oscillation gonged the network for a
                                               will do what we need, then that they will     good few minutes. Life is very simple in
4. Ethernet is a “false advertising”           deliver what we need eventually, then         comparison now.
target. The sustainable throughput is          that what they delivered is all that we
about 30%-40% of nominal, whatever             need, repeat).                                Coluccio: Yes, of course, there are in-
that nominal, with short bursts up to                                                        stances when segments along a SONET
                                                                                             ring fail for reasons other than physical
550Mbp/s, transients to 650/Mbp/s, and         Cost Effective Use of                         fiber breaks and node failures, and in
breakdown after that -> which collapses
the TCP Windowing with its “fast back-         Sonet in a Backbone                           those cases it’s logical for IP conver-
off/slow-start”.                                                                             gence to take up the slack. But my ques-
                                               p. 30 Coluccio: Assuming the first part       tions above speak to the physical breaks
                                               is true, which form of TDM are you            and node failures, not plant operating
5. TCP Windows can be scaled, but such
                                               using at super high speeds that does          errors on the digital cross connect.
is almost impossible on a Windows ma-
chine or a Mac. With Solaris, Linux, OS-       NOT depend on SONET. And if the
                                               answer is that it SONET IS the underly-
X, it can be done, but it takes a great deal
                                               ing carriage, then does this mean that
                                                                                             Is the Problem
of skill and know-how to take advantage
                                               when the carriers’ rings fail they restore    Changing Network
of the bigger pipes. Please don’t take my
word for this. Consult IETF RFC 1323           traffic, through a process of self healing,   Business Models or the
(V. Jacobsen, R. Braden, D. Borman)            for everything BUT your traffic? I don’t      Lack of Same?
and RFC 1379 (R. Braden). The first is         understand. Please explain how you can
a more technical document, the latter          be running TDM at very high speeds and        p. 31 COOK Report: Now that David
more informational as explanation.             still not take advantage of the carriers’     Reed mentions it, I did not grasp the
                                               regional SONET rings’ self-healing.           Interstate comments of Melissa at all

                                                                  118
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

well either.                                   it is a story that I want to explore.         than anything else.

The metaphor that I am most familiar           The other issue that I see is that the        Utah was one of the most-wired states
with and that makes the most sense to          public Best Effort Internet so far does       (albeit with dial-up) previous to the
me is that the interstates are open to all     not have a sustainable business model or      UTOPIA initiative being launched. I
traffic and do not treat different traffic     economic model. This was articulated in       think we also rank very well in terms
differently. As in an open access network      David Isenberg’ and Roxanne Googin’s          of educated population and high-tech
at the physical layer.                         Paradox of the Perfect Network. Where         workforce. However, the average salary
                                               I am dissatisfied with this articulation is   is still around $24,000/yr. So my percep-
During my first 12 years of the COOK           the assumption that the perfect network       tions about Utah were very similar until
Report I never bored into the subject          (public Best Effort Internet) is the only     a couple of years ago.
of network architect beyond a rather           one we have. And that, like it or lump it,
abstract view of the protocol stack. Over      we are stuck with it. It seems to me you      When a few cities south of Salt Lake
the past six months with this mail list (5     have two other BIG components - the           started municipal fiber projects, things
months and its predecessor “ng peer” 1         PSTN - and private enterprise networks        started changing, dramatically. When
month) I have been getting an immer-           and that all three of these over lap each     UTOPIA (an interlocal agency estab-
sion in network architecture at multiple       other.                                        lished between the cities) started painting
levels and sense of, while the Best Ef-                                                      their vision, it was amazing to see people
fort Internet really works and is getting      Kruckenberg: The business model of            come almost out of the woodwork to
better all the time, it has draw backs for     the ISP/bandwidth provider boils down         support it. Especially when the RBOC
enterprises.                                   to this: figure out a way to deliver 100%     and cableco (and eventually almost all
                                               more bandwidth every year without re-         the local media) started aggressively op-
As TCP/IP becomes dominant every-              ceiving more revenue (or only a fraction      posing it.
where, enterprises are going to use it         more). Which means that the ISP has to
- come what may – and, since they are          figure out how to cut costs (or decrease      Other than what would appear to be a
using it, they have to figure to what          quality) by 50% every year. Forever.          handful of people, this isn’t a signifi-
extent they will co-mingle their net-                                                        cantly important issue to most people.
works with the public internet and to          Not very sustainable.                         However, that handful of people in-
what extent, driven by security worries                                                      cludes many influential business own-
and performance requirements they feel         COOK Report: I would like to try to           ers, economic development people and
compelled to build walled-gardens?             explore the business models of the three      city leaders. The most-represented group
                                               and their technology and policy interac-      of citizens is the +/- 18-34 male, most
I am fascinated by the complexity of is-       tions with each other. I don’t see many       whom spent their high school and col-
sues facing enterprise CTOs who have           people asking what it means when the          lege years with very good broadBand
tens and sometimes 100s of millions off        25 to 50 dollar per meg per month transit     access (if only at school) and can’t live
dollars to invest in maintaining, expand-      prices currently in effect on most of the     without it now.
ing or building their corporate networks.      global long haul optical backbones are
Fearing that it would be too rudimentary       not enough to even pay the backbone’s         When I talk to people outside my peer
for the network experts on this list , a       op-ex let alone anything else. Some           group about UTOPIA, most are unin-
list member sent me a flurry of private        telcos will die, others will morph into       terested and unaware, except for the
emails the third week of July. I have          more model packet network providers.          potential tax impact to them if it fails
done an edit of that correspondence and        Wireless - unlicensed and mesh – will, I      (everyone knows about that). Except for
am waiting for the list member to smooth       hope, be the next Tsunami.                    the 18-34 males (and probably 18-34
it out to his satisfaction before sharing it                                                 females if I spoke to more of them): they
here and publishing it. So part of my on-      But in the meantime how do we better          know all about it and are supportive and
going education is still under wraps as it     understand the complexity of the whole        excited about it.
were. This process however did surface         and if it possible to articulate some ra-
publicly in my “it’s time to bury nethead      tional sense of where we go beyond the        UTOPIA is being very closely watched
versus bellhead polemics introduction”         Paradox of the Perfect Network?               around the country. If they can execute
to the November issue.                                                                       (and those chances increase every day),
                                               UTOPIA and Connecting                         they are creating the model that other
I am not sure whether you would agree                                                        communities can follow.
or not, but I am fairly well convinced         the BroadBand Dots in
that large corporate networks, for a num-      Utah                                          Except for this project, Utah is certainly
ber of reasons, cannot and do not use                                                        no UTOPIA. We have the lowest educa-
just the Best Effort public Internet. What     p. 33 Kruckenberg: It is definitely a         tion funding in the nation, lots of prob-
they do and how they interconnect with         social issue, probably generational, more     lems with teen pregnancy and meth and


                                                                119
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
so forth. UTOPIA didn’t happen because        metrical capacity sufficient to meet to-       differentiated from service and content
Utah as a whole decided it was our most       morrow’s requirements (gigabit?) and so        ‘consumers’. Any party connected to
important social issue, nor does anyone       an OPLAN can never be based on ADSL            or using the OPLAN can freely assume
expect it to directly resolve more impor-     technology                                     either role. That is to say, a service or
tant social issues.                                                                          content provider only requires connec-
                                              • ownership of an OPLAN is likely to           tion to the OPLAN on similar terms to
UTOPIA happened because a few vi-             be by a combination of passive/portfolio       everyone else in that community in order
sionaries pushed it far enough to get         investors (pension & insurance funds;          to serve it
support from a few more visionaries           local authorities; private equity groups
and eventually caught the imagination         etc) or even its users – all of whom           • global connectivity beyond the OPLAN
of enough citizens and businesses to get      regard it as having investment, risk and       is achieved (as at present) through any
it funded, which will hopefully lead to it    return characteristics more akin to com-       telecoms operator or ISP who directly or
becoming a reality (they start construc-      mercial real-estate than the conventional      via an interconnect agreement, has ac-
tion in 6 of 11 cities this fall).            telecoms industry                              cess to a trunk fibre (or satellite) which
                                                                                             serves any building (subject to planning
pp. 37-38                                     • the maintenance and future planning          constraints) connected to the OPLAN
                                              and marketing of an OPLAN are con-             (i.e. the OPLAN is ‘unbundled end-to-
THE OPEN PUBLIC LOCAL AC-                     tracted out by the owners to qualified         end’)
CESS NETWORK THE CONCEPT                      third-parties
AND EMERGING REALIZATION                                                                     pp. 42-43 Savage: I was at a panel
… a 4th Utility for the information           • there is an understanding that an            discussion at Brookings Friday with
age                                           OPLAN must serve the ‘common good’             (among others) Scott Cleland from
                                              as well as the interests of its owners and     Precursor Group, whom I have often
by Malcolm J Matson                           this is reflected in the legal structure       thought of as pro-Bell. After discussing
                                              and contractual relationships it has with      various developments (he was enamored
The Open Public Local Access Network          those supplying and using it                   of WiMax but it wasn’t the only one),
- OPLAN                                                                                      he basically said that the conversion of
                                              • the corporate vehicle owning an              wired networks from voice-optimized
There is not, as yet, a precise and exhaus-   OPLAN derives its revenue from an an-          (ILEC) to data-optimized (DSL, cable,
tive definition of an OPLAN, largely be-      nual fee payable by every local access         WiMax) was a hurricane coming in,
cause it has yet to become an universally     point or building that is connected to         and the ILECs were like the Bahamas.
understood model or widely deployed.          that OPLAN                                     I thought that was interesting, coming
However, we use the term to denote a                                                         from him in particular.
digital network (regardless of the tech-      – it does not revenue-share with service
nology deployed) where many or most           or content providers as is the convention      The Vertically Integrated
of the following defining characteristics     of the telecoms industry
are present:                                                                                 Operator is Nearing
                                              • the cost (and probably the owner-            the End of its Life -
• an OPLAN serves an existing local geo-      ship and maintenance) of the individual        McInerney Again
graphic community or location, ranging        connection linking any building/access
from a street or business park through a      point to the OPLAN is likely to be born        Reed: We probably will see fiber reach
rural community up to an entire city          by the building owner rather than the          the home someday. But ultimately it’s
                                              network owner (as is currently the case        not the point. The point is that there are
• an OPLAN is open for access and use         with the water utility)                        much cheaper and lower risk approaches
by any party located within the commu-                                                       to deliver much greater end-user per-
nity it serves – both public and private      • the ongoing annual tariff for being con-     formance than a monolithic centrally
sectors, corporate and residential            nected to an OPLAN is ‘cost’ rather than       planned fiber rollout.
                                              ‘bandwidth’ related and may therefore
• an OPLAN infrastructure (wireless           differ OPLAN to OPLAN                          In telephony, we see this in the whining
and/or fibre) is owned and controlled                                                        that ILECs are doing about cable offer-
totally independent of any service or         • all traffic, whether voice, video or data,   ings. But the cable guys are looking for
content which runs over it                    that originates and terminates within the      handouts, too. Watch your wallet when
                                              OPLAN, does so at zero charge to the           they start arguing that they should be al-
• an OPLAN is not owned by a PTO/             parties involved e.g. peerto- peer VoIP        lowed to block Vonage, etc. and strip off
licensed telecommunications operator          within the OPLAN is ‘free’                     voice into a “quality of service” network
                                                                                             that can only be joined by one cable
• an OPLAN has true broadBand sym-            • service and content ‘providers’ are not      operator per area - especially when they

                                                                 120
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

say that HFC is “too expensive” to allow       one of a number of other similar writings   are always looking in two directions -
for competitive operators in the same re-      came to mind when reading your paper.       trying to protect sunk investment on one
gion. (I live in a town with two competi-      It was published in America’s Network       side, while being urged by customers,
tive HFC cable plants, and my quality of       Magazine in 2002, while everyone was        regulators and competitors, to disrupt
service is quite wonderful, thank you).        second guessing what went wrong and         themselves with lower priced services
                                               why. This one approximates to a great       on the other.
Matson: Quite right! That’s what many          extent my own feelings on the matter,
of us have been saying for some time           and in ways presaged some of your own,      “McInerney thinks big telcos could eas-
- there is no reality to investor expecta-     as well (at least from the view of publi-   ily “deleverage” themselves by selling
tions and current business models in the       cation date):                               off the physical assets to right the bal-
telecoms sector - the vertically integrated                                                ance sheet while at the same time freeing
“operator” as we now know it is nearing        “One guru [Francis McInerney of North       themselves to concentrate on delivering
the end of its life! The world is at a cross   River Ventures] who got it right” And       services which drive value by dropping
roads. Take VoIP or example.                   why he says telcos must shed their net-     the cost of information.”
                                               works
VoIP is a massive money-spinner for                                                        pp. 44-45 Coluccio: Here’s what list
everyone on this earth (cash we will all       Nov 1, 2002, by: Ian Scales, America’s      member with the handle: “ftth” had to
keep in our pockets) but a dagger to the       Network                                     say about the UTOPIA project yesterday,
heart of the telecoms industry as cur-                                                     in response to my comments about the
rently structured.                             http://www.americasnetwork.com/             Bell’s credit story:
                                               americasnetwork/article/articleDetail.
But there IS a way out - persuade the          jsp?id=36473 -snip:                         [snip]
Regulators and Governments to put the
genie back in the bottle! .... and I bet       “...telecom players must understand how     re: [If true, you can rest assured that the
the industry will have a damm good try!        they can improve capital velocity, which    RBOCs will point to this as the reason
Will the politicians listen? Increasingly      he measures using operating income          for pulling back on at least a portion of
‘No’ as they see the potential electoral       over total capital.                         their FTTP rollouts.]
implications of trying to take away con-
sumer freedom.                                 “Network owner and operators are prone      Or (and I know this is a stretch) it will
                                               to low-capital velocity models. You build   serve as an incentive for public/private
And a question I often ask - how long          a network and try and get a payback over    partnership FTTH deployments with
will it be before some smart 15 year old       10 or 15 years; or you buy a 10-year        municipalities, where the local munici-
geek makes a gizmo that enables all the        IRU; or you build an ambitious constel-     pal gov’t funds all or part of the project
millions of mobile phones to start mesh-       lation of low earth orbit satellites. All   on more favorable financing and pay-
ing with each other, thereby avoiding          have years of payback and slow write-       back period terms than the private sector
the bit-charging tollbooth of the network      downs attached to them.                     and its impatient shareholders can toler-
operator! As we all know from our LAN                                                      ate. Not all that different, fundamentally,
in our homes - bandwidth is free once          “That’s the network.                        than the federal RUS funding program
you’ve found a means of paying for                                                         for broadBand. AT&T has engaged in
the kit - and that model is scaleable to       “But your real business (where you actu-    such a partnership (with UTOPIA), to
the globe! Anyone operating a business         ally make the money) is concerned with      sell services only, and that was an un-
model that ignores this is asking for          getting services out to customers who       thinkable position not so many years
trouble.                                       are ready to pay for them.                  ago. So there’s a glimmer of hope.

p. 43 Coluccio: Malcolm, I enjoyed read-       “What this requires is a high-capital       To think that an AT&T exec would say
ing OPLAN White Paper very much. It            velocity model enabling you to plug to-     the words “we don’t need to own the
embodies much of what’s been discussed         gether technology and milk it fast before   network” is itself a milestone. In the case
here at various times during the past two      the next technology or service comes        of UTOPIA, a private sector firm called
years in these symposium discussions,          along and bounces you out of the way.       Dynamic City is operating the network,
while providing a new and refreshing                                                       as a competitive open access network.
perspective from the 4th provider van-         “The problem is that big carriers have
tage point. While I’m not too keen on yet      been trying to run high-velocity busi-      Despite the claims of Qwest and Com-
another provider’s involvement as the          nesses while being bogged down with         cast, the local government is not com-
fourth, perhaps the attributes of the 4th      low velocity balance sheets. Not only       peting with the private sector. The local
that you described can be imbued and           does the risk/reward profile of the con-    government is funding a high-perfor-
embedded in one of the existing, or one        solidated business make it difficult to     mance platform where private sector
of their soon-to-be heirs? In any event,       understand performance, but big carriers    competition over a common infrastruc-


                                                               121
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
ture is part of the mission statement.          ment infrastructure if you have a mo-
                                                nopoly. You can also make money off of        “Just as incumbent telcos are looking
That’s the part that Qwest and Comcast          low-investment services, but only if you      at DBS [digital broadcast satellite] for
don’t like, because they know how infi-         are nimble (jumping from VoIP to other,       video content, infrastructure, and exper-
nitely more appealing such a “freedom           more promising services, as needed), but      tise, a number of both large and small
of choice” network would be to consum-          it is not likely to be a huge amount of       MSOs are looking to telephony partners
ers, and also how appealing it would be         money unless you establish a dominance        to undertake all or parts of tasks, includ-
to 3rd party content, application, and          like that of Microsoft.                       ing not only long distance, but also inter-
service providers who could actually                                                          connection, call management, signaling,
market their wares on a level playing           Who Will Capture                              customer support, and/or network man-
field, with no fear of being covertly shut                                                    agement,” Lambert writes. “Such out-
out of the market by a vertically-inte-         VoIP? IXC Alliance with                       sourcing and revenue sharing is enabling
grated market power. [end snip]                 CableCos for VoIP?                            smaller MSOs to enter telephony im-
                                                                                              mediately, and then incrementally build
Have you, Malcolm, or anyone else here,         Davis: From Light Reading, 29 SEP 2004        their own telephony infrastructure.”
taken time to examine the model on              http://www.lightreading.com/document.
which UTOPIA is founded, and whether            asp?site=lightreading&doc_id=60095            Steve Heap: Interesting article, although
it fits the type of archetype or exemplar                                                     I am not sure I agree with the conclusion
model you referenced, earlier?                  “Some specialized service providers,          that an IXC like AT&T could remain in
                                                particularly those focused on voice           anything like its present shape by being
Matson: Frank, I entirely agree - what          wholesale and long-haul traffic, are find-    the outsourced operator of the small-
we are aiming for has yet to be realized -      ing new friends in the cable industry.”       er cable companies VoIP services. The
but that’s why we are focusing on build-                                                      larger cable companies have the internal
ing an small exemplar ( as the Stockton         Cable operators accounted for about           engineering teams to do this themselves.
to Darlington did for rail ) http://dspace.     2.5 million voice-service subscribers in      That leaves them with an initial need
dial.pipex.com/town/terrace/adw03/              2003 and are likely to reach the 4 million    for TDM termination, and the IXCs will
peel/railways/stock.htm http://www.rail-        mark by the end of this year, according       be there to take that traffic, but as VoIP
centre.co.uk/                                   to a new report released this week by         peering starts to take shape, then the
                                                Heavy Reading, Light Reading’s paid           calling customer can be routed at the
We are NOT expending energy on try-             research arm (see Heavy Reading: Cable        IP level to the called customer, and the
ing to persuade political and regula-           Cos Race for VoIP).                           IXCs become bit transporters.
tory minds of what they cannot possibly
                                                The report, “Cable Triple Play: The
conceive - the vested interests are too
                                                VoIP Card,” by analyst Peter Lambert,
                                                                                              How will VoIP play out
powerful in that arena and they spend
too much time with them.                        points out that one big ally of the cable     with the MSOs?
                                                providers are the inter exchange carriers
I know nothing about the UTOPIA proj-           (IXCs), competitive local-exchange car-       pp. 48-49 Menard: I think that deals
ect (what a name to guarantee it remains        riers (CLECs), and other voice-applica-       between the IXC’s and the MSO’s are
a dream!!) so please point me to where I        tion service providers (ASPs) that are        not on the terms of the IXC’s, but rather
can learn more.                                 lining up to partner with multiple system     on the terms of the MSO’s.
                                                operators (MSOs).
p. 47 Odlyzko: Francis McInerney is an                                                        If ATT (which is not a LEC anywhere
interesting chap, but his ideas go only so      The upshot is that if VoIP services take      anymore than MCI is a LEC anywhere,
far. Yes, you can have high capital veloc-      off in the cable business, it could provide   unlike Sprint), is looking for salvation
ity. Dell is just about the ideal example,      a new source of revenue and partner-          on Wallstreet by fooling its investors
as it often gets paid by its customers          ships for the ailing voice-carrier world.     into thinking that they got into a really
before it has to pay its suppliers, so in ef-                                                 lucrative contract outsourcing the voice
fect operating with negative capital. But       The cable guys are craving these part-        infrastructure of certain MSO’s, then I
there is only so much in the economy            nerships, too, primarily because it gives     think that their investors better look at
that can be handled this way. Note that         them a new service to deliver without         the profitability of these ventures.
somebody has to produce the disks,              requiring a significant overhaul of their
CPUs, screens, etc. that go into Dell           infrastructure. Lambert reports that ten      Reed: According to Richard Greene of
products. And some of the producers of          MSOs have inked deals with telecom            CableLabs, the MSO’s are planning to
those components manage to do quite             network operators to handle their voice       split off voice traffic onto a separate pro-
                                                services, and several more have out-          prietary Internet backbone for QoS.
well, in spite of high capital investments
(Intel is the best example). In telecom,        sourcing deals in place with affiliated
                                                CLECs.                                        Coluccio: Why not? They’re already
you can make money off of high-invest-
                                                                                              doing that on the local pipe using DOC-

                                                                   122
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

SIS protocols designed specifically for        internet connection, which they plan           peering, etc. I don’t why we should
this purpose, as well. You don’t suppose       to move to, and away from specialized          expect an investment to improve access
they’ll call the new voice services sup-       class switches.                                times to random, un-affiliated content,
ported in this fashion something like                                                         and I don’t see a reason to feel bad about
“@Home,” do you? <g>                           They see the benefit of the Vonage-style       investing to improve the access to affili-
                                               service provisioning, not least because        ated content.
And if AT&T is a part of the game, as          they can reduce truck rolls if they can get
you note, the analogy to @Home be-             the users to do installs of new lines, not     Some ISPs are blocking outgoing TCP
comes even stronger, since, wasn’t it          just new extensions on existing lines.         Port 25 connections, on the grounds that
AT&T that earlier provided the 5Gb/s                                                          this is primarily (by number of users,
SONET backbone to @Home in year                Carving up the Internet                        number of messages) used for spam sent
2000?                                                                                         by PC’s ‘owned’ and running as bots or
                                               p. 57 Forster: That sort of hypothetical       zombies. Educating users and enforcing
What the MSOs do on the back ends of           danger (carving the Internet into pieces       PC hygiene costs ISPs real money, so
their headends and softswitching plat-         with walls in between) is regularly trot-      some feel fine about blocking port 25 by
forms toward the core is one thing. What       ted out, but I just don’t see it happening.    default, and even charging a premium to
they do on their individual access pipes       I don’t see that as likely as it doesn’t       allow it to be open. Again, if labeled ac-
is something else. entiely. I suspect it is    maximize revenue for either the net-           curately I can’t see a problem with this.
here, in the access portion of the end-        work connectivity provider or a content        Vern Schruyver has some pretty good
to-end scenario, where concerns could          provider. Even when both are in the            rants on this.
mount the most, as far as the openness         same company it would not maximize
and discriminatory treatment issues Jere       revenue.                                       Odlyzko: The discussion of Metcalfe’s
referenced earlier today. QoS for the                                                         Law caught my eye, and so I thought
MSO’s voice offerings, and who knows           Bundling and walled gardens can be             I would mention a brief note that Ben
what level of priority (probably none) to      used to get a slight premium but any           Tilly and I are writing, and which I hope
the parasitic competitors, is the area I see   more than a slight premium will drive          to have ready in a few days. Metcalfe’s
as being potentially the most troubling.       too many customers to find alterna-            Law (which, as Melissa notes, is not
                                               tives that are reasonable substitutes. So      a real law, and does not even have the
Reed: The interconnect of these pro-           if Land’s End (or whatever) ends up in         kind of evidence that Moore’s Law has)
prietary backbones can be limited to           a walled garden with very high prices,         says that the value of a general com-
the MSO “club”, which allows them to           then J. Crew or someone else gets more         munication network of size n grows
function as an oligopoly with national         business. If Warner Brothers movies            proportionally to n^2 (so polynomially,
reach (not something Richard said, but         are only available on TW Cable they’re         not exponentially), based on the obser-
he didn’t deny it when I asked).               leaving money on the table.                    vation that there are n*(n-1)/2 pairwise
                                                                                              connections that can be made. Reed’s
Since these guys could use no-cost peer-       If the walls you speak of are the ‘walls’      Law (due to our David Reed) says this
ing and charge all others for the privilege    of VPNs, then you have to accept that          value grows proportionally to 2^n (so
of accessing their customers, they can         the world seems to not particular want a       exponentially), based on the observa-
start to develop substantial market power      totally flat address space. There seems to     tion that one can form 2^n groups out
without being burdened with universal          be some utility in having different con-       of n subscribers. Now there are vari-
service or line-sharing obligations.           nectivity depending on context.                ous arguments that Metcalfe’s Law (and
                                                                                              therefore also Reed’s Law) overstates
AT&T might be part of the game, in             I think providers should have to describe      the value of a network. See, for example,
which case, they could win if the MSO’s        their service accurately and (i.e. truth in    my 2000 manuscript, “The history of
manage to escape the regulatory burden         advertising / accurate content labeling),      communications and its implications for
placed on most ILECs. Of course, that          but if they want to offer service that         the Internet,”
depends on how necessary AT&T is to            delivers some content faster than other
the MSO’s when carrying out their play,        content, I can’t see the huge problem          http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/
and how much they are willing to share         with that. The perception is that Internet     history.communications0.pdf
with ATT.                                      connectivity is a generic cloud, but in-
                                               side there are actual lines, switches, rout-   Metcalfeʼs Law – Is
Of course, maybe I’m just hallucinat-
ing...
                                               ers, bi-lateral peering, peering exchange      Universal Access Really
                                               point, complex BGP routing topologies,
                                               etc. The result is that some sites are         a Desirable Goal?
Reed: Frank - it’s not the DOCSIS voice        faster than others. Content access speed
that is being split off. The conversation                                                     p. 58 Savage: I submit that you are all
                                               can be improved by putting in caches,
was about VoIP over the high-speed                                                            wrong. Ubiquitous phone networks lead
                                               faster servers, fast lines, more private

                                                                123
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
to telemarketers and phone stalkers and       goes up.                                       by $5 per month to $29.99. It said the
dial-a-porn. Ubiquitous snail mail leads                                                     cut, along with an offer of one free
to 30 pieces of junk for each piece of in-    So, try Savage’s Law of Networks: The          month for some new subscribers, was
terest. Ubiquitous email leads to endless     value of adding members to a network           meant to spur demand ahead of the holi-
spam. Ubiquitous broadcast networks           starts out high, which encourages uni-         day season.
leads to ads and a vast wasteland.            versal access, which lets in the bad guys,
                                              who penalize *all* existing members in         Vonage, the largest U.S. Internet calling
The laws in question depend on the un-        an amount that far exceeds the value of        service with 270,000 subscribers, an-
derlying unspoken assumption that the         adding new members. Hence closed net-          nounced a few hours later that it would
people on them are good, nice, pleasant       works spawn open networks (to obtain           lower the price of its unlimited service
folks with legitimate things to say. When     the values of ubiquity), which, however,       by $5 to $24.99 per month. Vonage also
you put everyone in the world on them,        then spawn closed networks to avoid            said it would upgrade customers on a
in the service of the nirvana of maxi-        the hassles of openness. Yin, Yang and         limited plan that had cost $24.99 to the
mizing “value” (in the telecom world          all that.                                      unlimited service for free.
we call this “universal service”) you
necessarily get the scammers, fraudsters,     Odlyzko: Well, let me not get into             More than a dozen companies currently
abusers, etc.                                 details now, and wait until the paper is       offer voice over Internet Protocol, or
                                              finished. Instead, let me just note that al-   VoIP, services to U.S. residential cus-
Some famous law-and-economics po-             though there is much to Chris’ argument        tomers. Most offer unlimited local and
litical science type (James Q. Wilson?)       (which is one reason Metcalfe’s and            long-distance calls for $30 per month
pointed out that any given society will       Reed’s laws are incorrect), I don’t know       or less, with some as low as $19.95,
always have some number of people             of any major communication network             although those fees do not include the
who don’t follow the rules. As long as        where marginal utility turned negative.        broadBand Internet connection that VoIP
that number is small enough, things go        The almost universal trend has been            requires. Comparable plans for tradi-
fine. At some point, though, the number       towards growing usage and growing              tional service from the dominant U.S.
of miscreants is sufficiently high that so-   spending. Counterexamples are almost           telephone carriers typically cost about
ciety, in some meaningful way, “breaks        always associated with superior technol-       $60 to $70 per month.
down.” In a communications network            ogy displacing usage to other channels.
the relevant metric is not number of rot-                                                    The rise of consumer VoIP has been
ten people, but rather number of rotten       VoIP as a Pot of Gold?                         driven by the growing number of U.S.
messages. Pre-paid presorted bulk mail,                                                      households with broadBand Internet ac-
war dialers, and email address lists for      p. 61-62 Odlyzko: Dreams of riches             cess, as well as steep declines in the cost
spammers all multiply the impact of           through VoIP are slowly dissipating,           of the infrastructure necessary to run
the rotten people well beyond their IRL       it seems, while the pressure on tradi-         VoIP services. Vonage, a New Jersey
numbers.                                      tional service providers is increasing         start-up, was able to garner more than
                                              (Bell South and SBC debt ratings were          200,000 subscribers for about $103 mil-
So, I would submit that the value of          lowered by S&P on Tuesday).                    lion in venture capital and raised another
network connectivity probably actually                                                       $105 million last month for expanding
follows a traditional marginal utility        AT&T, Vonage Cut Prices on Internet            into foreign markets.
curve, with high marginal utility (and        Calling By Justin Hyde http://www.re-
high increases in total value) when folks     uters.com/newsArticle.jhtml? type=tech         While industry experts estimate the cur-
are being added from a low base; fol-         nologyNews&storyID=6380857&src=rs              rent residential VoIP market has less
lowed by a basically flat part of the         s/technologyNews&section=news                  than 1 million subscribers, they expect
curve where each person added gives                                                          sharp growth starting in 2005 as large
some more value, but not much; and            WASHINGTON (Reuters) - AT&T                    cable companies such as Comcast Corp.
then it starts to be *negative* when          Corp. and Internet telephone provider          roll out their VoIP services. Communi-
added hassles like finding the addresses      Vonage said on Thursday they were cut-         cations consulting firm Yankee Group
of people you want (on the origination        ting prices for their residential Internet     forecasts VoIP services will win 17.5
side) and dealing with spam and its cog-      calling services by $5 per month, the          million residential users by 2008.
nates (on the receiving side) outweigh        strongest signs yet of a price war in the
the marginal benefit of the next user. If     nascent market.                                Analysts say more VoIP competitors will
I were an actual economist I’d appropri-                                                     add even more pricing pressure that may
ately modify it for uncertainty: you don’t    AT&T, which made Internet calling ser-         imperil some small companies. Before
know for sure which new member of the         vices a priority after announcing its          Thursday’s moves, AT&T had already
network is going to be a bad guy, but         retreat from traditional residential tele-     lowered the price of CallVantage once,
as you continually increase members,          phone services in July, said it was lower-     and other providers offer free months, or
the probability of having (n) bad guys        ing the price on its CallVantage service       limited calling plans for as little as $10

                                                                 124
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

per month.                                     will still have to lower their prices to    A Mesh Routing Protocol Focused on
                                               compete, but they may run afoul of obli-    Packet Error Rates
“The low barriers to entry makes the           gations to pay interest on bonds and find
business all the more competitive and          themselves starved of capital to maintain   COOK Report: When Dave Hughes
currently all players are competing on         and upgrade their old plant. Depending      talks about the Berlin mesh people, he
price with very little differentiation,”       on the amount of retained capital, they     mentioned how much of the activity of
UBS analyst John Hodulik said in a re-         either incur losses for a while and get     the mesh is constantly taken up with
search note.                                   over it, or go into Chapter 11.             find paths and defining the process of
                                                                                           routing. The problem is when the radios
Goldman: In conditions like this, resell-      Why would anyone think that an *IN-         are defining the routing they can’t be
ers do well. In an article that ran today, a   CUMBENT* with an embedded base of           sending data. Your mesh sounds much
business WISP notes that price competi-        technology can make gobs of money as        more static?
tion in VoIP is fine by him:                   a result of the advent of a new technol-
                                               ogy that makes theirs obsolete? If the      Sege: I would not say static but rather fo-
AIR2LAN Pursues the Leading Edge               incumbents are both lucky and skillful,     cused in its scope. The excessive growth
http://www.isp-planet.com/fixed_wire-          they can avoid dying. Insurgents, on the    in routing overhead as the network scales
less/business/2004/air2lan.html If you’re      other hand, with no embedded invest-        is one the problems we found early on
not expecting to find an innovative, busi-     ment to recover or protect, and indeed      with the military-inspired protocols. The
ness class WISP in Jackson, Miss., you         get rich using a new technology. Once       only thing that the Tropos mesh does
haven’t heard of AIR2LAN. [September           they deploy it, though, they become in-     is to ensure that every cell maintains
30, 2004]                                      cumbents, waiting for the next insurgent    information about the best several paths
                                               to come along.                              between itself and the wired gateways
The company is using Level 3’s VoIP                                                        to the internet. Beyond tracking whether
service, which Bhagat says is competi-         Given the scale of the telecom indus-       a neighboring cell is on a best path or a
tive. “RBOC long distance service for          try, it should be obvious why spending      near best path, a particular cell doesn’t
business is typically 4 or 5 cents, and        (roughly) dozens of millions of dollars     care about anything else-- just those
ours is priced at 2.5 cents. Their busi-       on lawyers and lobbyists trying to delay    paths that its neighboring cells have
ness line is $60 and our business line is      the advent of the new, cheaper technol-     chosen as their best paths. You can have
$20.”                                          ogy, one way or another, are all dollars    a thousand cell Tropos network and any
                                               well spent, from the perspective of the     one cell only knows about say 20 neigh-
Bhagat isn’t worried about price compe-        embattled incumbent.                        boring cells. It doesn’t need to know
tition precisely because he has not built                                                  about the remaining 980 that are not on
his own VoIP network. “Level 3 is very         Reed: Why would anyone dream that           best paths or adjacent best paths.
active in this marketplace and I believe       VoIP could create riches for anyone
they will remain competitive on price.”        except the folks who deliver early hard-    COOK Report: I guess you are saying
                                               ware and software?                          that when you start out with only 20
Savage: Let’s assume for the moment                                                        nodes you might have for each node 2 or
that technical advances over the last 10       Matson: And the rest of humanity who        3 best paths to the upstream exit from the
years have created a world in which the        will keep a shed-load of cash in their      mesh. When you get larger you might
amount of resources necessary to handle        pockets. I’m telling everyone from plat-    have three or four best paths. But when
voice traffic has declined by a factor of      forms when I speak that on that basis,      your get really huge you still would not
[x].                                           VoIP is probably the biggest money-         have many more than 4 or 5 best paths?
                                               making telecoms idea of all time!!
If providers with embedded old technol-                                                    Sege: That’s right.
ogy have fully depreciated their invest-       Tropos Interview
ment and paid of the debt they incurred                                                    COOK Report: And when each client
to build it, they will be able to compete      page 66 –67 Sege: The founders there-       sets up its best paths and alternative best
in the new world by lowering their prices      fore decided to design their own protocol   paths, presumably there is some kind of
by a factor of [x], but their profit margins   that was intended to do one thing and       polling mechanism and it would look for
will go from very high to less so. Bad for     one thing only. To find and maintain the    an alternative best path if the through
stock price, but good for the world.           best path from a client anywhere in the     put is affected in some way? How does
                                               mesh back to the best choice of wired       it know when it had better change what
If providers with embedded old technol-        gateway to the Internet. It doesn’t care    it is doing?
ogy have NOT fully depreciated their           about a shortest path or about what rout-
investment, and still owe a bunch of           ers are doing that may be adjacent to a     Sege: Good questions and the answers
money to bondholders secured (directly         best path.                                  are part of our proprietary algorithms.
or indirectly) by that investment, they                                                    This is how you maintain state about the


                                                               125
                       COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
best path without having to know infor-        attached to a street light and would have
mation about the quality of every hop          lightening protection and surge protec-       Let’s say that a year from today Phila-
along the way.                                 tion and so on. We also made it “law          delphia has their entire city network
                                               enforcement quality” which meant that         installed and you will be paying per-
COOK Report: In other words presum-            it supports a secure VPN and encrypted        haps $16 a month to use this network
ably each client is given a recipe of things   inter-mesh communication.                     anywhere in Philadelphia. You could be
to look for and presumably it keeps two                                                      anywhere in the city with a Wi-Fi phone
or three fall over paths to route too if       We sold our first system to an agency         and call anywhere across the Internet
data that it receives becomes less than        here in the San Francisco Bay Area.           at 2 cents a minute. That is going to be
optimal? Does that make sense?                 They gave us a bunch of advice on             a new model for telephony in a year’s
                                               how to make the system even better.           time. You don’t even need SIP gateways
Sege: Yes. And another point that you          We launched the product that we are           because Skype provides that service
should know is that that the metric we         shipping today in September 2003. In          already.
use to choose the best paths revolves          parallel, we hired a public safety sales
around packet error rates or what we call      force from Motorola. Out of 100 or so         p. 71 COOK Report: From Converge!
packet success probabilities.                  customers in total, we have sold about        Network Digest, v.11, n.222 Nov 17
                                               50 systems to law enforcement agencies        2004
COOK Report: You are looking out for           including San Mateo, Coprus Christi,
lost packets then?                             Milpitas, New Orleans, Los Angeles,           The city of Taipei, Taiwan selected Nor-
                                               Boulder City, Miami Beach and many            tel Networks for huge wireless mesh
Sege: Correct. Because it turns out that       others.                                       network that is expected to encompass
the most expensive thing that happens in                                                     10,000 wireless access points in service
a wireless network is packet retransmis-       p. 68 COOK Report: What do nodes cost         by year-end 2005 and serve an area of
sions.                                         in small quantities?                          272 square kilometers, where 90% of
                                                                                             Taipei’s 2.65 million people live. [snip]
COOK Report: And by definition a               Sege: There is an outdoor node that is
dropped packet would imply some kind           environmentally hardened. It is designed      Reed: I know quite a bit about this.
of change in the operating conditions          to be hung from light poles and survive       Based on a series of interactions a couple
of the network? Presumably there are           salt and fog and wind and lightening          of years ago with the Viral Communica-
few enough conditions that would cause         strikes. It transmits at 4 watts and has      tions group (headed by Andy Lippman
packet loss such that it is possible to        very high receive sensitivity. It is built    and me) at the Media Lab, Nortel’s wire-
model your protocol teaching it in effect      like a cellular base station. This unit has   less division made a strategic decision to
what to look for and how to change its         a list price of about $3200. There is an      develop a carrier-grade deployable WiFi
behavior depending on how its environ-         indoor unit without all the environmen-       infrastructure that would provide easy
ment changes.                                  tal hardening but which runs the same         deployment of hotspots over a wide area
                                               full suite of routing software. However       that provide authentication and seam-
Sege: Yes. It is a very dynamic protocol       it transmits at 200 mili-watts. This lists    less roaming. I’d be happy to direct you
where you want to minimize false posi-         for $1,800. Both prices are in quantities     to the Nortel guys who developed this
tives as well as false negatives. The heart    of one.                                       stuff. We’ve had a test deployment here
of what we do is in the sampling inter-                                                      at MIT for quite a while now (though it
vals and how you weigh various samples         p. 69 COOK Report: How close are              is not our primary campus WiFi solu-
as they relate to your overall packet suc-     we to having Wi-Fi cell phone that can        tion).
cess probability. This is all a part of our    replace the measured use cell phone
intellectual property as refined over the      networks of the large commercial cell         It’s important to say that we didn’t
hundreds of deployments that we have           phone players?                                design this for Nortel, but our research
undertaken during the time that we have                                                      into viral, scalable radio network ap-
been working with these protocols.             Sege: It will happen. Very early in 2005      proaches did inspire and validate their
                                               there will be Wi-Fi phones that look          own view of an emerging market oppor-
                                               exactly like a cell phone on the market.      tunity. Looks like the dogs are interested
p. 67 We decided in effect to market our       Instead of cellular radios they will have     in the dog food, too.
system to local law enforcement agen-          Wi-Fi radios. They will contain the free
cies as an effective way to quickly build      VoIP Skype clients and the like. Any-         COOK Report: David thank you. Based
a giant hotspot over an entire city that       where there is a Wi-Fi access point you       on you remarks I did some more dig-
would then connect back into the city’s        will be able to make a VoIP phone call        ging and came up with http://www.
traditional wired infrastructure. This led     using the Skype-out service to anywhere       nortelnetworks.com/corporate/news/
to a decision in early 2002 to build a         in the world and Skype out will termi-        newsreleases/2004d/10_13_04_wire-
ruggedized out door unit that could be         nate your call to the PSTN.                   less_mesh.html

                                                                  126
                                     The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

                                             price-performance.pdf                                      I would venture a guess the Invisible
This seems to be a general description                                                                  Hand sellers either are overcommitted
of what The Taipei system does. It men-      p. 72 Sege: We refer to our mesh as a                      and are selling off excess capacity at a
tions the media lab and National Taiwan      “client server” mesh rather than an “ad-                   loss or that IH represents a tiny portion
University as testing deployments and        hoc” one. This is because ours is com-                     of the total traffic that they just do not
Data Ventures Inc as deploying the Nor-      pletely optimized for the common case                      care about it.
tel solution in cities in the US.            of connecting a client through the mesh
                                             to the best backhaul point or gateway,                     I have no idea the mechanics of their
Ballard: I have some material including      rather than for the case of connecting cli-                deal or connection but it’s very interest-
a lot of Mesh-related links here: http://    ents arbitrarily within the mesh. Sri and                  ing. What is the value of excess capac-
www.joejava.com/mesh.htm                     Chari can take you through the details,                    ity? Said another way, how much is
                                             but it turns out this allows us to keep                    your current unused bandwidth worth an
France Telecom were testing the Nortel       overhead <5% regardless of mesh size                       hour, one hour from now? The answer,
solution and told me it was very slow        and provide 2-10x better throughput than                   of course is zero. Think in terms of an
in operation and that they weren’t im-       ad-hoc approaches. This in turn allows                     options market. As the time that the op-
pressed.                                     us to be fully distributed with the flex-                  tion expires approaches the value of the
                                             ibility to inject backhaul into the mesh                   option drops to zero.
COOK Report: Nigel Ballard’s web page        wherever and whenever needed.
on mesh is a superb reference. The links                                                                From: Nemo Semret:            Thanks to
and Nigel’s five point evaluation make       Pennsylvania                                               alex@nac and alex@pilosoft for jump-
it well worth a visit. Nigel includes the                                                               ing in there and clarifying. The system
following quote: Rajeev Chand, a senior      Legislature Tries to Kill                                  allocates bandwidth in small time incre-
equity analyst with Rutberg & Co., a “re-    Wi-Fi Nets                                                 ments, and as large as several months
search-centric investment bank” in San                                                                  in a reservation market. It’s not usage
Francisco was asked for his thoughts on      From the Baller Herbst list on November                    based, it’s “on-demand”, i.e a buyer get
mesh recently:                               19. Quote: Various sources say Verizon-                    bandwidth (e.g. a committed access rate)
                                             backed anti-municipal bill would kill                      allocated to them and that allocation can
Q: Some people have downplayed mesh          Philly Wi-Fi plans. . .                                    change in real-time as needed. I’ll just
in the past. What’s changing?                                                                           say it’s _not_ a re-invention of rout-
                                             http://www.broadBandreports.com/                           ing, it’s all about pricing and allocation
A: Some of us were wrong about this          shownews/56898                                             of bandwidth. But no need to explain
space. Two or three years ago we             http://www.wetmachine.com/index.php/                       Merkato here, you can read all about it
thought that mesh outdoor Wi-Fi would        item/175                                                   on our website or contact anyone at in-
have technology performance issues that      http://www.Wi-Fiplanet.com/news/ar-                        visiblehand.net for more info. [snip]
would prevent its applicability in key       ticle.php/3438161
markets. What we have seen in the past       http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/                        Longer term, the value for the seller
two or three years is that, for the mu-      business/10210849.htm?1c                                   is that they average more money for a
nicipalities, cost rather than performance   http://www.Wi-Fiplanet.com/news/ar-                        given available capacity.
turns out to be the large value proposi-     ticle.php/3438161
tion. Even if there are four hops, they      h t t p : / / w w w. t e c h d i r t . c o m / a r t i -   First, because the ability to buy on de-
are just delighted with anything better      cles/20041118/113228_F.shtml                               mand attracts customers who would not
than 10 kilobits per second, even if there                                                              come to that seller otherwise. And the
is a little bit of latency. That in turn     .. but maybe the Philly Wi-Fi plan is                      seller can satisfy them without compro-
has created a very significant near-term     safe, if it’s a free service . . .                         mising their existing traffic because it’s
market.                                      http://www.muniwireless.com/ar-                            *allocated*. They can do it without in-
                                             chives/000502.html                                         creasing their network cost (sunk cost of
Toward the end of the page Nigel says:                                                                  pipes, or sunk cost of transit commits),
Mesh technology (especially the Tropos        ... a different angle on the Pennsylvania                 and with near-zero cost of sales.
solution) is fast becoming the de-facto      legislation
solution for municipal deployments. The      h t t p : / / w w w. z w i r e . c o m / s i t e /         Second, since the bursty buyers are only
speed of deployment and lack of infra-       news.cfm?newsid=13398051&                                  buying on demand, all else being equal,
structure wiring seem to be the drivers.     B R D = 2 2 1 2 & PA G = 4 6 1 & d e p t _                 they can pay a higher price per unit. If
Performance it seems, is considered sec-     id=465812&rfi=6                                            they could buy 100Mbps for 1 hour, they
ondary.                                                                                                 might be willing to pay $0.10/Mbps/
                                             Bandwidth on Demand                                        hour, for a total of $10. But in today’s
An interesting Tropos PDF well worth                                                                    market, you’d have a hard time selling
reading. http://www.tropos.com/pdf/          Retzer:        alex@pilosoft.com              wrote:       them a 100Mbps for a month at that price


                                                                  127
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
which works out to $72/Mbps/month,            voice minutes. Minutes are something          http://consume.net/twiki/bin/view/Main/
i.e. $7,200 total. Imagine that happening     that are far easier to buy and sell, as       GeneralFAQ#What_is_the_Consume_
over and over again 24x7 and you can          the demand is there now, the supply is        project_ Consume started already in
see how the seller can average a higher       growing as different alternative ways of      2000, does not predominantly use Lo-
price. Think Tetris. Market pricing is the    getting to the destination are developed      custworld’s Meshbox, nor even mesh for
joystick that makes the blocks fall more      (VoIP etc), and buyers and sellers can        that matter. Its nodes are a mix of differ-
neatly and leaves fewer gaps.                 be “linked up” in a matter of minutes.        ent technologies and vendors.
                                              Arbinet has developed a good business
Third, even for buyers with non-bursty        in meeting the needs for well-priced, de-     Hughes: But when I asked some of the
traffic, the same effect occurs over          fined quality termination - and didn’t get    Consume guys and John Wilson from
a larger time scale. The buyer is not         involved in any forays into bandwidth         the UK, they said they were using some
locked into today’s price and volume          trading.                                      Locustworld radios which are much im-
commit for 12 months, when their traf-                                                      proved and work for them.
fic could double or halve in a couple of      Bandwidth trading (ie in terms of DS3s,
months, because say they land or lose         OC3s etc.) always seemed to me to be a        Buettrich: Yes, they are using some.
one deal. Knowing they will always get        case of the industry having lost its mind     But consume.net is not predominantly
a fair price is a huge factor for any buyer   for a time - there was never any real rea-    Locustworld nor mesh. I asked Julian
who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time       son why someone would want to know            Priest (co-founder consume.net) to com-
renegotiating and/or regretting.              the price of a point to point transmission    ment, and he writes
                                              circuit at some point in the future, and
These factors are true whether the seller     the provisioning issues of a single circuit   “The consume blurb is right. It aspires to
is a reseller with no network of their        meant that there was almost no liquidity      mesh and some bits of it (James’ bound-
own (i.e. 100% variable cost of bw), or       - it simply took too long to provision and    less project etc) do, but most of the rest
a network with a global footprint who         turn up a useful piece of capacity.           of it is hand stitched (managed mesh)
owns their fiber and also does not buy                                                      with a fair bit of “hotspotism” and ac-
transit from anyone (i.e. 100% sunk cost      IP internet access is an interesting op-      cess point activism.”
of bw), and anything in between. Note         portunity though - much closer to voice
skillful avoidance of calling them “tier      minutes in many ways. There are oppor-        Buettrich: #4 Let me clarify the orga-
N ISP” ;)                                     tunities to have multiple sources of sup-     nizations:
                                              ply for Internet access - ie pick the one
p. 74 Retzer: I was probably trying to        that is either best priced at that time, or   The MeshCubes are made by 4G Sys-
be far too coy. What they have at large       gives the best quality to destinations you    tems, http://4g-systems.biz/ . Their open
exchanges is a way to sell bandwidth for      are interested in. Then there is the oppor-   software site is http://meshcube.org/
short-term commitments. They have cre-        tunity to “buy” the capacity you need for
ated in effect an options market where        a short period of time. Finally, you could    pp. 81-82 Forster: I think it’s hype.
you buy future bandwidth today. Now,          buy access to certain providers networks      So much hype that the actual value
one principle that is very important to       only - you may have a particular wish to      in 802.16/WiMax may be lost in the
the options market is that an option          gain access to cable company networks,        usual disappointment after the inevi-
becomes worth less the closer you get         for instance.                                 table under-delivery that follows over-
to closing so that if I need a gigabit for                                                  promising. I think there’s little danger
an event six months from now I’ll need        p. 79 Meshbox (as opposed to Mesh             in WiMax killing unlicensed wireless
to pay more than if I can wait closer to      Cube) hardware and software. This is          because unlicensed is now too well
the last minute (and risk not being able      Locust. http://Locustworld.com                established in lots of unassailable posi-
to get it). The benefit to those selling                                                    tions -- enterprise, home networking, hot
bandwidth is this is an opportunity for       While Locustworld’s software is based         spots, etc.
them to get revenue from some other-          on Open Source ingredients and open
wise unused capacity. Most generally          standards like the NIST’s AODV, http://       802.16 in general, and 802.16 on li-
have plenty of spare capacity on their        w3.antd.nist.gov/wctg/aodv_kernel/ they       censed spectrum in particular, is quite
networks because they have to plan for        do not GPL their code. As a result you        a bit more appealing to a classic large
future demand.                                have the creation of a GPL fork, http://      service provider than 802.11-based ap-
                                              sourceforge.net/projects/meshbox/             proaches. The issue is that while there
I think it is a neat business concept.                                                      may be some good trials with 802.16,
                                              Then you have the Consume project.            I don’t think the large service providers
p. 75 Heap: Just one correction on the        This is “a collaborative strategy for         feel any urgency to make large deploy-
Arbinet references. Arbinet always fo-        the self provision of a broadBand tele-       ments soon, which is one of the points
cused on a much more liquid market -          communications infrastructure.” See           in the article.
that for international (and US domestic)      http://Consume.net and read more at:

                                                                 128
                                       The COOK Report on Internet January - February 2005

Larry Roberts: Suppliers I have talked         systems. While there is great enthusiasm      then look for someone to let them speak
to of high power WiFi believe in their         about WiMAX for those giants who have         to each other - and charge you for it! It’s
research and tests that WiMax has no           endorsed it for mobile applications, the      a world of difference. The move towards
better range than WiFi at 200 milliwatts.      vendors realize markets still exist for       OPEN network is unstoppable and the
WiFi can then cover a city with a mesh         smaller operators and municipal groups        emergence of WiMax will be a great spur
in 1/4 mile circles.                           to use WiMAX to provide fixed access          to further WiFi development and deploy-
                                               in these rural areas and there is nothing     ment - not the other way round.
Buettrich: it would be interesting to          in WiMAX profiles that prevents it from
hear what this is based on.                    being effective in rural. That is why ven-    General Network
                                               dors like us will also be building micro
Ecclesine: Try comparing WiFi BPSK             base stations, not just the heavy iron for    Security
OFDM (7 dB C/I) with WiMAX QPSK                scaled cells. After many years in this
OFDM (10 dB C/I) and for the same                                                            Editor’s Note: I sent Melissa’s reply
                                               market, we know operators will buy and
EIRP, see what the distances result.                                                         to Vijay to David Hughes who is Dave
                                               deploy a good system in rural areas as
                                                                                             Hughes’ oldest son asking if he wanted
                                               long as it can be deployed economically.
Roberts: Wi-Fi is being used in Taipai                                                       to respond. Funny thing is Dave Senior
                                               (In fact, such areas have been our bread
and other cities to cover the entire city. A                                                 did the same thing. David’s been on my
                                               and butter, especially in the U.S.).
city that owns its own power can just put                                                    lists before and I will now add him to
them on power poles at little cost. The        With all the investments and support the      this one. David wrote back
result they believe is that WiMax will         WiMAX Forum is gaining, there will be
not over come WiFi. They do believe                                                          David Hughes: “Both Gordon and
                                               few vendors willing to invest in an en-
WiFi may overcome cellular in places           tirely different standard like 802.22 that    Dave sent this to me.”
like Taipai (dense cities). It is 20 times     is intended specifically for places where
                                                                                             Um, gents, this is the rule rather than the
less expensive (according to them) to          mass sales, by definition, cannot be real-
                                                                                             exception. I agree with the idea of mock-
deploy than cellular.                          ized. An even so, any would-be ratifica-
                                               tion of 802.22 is at least three years off    ery of hardware and crypto-coprocessors
                                                                                             to defeat bad people with bad intentions.
Cognitive Radio – Wi-                          (by the PAR’s own comment to the Com-
                                                                                             There are a million ways to defeat se-
                                               mission in its formal request to urge the
Max                                            Commission to prevent unlicensed any          curity, and most are easy to really easy.
                                               access to the TV bands until a standard       When I went to Dallas for job interview,
pp. 82-83 Coluccio: I submit that any-                                                       they asked me the idiotic question of
                                               can be realized) and any actual product a
thing that assists in getting high capac-                                                    “can you break into our current defens-
                                               conforming to such a standard at the very
ity backhaul capabilities out to sparsely                                                    es?”, like that somehow qualified me for
                                               least a year further. Four years is way too
populated rural areas is worth paying                                                        the security position, which by the way
                                               long to wait, especially when WiMAX
attention to. It was just yesterday that I                                                   grew to own all the deployed architec-
                                               can be there in the rural markets within
read an account in BroadBand Properties                                                      ture but I never could take over MIS,
                                               a year and thousands of deployments
Magazine citing the APPA’s (American                                                         and this was the only area that was ever
                                               using one of the many proprietary solu-
Public Power Association http://www.           tions are there already.                      hacked. In 2 years of working for this
appanet.org/ ) conclusion concerning                                                         Dallas company, I was responsible for
how few access networks were being             p. 84 Matson: WiMax permits the adop-         2500 machines spread globally, running
deployed in locales that were extremely        tion of a business model (old-telco style)    without firewalls, packet filtering and
distant from urban areas. And the reason       which WiFi really does not - which is         running DNS as the front end. (This was
for this was the high costs associated         why it is so powerful. Go into Starbucks      the nature of the product. You simply
with backhaul to those locations. They         and if you don’t want to pay the outra-       could not create a bigger target than one
concluded that the closer an MEU (mu-          geous fee for access to their hotspot         running BIND or SENDMAIL, times
nicipal electric utility) was to an urban      - move to the front of the store and          2500).
area, the more likely it was to extend         chances are you will find an ‘open’ net-
its internally-developed communications        work to connect to. Go there with your        I never got hacked. They were getting
capabilities to residences, as well.           WiMax card and they’ve got you!               slammed before I got there. So what did
                                                                                             I do to prove I could break in to their in-
p. 83 Leary: 802.22, I believe, will have      So I go with the ABI Research report          frastructure? The company started with
little chance of success. The thinking         - WiFi will be pushed further and fur-        5 employees. I was #25, so when I went
of those who supported the PAR is that         ther by innovative end users and will         for the interview they had about 19. It
WiMAX is an urban or suburban tech-            remain a ‘special’ technology for this        eventually grew to 250. Anyway, I said
nology only. While this may be true so         very reason. Buy 2 WiFi cards and you         ok, even though I knew this was an idi-
far as major operators intend to deploy        have a network and free communication         otic question. Went to their server room,
it, it is in no way true for many of the       between them - buy 2 WiMax cards and          talked my way into the cold room, said I
vendors working now to build WiMAX                                                           was just hired (I wasn’t and they didn’t

                                                               129
                      COOK Network Consultants, 431 Greenway Ave. Ewing, NJ 08618 USA
know me from Adam), picked up a loose         networks, I also agree with her that the      that I never knew I had, but “by-crackie”
5u server, and walked out of the build-       problem is operations and management.         they now have a drug to solve it now. It’s
ing. I’d just broken in and walked out        Security 101 is really simple. Turn off       shameless. Unnecessary. But caters to
with the crown jewels.                        all services before connecting to a net-      an needy public that would rather eat at
                                              work, then wait for the phone call. Ask       MacDonalds than slow down and under-
This stuff is fairly easy. Electronically.    for a justification of a service, why is it   stand what ingress/egress means in their
I ran a PEN Test and learned passwords        needed, then and only then is a service       own networks, and lives actually.
easily, had a guy come in and acquire         turned on with the absolute proviso that
leases on most of the client machines.        it be added to an Access Control List         More info than what anyone wanted.
Pretty easy. It still is today. If you look   simultaneously. This should be a first        I just shake my head, and I agree with
at what Melissa said at the bottom of her     line of defense. Then reporting is a must     Melissa. And by the way, string match
missive, you will find -                      as well. But 99.9999% of the people on        buffer overflows to gain access in order
                                              the planet blithely go about connecting       to inject rootkits as she talks about con-
Davis: My wired network also sits be-         their machines to networks with nary a        tinues to be the rage, after all this time.
hind the cable router. He used several        clue what is happening to the interface       Sheesh. Anyone have a clean room they
buffer overrun attacks to break into the      of their box.                                 want me to walk in to and pick up a box?
consumer perimeter firewall router, ob-                                                     It is pretty easy.
tain admin rights, read the ARP table,
and there he was stopped by my Linux          p. 88 Melissa has it right. This sugges-      pp. 89-90 Davis: “You can get seri-
bastion Firewall router which appeared        tion about adding more processing to          ous as the “technical thought leaders of
as a “black hole” - nothing there.            defeat this stuff has little to nothing to    the Internet”, create a movement with
                                              do with protecting infrastructure. The        momentum while educating yourselves
David Hughes Jr: Well, yes. And by the        first line of defense on Dave’s wisp for      about the massiveness and ubiquitous of
way, this is