[e2e] why fair sharing? ( Are we doing sliding window in the Internet?)

Bob Briscoe rbriscoe at jungle.bt.co.uk
Mon Feb 19 00:18:53 PST 2007


At 20:21 24/01/2007, David P. Reed wrote:
>Bob - nice analysis, but beware of simple models being viewed as complete.

Of course - but the goal here is to determine what is necessary at the 
(generic) network layer to be sufficiently resistant to gaming - ie basic 
microeconomics... in such a way that all the derivative economic tensions 
(and socially driven forms of fairness) have a chance to resolve themselves 
at high layers.

>The end user values more than just transport, which is all that is modeled 
>in this notion of congestion.

I guess I don't need to preach to you about where generic vs specific 
functions should be in the layering :)

>"Choices" or "options" also matter to users - whether it is the perception 
>that there are "500 channels" a la the US cable system vs. the British 
>broadcasting model of a couple of gov't channels and a few more gov't 
>granted monopolies called private channels - users will pay for choices 
>that they may or may not exercise.
>This provides a value to "switching" functions in networks.   The freedom 
>to channel surf, or the freedom to assemble a web page from many sources, 
>with a small switching latency matters.   But congestion directly blocks 
>the ability to switch - it kills option value, and if option value is a 
>large part of customer value, then congestion means that greedy users who 
>don't value choice can kill value for other users.

The point of Kelly's work was to ensure the weight of each privately held 
user utility was brought to bear against the social cost of congestion. If 
someone perceives value in switching, that value will weigh more heavily 
against the costs the greedy users cause. In the long run the increased 
demand that both represent would push into more network investment to 
satisfy them both. So it still seems nothing more is needed in the network 
layer to cater for options.

>The other point is that network infrastructure is at scale a dynamically 
>priced thing.    If you study the other literature on "real options" 
>(besides that which applies to R&D and network switching options) you will 
>find that options or contingent value analysis is crucial to pricing such 
>infrastructures as refineries, power plants, cable plants, etc. when faced 
>with variable costs such as tooling, plant construction costs (think 
>semiconductor fabs and Moore's Law estiimates of demand opportunity).
>So equilibrium economic models are helpful, but in fact contingent and 
>dynamic economic models are far more important than easy analyses like 
>these would imply.

Certainly. But isn't this a second order concern that we would expect to be 
resolved at higher layers? At the moment the Internet is badly disconnected 
from the primary economic pressure it should be connected to. Isn't waiting 
for dynamic economic models a bit of fiddling while Rome burns? Or are you 
saying a dynamic economic model is essential before we can do anything?

Finally, sorry for huge gap in this thread...


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