Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Level 3 Sets New IP Peering Policy

Level 3 Communications posted a revised peering policy for IP traffic exchanged within the United States. The company said that one fundamental aspect of the new policy is a requirement that carriers adjust routing practices and interconnection locations so that the distance and volume of traffic carried by each party on their backbone network remains equitable.

The revised policy sets forth four overarching principles that Level 3 believes should control all next-generation peering arrangements:
  • The primary objective of a peering arrangement is to enable each party to deliver high-quality service to its Internet customers.
  • The interconnection architecture and traffic exchange practices of each party should assure that the exchange of traffic is resilient, secure and quickly scalable.
  • Regardless of the direction or type of traffic exchanged between the networks, or the technology used to deliver it, the parties should work together to implement routing practices and adjust location of interconnection points such that each party bears a reasonably equal share of backbone burdens - taking into account the amount of traffic carried by each party and the distance over which that traffic is carried. This will give each party the option to use its own backbone network to balance backbone network burdens between the parties and thus eliminate the need to impose charges to interconnect or carry traffic.
  • Any termination or modification of a peering arrangement should be managed by both parties in a manner that minimizes adverse impacts to each party's customers and the overall operation of the Internet.
Level 3 said the updated policy was created to address questions raised by the Department of Justice during its review of Level 3's acquisition of Global Crossing Limited. The revised policy takes effect immediately across the networks of Level 3 and Global Crossing.

"For too long, peering practices between Internet carriers have focused solely on the commercial needs of the carriers," said Jack Waters, chief technology officer for Level 3. "We believe that the focus should be on customers, and that carriers must attempt to structure and implement fair and equitable interconnection relationships and practices that are designed to deliver fast, secure, reliable and quickly scalable Internet services to customers. Peering relationships and practices from a decade ago were implemented when traffic was dominated by email and text-based communications, and periodic interruptions in Internet service were common. Today, residential, governmental and commercial users rely on the Internet for rich content and applications, and demand better performance in an increasingly dynamic Internet environment. Fair, equitable, scalable and dynamic interconnection is essential to deliver that experience." 
http://www.level3.com/Legal/IP-Traffic-Exchange-Policy 12-Oct-11
  • In November 2010, Level 3 Communications and Comcast got into a public spat regarding IP peering after Level 3 became the primary CDN for Netflix.