Re: AARNet charges - IMPORTANT!!

Matthew Gream (
Tue, 13 Dec 1994 08:39:01 +1100

`Joshua Pitcher' wrote:

> In a message under this message, someone duscussed using packet counters
> to charge traffic on the net. But what happens if you connect to a bad
> line and have heaps of retries?? Will you be charged for retries as well
> as successful packets??

That's actually pretty close to the major problem. Volume charging, as
it stands at the moment and for the forseeable future, applies only to
_incoming_ traffic across the international link. Given that you as a
recipient can exert no control whatsoever over the transmitter, then
there is scope for potential problems. This could manifest itself, for
example, in an SMTP transaction that continually retries and fails,
though it's more of a minor problem in light of other potential abuses;
as you can place limits on retries.

Presumably "AARNet" will perform accounting at the Australian side of
the link, which means effectively that no form of control you exert
over your own domain of influence, by way of access control, will give
you absolute control over what you end up paying. Consider the
situation where someone malicious sets up "ping" to send you a steady
stream of information, slowly clocking up the meter, unknown to you.
You're only recourse is to contact whoever runs the originating
system, which may be a logistical nightmare!

I already envisage "bad hacker doods" doing such damage for fun, albeit
only in a few circumstances. Most of the problems will more than
likely originate from faulty software, but the extent to which this
can be a problem is debatable. Therein lies the real concern, there are
no guarantees (except that your worst case is the size of your pipe
to the net multiplied by the maximum length of time it will take you
to get the problem fixed).

"Supposedly", as some advocate, this risk is just one of those risks
that all businesses face. This argument is faulty because most
businesses that face such risks are usually those that provide
resources, such as the water or electricity authorities. They big, able
to absorb such short term anomalies and have measures to detect and
resolve them. The real situation is that those who purchase such
resources are able to control what they use and stop it when they
want. People who purchase bandwidth off AARNet are buying resources.

More than likely things will sort themselves out. I'm reminded of the
rather good postulate put forward on an SBS documentary last night,
in reference to "nature" which I can paraphrase roughly as : "Nature
has no problem with the way we are changing the planet, it will as
it has done so many times, reach a new equilibrium. We as people will
also have to adjust to this new equilibrium, and that is where the
problem will lie.".

Quite possibly "ditto" wrt. AARNet. *shrug*.


Matthew Gream
(sw/hw engineer)
(02) 821-2043