Re: Packet level accounting in IP routers?


kwe@bu-it.bu.edu (kwe@bu-cs.bu.edu)
13 Apr 88 16:54:48 GMT


In article <In article <MDC-WWB-DH962@OFFICE-1> WWB.MDC@OFFICE-1.ARPA (Bill Barns) writes:

>requirements of this type. Thus there is a concern that if the traditional
>management approach (more or less dictated by audit considerations) is
>employed, it might be necessary to have one physical interconnection for each
>contract.
> [...]
>On the other hand, shared gateways are much cheaper. But at present it is not
>evident that there is a way of allocating cost for shared gateways which would
>be satisfactory to the government auditors. The port used by the gateway would
>have to be paid for by one service component, including charges attributable to
>other programs which might be contracted with other components, or may be
>subject to different allowable pricing and cost recovery rules.
>
>The perceived bottom line here is that there is an implicit requirement for
>packet-level accounting of IP traffic, and ultimately ISO IP traffic likewise,
>through such a multiple-use interface.

        I don't agree with the premise that government accounting
requires separate physical connections per contract.

        I assume that we are speaking of separate departments within
your company, each of which has one or more separate contracts with
separate charging, either fixed price or cost plus.

        You say that the auditors require per-packet charging to
fairly allocate costs. Do they require each dept to pay a separate
rent or to install separate phone systems or to buy their own
furniture and pencils? They do not.

        Network costs could be set up as an overhead charge. Links to
outside networks like the internet are flat rate and this cost could
be allocated to each dept based on a formula. The only trick if there
is one is the formula, but every organization has a formula for
allocating basic telephone service with cost-per-message added on as
needed [long distance billing, for example]. So long as your formula
approximately distributes actual costs to all departments and only
recovers actual costs and a share of other overhead, it should be
acceptable to auditors.

        If MILnet goes to packet charging, and I don't see how they
can do it, those costs could still be approximately redistributed
according to a formula based on number of nodes, type of nodes, etc.

        [flame on] There is absolutely no reason that network access
charges should be packet based. It makes no sense on a local area
network like Ethernet and no sense in a packet internet. Users will
not understand the charges (as well as contract auditors) and you
won't be able to justify them. "Well, let's see your diskless
workstation used 45k NFS packets last month." "What do you mean, all
I did was read netnews!"

        Local area networks do not cost you on a per-packet basis and
you don't need to recover on a per-packet basis. Per packet only
works on (virtual) terminal networks, networks of the past. [flame
off]

        Kent England, Boston University



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