Frank J. Wancho (WANCHO@SIMTEL20.ARPA)
Tue, 19 Apr 1988 04:18 MDT

Last year I sent out a message outlining the pitfalls and problems
with the per-packet chargeback algorithm to be levied on the MILNET
hosts and gateways. No response at that time. Since then, the
ARPANET Lives message came out, hinting at the imposition of similar
charges for ARPANET hosts, followed recently by Bill Barnes' query.
That combination must have triggered a sympathetic reaction.

Let me point out several points to ponder:

1. Unlike the ARPANET, the MILNET backbone users have been offered
not one single carrot/reason for the charges, such as the promise of
an improved, high-speed backbone. The ONLY reason is to divide the
EXISTING cost of the MILNET backbone among the services based on the
usage by each service. (Service means Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.)

2. The mods to the PSN software have been in-place for over a year
with delayed monthly charge reports being produced as a paper exercise
only to check for accuracy and format. All that is required at this
point to implement the scheme is the declaration of the date on which
the paper charges become real. It would then be up to each service to
pay the bills, possibly going back to charge each facility connected
to the backbone - the reports are supplied at that level. I suspect
that the effort to change the rates charged would be trivial as that
would be a post-processing change. But, the effort required to change
the underlying traffic collection algorithm would certainly be
non-trivial at this point.

3. The algorithm itself is flawed (in my opinion): it is based on
charges only for outgoing packets, and TAC access (including connect
time, not just packet charges - in BOTH directions). That severely
penalizes hosts which act as mailing list distribution points, those
which offer anonymous ftp access, and those which allow telnet access,
particularly from TACs.

4. Geoff is right. Given the rates and charging algorithm, we will
find expedient solutions: shut down our mailing list redistributions,
disallow all ftp and telnet access, including outgoing ftp and telnet,
and move off the backbone...

To answer Bill's query: the network applications programs on the hosts
connected directly or indirectly to the corporate gateway(s) would
have to tag each outgoing packet with a cost center code which is then
counted and stripped at the gateway(s) prior to entering the backbone.
I know it's absurd, but that is the "correct" method to keep the bean
counters happy.


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