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Sunday, June 03, 2007

A bit more about demand locality

In my last post I focused on geography and culture/language as critical factors for demand locality. However, there are many other ways that demand locality manifests. One of the more subtle is organizational demand locality.

Organizational demand locality is the relative efficiency of carrying traffic entirely within the infrastructure of a single organization versus having to hand-off traffic to other organizations. Wireless carriers offering unlimited "on-net" airtime are exploiting organizational demand locality. Internet service providers spend a surprising amount of resources worrying about peering with each other (or refusing to).

Once again, the geographic/cultural demand locality plays a key role. In places with very high demand locality (Korea, Japan, etc.), the need for numerous, large links between organizations is minimized or avoided entirely. In places with low demand locality (again, I mean the US), peering becomes a constant source of friction with tier-1 ISPs requiring peering at multiple points across the country or not at all. Merging ISPs to raise organizational demand locality only gets you so far.

The applications have to change, not the infrastructure.

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