How do networkers manufacture Internet connectivity? I have been pondering about this question for several years now. My research involved interviewing 50 network engineers, peering coordinators and observers from around the globe. At the RIPE Meeting in Dubai in October 2017 I presented some of my reflections.
In the first part, I introduce the idea that coordination among network engineers is necessary to maintain Internet connectivity, because networkers have to overcome three types of uncertainty that are inherent in Internet interconnection: architectural, legal and economic uncertainty.
I elaborate this overarching idea by way of two examples. The first is how trust and distrust work as resources for ordering in Internet interconnection. The second example is about how networkers mitigate the difficulty of commercialisation of Internet interconnection by maintaining a market for transit, but a form of second-order barter trade for peering.
I conclude by explaining why conceiving of peering as a form of barter trade offers benefits to those who engage in it.
Head here to download the slides: https://ripe75.ripe.net/archives/video/101/