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Congestion pricing. Paying your way in communication networks

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3 Author(s)
T. Henderson ; Univ. Coll. London, UK ; J. Crowcroft ; S. Bhatti

Network congestion is a fundamental problem facing Internet users today. A network where users are selfish, and thus reluctant to defer to other users, may result in the famous "tragedy of the commons", where, in the absence of controls, a shared resource is overconsumed by individuals who consider only their personal costs and not the cost to society as a whole. In terms of the Internet, the "tragedy" could be viewed as congestive collapse, resulting from overconsumption of the shared network resource. It is important to distinguish congestion pricing from other forms of network pricing. Charging network users for the congestion they cause can lead to more efficient network utilization by forcing them to take social costs into account. In a congestion-pricing framework, the congestion charge would replace usage and QoS charges. Users would pay their ISPs a subscription charge to cover fixed costs and a congestion charge only when appropriate. This pricing scheme is feasible because, in the absence of congestion, the marginal cost of a network link is practically zero. Congestion pricing can also benefit network operators. By indicating the level of congestion and the user tolerance of it in their networks, congestion pricing can inform operators about when to re-provision and increase network capacity

Published in:

IEEE Internet Computing  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 5 )