FYI: paper about Metcalfe's Law
Andrew Odlyzko
odlyzko at dtc.umn.edu
Wed Mar 2 21:20:58 PST 2005
Dear Colleagues,
Sorry for the spam, but I thought you might be interested in the
paper described below. Comments are invited.
Andrew
A refutation of Metcalfe's Law
and a better estimate for the value
of networks and network interconnections
Andrew Odlyzko
Digital Technology Center
University of Minnesota
odlyzko at umn.edu
Benjamin Tilly
ben_tilly at operamail.com
Abstract
Metcalfe's Law states that the value of a communications network
is proportional to the square of the size of the network. It is
widely accepted and frequently cited. However, there are several
arguments that this rule is a significant overestimate. (Therefore
Reed's Law is even more of an overestimate, since it says that the
value of a network grows exponentially, in the mathematical sense,
in network size.) This note presents several quantitative arguments
that suggest the value of a general communication network of size n
grows like n*log(n). This growth rate is faster than the linear
growth, of order n, that, according to Sarnoff's Law, governs the
value of a broadcast network. On the other hand, it is much slower
than the quadratic growth of Metcalfe's Law, and helps explain the
failure of the dot-com and telecom booms, as well as why network
interconnection (such as peering on the Internet) remains a
controversial issue.
FULL PAPER AT:
http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/metcalfe.pdf
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The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
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"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
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