[tor-dev] Scaling tor for a global population

Mike Perry mikeperry at torproject.org
Sun Sep 28 04:04:55 UTC 2014

Mike Perry:
> 5. Invest in the Tor network.
>    Based purely on extrapolating from the Noisebridge relays, we could
>    add ~300 relays, and double the network capacity for $3M/yr, or about $1
>    per user per year (based on the user counts from:
>    https://metrics.torproject.org/users.html).
>    Note that this value should be treated as a minimum estimate. We
>    actually want to ensure diversity as we grow the network, which may make
>    this number higher. I am working on better estimates using replies from: 
>    https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-relays/2014-September/005335.html
>    Automated donation/funding distribution mechanisms such as
>    https://www.oniontip.com/ are especially interesting ways to do this
>    (and can even automatically enforce our diversity goals) but more
>    traditional partnerships are also possible.
>    Result: 100% capacity increase for each O($3M/yr), or ~$1 per new user
>            per year.

Naif's point about there being 100Mbit residential uplinks out there
suggests that there may be a hybrid approach here.

If this vendor could detect super-high-speed client uplinks, they could
ask only these users if they wanted to be non-exit relays. But this is
complicated, as it also requires understanding if the user's ISP will
get upset at the traffic consumption or the fact that a listening TCP
service is running. For example, I know Comcast calls their residential
service "unlimited", but yells at you if you transfer more than 250GB in
a month, or if they discover any listening TCP ports on your IP address.

Even if we could figure these problems out by looking up ISP policy
based on client IP address, I think we still need to fund exit relays. I
don't think we can just enlist random home users connections to be exits
without giving them a wall of text explaining how to deal with issues
that may arise.

So this may be something to consider to reduce network expenditure, but
it won't completely eliminate it.

Mike Perry
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