Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Businesses Networking

Blackout Shows Net's Fragility 287

Posted by Zonk
from the work-together dept.
It doesn't come easy wrote to mention a ZDNet article discussing a recent outage between Level 3 Communications and Cogent Communication. A business feud inadvertently highlighted the fragility of the Internet's skeleton. From the article: "In theory, this kind of blackout is precisely the kind of problem the Internet was designed to withstand. The complicated, interlocking nature of networks means that data traffic is supposed to be able to find an alternate route to its destination, even if a critical link is broken. In practice, obscure contract disputes between the big network companies can make all these redundancies moot. At issue is a type of network connection called 'peering.' Most of the biggest network companies, such as AT&T, Sprint and MCI, as well as companies including Cogent and Level 3, strike "peering agreements" in which they agree to establish direct connections between their networks. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Blackout Shows Net's Fragility

Comments Filter:
  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:27AM (#13739256) Journal
    As I understand it, these were about the same size and had an agreement, or didn't bother to bill each other. Then suddenly one of them figured out that "hey, we are bigger, so they should pay us!"... And the smaller one cut off the connection because they didn't want to pay since they considered themselves to be as big as their rival.

    What I don't get is why one of them would suddenly want the other to pay up. What's changed now, and why does the smaller company have to pay the big one's bills?

    Am I missing something here?

    • Am I missing something here?

      Yes. :)
    • Am I missing something here?

      Yes. "Greed".

      • Level3's stock price is tanking, they are fighting for survival and the jobs of all their employees, from engineers to secretaries, while Cogent is undercutting the price of bandwidth by a factor of 3 while taking advantage of their peering with not many being able to compete on price, and you call Level3 greedy? C'mon.
    • by Cally (10873) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:57AM (#13739550) Homepage
      Check the NANOG archive over the last few days for far, far more than you ever wanted to know about "The Art of Peering: The Peering Playbook"... or read the book yourself [xchangepoint.net].
    • by gskouby (61416) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:58AM (#13739561)
      About 4 months ago I got a call from a sales critter at Cogent saying "We will knock 50% off of the price you are paying for your L3 connectivity if you drop them and come be our customer." I was kind of surprised at the boldness of this proposition because they were specifically targeting current L3 customers. I was even more surprised to find out from others that this sales pitch from Cogent was company wide. Of course this pissed off L3 and that was the start of this pissing contest.
    • Am I missing something here?

      I only read about this very briefly, but my understanding is it went beyond that. Just cutting the peering connection is fine and proper and packets then are rerouted through other peers, possibly costing more money, possibly not. Then the internet goes on as before and everyone is happy and the peers involved can negotiate a new link if they want and figure it will save them money by avoiding other routes where they have to pay for traffic.

      My understanding is that in this ca

      • that's wrong, no one is filtering them. not anymore than they normally would to maintain their network.

        what we are seeing here is a pissing contest between two "tier1". so there literally is no other route the packets can take to reach each other network (contractually speaking, not technically). each of these networks have peering contracts with other companies, not transit. a peer is only used to reach other's network, a transit lets you reach networks beyond the network you are transiting through.
        • That doesn't make any sense. It's not as if there's no other route at all between the two networks. Routing protocols and ICMP unreachables exist to allow traffic to route around trouble like this. Unless the link was deliberately broken and packets unceremoniously dropped, the source for a given connection attempt would see it's packet routed in what appeared to be an excessive manner, but it'd still get from point A to point B.

          If Cogent users can get to Qwest and L3 users can get to Qwest, but cogent

          • by billstewart (78916) on Friday October 07, 2005 @08:57PM (#13744079) Journal
            There are two basic ways that networks connect to each other - peering and transit. In a transit arrangement, one network (typically the big one) agrees to deliver any traffic the other network hands it, in return for a bunch of money, and it typically either advertises a default route (telling a small customer that they can send it all their packets) or a bunch of detailed routes and a default (telling a dual-homed medium-large customer how good its connections are to lots of places, but that customer might use another carrier for destinations that are closer with that carrier.) If you're an end customer, or a small ISP buying service from a big ISP, that's usually what you buy.

            Peering arrangements are different. Two networks that have a lot of traffic for each other will set up direct connections, split the direct costs of the connections, and not charge for accepting packets from the other carrier. But they'll only advertise the routes for their *own* customers. If two small ISPs peer with each other, typically they're each also buying transit service from big ISPs, but it's cheaper for them to dedicate a connection or put bits on a public peering point like MAE-West than to both pay their upstream ISPs.

            The biggest ISPs in the US are called "Tier 1" ISPs, and they all peer with each other rather than buying transit, though they might buy transit for international connections, if they can't get the other side to buy transit from them. It seems flaky, but it makes business sense, or at least it did for a while. In some sense, being big enough that all the other Tier 1s will peer with you is what defines Tier 1, and aside from technical issues, it's a marketing thing - "See, we're one of the big players!" Peering and Transit don't mix very well - you either connect to a given carrier by peering, or by transit, or else you spend a long time hammering out custom arrangements about exactly which routes you'll accept and tweaking routing tables.

            Cogent is a Wannabe-Tier-1. Their main business model is to put fiber into big multi-tenant office buildings and sell everybody 100-meg Ethernet for about the price other carriers charge for one or two T1s. If I were a customer, I wouldn't expect there to be enough upstream to really get that much bandwidth all the time, but I'd expect to get more than a T1 all the time, and a lot more than a T1 almost all the time. Level 3 has apparently decided they're not getting enough value out of the relationship (i.e. not sending Cogent enough packets to make it worth their while) to keep peering, and wants Cogent to either pay them for service or get transit from somebody else. They gave them about 50 days to make other arrangements, but Cogent decided to play chicken with them.

    • Typically, when you're dealing with peering, it's the amount of traffic that you're pushing on the other guy, because people on your network want to connect to places on their network. (or use your network to get to another network that you peer with)

      So, when a mom & pop ISP connects to one of the big guys, there's very little of interest on their network as an endpoint, and they probably don't advertise better routes than the tier1 already has, so they have to pay for the priviledge to be connected.

      Now
  • A solution can be to make it mandatory that all connecters to any internet exchange point peer to each other. all of them...
    • Be sure to let the UN know about that - this is surely something they'll want to take care of when they take "control of the Internet" away from the US. :)
    • Wow, that's a nice idea. That'll mean that all I have to do is run a bit of Ethernet into a peering point and I'll get free connections to all the tier ones. Fabulous.

      Oh - hang on, if someone else runs a bit of Ethernet in, do I have to connect to them? Damn.
  • No worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:28AM (#13739268)
    The pr0n industry was designed to find alternative routes of delivery in case of Internet outages.
  • by NicolaiBSD (460297) <spam@nOsPAm.vandersmagt.nl> on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:29AM (#13739277) Homepage
    Hey, I've found some interesting background info on this novel story here [slashdot.org].
    • by KDan (90353)
      I think this source is blocked by the filters the editors use when selecting stories... It's pretty untrustworthy and contains lots of potentially inappropriate material...

      Daniel
  • by dpilot (134227) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:30AM (#13739290) Homepage Journal
    This statement popped up in some of my security readings. It's most "efficient" to have one path between two places, and it's most "efficient" to set up peering agreements to route packets. But these efficient measures can introduce single points of failure.

    On a similar note, that's why there are 13 root DNS servers, and why most of us aren't supposed to use them. The DNS example though, is one where efficiency and robustness agree. It's more efficient, at least in terms of net bandwidth, to use a DNS server closer than the root servers.
    • I guess I don't understand why either provider isn't changing their routing tables, shucking all of (say, in L3's case) the Cogent-destined traffic out to the public internet. Instead of inconveniencing your customers, wouldn't it make more sense to make some temporary routing changes, that might end up costing you a little more in traffic, but will prevent these 'blackouts' of network areas to customers with backbone access from that provider.

      Can someone explain why this isn't as easy as I think it is?
      • That is not possible since these are top level providers.
        A standard refers to 2 types of connections:
        Customer-Provider and Peering.

        An ISP X publishes, at most, the routes as follows (they can choose to publish less):
        X publishes to its peers and providers the routes to its customers.
        X publishes to its customers all the routes it recieved.

        This creates a layered model, where in the top you have the top level providers, the internet backbone.

        Due to this, it is impossible to route:
        * down to a customer and then b
      • This "public internet" of which you speak. What companies are you referring to? Who pays them? Who runs it?

        If they redirect the traffic that would have gone via each other out through their other connections, then their customers (smaller ISPs) would start complaining that Cogent/L3 are abusing the connections that the smaller ISPs are paying them for.

        At least that's how I understand it, my understanding being based on what I have read over the last 24 hours on this issue.

        Phil Hibbs.
        • I guess what I'm questioning is why the L3 folks don't remove the Cogent peering routes they're advertising, and allow their traffic to take other paths through other peers (say, Sprint to WorldCom to Cogent) instead of causing this blackout.
          I understand it's 'corporate chicken' but they could accomplish the same thing without inconveniencing their customers, I would think.
          • Sure, they have the connections [keynote.com], but routing extra traffic through those peering links will probably only cascade this problem. The intermediate providers will see a jump in trafic coming through from L3 and Cogent, and they will have to consider how to recoup the costs that that is imposing on them.

            It's a web, and when one strand breaks, it increases the strain on the other strands.
  • by digitaldc (879047) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:31AM (#13739292)
    http://www.gamergod.com/article_display.cfm?articl e_id=329 [gamergod.com]
    Good article on this situation here

    This situation has adversely affected various users of both companies' services. The inability of Level 3 to handle this situation in a fair and equitable manner to the consumers has alienated many customers and will continue to do so until the current situation is remedied. At what point is it good customer service to discontinue services due to no fault of said consumer base? Market history shows us that the single worse thing a company can do is to arbitrarily allow influences beyond the control of consumers to negatively impact services, determined by consumers to be status quo, without any warning or notification. If left unresolved and unaddressed, the current situation could set dangerous precedents for internet users across the country by allowing service providers to instantly discontinue provided services at the moment they feel that the services they provide are not being adequately compensated for from outside companies.

    On a side note, I was listening to Howard Stern (oh no!) this morning and he said that his Time Warner internet connection at home didn't work. Howard then called a tech guy to come and fix the problem, only for him to call a help desk to figure out what happened. The help desk didn't even know what was wrong. It sounds like Level 3 just pulled the plug and didn't notify ANYONE. Or maybe it was Cogent, the point is nobody outside of that dispute KNEW what was going on.
    This sounds like a good way to alienate your customers and/or ruin your business model. But that is just my opinion.
  • A New Approach (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mysqlrocks (783488) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:31AM (#13739295) Homepage Journal
    So, it appears a big part of the Internet traffic is controlled by large companies like Cogent or Level 3. No big surprise. I think this highlights the need for a new approach to connecting people together. I know there's been talk of wireless mesh networks where everybody is both an end point and a router. This would work in populated areas but I'm not sure how well it would work for "long haul" connections which is what the issue is here. Can anybody think of (or know of) any alternatives that gives control and power of the Internet back to the people who use it?
    • Laws and mandates will make this worse. Only the mighty dollar, YOUR mighty dollar, will make a difference.

      If you use Cogent or Level3, dump them. Find another provider.
    • It's easy to get the power back to the people that use it just set up a nonprofit company and start laying fiber.... no the REAL problem is how to pay for it.
      Some how I'd expect voluntary contributions would fall short.
      An internet tax would work.... as evil as it might sound.
      • just set up a nonprofit company and start laying fiber

        I live in Burlington, VT and the city is doing this through an organization called Burlington Telecom [slashdot.org]. I'm one of the beta testers and we're going to be hooked up with a 5 Mbps symmetrical fiber connection in a couple of weeks. The best part? It's cheaper then Adelphia and I, as a citizen, own the network. Unfortunately, this still doesn't solve the "long haul" problem.
    • Re:A New Approach (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fireboy1919 (257783)
      I know there's been talk of wireless mesh networks where everybody is both an end point and a router. This would work in populated areas

      This would work in populated areas in theory. In practice, though, 95% of the bandwidth in any given system gets eaten up by 5% of the users unless there is heavy regulation. Actually, we pretty much need the big internet companies in order to get a particular level of QoS.

      Like I said, all it takes is one in fifty who won't play nice to ruin it for everybody else. I'd be
      • Like I said, all it takes is one in fifty who won't play nice to ruin it for everybody else.

        Very good point. Could there be some sort of system to moderate "good" and "bad" nodes? Hmm, kind of like on slashdot?
    • Re:A New Approach (Score:5, Informative)

      by BeBoxer (14448) on Friday October 07, 2005 @11:11AM (#13739678)
      I know there's been talk of wireless mesh networks where everybody is both an end point and a router. This would work in populated areas but I'm not sure how well it would work for "long haul" connections which is what the issue is here.

      If by "work in populated areas" you mean "slow the network to a crawl" then yes, it would work. Mesh networking is cool stuff, but you aren't going to build a backbone out of it. Wireless is really fast compared to your DSL line or cable modem. But it isn't even in the same ballpark as what you can do on fiber. Backbone links are running at 10Gbps or even 40Gbps. Full duplex, so that is 20Gbps or 80Gbps of "marketing bandwidth". Compared to what, 22Mbps or 54Mbps half-duplex for your wireless? You aren't going to build a comparable backbone out of wireless links running at roughly 1/1000th of the speed. Physics pretty much guarantees that fiber links will always be faster than wireless.
      • In a way, you are completely right. Fibre is a lot faster than wireless in a straight line. However, a mesh network (which doesn't have to be 100% wireless, by the way - some segments can be wired) has a lot more more potential paths for traffic. It is possible on a mesh network to route sequential packets via different routes, as long as your router is powerful enough to keep up with huge routing tables that may change frequently.

        A high speed mesh network is an engineering problem, not a theoretical on

    • Let the UN take over!
  • Peering (Score:5, Funny)

    by Neurotoxic666 (679255) <{neurotoxic666} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:32AM (#13739302) Homepage
    At issue is a type of network connection called 'peering.'

    In other news, the RIAA announced they've stopped an extremely large P2P network.
  • by anandsr (148302) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:34AM (#13739321) Homepage
    Internet cannot route when your providers do not want you to communicate.
    Nothing can protect you in this case.
    If on the other hand there was a natural calamity and every one was trying to get you access
    then you would get it. Like it happened during Katarina.
    This is not a natural calamity.

    The best option is to ditch your provider if they are not a monopoly and if they are lobby to your government to create multiple providers.
    • Internet cannot route when your providers do not want you to communicate. Nothing can protect you in this case.
      I agree with the first part, not the second part. What protects you if your providers don't want you to communicate is:
      1. contracts that state that your provider is required to allow you to communicate
      2. competition from other providers
  • by mrpotato (97715) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:34AM (#13739332)
    But for easy karma, just go get a +5 comment in the other thread, and repost it here without attribution.

    Not that I would ever do such a thing...
  • by squoozer (730327) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:35AM (#13739339)

    The Internet will IMVHO always be quite fragile. While the design lends itself to robustness the reality is that there is only money for a few very big connections and therefore a disaster that affects one of these connections is going to cause wide spread outages.

    Take, for instance, the connections running between Europe and America. I bet most of them run in almost exactly the same place on the sea bed because it's the cheapest / shortest path to take. A fairly localized geological disaster (at least in geological terms) could cut all the cables at once; or at least enough to make to difference.

    If we wanted the network to be robust we would need to run cables up over the north pole and round the equator and probably stick in some satelite links as well. There just isn't money for that. People are willing to accept the risk that it might fail in extreme situations.

    FWIW I think the problem is worse on the global scale than the country scale. I imagine most developed countries probably have enough redundancy in their own country. It's the interconnects between countries that are probably the biggest problem.

    • by brunes69 (86786) <`slashdot' `at' `keirstead.org'> on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:53AM (#13739500) Homepage
      Take, for instance, the connections running between Europe and America. I bet most of them run in almost exactly the same place on the sea bed because it's the cheapest / shortest path to take. A fairly localized geological disaster (at least in geological terms) could cut all the cables at once; or at least enough to make to difference.

      This isn't a good example, because in this case most traffic would automatically be re-routed to go through Asia and the trans-Pacific cables. And if those went down it would go over South America Oceana.

      It would get much slower, sure, but would not cause an outage.

      There is no *technical* reason this peering relationship breaking down should be causing an outage either. If the both also peered with some third party that could service them both, like MCI or something, then the traffic would still get through. The companies are just being bull-headed.

      • I have no hard data to back this up but IIRC when 9/11 happened it took out a major Internet switch center as well. Everyone talked about how traffic would get routed from Europe to America via Asia and the Pacific links but the reality was that most of America was unreachable from Europe for quite a few days. I suspect the places that were reachable had European mirrors. While there was a viable route it wasn't able to cope with the increase in traffic so basically every packet timed out.

    • As soon as all that pesky arctic ice melts away, it'll be cheap enough to run cable across the pole.

      As a bonus, Santa's new underwater toy factory can tap into it.

      Woo-hoo, faster email to Santa! Hope the jolly old elf doesn't discover online pr0n or he'll never get those presents made on time.
    • Engineers do actually consider redundancy when designing these things. Take, for example, TAT-14 [tat-14.com]. They have a northern route that goes up to Denmark, and a southern route that lands in England. And that's just one of many fiber optic connections across the Atlantic.

      Distance is important, but so is redundancy.

  • Keep it private (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:36AM (#13739349) Homepage Journal
    If you make the Top Tiers a government-controlled service, expect long term problems like censorship, taxation and regulations on sub-level tiers.

    Neither company involved in this dispute wants to do t is. They need to work it out, or other companies will find a solution and take the customers.

    If you're desperate to provide data to multiple top tiers, pay for a host that is connected to multiple backbones.

    There is zero need to mandate anything. Let the free market provide and we'll be safer in the long run. Let government provide and we'll see a slowly creeping tyranny online.
    • If you make the Top Tiers a government-controlled service, expect long term problems like censorship, taxation and regulations on sub-level tiers.

      All of which can, and have been, imposed anyway.

      Let the free market provide and we'll be safer in the long run.

      There is no such thing. It is an impossibility. Communism and Capitalism both have these utopian ideas at their hearts; that's why neither of them work in practice the way they're supposed to on paper.

      TWW

    • There is a huge need to mandate.
      Of course that need is generated by cmpanies that want the internet 'under control'.

      So if you sit back and 'let the market decide' those who controll the mark will. It won't be for you.
  • by boldtbanan (905468) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:37AM (#13739354)
    As I understood the problem, redundancy wasn't an issue. Level 3 was actively filtering out request to Cogent, however they came in. The redundancy was working, but Level 3 was playing NetNanny and blacklisting all Cogent IPs.
  • Perhaps routers (both the devices and the companies) should bid for packets in a real-time (or with a periodic) reverse auction. Rather than count segments to the destination, the logic would minimize the cost-to-deliver the packet. For most connections between true peers, the total of the charges would be zero.

    Bandwidth isn't (and never will be) truly free as long as the hardware and admin labor has a cost. But if we seek way to deliver the most packets at the least cost, then market forces will drive

    • Perhaps routers (both the devices and the companies) should bid for packets in a real-time (or with a periodic) reverse auction. Rather than count segments to the destination, the logic would minimize the cost-to-deliver the packet. For most connections between true peers, the total of the charges would be zero.

      This is a good idea. However, it demands an untamperable log system - that is, you need to be able to prove that router X sent you n packets, and the owner of router X needs to be able to prove t

  • by elfguygmail.com (910009) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:39AM (#13739375) Homepage
    It's very true, and anyone can see how a few big companies basically make the net work in north america. Simply do traceroutes to various big web sites, and you'll notice the packets always go across the same networks. The biggest one seems to be alter.net (MCI), with others including Level3, above.net, AT&T and UUnet. Basically you remove any of these and the North American part of the Internet would be in chaos. The problem is because most ISPs do the same thing. They pick a primary provider, and get a backup one. The problem is they all pick the same few primary companies, and their backup links are much smaller pipes.
  • ah peering (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigpat (158134) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:41AM (#13739401)
    The only time peering should involve an ongoing exchange of money for bandwidth should be when a network is primarily serving as an intermediary between other networks, such as long haul or backbone networks.

    But if most of the traffic from other networks is going to customers that are connected and already paying for your network's service then it makes no sense and is simply wrong for a network to start charging other network providers. It breaks the end to end communication model and is providing your customers with less than the service they are paying for. People pay for internet connectivity so they can transfer data between other users on the internet, not just the ones on your company's network.

    If money exchanging hands is at all appropriate in this case it might be for the actual installation of routing equipment which establishes the physical connection between networks.

  • not a blackout (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bradk500 (921156)
    All this crap about it showing weakness in the internet is uninformed bs. They didn't just stop peering, but they are actively blocking traffic from cogent. If Level3 had just stopped peering the traffic would reroute around the problem. The only time you will see problems is if your a cogent customer trying to get a single homed computer on level3's network. We are a cogent customer and an internap customer, and to get around the problem I just reouted traffic destined for level 3 networks over one o
  • Privatization strikes again. You put the infrastructure into the hands of a few powerful people and this is what you will get. Those big power outages happened for the same reason. We aren't holding those in charge responsible. There is no redundancy when there is only one provider. They can cut you off and what are you going to do? Only community services and coops can provide the necessary robustness. But it seems to be more convenient to just hand it over to corporate pirates.
    • "Privatization strikes again. You put the infrastructure into the hands of a few powerful people and this is what you will get."

      Are you arguing that government control moves power from the few to the many? That is backwards to my way of thinking. The quickest way I can think of to concentrate power is to put the government in charge of it.
  • The complicated, interlocking nature of networks
    But when you choose to have a single critical link you don't have an interlocking web of connections.

    even if a critical link is broken.
    If it was a web there would be no critical links to break. The problem is that for various (technical/economic) reasons there is a backbone (or series of backbones) it isn't really an interlocking web.
  • when you hear Howard Stern complain about not getting emails and whatnot.
  • Back in the day in there was no 'peering' contract. It was all techies helping techies and peering arrangements would happen with a handshake over some good sushi. You take my routes, I'll take yours. Then all the lawyers got involved, its been a nightmare ever since.
  • Hey, but you Euro/UN types go ahead an slap down your new root servers wherever you want....that certainly won't screw everything up.

    http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/ 06/1241227&tid=95&tid=219 [slashdot.org]
  • Cogent Sucks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lamont (3347)
    As a customer who has had Cogent inflicted on us (when Verio sold all their domestic internet lines to Cogent), we've had nothing but pain and bumbling inefficiency from them for the last six months.

    I contacted Cogent's "premium" help desk last night when I found that I was suddenly no longer able to get to our networks in Australia. The tech had no idea that his own company was in the middle of a huge peering battle with L3. I had to tell them!
  • This was predictable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhilipPeake (711883) on Friday October 07, 2005 @10:58AM (#13739557)
    The Internet was designed to be resiliant to malfunctions and automatically take appropriate action to ensure connectivity.

    Unfortunately, that is not the Internet that we have today. In the original Internet, every router knew about every network connected to the Internet. Most networks had connectivity to many other networks. Discovery protocols allowed alternative routes to be discovered if one failed.

    Today, we don't have a (mostly) fully connected net, we have ISPs who don't know anything about networks which they don't "own", only that certain IP prefixes need to be passed to ISP x, y or z.

    This makes the infrastructure much more fragile than it was originally intended to be. We ended up with this for a few reasons. First, the wimpy routers in use at the time had limited memory available to hold the network maps. The answer chosen was to no longer attempt to hold a full world view, but to divide the world into regions, certain IP prefixes would "belong" to those regions, and all any router would need to know about was networks in its region, plus how to route traffic to other regions, who would take care of routing within the region. This led to "backbone" connections - high capacity links needed because all traffic between regions now didn't "diffuse" through the network, but was channeled into specific connections. It also set the scene to allow the net to be commercialised, those regional centers were obvious "choke points" that an enterprising company could own and pretty much dictate the pricing to lower level enterprises who would do the dirty work of dealing with end-users.

    Slowly but sureley the Internet evolved into a system dependent upon a few companies with high-speed links between them - prime candidates BTW, as locations for government control to be imposed. The self-healing nature of the original Internet was lost because all traffic HAS to pass via the top level companies infrastructure and over their interconnect backbone connections.

    The "self healing" Internet is long gone.

    • Slowly but sureley the Internet evolved into a system dependent upon a few companies with high-speed links between them - prime candidates BTW, as locations for government control to be imposed. The self-healing nature of the original Internet was lost because all traffic HAS to pass via the top level companies infrastructure and over their interconnect backbone connections.

      This is what happens when you have an industry based upon a high cost of entry (physical infrastructure, here) and a low marginal c
  • OK, I have a crazy idea. I am NOT a net admin and am largely blue skying here.

    Damage: Level3 won't accept Cogent traffic.

    Horrible hack: tunnel BGP traffic to Level3 customer who masquerades requests as local traffic.

    Yeah, the real solution is tier 2 folks having more peerings, but as a nasty workaround is that hack feasible?

    Can you tunnel BGP traffic in TCP or ssh or something?

    -l
    • Re:Crazy Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gfilion (80497)

      Damage: Level3 won't accept Cogent traffic. Horrible hack: tunnel BGP traffic to Level3 customer who masquerades requests as local traffic.

      You don't need to masquerade anything, if you're connected to Level3 and Cogent, just configure your router to advertise your route to the Level3 network on the Cogent side and vice-versa.

      Then watch your router melt under the hundreds of gigabits of traffic -- that you'll have to pay for both ways. Congratulation, you're the new peering agreement between Level3 and

  • The Internet Health Report [keynote.com] shows the interruption, and I noticed there is also the "Pending Assingment" as mentioned in these articles. I'm curious as to who this is.
  • At the fringes there are really two types of internet service offered: upstream and downstream. Most consumers (individuals) need a lot of downstream and very little upstream. They typically are sold assymetric service that is heavily biased in this direction. My cable connection, for example, gives me ~5Mbps down and 768kbps up. On the flip side are the content providers who typically need a lot of upstream bandwidth and less upstream bandwidth. ISPs have found that these customer are willing/able to

  • by Spazmania (174582) on Friday October 07, 2005 @11:39AM (#13739953) Homepage
    If either Level3 or Cogent was buying a "default" service from a third party, their customers wouldn't have a problem. The moment the peering connection was cut the lower-priority BGP routes from the third party would have taken over and their traffic would have gone through the third-party link.

    The reason these two jokers are having this problem is that they made a business decision to only move traffic with reciprocal peering and then failed to keep that peering alive. That's because they're both cheap-ass bastards; peering costs a heck of a lot less than buying transit.

    Go buy from someone else who who isn't a cheap-ass. Someone who buys transit for anything they can't peer. You won't have a problem.

    The only lesson here is that most time honored of lessons: you get what you pay for.
  • If Level 3 doesn't want to peer with Cogent, that's fine. If they export incorrect routing information to gain a business advantage, that's fraud.
  • by cr0sh (43134) on Friday October 07, 2005 @11:45AM (#13740007) Homepage
    I am late to this thread, and it has probably been said anyhow, but I want to reiterate:

    The problem isn't soley with the business arrangements between the "big providers" - oh, certain, that does have impact, but the internet would be as robust as ever, if every participant on it could be a peer.

    This is how the network was meant to be, a mesh comprised of stupid interconnects and smart nodes. Every node on the internet, from the largest colo to the smallest wireless handheld, should have the ability to be a true peer on the internet. In practice, this isn't really possible, but imagine a mesh network with a distributed p2p DNS system which many people could run if they wanted to - if only a fraction were running it, and were distributed enough, such outages might not occur (the traffic could continue to be routed, albeit at a slower pace).

    Everyone should be able to be a peer on the network, everyone should be able to get at least one static IP, everyone should be able to run their own server(s) if they want to. Right now, the only way you can do it is by paying huge amounts of $$$ so you can get a garden hose instead of a straw. I am not saying access to the internet should be or could be free, but peering should be a natural right of being a part of the internet, not something you have to pay extra (a LOT extra) for.

  • Roadrunner affected (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jeff85 (710722)
    I had a friend on Roadrunner who complained he couldn't connect to many sites. I think he happened to know that they used Level 3. Is there a way to determine what backbone your ISP or a particular site uses?
    • by Secrity (742221)
      Is there a way to determine what backbone your ISP or a particular site uses?

      The Unix traceroute command can be used to do this:

      $ traceroute slashdot.org
  • HOW PATHETIC! Two major ISP are willing to piss off thousands of people just because they've thrown their toys out of the pram. Back at school they'd get told to shut up and get along, now it'll become a legal action. GET A FUCKING GRIP!!! I thought the world was too sensible for this kind of thing. I was wrong.

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

Working...