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Sprint Cuts Cogent Off the Internet 413

Posted by timothy
from the is-that-an-ectomy-or-an-otomy? dept.
superbus1929 writes "I work as a security analyst at an internet security company. While troubleshooting an issue, we learned why our customer couldn't keep his site-to-site VPN going from any location that uses Sprint as its ISP: Sprint has decided not to route traffic to Cogent due to litigation. This has a chilling effect; already, this person I worked with cannot communicate between a few sites of his, and since Sprint is stopping the connections cold (my traceroutes showed as complete, and not as timing out), it means that there is no backup plan; anyone going to Cogent from a Sprint ISP is crap out of luck."
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Sprint Cuts Cogent Off the Internet

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  • by djcapelis (587616) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:09AM (#25579893) Homepage

    Heh, I was wondering why scoreboard showed they were having issues:
    http://scoreboard.keynote.com/scoreboard/Main.aspx [keynote.com]

    *sigh*

    So it wasn't just an outage.

  • Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:09AM (#25579895) Homepage
    I'd been considering cancelling my laptop's EVDO service with Sprint for a while now (it's a little pricey and I don't really need it). This will be a great excuse to tell them when I call them up. :)
    • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Glendale2x (210533) <slashdot@ninj a m o n k e y . us> on Friday October 31, 2008 @04:24AM (#25580811) Homepage

      Don't be so quick to blame Sprint, especially since that's a Cogent PR release. They (Cogent) had fights with Level3 and AOL as well that had the same result: Customers of Sprint/Level3/AOL were cut off from Cogent.

  • by bizitch (546406) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:13AM (#25579911) Homepage

    If I'm a Sprint customer - I'd be calling Sprint right now and ask

    "What the hell am I buying from you every month?
    I thought I was buying a DIA circuit - as in Direct Internet Access - but apparently you don't exactly do that. That's a breach of contract - that's a violation of your SLA - I want out of my contract now .... etc etc "

    Am I nuts here? It's either the freaking internet or it isn't - WTF?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by m0e (55482)

      You'd probably want to check the SLA first. Most have provisions that don't apply to this, at least contractually. As an end-customer you'd be buying access to their public network -- if they choose to depeer or black hole another network, they're usually within the right to do that since THEY own the network you're connecting to. Bad business sense yeah, but otherwise it's probably not breaking any contractual agreement with a customer.

      • by jafiwam (310805) on Friday October 31, 2008 @08:57AM (#25582023) Homepage Journal

        SLA's typically cover "best effort" internet.

        Yeah, stuff will go down and goobers will run into telephone poles and backhoes, oh the backhoes!

        But, cutting off a huge network because your lawyer wanted to go on vacation when THE SHIT WOULD WORK HAD YOU NOT DELIBERATELY TURNED IT OFF.

        That ain't "best effort", that's "dick move".

        As such, it's breach of contract with every single one of their customers at once. It would be in their rights to all simply stop paying the bill, I wonder how long their cashflow would last? More than likely the VP or board or whatever would pull their head out of their asses and realize the back room IT guy that will likely hear about this has a big voice in the tech stuff companies buy... and they would fix it.

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:54AM (#25580201)

      I thought I was buying a DIA circuit - as in Direct Internet Access - but apparently you don't exactly do that. That's a breach of contract - that's a violation of your SLA - I want out of my contract now

      Sprint's reply: "Okay *flip*. Call us when you realize that getting a T1/T3 takes weeks. By the way, we charge a $1000 installation fee."

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday October 31, 2008 @03:24AM (#25580617)

        You'll discover with big lines that the providers have a good level of things they have to do for you. The bigger the line, the more they are bound by. IF they pull shit like that, well it's something that can get them hit with a large suit in court. They don't get to just cut things off if they are annoyed with you.

    • by scoove (71173) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:54AM (#25580203)

      Funny how history repeats itself, especially in Sprint's case. In 1996, Sean Doran (SprintLink senior network architect) decided CIX-W peering was no longer cool and dropped peering, causing one hell of a black hole. From my recollection, it was the first instance where open routing was disabled due to political or commercial objectives, and unfortunately for Sprint, it came at a time where Bob Collett (then head of SprintLink) was trying to promote Sprint's openness and participation in the community. Bob overruled his engineer and routing was restored several days later.

      Since that point, BGP black holes have continued, usually to the detriment of customers. BBN Planet, Exodus and numerous others played the game presuming that content was more important than eyeballs or vice versa. The fallacy in their model is that content without consumer is as useless as consumer without content. Until they establish that understanding, neither unbalanced provider will succeed.

  • Asshats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:14AM (#25579919) Homepage

    I wonder how many customers these two companies will have to lose before they realize that the right solution is to sack the lawyers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Patchw0rk F0g (663145)
      Damn. No mod+ points left.
    • Re:Asshats (Score:5, Informative)

      by da_matta (854422) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:55AM (#25580207)
      Well, for Cogent this seems to be a standard practise [slashdot.org], so I'd say not enough...
    • Guess what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caitsith01 (606117) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:56AM (#25580215) Journal

      Lawyers don't cause litigation. Parties cause litigation.

      IAAL. The matters which go to court are the ones where the parties are unreasonable, overly aggressive, or genuinely have a dispute about something which is worth money to both of them. It may also amaze you to learn that sometimes parties actually do breach contracts or otherwise fuck one another over, and yet when caught out they don't automatically roll over and return what they owe to the person they have wronged.

      I have no influence whatsoever over whether they end up in Court. I advise my clients about their rights and prospects, and follow their instructions.

      On the whole, reasonable, intelligent parties = no ligitation = no lawyers.

      • Re:Guess what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Friday October 31, 2008 @02:24AM (#25580373) Journal
        Actually, that (interesting) post is an excellent example of why people don't like lawyers. "It is the wish of my client." It's the whole cool, clear, collected "I will crush you and will have no bad conscience about it because I can blame someone else" attitude. Lawyers don't cause litigation? Do you know what an ambulance chaser is?

        Now granted, you may not be that type of lawyer, but there is a reason the devil is sometimes portrayed as a lawyer. Take responsibility for your actions and you will become more powerful than any average lawyer. You can't always blame the other guy.
        • Lawyers and clients (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Raul654 (453029) on Friday October 31, 2008 @02:32AM (#25580403) Homepage

          Re - "It is the wish of my client." -- I'm reminded of what Richard Nixon's lawyer [wikipedia.org] famously said while arguing before the US Supreme Court in US v. Nixon [wikipedia.org]: "The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment." He knew it was a nutty position to take, so he explicitly stated that it was his client's position, not his.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by n3tcat (664243)

          I dunno... darth vader became pretty powerful by *not* taking responsibility for his actions.

      • Re:Guess what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Darby (84953) on Friday October 31, 2008 @04:05AM (#25580733)

        Lawyers don't cause litigation. Parties cause litigation.

        Lawyers, however, enable litigation. In fact, for some lawyers, that *is* their business. You can talk in abstractions all you like, but the main difference between mathematicians and lawyers is that the mathematician's love for bizarre, pedantic arguments stays in the ivory towers. Lawyers do the same thing having massively damaging affects on the real world. Sure, some douche hired a lawyer to push some ludicrous case, and he's a douche. No argument there, but when a lawyer who's good enough at his trade argues a bullshit case convincingly that can change the way the law is applied to everyone in incredibly destructive ways. Take the mockery that's been made of the interstate commerce clause alone. Bad lawyers doing bad things that has cost the country incalculable amounts of money, integrity and damn near anything else you'd care to mention.

        On the whole, reasonable, intelligent parties = no ligitation = no lawyers.

        But your calculation is incomplete. Why aren't the ridiculous cases refused? Because while *you* might possess ethics, there are plenty of people who don't. Some of those people are lawyers. So even if the rest of the people were sane and decent, the sleazebag lawyers would be chasing those ambulances and working to convince the weak willed and stupid that they're owed. That's how they make a living, after all.

        They also would work to arrange new ways of creating conflicts. That's just basic common sense, coupled with a society which puts profit above all and in which buying the better lawyer buys the better "justice".

        • by Aladrin (926209) on Friday October 31, 2008 @07:21AM (#25581461)

          "is that the mathematician's love for bizarre, pedantic arguments stays in the ivory towers."

          You've obviously never had a mathematician over for dinner.

        • Re:Guess what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by debrain (29228) on Friday October 31, 2008 @08:58AM (#25582027) Journal

          Lawyers, however, enable litigation. In fact, for some lawyers, that *is* their business. You can talk in abstractions all you like, but the main difference between mathematicians and lawyers is that the mathematician's love for bizarre, pedantic arguments stays in the ivory towers. Lawyers do the same thing having massively damaging affects on the real world. Sure, some douche hired a lawyer to push some ludicrous case, and he's a douche. No argument there, but when a lawyer who's good enough at his trade argues a bullshit case convincingly that can change the way the law is applied to everyone in incredibly destructive ways. Take the mockery that's been made of the interstate commerce clause alone. Bad lawyers doing bad things that has cost the country incalculable amounts of money, integrity and damn near anything else you'd care to mention.

          I am a lawyer (a litigator, specifically) and a mathematician, so I question your dichotomy between the two. To over-generalize the contributions of one profession or the other on society is specious. To rebut your bald statement about the destructive nature of lawyers, it's worth noting that lawyers are responsible for: creating civil liberties such as the right for women and the right for 'colored' people to vote and attend school with white people; writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; defending Galileo Galilei when he published a "truth" (mathematics) when the church persecuted him for challenging their proprietary access to absolute "truth". As a generalization, mathematicians contributed to the discovery of the atomic bomb, and every other weapon ever created. More accurately, both have positive and negative effects on society (though economists might argue that because more lawyers are employed than mathematicians and generally better remunerated, they by definition have a more positive effect on society; the counter-argument is that they, like big corporations, rent-seek, vis-a-vis Ann Kruger's thesis)

          Further, litigation is convincing a state (which has a monopoly on legal force) that they should enact legal force in your favour. Lawyers don't enable litigation as a form of enforceable dispute resolution, the rule of law does (i.e. the grant of state monopoly over legal force). What are the alternatives? Vigilantism? As well, the vast, vast, vast majority of lawyers don't practice any form of litigation. Only barristers (i.e. counselors-at-law) litigate; around 90% o lawyers practice as solicitors (attorneys-at-law) and never see the inside of a courtroom.

          Finally, some attribute the commerce clause (and WTO/GATT-like reductions in interstate discriminatory trade practices) with the creation of more wealth in the United States than any other law in the US federation. I believe Thatcher argued that it was civil liberties. I imagine it was a combination of those two.

          But your calculation is incomplete. Why aren't the ridiculous cases refused? Because while *you* might possess ethics, there are plenty of people who don't. Some of those people are lawyers. So even if the rest of the people were sane and decent, the sleazebag lawyers would be chasing those ambulances and working to convince the weak willed and stupid that they're owed. That's how they make a living, after all.

          Points relevant:
          1. The vast, vast majority of lawyers are ethical and have ethical clients, and to deny these people legal representation is to deny them access to justice;
          2. It is unethical to deny legal representation to someone just because you do not agree with their position - it is the duty of legal counsel to advise them why you believe their position is wrong;
          3. Defending a position is not the same as agreeing with it- unpopular positions (e.g. insurance companies defending against injured people making claims) have important functions (i.e. keeping insurance rates low, preventing fraud ---- fraud on insurance companies is a much, much, much bigger problem than fraud by insurance com

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Darby (84953)

            To over-generalize the contributions of one profession or the other on society is specious.

            I'm not over generalizing, or even generalizing at all. A Mathematician pursuing his profession doesn't radically alter the structure of society. Engineers and physicists are more likely to. A Lawyer pursuing his profession can and sometimes does, often for the worse.

            To rebut your bald statement about the destructive nature of lawyers, it's worth noting that lawyers are responsible for: creating civil liberties such

  • Here we go (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nyu2 (1263642)
    This could be the beginning of serious balkanization of the internet. The value of the internet is that it connects EVERYTHING. Reduce the connections, and you reduce the utility.
    • Nah. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jotaeleemeese (303437)

      It didn't work with AOL. Companies trying to pull such stunts will be out of business faster than you can say "TCP/IP"

  • by Darth Cider (320236) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:19AM (#25579961)
    Sprint-Nextel and Clearwire go before the FCC on November 4 to seek approval for a merger. It seems very fishy that this Cogent story is breaking right now. Anybody have any ideas on why Sprint might pull a stunt like this as a means to GAIN FCC approval? Or is the story originating from a competitor? Just doesn't look right, especially with the price of Sprint stock scraping bottom lately, despite the huge influx of investment from Google and others. (Billions.) Somebody please explain.
  • note to self (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot@goERDOStnate.com minus math_god> on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:21AM (#25579977) Journal

    boycot sprint for fracturing the internet

  • Affecting other ISPs (Score:3, Informative)

    by miniskunk (1116621) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:25AM (#25579999)
    Well that certainly explains why my latency shot up this afternoon. Cogent or Sprint are not my ISPs, however, their squabble has affected other ISPs fair access to the net. When I do trace routes latency jumps from about 20ms to 300-500ms when it hops to a cogent address or fails to get a response. Really puts a crimp in online gaming. >.
  • Neutrality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:28AM (#25580029) Homepage

    This is what the world might look like without Net Neutrality.

    • Re:Neutrality (Score:5, Informative)

      by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:40AM (#25580105)

      Net neutrality can't force tier1/2 network carriers to peer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      This is what the world might look like without Net Neutrality.

      Oh please. Doesn't the internet route around damage?

      Just because there isn't a straight line between Sprint and Cogent doesn't mean the internet is fucked.
      Now all you low ping bastards are high ping bastards until the two companies kiss and make up.

      Now if you can explain how exactly Net Neutrality will prevent corporate pissing contests, please do.
      Otherwise -1 Overrated.

      • Re:Neutrality (Score:5, Informative)

        by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Friday October 31, 2008 @03:50AM (#25580691)

        Not when Sprint is actively blackholing and pretending that the data went through, as they are now.

  • by soundguy (415780) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:35AM (#25580077) Homepage

    Cogent runs the second largest tier-1 backbone on the planet and it is widely used by the adult industry. The headline should read:

    Sprint cockpunches own customers by disconnecting them from porn.

    /I run a few dozen porn servers on Cogent links

    //Sprint can suck my balls

  • This is not new (Score:2, Interesting)

    When my local phone company was having a labour dispute, they blocked the union website. Granted, this incident appears to be on a much larger scale.

    My ISP at the time (Interbaun, recently bought by Uniserve) was also affected: They resell the Telus ADSL sevice (because the phone company owns the lines).

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2005/08/04/TelusCensor/

    According to the link I Dug up, it was back in 2005.

    • Re:This is not new (Score:4, Informative)

      by cperciva (102828) on Friday October 31, 2008 @03:27AM (#25580625) Homepage

      When my local phone company was having a labour dispute, they blocked the union website.

      That is true, but leaves out some rather important details -- like the fact that the blocked website contained photos, addresses, and phone numbers of company managers and of workers who decided to cross the picket lines, and encouraged harassment of said individuals; and that threats of violence had been made against those managers and workers.

      I'm not saying that Telus was right in blocking the website, but this wasn't merely a labour dispute.

  • Cogent depeering (Score:5, Informative)

    by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:45AM (#25580147) Homepage

    Why does this story sound familiar...right, because I've heard it twice before. In 2003 it was AOL who cut them off [isp-planet.com], then in 2005 Level 3 [tmcnet.com] did the same thing.

    While it seems Sprint is to blame here, when I see Cogent on the bad end of this so many times I can't help but wonder how many of these problems are brought on by their own management. It's not too often you get to see a pair of N/A results on the health report [internetpulse.net], but as you can read that's exactly what happened in 2005 as well.

    • by George_Ou (849225) on Friday October 31, 2008 @02:12AM (#25580315)
      Cogent is the one behind the story in link and it's obviously one-sided. Most of the time, ISPs get de-peered because they deserve it. However, the smaller ISP almost always gets away with it because they play the part of the victim who got severed and they usually win on the PR front. Pressure mounts and the larger ISP eventually settles and re-establishes the connection despite getting the raw end of the deal.

      What generally happens is that these tier 1 ISPs start off with equal amount of traffic that is being routed on behalf of the other ISP so they're both giving each other equal value. But that balance shifts over the years and you might have one ISP giving back 1/8th of what they're taking but the larger ISP is afraid of bad PR if they sever the connection. What might be needed is some sort of arbitrator who will look in to the facts without blaming one side or the other and just examine the facts and issue a recommendation. During that period of arbitration, the peering should continue so that customers aren't affected. If one ISP is found to be unworthy of a settlement peering arrangement because they're not holding up their end of the bargain, then they should be ordered to pay. If they refuse to pay, they deserve the blame for not paying for their Internet backbone.

      Plenty of ISPs pay for their peering arrangements if they're not able to build some backbones of equal value. There's no reason some ISPs should get a settlement free peering if they're not willing to upgrade the Internet's backbone infrastructure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by OriginalArlen (726444)
      Yes, well spotted, they ARE brought on by Cogent's own management. You seem to have some idea what you're talking about, are you sure you're on the right site?
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Friday October 31, 2008 @02:03AM (#25580271)

    As of now, there are no laws that an ISP has to deliver packets to any site, or any port.

    IMHO, this is just the start of this type of activity. Eventually (assuming no regulation is done), ISPs will just refuse traffic from any domain who doesn't pay them a certain amount per bit per month. So, if Yahoo doesn't pay ISP "A" a fee so their bits will go across, all that ISP's subscribers would see either the destination unreachable, or even worse, be redirected to another site.

    As of now, there are no laws against ISPs doing this. One could in the future attempt to go to their bank, be redirected to another bank because the other bank pays the ISP to carry their traffic and refuse the other bank access.

  • disruptive pricing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31, 2008 @02:05AM (#25580287)

    All of Cogent's previous de-peering problems were ultimately due to their ultra low prices and their ability to steal customers. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case again. Everyone has a lot of money to lose with Cogent's $6/Mbps pricing today. It undercuts everyone else. Cogent is basically wiping them clean (and not making much money in the process.) Ultimately they are banking on MUCH larger uses in the future. But their business model is not exactly profitable.

  • NANOG Discussion (Score:5, Informative)

    by simpleguy (5686) on Friday October 31, 2008 @02:53AM (#25580511) Homepage

    More discussion on NANOG Mailing List

    10/30/08 Sprint / Cogent

    http://www.merit.edu/mail.archives/nanog/threads.html [merit.edu]

    Tip: The probability of finding more accurate info on NANOG than here seems to be higher.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      The probability of finding more accurate info on NANOG than here seems to be higher.

      Unfortunately, that "probability" hasn't panned out...

      Allow me to summarize the relevant threads on NANOG:

      -Verizon de-peered Cogent
      --Yup, sure did
      --Same in Europe
      --Pings fail
      --Why?
      ---Because Cogent is inexpensive
      ---They're a feuding.
      --They shouldn't do that

      THE END

  • by really? (199452) on Friday October 31, 2008 @03:00AM (#25580533)

    OK everyone, while you still have connectivity login to your boxes and do your OS's/distribution's equivalent of "apt-get install UUCP"

  • by mgh02114 (655185) on Friday October 31, 2008 @09:43AM (#25582385)

    Sprint is stopping the connections cold (my traceroutes showed as complete, and not as timing out)

    Am I understanding this correctly? Sprint is reporting the packets as delivered but they are actually dropped? If so, why isn't this criminal fraud? If FedEx took your money, told you the package was delivered, but then threw the package away, there would be severe criminal and civil penalties. Existing law about lying and forgery needs to be applied to packet headers (also applies to the forged reset packets Comcast was using to throttle P2P traffic). If I'm misunderstanding the situation, I would appreciate it if someone could explain why.

  • Cogent is at fault (Score:4, Informative)

    by teknopurge (199509) on Friday October 31, 2008 @10:42AM (#25583215) Homepage

    As always. They let so much garbage go through their network and don't maintain the throughput arrangements with other peers, which is why Telia kicked them off around a year ago.

    I get calls each month from Cogent reps trying to offer me $6/meg uplinks. Of course they can provide bargain basement pricing when they basically steal bandwidth from their peers. Good for Sprint.

  • Invasion! (Score:3, Funny)

    by eepok (545733) on Friday October 31, 2008 @12:15PM (#25584819) Homepage

    Disruption in communication can mean only one thing... Invasion

  • by Sprint Spokesman (1397859) on Friday October 31, 2008 @01:17PM (#25585957)
    In 2006, Sprint and Cogent entered into a commercial trial agreement. Cogent failed to satisfy Sprint's peering criteria and refused to pay Sprint to stay connected to our network. Sprint notified Cogent well in advance that it would disconnect Cogent unless it paid, and Cogent refused. As a result of Cogent's refusal, Sprint was forced to terminate the commercial interconnection agreement and disconnect its network from Cogent's. Cogent's posturing is nothing more than an effort to divert attention away from its' contractual obligations, and this is the latest in a growing list of peering-related disputes between Cogent and Internet backbone providers.

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