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The Internet Networking

Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion 210

Posted by timothy
from the please-open-the-porthole-a-bit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Level 3, an internet transit provider, claimed in a recent blog post that six ISPs that it regularly does business with have refused to de-congest most of their interconnect ports. 'Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity.' Five of the six ISPs that Level 3 refers to are in the U.S., and one is in Europe. Not surprisingly, 'the companies with the congested peering interconnects also happen to rank dead last in customer satisfaction across all industries in the U.S. Not only dead last, but by a massive statistical margin of almost three standard deviations.' Ars Technica reports that ISPs have also demanded that transit providers like Level 3 pay for access to their networks in the same manner as fringe service providers like Netflix."
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Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion

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  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:28AM (#46928449)

    Level 3 has been awesome, but the ISP's now have national footprints and transit prices are dropping fast. Verizon and AT&T have it because of the wireless business. Comcast will be a national network once they buy time warner.

      figure that as transit prices drop L3 and Cogent have to carry more and more data to pay the bills but they don't have enough money left to upgrade the links and want the ISP's to upgrade them. maybe the ISP's are being dicks and trying to run L3 and Cogent out of business by denying them more links and then taking their business like what happened with netflix

    at this level there is no more need of transit providers as more and more content sellers will connect directly to the ISP's. so L3 and Cogent are crying network neutrality to save their business

  • Biased (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:31AM (#46928481)

    So, just to make it clear up front... Level3 is a Tier1 provider. Basically they are an ISP to the consumer ISPs. This is how your ISP connects to the internet (that's an over simplification but it will serve our purposes here) There are other Tier1 networks that the ISPs can connect to.

    The point to these peering agreements is that Netflix and other companies like them make agreements with the ISPs to elevate congestion. So Google (random example) goes to AT&T (another random example) and says "We want to sign a peering agreement with you. We'd like to use Level3 for 2 years." and if AT&T agrees they do the same. So now both companies know there will be 10gig of traffic coming at them for 2 years and they can sign a reciprocal contract with Level3. This is standard

    What Netflix does that angers pretty much every ISP on the planet is that they refuse to negotiate on these agreements at all. Instead they show up and say "We're going to use Level3, and we're not going to tell you for how long. Here's a long list of conditions that may cause us to switch without notice" so the ISP is stuck not knowing how long of a contract to sign and end up losing a lot of money when Netflix switches without notice.

    The Tier1 providers love this. There's nothing better if you're a network provider than a customer locked into a contract they can't get out of stuck paying for bandwidth they aren't using.

    The ISPs in question are likely in negotiation with Level3 on contracts. Level3 has been using the Netflix situation to their advantage. I suspect that this blog post by their VP is just an attempt to push the issue and get them to sign deals more lucrative for level3.

    Not saying the ISPs aren't sucking. But this guys words need to be taken with a grain of salt. He's not out trying to help the consumer.

  • by Bengie (1121981) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:34AM (#46928503)

    But why are they peering with them if there are better routes available?

    ISPs hold a monopoly on their customers, there is no other way to get to their network.

  • by fullback (968784) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:38AM (#46928545)

    I just spent three weeks in the U.S.

    The internet service was like being in a third-world country, but no one would believe it if you told them.

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:48AM (#46928677) Journal
    ISPs hold a monopoly on their customers, there is no other way to get to their network.

    ISPs only have customers because of peerage agreements that let their customers get to the rest of the internet.

    Any two-bit ISP (and in this context, that includes even the likes of Comcast) that thinks they can twist L3's arm has one hell of a nasty surprise waiting for them when their current contracts expire. This doesn't work quite the same as not getting to see this week's episode of Glee because of a pissing contest between cable companies and content providers - A week where Comcast customers can't get to Por... er... Google, means a week where Comcast loses half its customer base.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:51AM (#46928711) Homepage

    90% of comcast customers are held hostage, they CANT GO ANYWHERE ELSE for internet.
    This is what happens when you have a government sponsored and allowed monopoly.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @10:54AM (#46928741) Journal

    ISPs think that they offer "high speed", and they do, but only on the "last mile". They think that last mile is the only thing that counts as a metric.

    What good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?

    Congestion has always been the bigger underlying issue, because Comcast customers are clueless about what "high speed" means. The best thing Level 3 (and other peering companies like them) could be doing is running national TV advertizements announcing (without naming) that "slow internet" may not be a last mile problem. I could design a 30 second commercial that describes the issue.

    "Yes, you do have high speed internet, however your ISP may not be able to deliver the promised speed".

    And trust me, congested pipes are worse issue than appears on the surface. Once you hit that max, you start compounding the problem with duplicate (and beyond) packets needing to be resent because the first packet never go there. Once you get to that point, the ONLY solution is more and bigger pipes(series of tubes???) .

  • by Bengie (1121981) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @11:23AM (#46929107)
    Let me get this strait, Level 3 sells bandwidth of the highest quality to a company, routes it around the world with nearly no congestion, then offers to peer with an ISP for free, meaning that ISP doesn't need to route the data around the world themselves, the ISP refuses because they think the data should be not only handed to them on a silver platter, but also get paid; and you think Level 3 has a "horrible" business model?
  • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:42PM (#46931877) Homepage

    It is a bit karmic. I'm not claiming that L3 are just a great bunch of guys fighting the man or anything.

    However, L3 is a Tier 1. They have many massive datacenters for colo as well as an international network. The only thing they don't have is last mile networking.

    A fair bit of the internet would either go away or get much more expensive to reach if L3 cut off peering.

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