outages, quality monitoring, trouble tickets, etc

Sean Donelan SEAN at SDG.DRA.COM
Thu Nov 23 10:58:18 UTC 1995

>From: Scott Huddle <huddle at mci.net>
> I consider this list a place for ISPs to discuss general policy and
> planning issues that effect all of us.  It is a very inappropriate
> place to discuss problems with a specific provider.

As a general policy I wish all network providers would implement
at a minimum a network notification list.  Bonus points for a network
status WWW page, NetNews, FAX, and PR Newswire distribution.

>From: bsimpson at morningstar.COM (William Allen Simpson)
> I firmly DISAGREE!  None of us are particularly interested in hearing
> every jot and tittle about every network flap, but _BIG_ ones and their
> resolution are important to bring to this list!  How else to get a
> handle on what the real problems are?  How else to help each other
> avoid repeating the problem in the future?

This is always a tough call.  When is news no longer news.  When it
happens all the time.  The slow intermittent problems are the hardest
problems to fix.  I end up tracking problems from Europe to Australia
for customers, so I'm interested in network outages all over the world.
On the other hand, I don't (usually) care when Bill's PC is turned off
at night.  Maybe take a cue from the (failed) NetNews Distribution: or
MBONE-sublist mechanism.

What to do about backbone telco providers which hate announcing 
their network problems?  Maybe when the NSFNET backbone fractured
into multiple backbones, the NSF should have taken a lesson from
the breakup of AT&T and established a Network Reliability Council.
Any telephone network outage effecting more than 50,000 (now lowered
to 15,000 I believe) lines have to be reported to the FCC's NRC.

Who cares if you connect to three (plus one) NAPs.  In the post-NSFNET
era, Internet-wide reliability requires Internet-wide information.
Reporting network reliability problems is more important than how
many NAPs your network connects.

>Has anybody else noticed how hard it is to get trouble tickets these
>days?  Once upon a time, I just called the NSF NOC, and got a report to
>them in real time, so the problem could be fixed quickly.  Nowadays,
>NOCs seem to want you to send email with 24 or 48 hour turnaround, or go
>through 2 layers of service representatives.  Pretty hard to send email
>to them when their link is down, or go through "regular" support in the
>middle of the night!

Welcome to the new and improved Internet.  More clueless people cal 
NOCs these days (is it plugged in?) so more caller screening is done.
Likewise there more clueless people working in NOCs so more levels
before reaching someone who even understands what the problem is.

NOC-to-NOC communication has been a long standing Internet problem.  But
now there are more NOC's, more different ways to contact them, with
no common conventions.  Even though its out of date, I still keep my
Internet Manager's Phonebook published by BBN in 1990.

ANS, MCI, and Sprint issued press releases a few months ago about their
joint agreement.  I don't know how how well their joint agreement is
working, but I suspect there will be more such agreements between network
operators in the future.  As the sheer number of people involved grows,
everyone is going to filter their calls, e-mail, etc.  If you aren't on
the list, you get dumped in the "take care of after hell freezes" pile.

In the meantime, keep a stack of business cards and a special rolodex,
with the magic names and telephone numbers that get you directly to
someone who can understand (and maybe even fix) the problem.  Interesting
enough, the people usually don't change; but the employers do.
Sean Donelan, Data Research Associates, Inc, St. Louis, MO
  Affiliation given for identification not representation

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