meeting agenda

Jonathan Heiliger loco at MFST.COM
Mon Jan 15 06:03:48 UTC 1996

On Sat, 13 Jan 1996, Sean Donelan wrote:

> I hesitate to suggest a presentation, because I don't have any solutions
> only problems.  A couple of months ago this list had a thread on communicating

Generally problems are what start people thinking about solutions.. ;-)

>       While individual network providers track their own network
>       reliability, is there a need to report and track some data
>       on an Internet-wide basis similar to the reliability reporting
>       done in other industries (telephone, airline, etc)?

Definitely.  I see the critical need as not publishing generic uptime 
statistics, but network health information.  That's not only what 
informs users as to why they can reach X web site, but also for consumers 
to choose their providers; among other benefits.

>       While anyone could track network outages on their own through
>       massive invasive testing, it usually doesn't reveal the cause
>       of the outage.  What is the biggest threat to network reliability?
>       A farmer with a backhoe, or a network engineer at a console?

This sort of testing would also lead to false conclusions, IMHO.  Lately 
the backhoe appears to be taking the lead. :-)

>       Is there a neutral third-party which could blind and summarize
>       the data?  I'm not an academic type, so I don't know what would
>       be involved in getting funding at one of the national labs for
>       such a project.  Or do we wait the the FCC to mandate something?

I can't suggest a third-party at this point, but as my cohort Alan Hannan 
pointed out, following the discussion last month we have begun working on 
proposal material.  Unfortunately it really hasn't received the 
attention it should on my priority list.

The key in obtaining the data is for the individual providers themselves 
to contribute it.  There should be no reason why an organization needs to 
maintain a staff simply to monitor another's backbone and publish the 

>       is the NOC communication lines.  I haven't seen a network provider
>       with sufficient staff to answer all the calls, and repair their
>       network at the same time when it goes down.  Either calls go unanswered,
>       or the network doesn't get repaired, or sometimes both.
>       The 1-800 problem reporting method isn't scaling well.  Alternatives?

Unfortunately the telephone is still one of the best methods for reliable
communication, IMHO.  One of the bits that amazed me back in the day
('bout 2yrs ago) at BARRNet (not a pot shot) -- is that when the network
had an outage, an Email was sent to an outage list.  Well, if your network
link is down -- how can you get the Email?  One particular customer
mentioned to me that when I called him during an outage, it was the first
time he had been contacted during an outage.  Normally he had to wait and
digest the Email after his service was restored. 

>       chance of wedging a "user information" field into the IPng ICMP
>       destination unreachable message?  It would be nice to tell the
>       user in the ICMP message: "Beep BOOP BEEP, We're sorry your
>       packet could not be delivered as addressed due to a ...."  Instead
>       of waiting for the users  to call the NOC which probably is already
>       snowed under with calls.

Nice idea, but much more difficult to implement.  You're talking about 
convincing quite a few people to implement it.  Part of a NOC's mission 
is to deal with incoming calls, or in certain cases Customer Service 

>       Since the 'net as a whole doesn't fail that often, but pieces
>       of the 'net fail frequently, in-band notification isn't as crazy
>       an idea as it seems.

Definitely; the model we're currently toying with would be open 
enough to be accessed both by provider's NOC staff as well as individual 
consumers on the Internet.  The access method would be Web based and 
offer an Email interface for those desiring automated status reporting or 
simply a different view. 

Providers would be responsible for submitting incident reports and 
keeping them current (e.g. ticket updates); and a user could browse as 
his/her leisure.

> Any thoughts how to turn this into a presentation topic?

Probably lots more effort than has been put in thus far. :)  I would 
imagine a short presentation could be prepared explaining the model and 
who has "agreed" to support it by NANOG.  However, a worthwhile 
presentation should include stats on who has used the service and if it's 
worthwhile, etc.

                        \|/ _____ \|/
Jonathan Heiliger        @~/ . . \[email protected]     MFS Global Network Services, Inc.
________________________/_( \___/ )_\______________________________________
E-Mail: loco at                    Data Services Network Engineering

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