More on Vonage service disruptions...

Daniel Senie dts at
Wed Mar 2 19:02:15 UTC 2005

At 01:24 PM 3/2/2005, you wrote:

>Subject: Re: More on Vonage service disruptions...
> > Yeah, I forgot about the regulation thing.  I suppose I'd give the ISP
> > a call first, but I'd expect it to be working within a few hours.  But
> > now that cable modem providers themselves are providing VoIP/dialtone,
> > wouldn't those be regulated by the FCC?
>A few quick observations here (my own, personal opinion):
>To paraphrase an earlier comment " a 90K stream is not an issue" but what
>about 10,000's of them?

Did you (the ISP) sell customers a service saying they'd get 384Kbps 
upstream, 2Mbps downstream, or some such? And now you say that you can't 
handle that traffic load? False advertising?

>In the circuit switched arena, the LEC's compensate each other for either
>originating (toll free) or terminating traffic (LD) in a  regulated
>environment. Thus there is some business reason to build the network out to
>handle the level traffic.
>That is not the case here (with VoIP), as most ISP's are paying for
>transport, peering connections, backhaul circuits, internal network
>bandwidth, etc. The IP Phone providers may be paying THEIR ISP, but the $$'s
>don't nescessarily  flow down to the ISP that the customer is connected to.

ISPs charge for a service of pushing packets around, and make commitments 
about the amount of that traffic. That it's digitized voice in those 
packets isn't really the ISP's business. If you can't meet your commitments 
to your customers for bandwidth, you need to buy more. Of course you 
oversell your bandwidth, but that's NOT your customer's problem, it's yours.

>That end user's ISP must now pay more for transit, plus beef up their
>internal network infrastructure to handle the additional traffic. That would
>result in having to raise rates, perhaps making the previously viable, dirt
>cheap, VoIP look like not so competitive a choice (vs. traditional dialtone)
>to the end user anymore.

If the user is instead playing an interactive game with a friend in another 
city, do you wish to block that too? How about a PC-to-PC video chat? How 
about remote corporate offices using VPNs to push lots of traffic around?

What are you selling your customers? If your rates don't cover your costs, 
then your business model is broken. You made a commitment to customers for 
an amount of bandwidth, and now the customers are actually starting to use 
it. The problem is one for your board room. If you built your network 
assuming the only traffic would be Email (to your own servers) and Web 
(which you cache on your own servers) then you are in for trouble. The 
Internet is not email and web. That many users are only recently learning 
that is not their problem.

>A question to ponder - what would happen to your network , from both a
>technical and financial perspective if all of your customers circuit
>switched voice traffic suddenly became ip?

You raise good points, but I'd encourage you to decouple them from VOIP, as 
most any application could cause the same.

More information about the NANOG mailing list