Least Sucky Backbone Provider

John Dupuy jdupuy-list at socket.net
Thu Nov 8 17:57:24 UTC 2007

Adding a bit to this, folks who give their experiences with the 
transits might want to mention whether they are predominantly an 
eyeball or content network. For example, our experience with Cogent 
is the reverse of the original poster's, but we are 90%ish eyeballs. 
I suspect that might be the difference.



At 12:38 AM 11/6/2007, Adam Rothschild wrote:

>On 2007-11-05-10:51:58, Gregory Boehnlein <damin at nacs.net> wrote:
> > I'm considering dropping Cogent completely [...]
>Always a good idea.
> > 1. Level 3
> > 2. MCI/Verizon
> > 3. AT&T
> >
> > I'm looking for comments from actual customers of the above providers in
> > relation to;
> >
> > 1. Network reliability and performance
>As Vijay reminds us time and time again, engineering a large,
>reliable, network isn't particularly difficult these days.  Indeed,
>none of the candidates you name above suffer from major reliability
> > 2. Responsiveness to outages
> > 3. Proactive notification of network maintenance
>All large providers lack in these areas, some more than others.  Even
>with preferred support, it's not uncommon to get asked if you get dial
>tone on your OC-48, or if 10GE is "like a T1" -- I do, weekly.  Plan
>With that in mind, key differentiators I'd focus on when selecting a
>transit provider include provisioning intervals, tools/automation,
>routing policy/feature support, and reachability to specific ASNs.
>I'd summarize the above vendors as follows.  Please forgive the
>rambling, and if you deem any of this off topic, kindly hit the 'd'
>key and spare us the chatter.  (Me personally, I consider vendor
>reviews and pseudo-arch discussions like this fascinating and acutely
>on-topic, though I can see where others may disagree...)
>Level(3) (AS 3356, not legacy Wiltel, Broadwing): All in all,
>thoroughly "gets it".  Robust implementation of inbound and outbound
>BGP communities; prefix-list auto-generation off IRR; working
>blackhole community; IPv6 support, though tunneled.  Support folk are
>smarter than average; provisioning times are slower than average.
>Large collection of "eyeball" customers.
>Verizon Business (AS 701, formerly UUNET, MCI, et al): Solid as a
>rock, though beginning to show its age.  Supports a blackhole
>community (kudos to cmorrow, et al, for setting the trend there),
>though few/coarse others outbound.  No inbound communities; 1995
>called and asked for its as-path filters back :-).  Older equipment
>(Juniper M40, Cisco 12008 w/ E0-E3 cards, ...) is still common in the
>edge, thus availability of 10GE customer ports is sparse outside of
>specific hotels.  Presents frequently on, but is not yet equipped to
>offer, IPv6 customer connectivity.  Significant eyeball base,
>specifically Verizon DSL and FTTx customers.
>AT&T (AS 7018): Solid connectivity and architecture; sharp folk who
>are also active in the NANOG community (tscholl, ren, jayb, ...).
>Significant eyeball base as represented by AT&T (SBC, Ameritech,
>BellSouth) DSL/FTTx customers and various cable MSOs, though the
>latter is slowly dwindling.  With that said, it is important to
>realize that their commodity IP product is tailored towards
>enterprises with leased lines, not your typical NANOG/SP demographic.
>Accordingly, some friendly advice here would be to lay out your
>specific requirements (wrt communities, prefix listing, source address
>verification, IP ACLs, dampening, ...) as a part of the contract/RFP
>process, lest you might find yourself frustrated by various defaults.
>-a (speaking on behalf of himself only)

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