routing around Sprint's depeering damage

Joe Greco jgreco at ns.sol.net
Mon Nov 3 09:07:53 CST 2008


> No, but the providers who provide those connections should be multihomed. 
> If they're not, I'd consider switching providers.  Simple as that.

Am I the only one to whom this sounds really strange?

I really doubt that customers going to buy Sprint EVDO service are asking
about "are you multihomed," or that they realize that they should ask such
a question, or that the salesman would have any clue, and when the salesman
tried to figure out what it meant, he'd come up with it equating to "how
reliable is your service," to which he'd answer "Yes, of course, it's very
reliable!" because he'd honestly never heard of a "peering dispute."

This all gets back to a point that I've tried to impress on several people
who are all-too-fixated on contracts and how contracts will make it all
work out in the end, or how it is too bad when that doesn't happen.

We can all agree that, on a technical level, a provider here in the US
cannot guarantee the reachability of portions of China on the end of two
tin cans and a string, and to us, this seems obvious.  However, it might 
take a little time to explain this to a non-technical person.

However, when two networks that previously had a connection to each other,
and who have no technical issue that prevents them from continuing such a
connection, then decide to not only eliminate said connection and actively
take steps that are meant to coerce the other network into some particular
activity, that's something a little different.

My concern isn't about the letter of the contract between Sprint and 
their customers, or the letter of the contract between Cogent and their
customers.  My concern is that they are being sold "Internet service,"
and sooner or later someone is going to notice that the incomplete
Internet service being delivered is due to decisions actually made by
the service provider(s).  At this point, there's a very real possibility
that the customer will argue that they interpreted the terms of the
bandwidth contract to mean "best effort Internet" in the China example
sense, not "best effort Internet" where the service provider decided a
business strategy made making part of the Internet deliberately
unreachable so that they could use their customers as traffic hostages
was a good idea.  At that point, we could see a court make a determination
as to what the obligations are, or worse, we could see government
interference with the operation of major networks.

"Switch providers" is a nice sound bite, but the reality of it all is
that most customers are locked into various types of contracts, and this
is an expensive proposition, one that burdens the consumer.

I am sure that each side can make a legitimate business case for the
actions taken.  I don't care.  Ultimately, events like this are likely to
be a driving force between some "network neutrality" regulation that we
are all going to regret on some level.

... JG
-- 
Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.




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