routing around Sprint's depeering damage

George William Herbert gherbert at
Mon Nov 3 22:44:56 UTC 2008

Adam Rothschild wrote:
>On 2008-11-02-10:14:14, Matthew Kaufman <matthew at> wrote:
>> But seriously, it shouldn't be necessary to have two connections at 
>> work [...]
>This is less than clear, and largely dependent on a specific
>organization's [in]ability to function if their internets go down.
>End-site multihoming in some form or fashion is a growing requirement,
>and folk thinking otherwise need to get their heads out of sand.

There was an implicit (and sometimes contractually explicit) social
contract associated with buying from a Tier 1 provider.  That was that
I'd pay a premium for connecting, and that everyone could reach me.

That's never a guarantee - I've had both upstream peering games and
more conventional network outages in the last 20 years than I can
conveniently count.  But the social contract was that I was not
going to be bitten by my provider playing games with other

If I am going to be bitten by that, then I have to take additional
mitigating measures, which includes multihoming for smaller sites
than I used to do.  That costs money.  In this particular
economic climate, if I have to tell site owners that they need
to pay more money in connectivity, hardware, engineering, and ondoing
administration time to multihome, they are going to tell me to make
it up on the back end, which means that paying for Tier 1 grade
connectivity is no longer affordable.

Somewhere, inside Sprint, is a salesperson who understands
this and has been trying to tell his or her coworkers.   
Apparently to no good effect...

>If anything, these recent de-peerings underscore the lack of wisdom in
>end users connecting to (or purchasing CDN services from) members
>of the tier 1 club directly.

The recent depeerings have two effects:  One, they devalue higher priced
Tier 1 ISP connectivity because they reintroduce the political/financial
depeering risk into overall connectivity reliability, and two, it pushes
the boundary downwards in both small/mid tier ISPs and content sites
where multihoming is either necessary or strongly advised.  That leads
to additional cost and engineering time, a need to shift high level industry
effort more towards supporting new multihoming sites again (ugh, this is
never a fun surge to deal with, as everyone finds out the things BGP
is bad for all over again).  All on top of the looming IPv6 deployment
surge we're all facing.

Not to be alarmist, but what the @#$#@%@#(*&$% ?

-george william herbert
gherbert at

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