Level 3 - "legacy" Wiltel/Looking Glass bandwidth

Justin Shore justin at justinshore.com
Tue Jul 7 11:17:00 UTC 2009

Scott Howard wrote:
> We're looking at getting connectivity via Level 3 in a particular
> datacenter, but we're being told that it's "legacy Wiltel/Looking Glass"
> rather than "true" Level 3.
> Given that both of these acquisitions occurred years ago should I be
> worried, or is this "legacy" connectivity the same as L3 at any other
> datacenter?

We were initially homed to the old Telcove network.  Never had any 
trouble with those guys.  When Level3 bought them they canned all the 
local IP folks.  That forced you to work with the remaining overworked 
IP folks back on the East coast (Angela and a guy who's name I forget). 
  Their local transport techs are good but there are very few of them 
left now, as compared to seeing dozens of their trucks roam the streets 

We eventually asked to be moved off of 19094 and onto 3356.  The extra 
Telcove hop made for some less preferred and inefficient routing.  All 
they did was extend 3356 to the local 7600 though.  The single Wichita 
7600 gets on the old ring in a very fugly way.  Working != correct, 
proper, reliable or SP-grade.

We just turned up a new 200Mbps circuit to them.  Wichita was flagged as 
not allowing any more high-speed circuits so they provisioned our 
circuit on a new ring to St Louis.  I'm actually glad that's the case. 
  I'm hoping that it's more stable than the KC-Wichita-Houston-Dallas 
ring has been in the past.  We had several complete and partial outages 
(read: dozen plus in 2 years time) on that ring.  The most recent was a 
few months ago when we suddenly lost all but about 2000 routes from L3. 
  I spent close to 6 hours on that problem in the wee hours, trying to 
get someone to diagnose the issue.

When we turned up the new 200Mbps circuit we asked for a way to do a 
speedtest on it.  We got nothing.  Apparently L3 forced Telcove to take 
down their own speedtest site which were pointed to after we turned up 
the 100Mbps circuit.  L3 apparently doesn't offer a speedtest site of 
their own.  I find that to be completely unacceptable.  Every time we 
tried to take this position we got the same old line of "we've got 
everything in the path configured correctly; you'll get the full 
200Mbps" to which I'd reply with a reminder that we got the same 
assurance when we turned up the 100Mbps with them a year prior only to 
later discover a cap of around 50Mbps somewhere in the middle.  Our 
account team's hands are tied.  There isn't anything that they can do 
about it.  I've got it documented in email so if we suddenly flatline 
again at some percentage under 100% we'll raise an unholy hell with them.

We've also had significant problems getting some planned maintenance 
notifications after the fact (ie, after the window and what appears like 
an outage to us).

YMMV but if I had the choice I'd try to get connected to the real L3 
backbone and not that of an acquisition.  The acquisition networks were 
probably much more reliable before they got bought.  Now that they've 
been stripped of their resources the legacy edges are showing signs of 
old age, alzheimer's, and senile dementia.  It's a shame to see them 
reduced to that.


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