Evaluating Tier 1 Internet providers

Eric Louie elouie at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 27 20:45:34 UTC 2013

Clued-in support is a good criteria.  (I've been using a broker for some of
my connections and there was virtually no value-add there, especially in the
prefix-list modifications, and a liability in other MACs)

That's a good point with the Tier 2 providers.  So that begs the question,
why wouldn't I just get my upstream from a Tier 2?  (Because my management
is under the perception that we're better off with Tier 1 providers, but
that doesn't mean their perception is accurate)

much appreciated,
Eric Louie

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Abley [mailto:jabley at hopcount.ca] 
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 12:15 PM
To: Eric Louie
Cc: nanog at nanog.org
Subject: Re: Evaluating Tier 1 Internet providers

On 2013-08-27, at 15:02, Eric Louie <elouie at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Based on various conversation threads on Nanog I've come up with a few 
> criteria for evaluating Tier 1 providers.  I'm open to add other 
> criteria - what would you add to this list?  And how would I get a 
> quantitative or qualitative measure of it?
> routing stability
> BGP community offerings
> congestion issues
> BGP Peering relationships
> path diversity
> IPv6 table size

I would add:

 - presence of staff in key locations (if 60 Hudson is a critical location
for you, find out whether there's someone regularly present in or near the
building to clean fibre and help run loopback tests when you need them)

 - expected time to clue when calling the support number (bonus points for
being xkcd-806 compliant)

 - time taken to turn around BGP import filter changes

 - response you can expect when you call one day and say "our 10GE is maxed
out with inbound traffic from apparently everywhere, it has been going on
for an hour, please help"

 - billing accuracy, and turnaround time for questions raised about invoices

A lot of this comes down to conversations in the NANOG bar with people who
have war stories to share. To that extent, I think "reputation" is a good
indicator, so long as your sample size is reasonable, and depending on the
amount of beer involved.

One other thing to think about -- Tier 1 providers are transit free, so your
"can be reached by an IP packet from" is naturally limited to specific
peering relationships with other Tier 1 providers. Tier 2 providers (those
who buy transit from a suitably-diverse set of Tier 1s) can insulate you
from route fade due to peering spats.


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