Evaluating Tier 1 Internet providers

Justin M. Streiner streiner at cluebyfour.org
Tue Aug 27 17:05:57 UTC 2013

On Tue, 27 Aug 2013, Eric Louie wrote:

> Good stuff Justin - Any other criteria that you would use?

Joe covered a lot of good stuff in his response.

A few providers call themselves Tier 1, though the accuracy of those 
assertions is often suspect.  The truth can be somewhat more 
complicated... and exactly how much more complicated isn't always clear
until Provider X gets de-peered by Provider Y and finds themselves having 
to negotiate a quick fix, often by cutting a check.

I would also ask people here who they have had very good experiences with, 
regardless of what "tier" the provider fits into.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Justin M. Streiner [mailto:streiner at cluebyfour.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 9:17 AM
> To: nanog at nanog.org
> Subject: Re: Evaluating Tier 1 Internet providers
> On Tue, 27 Aug 2013, Eric Louie 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?
> Define "Tier 1 provider".  I ask this because it's something that many
> people don't know what it means, but assume that Tier 1 > Tier !=1.
>> routing stability
> Routeviews.org can shed some light here.
>> BGP community offerings
> If $provider has a page on www.peeringdb.com, they might publish a list of
> their BGP communities there.  Other places to look would be the provider's
> whois/IRR entries, and on their respective websites, or the sales/marketing
> folks might be able to get this information for you.
>> congestion issues
> There are various internet traffic report / weather report sites that can
> give you indirect insight into things like.  By indirect, I mean that you
> might be able to infer things like congestion at a specific point based on
> what you see on those sites.
>> BGP Peering relationships
> You can look at pages like www.peeringdb.com, and you will typically see if
> $provider is at an exchange, however the peering relationships that many
> providers have other providers (locations, speeds, etc) are confidential.
>> path diversity
> You can ask $provider's sales and marketing folks, but there is no guarantee
> that you will get an answer (actual routes are considered confidential and
> proprietary information, despite the fact that a lot of providers' fiber
> ends up converging in a small handful of routes in some areas - i.e. many of
> them follow the same set of railroad tracks or cross a river at the same
> bridge, possibly even in the same conduit) or a correct answer (wave X might
> be re-groomed onto path Y without a whole lot of customer notification).
>> IPv6 table size
> Sites like routeviews.org can give you some visibility here.
>> Seems like everyone offers 5 9's service, 45 ms coast-to-coast, 24x7
>> customer support, 100/1Gbps/10Gbps with various DIR/CIR and burst rates.
>> I'm shopping for new service and want to do better than choosing on
>> reputation.  (or, is reputation also a criteria?)
> Absolutely reputation should be a factor.  I would argue that Internet
> access is largely commoditized anymore (and has been for several years), so
> the real differentiators are cost and level of service.
> jms

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