Evaluating Tier 1 Internet providers
elouie at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 27 21:11:54 UTC 2013
Tier 1 = Internet backbone providers (United States - AT&T, UUNET, Sprint,
AboveNet/Zayo, Cogent, Qwest/CenturyLink, L3/GBLX). However, I might be
better served with a Tier 2 for reachability as pointed out in another
When you say "level of service", what are you referring to? Customer
service? Service level agreement (which is pretty much the same across all
the Tier 1's)?
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.
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