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Sprint v. Cogent, some clarity & facts

  • From: Patrick W. Gilmore
  • Date: Mon Nov 03 01:26:25 2008

Having skimmed the Sprint / Cogent threads, I saw multiple errors and lots of really bad guesses. Instead of replying individually, I thought I would sum up a few facts so everyone was on the same page. This way when we run off into another 100 post thread, we can at least -start- from reality (although I would bet serious cash on long odds we will diverge from it soon enough).

1. Neither Sprint nor Cogent have transit
Both Sprint & Cogent are transit-free networks. (Notice how I carefully avoided saying "tier one"?) Whether one or both _should_ have transit is not a fact, and therefore outside the scope of this e- mail, but that neither have transit today is a fact. (And please don't tell me how Network X has 100 Mbps of transit in Sri Lanka because they are too lazy to lease undersea cable. If you don't understand what I am saying here, stop reading now.)

2. The Internet cannot "route around" de-peering
I know everyone believes "the Internet routes around failures". While occasionally true, it does not hold in this case. To "route around" the "failure" would require transit. See item #1.

3. Standard transit contracts do not guarantee full connectivity
If you are a Cogent customer, it is very unlikely your contract will allow you SLA or other credits for not being able to reach Sprint unless you negotiated something special. I doubt Sprint's standard contract is much different. Transit contract SLAs end at AS boundaries. This is because Network A has no control over Network B and therefore will not give credit if Network B fails. Of course, you can still sue, threaten to terminate, etc., but the letter of the contract almost certainly says nothing about packets going beyond your transit provider's ASN.

4. There is a reason behind ratios which has nothing to do with telco "sender-pays"
Hot potato routing + very poor ratios puts much more of the cost on the receiving network. This is a valid, logical, and costly concern for receiving networks. The concern can be alleviated by cold-potato routing through accepting MEDs, anycast, CDN, and other technologies; to which the receiving network may say they cannot send proper MEDs, etc. Whether the problem can or should be worked through is not a fact, though. That this issue has nothing to do with telco "sender- pays" mentality is. (Of course, the telcos might still have that mentality, but that doesn't change the facts.)

5. Cogent has been disconnected several times
Cogent has been de-peered (e.g. Teleglobe, L3, Sprint) and/or performed de-peering themselves (e.g. Telia) multiple times. Cogent has been disconnected from another network more times & for longer (in each instance?) than every other transit free network combined for the last decade. (In fact, if memory serves, for the history of the Internet - but I'm not quite sure enough to guarantee it as fact.) Cogent has also de-peered many non-transit-free networks, at least sometimes without even notifying the peer prior to disconnection. Whether that makes Cogent the bully-er or the bully-ee is not fact, so I will not comment on that here.

There are probably other errors I missed while skimming the longer posts. But this should get us started on a good, clean, factual footing for future flights of fancy.