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The Other Side of the Sprint Vs. Cogent Depeering

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the working-it-out dept.

Networking 174

Swoolley writes "A month back this community discussed the Sprint vs. Cogent depeering. Now a story I wrote for Forbes.com tells the inside story of the fight, based on the lawsuits the two companies filed against each other in Virginia state court. For once, thanks to those suits, the public gets to see the details of a confidential peering agreement between two of the Internet's largest autonomous systems, as well as the circumstances leading up to the depeering. (Which company is in the right? Read the facts and decide for yourself.) While some people have argued that the depeering is reason for more government regulation, the Forbes story makes the case that details of the recent Cogent vs. Sprint fight argue for exactly the opposite: keeping the Internet backbones free of government meddling."

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Well, DUH! (2, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966067)

While some people have argued that the depeering is reason for more government regulation [CC], the Forbes story makes the case that details of the recent Cogent vs. Sprint fight argue for exactly the opposite: keeping the Internet backbones free of government meddling."

This is Forbes, after all. According to Forbes, the Great Depression was proof of the need for less government regulation.

Let's just make the case. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966193)

These kinds of agreements should be set by law because they serve the public and the parties depend on public servitude. Real value is provided by interconnects and divided networks are worthless. The story presented by Forbes is one of Sprint screwing up and customers being damaged in what should have been a no brainer deal. Sprint lost more than it could have gained but we can't rely on corporate greed to protect the public interest in the future. Sooner or later, it might be in a large company's best interest to bully smaller companies and the public will lose again.

Re:Let's just make the case. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967223)

What public interest? These companies spent their revenues from other areas of business to invest in the infrastructure to provide a commercial service to paying customers in order to increase their overall revenues and profitability.

Just because it's a service that Joe Plumber is oblivious of but still needs in order to download the latest in plumbing-snake-porn, does not mean it's a "public service".

If Sprint wanted to disconnect their entire network from the rest of the world, firewall off every one of their customers and run nothing but local copies of Gutenberg and Wikipedia as a content service, that's their choice.

Any talk about 'public interest' is a red herring and mindlessness.

namaste---

Warning: Known troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967403)

Please do not reward things like [slashdot.org] these [slashdot.org] .

Thank you, moderators.

Re:Let's just make the case. (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968327)

"It's in the public good" is not a valid reason to do something, partially because the definition of the public good is so subjective. In the Hannibal films, for example, Dr. Lecter killed flutist Benjamin Raspail to improve the quality of the orchestra to which he belonged. We are all likely in agreement that this was murder, but apparently Lecter would disagree.

Actually, it was (2, Informative)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966481)

Had the federal government responded initially by cutting taxes and spending, lowering trade barriers and streamlining regulation, it probably would have been just a very bad recession. You can't spend your way out of a bad economic cycle; that's like drinking more beer as a solution to a hangover. What you need to do is calm things down, encourage trade and not experiment with the economy and organizing society. I'm not going to say that the federal government caused the Great Depression, but it certainly didn't do anything positive to stop it and return the economy back to sanity.

Mod parent up (2, Insightful)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966567)

You can't spend your way out of a bad economic cycle; that's like drinking more beer as a solution to a hangover.

That's a great analogy! You might be able to drink away a hangover, but it's just going to result in a worse hangover later.

Re:Mod parent up (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966689)

I find smoking pot to be a much better treatment for an alcohol induced hangover. How this relates to the GPs analogy is not immediately clear.

Re:Mod parent up (3, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966833)

It's like a car. Government funding, properly applied, will turn a Trabant into a stretch limo [flickr.com] .

Re:Mod parent up (5, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966839)

You might be able to drink away a hangover, but it's just going to result in a worse hangover later.

Not necessarily. [wikipedia.org]

I'm not saying it's better than a hangover, but at least you can honestly say it isn't a hangover.

Re:Actually, it was (3, Insightful)

rho (6063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966917)

Had the federal government responded initially by cutting taxes and spending, lowering trade barriers and streamlining regulation, it probably would have been just a very bad recession.

Or they could have done nothing at all. One of the most helpful things for the business environment is stability. Knowing exactly what the government is going to do, because that's what it has always done, relieves a business from expending capital on adjusting to changing conditions.

Of course, no government would ever have done nothing, as the citizens wouldn't have stood for it. But, so long as we're spinning moonbeams...

While we're on analogies: (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966995)

You can't spend your way out of a bad economic cycle; that's like drinking more beer as a solution to a hangover.

While we're on analogies: Government stimulus packages don't - because the money they hand out has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is either additional money they tax away (typically from the most productive - the ones they were trying to "stimulate") or by "printing" (or equivalent) new money which gets its value by pulling value out of the money already out there. And the government handling of this money has costs. The stimulus is always less than the stifling.

So government "economic stimulus" is like trying to lengthen a blanked by cutting a strip off one end and sewing it onto the other. The blanket not only ends up no longer, but even a bit shorter.

(If not for that loss it would be like daylight savings time. B-) )

For more on this see the broken window falacy [wikipedia.org] .

Re:While we're on analogies: (1)

denobug (753200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969457)

I'm not too sure why people keep on ignoring the fact that we are "borrowing" money by issuing bonds to foreign and domestic entities to buy. Therefore we are not just printing more money. We are however assuming the tax revenue would be higher down the stretch once the economy gets better.

Issuing bonds for a massive amount of currency, however, has two side effects: Inflation because the market is flood with currency, and it does not take into consideration of other priorities for budget once the economy gets better.

As far as inflationary effect goes, it may actually do us better by inducing a slight inflation to counter the deflation that we currently facing. So no major concerns there for the next year or so.

On the other hand, once the economy gets better it is almost guarenteed that social welfare group will ask for more money for the welfare program. Other interest group would most likely argue that they or who they represent deserve a break either by funding a program or by tax break. Heck, for all we know some politicians could argue for a tax cut for everyone once the money is "there". People tend to forget that we still have to pay back our national debt that was already there.

So I'm neutral towards a temperary overbudget policy. However not the same arguments as most people's have either for or against the "bail-out" package or the New Deal type program.

Re:Actually, it was (1, Informative)

jmyers (208878) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967093)

I am mostly libertarian but I would say the depression brought about some good legislation.

formation of the SEC, regulating stock offerings (33 act) and the secondary market (34 act) and investment companies (40 act) basically just codified best business practices. Before that is was a free for all. Companies could say anything and get away with anything.

Stuff you take for granted now had to be codified in laws years ago so you can take it for granted now.

Re:Actually, it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967305)

Don't worry.

The U.S. is now moving from G.A.A.P. to International Standards that are much less precise and will allow businesses to play with the books much more.

Thanks Tranzies,

Re:Actually, it was (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967125)

Wow, you're so smart. Let's just appoint you chairman of the Federal Reserve since you're obviously an economic genius...

Re:Actually, it was (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967155)

History says your wrong.

Right wing economists have been pushing this meme for 30 years, but history just doesn't support it. Just take a look at American history prior to 1929. Economic busts and panics every thirty years almost like clockwork. Economic busts where a regular feature of capitalism right up until the FDR began regulating the hell out of the financial industry. And sure enough, Bush removed the regulations and the historical pattern returned.

Mod Parent Insightful or Informative (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967767)

Regulation is required to get some transparency and a better sense of confidence into markets. CDO's are the perfect example.

How big is the market for CDO's? What's the liability to investors? Were counterparties *required* to put up capital? What are the terms of the CDO agreements? What kind of leverage is there in CDO's?

None of those questions can be answered at this time and yet once-mighty investment banks literally vanished overnight with unknown leverage conditions.

Re:Actually, it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967165)

You can't spend your way out of a bad economic cycle; that's like drinking more beer as a solution to a hangover.

I know quite a few frat boys who would testify under oath that drinking more beer is a solution to hangover.

Begging the question (2, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967323)

Had the federal government responded initially by cutting taxes and spending, lowering trade barriers and streamlining regulation, it probably would have been just a very bad recession.

You do realize, I hope, that you are citing the conclusion of your hypothesis as proof of it?

As long as we're on speculative economics in an alternate history, would you care to address the events of 1937-1938?

Re:Begging the question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25968601)

would you care to address the events of 1937-1938?

Perhaps that recession was a response to increased government spending along with increased deficit spending as a result of the new deal? No, that couldn't be it.

Re:Begging the question (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968635)

He was giving his opinion, not trying to prove something. So, he could not have been 'begging the question'.

And what is it that you want addressed reg. 1937? Net investment was down in the 30s and the capital stock of the nation was lower in 1940 than it had been in 1932. So, what's your point reg. 1937?

Re:Actually, it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967473)

You can't spend your way out of a bad economic cycle; that's like drinking more beer as a solution to a hangover.

You mean like this [wikipedia.org] ?

You can spend out of a recession (2, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967843)

History has shown a country can and has spent their way out of recession(s). It was called the WPA. Learn a little history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration [wikipedia.org]

Re:You can spend out of a recession (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969671)

Here's a history lesson for you: World War II, not the WPA, not the New Deal, not FDR, ended the great depression.

Re:You can spend out of a recession (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969731)

It's just as likely that the WPA prolonged the Great Depression indefinitely, making it impossible for the economy to recover until we had an actual war, resulting in more-than-full employment.

Individual spending brings a country out of a recession. Government spending is a poor substitute, and may do more harm than good. If you take $100 I would have spent, and give $80 to some other guy to spend, and $20 in corrupt kickbacks to your buddy, that *reduces* overall individual spending (as well as reducing my incentive to personally be more productive). Government is thoroughly and perpetually corrupt, which makes any "government will fix it" plan unreliable.

What percentage of the current bailout money is going to preserving critical financial infrastructure, vs going to preserving executive bonuses? It's surely less than 80%!

Re:Actually, it was (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968283)

The main thing that caused the Great Depression and the same thing that is causing our current financial crisis is wild asset speculation funded by easy credit. Borrowing money to outbid each other on existing assets only adds to the interest burden of society without increasing our gross production capacity.

Encouraging people to borrow more and spend more in an attempt to stimulate the economy is grossly negligent. Yet this is exactly the strategy economist have used to get out of the last three recessions.

What we should be doing to prevent this happening again is linking asset valuations directly to the income that asset could be reasonably expected to earn (houses to rent, shares to dividends, ...).

Re:Actually, it was (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969085)

The main thing that caused the Great Depression and the same thing that is causing our current financial crisis is wild asset speculation funded by easy credit.

What made the Depression "Great" was that the Fed engaged in monetary contraction to pierce the "overspeculation bubble" starting in 1928 and did not stop until 1933 (in 1933, the dollar was devalued and a recovery began, though slowed by the NRA and other New Deal legislation).

You are probably correct regarding the existence of a debt-based stock speculative bubble in the late 1920's, however the Fed actions to dramatically reduce the money supply and cause deflation turned a possible recession when that bubble would pop into the depression when they popped it and stepped on the throat of the economy for four years.

Re:Actually, it was (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968583)

Actually, drinking a small amount of beer the morning after CAN help with a hangover by alleviating some of the symptoms and allowing a more gentle re-regulation :-)

Probably does not constitute proof. Showing a similar historic economic downturn that was just a very bad recession rather than a depression due to encouraging trade and calming things down would be much stronger evidence but would still leave lots of room to argue.

I want to subscribe to your newsletter (1)

rubypossum (693765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968781)

I agree with your analysis of the causes and possible solutions during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, I think drinking well known as the best solution for a hangover.

Right idea, bad example... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967057)

> This is Forbes, after all. According to Forbes, the Great Depression was proof of the need for less government regulation.

Too many Libertarians here will actually agree with that. Let's put that another way that Slashdotters might understand:

This is Forbes. They had Daniel Lyons writing about how SCO would win against those Communist Linux hippies.

Network neutrality (3, Insightful)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967739)

This is Forbes, after all. According to Forbes, the Great Depression was proof of the need for less government regulation.

How would government regulation help in this case? Peering has to make economic sense for both parties or they wouldn't do it. All that happens after peering is broken is that the routers are reconfigured to send traffic over their transit links instead of the peer links. Ultimately, customers are not hurt (except for downtime because of an unplanned link outage).

The government has no business inserting itself into this agreement. The government is not in the business of understanding the economic conditions that provoke peering agreements.

I recall reading an article a few years ago about how Yahoo gets approximately half of it's total bandwidth for free. It makes economic sense for content providers to peer with content consumers. This is where the net neutrality thing breaks down. Large content providers make sure they create links that make sure their content gets to eye balls quickly. The smaller content providers don't get this privilege unless they use content caching services or they find a co-lo that has a network with plenty of peering agreements already in place. Is it unfair? Yeah, so? That's how the chips fall.

If Verizon finds out that enough of their customer traffic is destined to Cogent, it only makes sense for them to peer. Both Cogent and Verizon have a huge number of peering agreements and I wouldn't be surprised if not having this agreement in place really makes that much of a difference to either one of them.

Re:Network neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25969505)

How would government regulation help in this case?

At the bare minimum, it would lay out timelines for notifying the company you plan to depeer and all the effected customers. Ideally, Federal regulation would also mandate non-binding arbitration during the notification period and would prevent [ISP] from blackholing traffic from their former peer.

The government has no business inserting itself into this agreement. The government is not in the business of understanding the economic conditions that provoke peering agreements.

That's a strawman.
Nobody said that the government will involve itself in that agreement.
The idea is to create a framework that will prevent asshole behavior when disagreements arise.
There is absolutely no reason for anyone to wake up and discover [service] is fucked because of a corporate pissing contest.

Re:Network neutrality (1)

oasisbob (460665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969885)

All that happens after peering is broken is that the routers are reconfigured to send traffic over their transit links instead of the peer links. Ultimately, customers are not hurt (except for downtime because of an unplanned link outage).

I'm not sure I understand your comment. If you read any of the articles on Sprint/Cogent's peering spat, you'll see that customers were indeed hurt: Cogent and Sprint had no available transit providers between the two of them.

Which Government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966147)

So tell me, what impact could the Government of Botswana have on the Cogent-Sprint issue?

OH WAIT, I forgot, only the USA has the internet...

Re:Which Government? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966205)

Yeah, the submitter made a typo, and should have capitalized "the Government", since they were referring to the true Government of the world, of which there is only one.

government regulation: the devil is in the details (5, Insightful)

liraz (77590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966209)

Is anyone else here tired of knee-jerk partisanship framing discussion in terms of false dichotomies? Government involvement can do a whole lot of good or a whole lot of bad. The devil is always in the details.

Good: regulate to prevent monopolization of last-mile utilities and reduce barriers to competition.

Bad: let lobbyists who supported your campaign write bills that hand out huge billion dollar tax breaks to carriers to build out the next generation "information superhighway" and sit idle while all of that money goes straight into the pockets of shareholders instead while countries like South Korea [nytimes.com] and Japani [iht.com] take the lead in broadband while America slowly turns into a broadband backwater [blogspot.com] .

Hopefully things will work out a little differently in the new administration.

Re:government regulation: the devil is in the deta (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966779)

You started off that post great, but it all went downhill in the "Bad:" section.

Using tiny, *tiny*, whole countries as an example is flawed. Over 90% of Japanese live in less than 20% of the total area Japan occupies. To illustrate further, the US could easily bring New York City into the 'fiber to your door' reality for about the same cost of the entire country of Japan. Unfortunately for your argument, 90% of Americans don't live in New York City, or rather, in 2% of the area of the entire USA.

If that were true, it would be very cost effective and easy to roll-out new technologies. This is the same reason that the Japanese didn't get charged when ISDN was rolled out to the entire country, and the same for DSL.

Next time try comparing apples to apples.

Re:government regulation: the devil is in the deta (3, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966817)

Pretty much.

...the Forbes story makes the case that details of the recent Cogent vs. Sprint fight argue for exactly the opposite: keeping the Internet backbones free of government meddling.

It is, in fact, inconceivable that Forbes would make any other case. Ideology predetermines their arguments, and in this case, the ideology at work is a sort of economic anarchism that, quite frankly, has been completely discredited by the current state of affairs in the US economy. Not all regulation is "government meddling"; some of it is necessary to protect consumers -- and often even vendors -- from dishonesty and short-sighted greed that is often harmful in the long run to the miscreants themselves.

It is at least mildly ironic that the proponents of economic anarchism are often simultaneously proponents of a hardline law-and-order position in other areas of law.

Re:government regulation: the devil is in the deta (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967095)

The real question on regulation is if it does more good than harm. The easiest way for me to think about it is as a controls system.

It can be underdamped (no regulation), meaning that the industry will go to extreme highs and lows as companies go for short term profits and take advantage of monopolistic opportunities only to be bitten in the ass by those same policies later. Any slight impact on the industry will send companies fortunes flying high or crashing low. There is also little need to innovate since once you have secured your position you can simply remain there until a competitor begins to make inroads on your market.

It can also be overdamped (too much regulation), meaning that the government is so involved that it is slowing innovation and holding companies to the same playing field even if one has a much better product than the others. Industries will be slow to recover from negative effects and slow to take advantage of new opportunities as they wait for the regulation to catch up with changing technologies.

Of course, it is technically possible for a system to be perfectly damped, where regulation would protect the industry from wild swings while still allowing innovation to flourish. Of course, this is the knife edge that is nearly impossible to walk, especially tech industries that are constantly changing.

In the US, it would seem to me that we are underdamped, telcos are taking short term profits rather than improving infrustructure. If the government could reduce the cost of entry into the market or legislate a maximum cost / bandwidth it would improve the infrustructure immensely.

Re:government regulation: the devil is in the deta (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967389)

Government involvement can do a whole lot of good or a whole lot of bad.

AND. Government involvement does a whole lot of good AND a whole lot of bad. Any time there's government involvement you can pretty much count on getting both.

Re:government regulation: the devil is in the deta (1)

canuck08 (1421409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968751)

Is anyone else here tired of knee-jerk partisanship framing discussion in terms of false dichotomies?

Hell yes!

Hope all you want (1)

laing (303349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969139)

But nearly all of the government players from the dot-com demise era will be back in power as of 1/20/2009. Sometimes "change" isn't necessarily a good thing.

Some Regulation (5, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966237)

I don't know what others have been suggesting for regulation, but I would strongly support two simple regulations on depeering. 1) Provider A must give provider B at least X days notice of intent to depeer (say 180 days) 2) If some agreement isn't reached between provider A and provider B, both providers must notify all thier customers of the planned depeering giving thier customers at least X days notice (say 90) Nothing too invasive, just some basic comsumer protections.

Re:Some Regulation (2, Interesting)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966307)

But what if NO peering agreement existed to begin with? Sprint gave Cogent a YEAR - how much more notice do they need???

Re:Some Regulation (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966413)

OK, forget the "peering" wording then. If any major backbone provider plans to disconnect ANY type of connection (peering or paid) they should have to give the warning.

At least Sprint did give Cogent the written notice in this case (about 90 days if I recall correctly). However, neither company notified any of thier customers.

Re:Some Regulation (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966425)

Well they were peering without an agreement.

If 180 days into that year they gave a de-peer date (probably did) that was firm (probably wasn't), and then 90 days later they had to both notify all of their customers, it would have been different.

Re:Some Regulation (5, Informative)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966549)

That's the key - Cogent was CLEARLY in the wrong. They agreed to a paid trial, which they failed. No contract existed for free, or really any kind of peering. Sprint kept the peering up with them anyway - for a YEAR without a contract, billing them for services just like they would any customer, and when Cogent refused to pay, Sprint did the right thing and gave them 30 days notice that they would de-peer them for failure to pay their bill - FOR A YEAR!!!

Sprint only made one HUGE mistake - they didn't understand what the impact to their wireless business would be, and they didn't notify customers as a result, according to my guy on the inside at Sprint.

Re:Some Regulation (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966933)

Uh, no. Sprint is 100% in the wrong here, and the inevitable settlement with Cogent will confirm that.

Sprint made a contract with Cogent saying that they would peer with them after a trial period if the traffic was equal. It was. Sprint does not deny that.

Essentially, the agreement was beneficial to them both. Sprint was able to get faster connections to Cogent customers, and Cogent customers got faster connections to Sprint.

Sprint decided they wanted more money, though, and decided to change the deal from "equal traffic" to "equal traffic over a certain level". They stand to gain a whopping 0.004% of their current income by going after Cogent. They've already lost far more than that on customer ill-will by cutting off Cogent. It should give you how stupid a move this was for Sprint.

Sprint is, as always, the villain here.

TFA paints a more even picture (4, Interesting)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966973)

Cogent argue that under the terms of the contract they passed. They kept the link open at their end because as far as they were concerned they had passed and Sprint was simply following its end of the bargain. They're arguing that they don't have to pay because if Sprint really didn't think they had passed, they could have severed the link at their end.

The confusion is because both sides measured the performance in different ways. From Sprints' complaint:

Cogent unreasonably claimed that the amount of interconnection traffic satisfied the
utilization threshold requirement in the Trial Agreement because the port utilization peak figures
for each of the ten ports (used to calculate billing) exceeded the average utilization criteria across
all ports. Cogent ignored that Paragraph 5.E. required a sustained threshold average utilization
across all ports for the entire period, and instead focused on snapshot figures based on the
commercial pricing model of peak usage. As a result, Cogent argued that it was entitled to
settlement-free peering with Sprint.

I find it hard to believe that Cogent walked away from negotiations with the wrong idea about how the test was going to be measured. In any business negotiations both sides go to great pains to make sure everyone understands what's being agreed because otherwise it winds up in court like this. If the judge takes the view that Cogent was mislead (deliberate or not) then this becomes a big PITA for Sprint.

So yea, a balls-up for both parties.

Re:TFA paints a more even picture (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967023)

Whoops, meant to include the complaint [slashdot.org] .

Re:Some Regulation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967229)

Cogent was CLEARLY in the wrong. They agreed to a paid trial, which they failed

According to the "technical" link on the Forbes article, Cogent's countersuit is based on the claim that Sprint had "misrepresented" their bandwidth measurement requirements, and that had they known they would be required to hit the bandwidth targets 100% of the time (rather than the standard 95th percentile measurement), they wouldn't have bothered (neither would I). If this is true, then Sprint is CLEARLY in the wrong for having defrauded them.

Even if it is true, Cogent should have gotten the message and disconnected when Sprint started billing them. Just because they were defrauded doesn't mean they get free peering.

Re:Some Regulation (1)

canuck08 (1421409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967929)

Cogent was CLEARLY in the wrong.

My reading of the article does not lead me to that conclusion. Please explain your logic.

Re:Some Regulation (1)

droopycom (470921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969721)

And Cogent knew the impact... so clearly Sprint was stupid, and no matter how reassuring their CEO appears in their commercial, they didnt know how to take care of their customers.

I assume Cogent knew exactly the impact on their customers, which where undoubtedly big on the server side... apparently though, it was worth the risk for them. They were ready for it too, with press release etc...

And now the result is that everybody get better service. And lets face it, its going to cost sprint much more in lost customers than it would have cost them to operate those 10 peering points.

So Cogent might be a bully, but what the heck, I'm just happy if the Sprint customer are getting their own tubes and not clogging everybody else's when connecting to youtube...

Re:Some Regulation (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968653)

But what if NO peering agreement existed to begin with? Sprint gave Cogent a YEAR - how much more notice do they need???

Then both Cogent and Sprint would have been required to give their customers 90 days to jump ship to a provider who can maintain stable peering agreements OR try harder to come to an agreement before they screw everyone over with their squabble.

Re:Some Regulation (1)

smoot123 (1027084) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967693)

I don't know how notifying customers would help. "In 90 days, some number of web sites won't be reachable from your mobile phone. We don't know which ones or even how many. To avoid this, switch to another cell service provider. Have a nice day." I'm a geek and I don't know how to use this information.

When it's all said and done, I think the free market worked. Sprint cuts Cogent, customers bitch, Sprint sees the light and decides losing subscribers isn't worth the $100k a month, reconnects Cogent. How was this not a success?

Strange story (2, Interesting)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966371)

When this story broke two months ago, the Sprint claim was that Cogent was having an unbalanced share of the traffic, and that was given as reason for depeering; mostly due to Cogent signing up large numbers at 10% of the price of Sprint and the other tier 1 ISPs. Makes you wonder if Forbes has an axe to grind there now.

Re:Strange story (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966499)

You seem to be very unhappy about this. You would be happier sucking on my cock. Forbes, Cogent and Sprint are all very large corporations. Maybe you can send them you resume?

There seems to be a tags issue (4, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966443)

Looking at the tags for this story (and many others), it seems tags are being used more for comments on the story than as a useful means to group stories by tag. For instance here we have the tags 'corporatewhining' and 'fuckemboth', both of which are most definitely a comment on the story, not a useful tag as such, well, not very useful as comment either, truth be told.

For that matter, the more useless a tag, the more likely it is to be of a derogatory nature.

That's pretty broken really, not even slightly useful as a feature.
Perhaps there should be a list from which people select, such as there is when submitting stories

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966517)

As far as I know, the tags exists to make fun of the french.

I figure other users will catch up eventually.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966521)

It's been a while since tags went from "most popular tags" to "the submitted tags that a few admins pick from to use for a story". There was a week or two period where it became apparent that the tagging system had undergone a fundamental change.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966747)

Did you notice this just now? Slashdot's tags have been useless pretty much since their inception. Gee, whiz. A story tagged with *dramatic pause* "story" - that is so incredibly useful!!! Even when the tags are on-topic, they are usually too generic to be useful (i.e. "science", "technology", "security", etc). Almost every single article is tagged with one (or more) of those tags. I thought the whole point of tags was to categorize things so you could find them easier. I suppose these generic tags can filter out a sizable chunk of articles, but you still have to rely on specifics of the story when searching for it; otherwise you'll still be wading through a sea of articles. And as you point out, another big problem is that people use tags for commenting; this is just fucking retarded for the reasons you mention.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

acrobuddy (1002669) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967077)

By looking when you mouse-over the tags, you will see there are 3 sets of tags. From the right there is the "Type Tags", which is usually just story. Then we have the "System Tags", general categorization of the article, such as tech, game, security, etc. Last there are the "Top Tags", or the user tags, which seem to be the mostly useless set of the three, as pointed out, mainly comments about the story, but sometimes do contain a useful tag.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

rho (6063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966781)

I'm surprised anybody looks at the tags.

They're not good for anything, even if they were utterly correct.

I take that back--I'm sure they're good for something, but they're not at all useful. Meaningless featureitis for Slashcode.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967355)

The most useful tags, like "Roland" seem to be banned. Once that started, I knew tags were doomed.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966821)

The best are tags that are in the fucking headline!

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966867)

The best thing is, theres an option in your user settings to not show tags, but it doesn't work....

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

Lost Race (681080) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969095)

Add this to your userContent.css file:

/* Hide the idiotic user tags on Slashdot */
div.tag-display-stub { visibility: hidden; }
div.tag-widget-stub { visibility: hidden; }

No more tags!

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967061)

Isn't that the point, so we can skip the flamebait stories without having to even read the summary, or know that the summary isn't very good? They're no good for finding stories about something (that's what full-text search is for), but they're fairly decent for filtering stories.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967163)

If you're not interested in flamebait stories, then you're on the wrong website.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967863)

The only point current slashdot tags have are as a off-hand on-liner, a sort of impromptu poll. The mumbled voice of the masses, if you will.
There is a perceived need for this sort of "quick comment", and the tags serve this need, albeit poorly.

The original purpose of the tags, to allow easier searches, the finding of related stories, etc, would be much better served by a proper search function on slashdot.

Why the hell do we need a "story" tag for example?
Frankly, the idea to search for all stories about microsoft, sco, linux, whatever, by using manually added tags instead of simply searching the text of the stories for these words seems quite stupid.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969705)

best of all is when a story is tagged both "story" and "!story".

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967893)

Wow, that's some recent observation you have there. While in the midst of your profound and recent observations about our world, you may want to revisit your code base as well for any two digit representations of the year as they may have problems calculating dates beyond 1999.

Re:There seems to be a tags issue (1)

dotar (1400363) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968087)

Hi. You must be new here.

Tours run every 42 min.

Welcome to /.

wouldn't need tags with a decent search engine (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969389)

Do subscribers get better search functionality? I'm not really whining, but the search sucks. Hence the tagging system?

Does anyone else see this the same way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25966471)

As a Slashdot story that basically says hey look at me I got an article in Forbes aren't I the awesomest.

Links to the documents? (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966541)

Does anyone have a link to the peering agreement?

But which of them broke the Internet? (2, Interesting)

Lorens (597774) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966743)

When *I* kill a peering, the traffic is rerouted through the Internet. Please don't tell me Cogent and Sprint don't use BGP! So why did traffic stop flowing?

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (1)

dark_15 (962590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966919)

If I remember right Cogent had blackholed the entire Sprint IP space, rather than routing it out through another provider. This led to the 'divide' of the Internet.

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966937)

Traffic stopped flowing because neither Sprint nor Cogent paid for any alternate paths through the Net. This depeering reveals the fragility of the Tier 1 "people pay us, but we don't pay anyone" philosophy.

Tier 1 is about long-haul. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967303)

This depeering reveals the fragility of the Tier 1 "people pay us, but we don't pay anyone" philosophy.

Tier 1 is about long-haul vs. last-mile. The last-mile providers have the customers who pay the bills. The Tier 1 carriers have the big long-haul lines which chew up money and don't pay any bills. Money has to flow from the customers to pay for all the pieces of the path.

It's not so cut and dried, of course. Tier 1 companies typically are also last-mile providers as well - just big ones whose internal interconnects span continents and/or bridge them. And smaller last-mile providers may themselves have a lot of long-haulage, even though they're regional, and may provide bridges between, say, a Tier 1 carrier and another regional last-mile provider or two Tier 1 carriers.

But the point is that there are asymmetries in the cost and billing structure of the carriers, with the bigger ones typically providing more benefit to the smaller than the other way around (the bigger ones being transit-heavy, the smaller paying-customer-heavy). Money sometimes gets exchanged to even this out, usually flowing from the little guys to the big ones.

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967513)

by definition, "tier 1" means a service provider who only peers, and doesn't pay someone else for transit. The set of tier 1s (only about 7 worldwide?) only swap traffic directly with one another, including for their own paying customers.

Most ISPs make sure they have 2 different upstreams for reasons like this.

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (1)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966967)

So why did traffic stop flowing?

Because there were no alternate routes — nobody was being paid to provide paid transit between Cogent and Sprint. Pleas see this Slashdot comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (3, Informative)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967567)

why did traffic stop flowing?

Because both Sprint and Cogent are what's known as "transit-free" providers.

There are three types of connections:

Transit connections - where you pay someone to connect you to "the Internet"
Peering connections - where you swap traffic between your particular corner of the Internet and the other guy's corner of the Internet
Customer connections - where you are paid by someone to connect to "the Internet"

A transit-free provider has only the latter two connection types. They are (in theory) sufficiently well connected with peering links that they don't have to pay anyone for transit. In addition to Cogent, several of the big name providers including Verizon, AT&T and Qwest are also transit-free.

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (1)

topside420 (530370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968831)

Yes, they definitely use BGP, however at that level, you don't necessarily have a "transit" (internet) provider, like normal ISPs do. You just peer with all the tier1s.

So, when Sprint (AS1239) depeers with Cogent (AS174), unless Cogent has a TRANSIT link with ATT / Savvis / Qwest / Level3 / GX, etc, the traffic will not flow.

Yes, you'd think they would have a transit link worked out just in case an entire AS blinked out of existence, especially when you expect it could happen, but they apparently didn't. That or their BGP filters on the transit linked filtered out anything for Sprint/AS1239 because of the peering link with Sprint. *shrug* Yes it shouldn't have happened the way it did - but there's many reasons why it could have.

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25968907)

Some scenarios fer ya:

(1) Sprint de-peers but leaves their end of the circuit live. Cogent does not de-peer. Routing becomes asymmetric, delivering more traffic from Cogent to Sprint. Internet breakage by Sprint.

(2) Sprint drops the circuit but continues to announce routing to Cogent networks, breaking traffic to Cogent customers from Sprint networks. Internet breakage by Sprint.

(3) Neither side drops peering or drops their router interfaces. Cogent believes it's in compliance with the contract. Sprint says that Cogent is not. (Wouldn't it be great to make the NDA go away that covered the peering agreement to get a look at the volume part(s) of the contract? While we're viewing forbidden fruit, let's see the traffic graphs from both Cogent and Sprint exchange point routers. Cogent should be able to show a decrease in volume to other carriers.) Sprint was aware of the volume of peering bits flowing during the paid trial. If Cogent did not meet the terms of the peering agreement, Sprint should have removed their Cogent route announcements as soon as the contract allowed, turned off the router ports and removed the long haul and local loop data circuits. At that point, Sprint stops billing Cogent. Sprint apparently did not do this. Internet breakage by Sprint.

My conclusions come only from reading one non-technical article, and not from source documents that the judge, counsel and the scoundrels, ahem, legal professionals on both sides will keep under wraps. Personal experience with Sprint over the years makes me just a tad more willing to believe that they'd break an agreement that was being met but not meeting revenue targets. (However, I'm also mindful that the content flowing in and out of Cogent was hardly The Lord's Prayer. Did it annoy Sprint to have to maintain peering to a provider undercutting their rates and enjoying popularity amongst adult hosting site providers? Did they consider Cogent an also-ran, and went looking for a way to keep them a customer and shed them as a peer?)

Back when I did buy bandwidth, Cogent was a less-desirable provider because they had trouble getting peer agreements, raising the latency of packets from and to Cogent customers. I gather that this changed over time. My take on these events is that Cogent tried to make traffic flow more efficiently, and Sprint poured a steaming cup of large provider arrogance over their heads to make them go away and cost Cogent some coin in the process. I can definitely see that happening, but did it? It'll take some discovery to find that out.

Re:But which of them broke the Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25969797)

wasn't there a blackhole thing going on?

as corrupt as corrupt could be (3, Interesting)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966755)

i am actually for some regulation. not really of any content, but to force the larger companies to be more open. fact is, the Internet/phone backbone was built using taxpayer money. if that is the case, then the taxpayers have a vested interest in competition and choosing their providers. minimally, all public institutions should be on a government owned/operated network.

large companies like Sprint have paid off enough local FCC chairs that they are now deregulated, and are gladly unplugging all other ISPs that don't belong to the top 6 or 7. fees just to open the plug-in process are over $10,000 a month, and the bigger ISPs aren't even required to do anything. many local companies here have spent $10,000 for several months, having an open account with AT&T, and AT&T is allowed to sit on their hands because they can. you can pay $10,000 to AT&T and request that they hook you up at the local CO, and they will gladly take the money and say "Thanks for making a formal request", and that is it. end of story.

and here in Oklahoma, AT&T is even double billing the local schools and libraries, but the FCC won't do anything about it. AT&T has a contract in Oklahoma to provide schools/libraries with connections for a certain base price, but because the schools/libraries get and pay their own bills, AT&T sends them bills with higher rates, knowing that the local mayoral staff won't have any clue on what they are supposed to pay.

truth is, we should have an easy way to link into a system that was built with taxpayer money. and we need to actually be able to VOTE on what these big ISPs do, and not rely on the incredibly corrupt state FCC.

Re:as corrupt as corrupt could be (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967475)

i am actually for some regulation. not really of any content, but to force the larger companies to be more open. fact is, the Internet/phone backbone was built using taxpayer money.

Fact is, Sprint was not a Baby Bell born from the AT&T breakup. Sprint was formed out from a private Railroad communications network. None of your taxes was used to create the Sprint network. So your all for regulating other peoples property?

http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Sprint-Corporation-Company-History.html [fundinguniverse.com]

Re:as corrupt as corrupt could be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967809)

Correction: Tha Bell system was paid for partially by Federal money. The redundancy in the ORIGINAL Bell/AT&T long distance copper was paid for by the Government to allow the system to work during a war which might take out multiple communication centers. I don't know about other backbone providers, but Sprint bought and installed their own cross-country fiber in the '80s to compete with AT&T long distance (remember the "pindrop" commercials?). They then used that same fiber for their internet backbone, which was completely separate from the AT&T internet backbone and (at the time) MCIs (UUNet?).

Re:as corrupt as corrupt could be (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968981)

the Internet/phone backbone was built using taxpayer money.

This is just untrue.

TCP/IP protocol was developed with taxpayer dollars, and some early research networks that are now a small part of the Internet were built with taxpayer money, but most of the infrastructure of the modern Internet was privately paid for.

One point gets missed (1)

wilder_card (774631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25966789)

With all those people being cut off, what about the claim the internet "heals itself" and routes around damage? It looks like these big corporations have partitioned things so that's no longer true. If there's any possible route between me and http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] I want the system to find it, dammit!

Re:One point gets missed (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967001)

With all those people being cut off, what about the claim the internet "heals itself" and routes around damage?

That hasn't been true for many years if it ever was.

If there's any possible route between me and http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] I want the system to find it, dammit!

If a possible route exists but no one has paid for it, traffic won't flow over that route. Your suggestion amounts to bandwidth socialism.

Re:One point gets missed (1)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967019)

If there's any possible route between me and http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] I want the system to find it, dammit!

But you're not alone involved. The people who provide the route between you and Slashdot, known as transit providers, want to be paid. Hence, they carefully filter what routes they advertise, and only allow those for which there is a paid agreement for.

This is known as policy routing or route filtering.

Re:One point gets missed (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#25967659)

If you were connected via more than one ISP (not just Cogent or Sprint) then the Internet did heal itself and route around the damage. Its only if you chose to be a sole-source customer of a transit-free provider that it didn't heal.

Re:One point gets missed (1)

canuck08 (1421409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968055)

what about the claim the internet "heals itself" and routes around damage?

Essentially that feature is stifled by money. While both networks (sprint and cogent) had potential routes to each other across third networks those links could not be used without first signing a contract to pay the third networks.

Third provider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25967041)

What I want to know is, what happened to that 3rd provider Cogent used as an in-between with Sprint originally? Did they cancel it after getting the 90-day test from Sprint? It sounds like Cogent wanted to get out of a peering deal with a smaller provider, and wanted to use the "but we don't have any other way to connect to you" defense when Sprint decided to charge.

Peering and Transit explained (5, Informative)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25968233)

Shameless self promotion: This article at Ars Technica explains how peering and transit works [arstechnica.com] . For some more info see my blog: Internet Thought [blogspot.com] .

Children acting like idiots. (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25969503)

Maybe "acting" is incorrect, they are idiots.
I've seen these stupid acts like this before at the company I worked for between two vendors. I remember at that time that preschool children acted better than these two Fortune 500 companies which were fight each other in a similar manner.
A good government should step in well before this happens to prevent damage to major infrastructure. However the word "good" is the key word in this and we don't have a "good" government now.

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