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Internet Partitioning - Cogent vs Level 3?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the balkanization-of-the-'net dept.

The Internet 450

slashmicah asks: "Internet partitioning and Tier 1 ISPs are something most people don't know much about (myself included). Today, however, some Slashdot readers might have run into some issues involving these two topics. Cogent Communications and Level 3, both Tier 1 ISPs, are apparently having some 'undisclosed' disagreements, causing an Internet partition by turning-off or deactivating their peering point. Cogent Co. has released a statement explaining their side of the problem, however they have no mention of when the problem will be fixed, or when they will sort it out. This partitioning is a problem because any [single-homed] computers that are connected through Cogent Co, can not connect to [single-homed] computers connected through Level 3. Having spent all day sorting out this problem, I ask Slashdot: Isn't there a better way that the issue of peering can be handled/regulated? If not, does the future hold a scenario in which the Internet is split into several separate networks, only to be connected at the whims of large corporations?"

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450 comments

Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue. (5, Insightful)

versiondub (694793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726204)

While it is always fun to entertain such doomsday scenarios in ones' mind, I don't think that anything like this is possible. Current demands of most large corporations (Microsoft, Apple, any number of others) along with the internet-using public are for a universally-connected internet. Any company that simply creates its own network is going to face a huge revenue loss.

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (4, Insightful)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726255)

It's possibly on a par with the scenario of countries cutting others off their internet connections. Not that it can't be done, but the repercussions are akin to MAD. Although these days with the effective merger of state and corporate interests anything can happen...

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726259)

If large companies connect to multiple Tier 1s, then they pretty much don't have to care; their customers can still reach them.

Personally, there are several sites I can't get to from home now. I didn't have any problem getting them from work (UT Austin). I have effectively zero power to rectify this. Annoying.

Now, if Cogent offered me some way to connect to them for an additional $5/mo... would I?

Think... if the government allowed an additional $5/mo. for each Tier 1 my ISP (Time Warner) is connected to... my cable modem bill would instantly double.

That's a scenario that bothers me more than the dissolution of the Net does. Flip side, the Internet would get a whole lot more redundant really quick...

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (2, Informative)

gid13 (620803) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726398)

From Cogent's side, as linked in the summary:

"Cogent will offer any Level 3 customer, who is single homed to the Level 3 network as of October 5, 2005,
one year of full Internet transit free of charge at the same bandwidth currently being supplied by Level 3.
Cogent will provide this connectivity in over 1,000 locations throughout North America and Europe."

Not that I really know what that means, or whether their claim that Level3 cut things off really makes Level3 the bad guys. Anyone want to explain for those of us that don't get it?

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (3, Insightful)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726477)

Translation: Cogent will let any Level 3 customer who is cut off use their service for one year at no charge.

This will eliminate any internet performance anomalies for those customers so that they are not affected in a bad way by this issue. It's also a good PR move that might let them grab a few Level 3 customers who are impressed by the goodwill gesture.

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726515)

I wish I could edit that a bit. Me saying "cut off"... is a bit strong. The packets would still get from point A to point B. Without Cogent offering to link these people up, their packets would have to work around the blocked pipe by also passing through point C, point D, and point E.

--endless

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (2, Interesting)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726296)

IF the backbones segmented everyone with dual links would keep their UUnet, people without UUnet would get one or pressure their provider to use the UUnet uplink, basically it would be survival of the strongest and UUnet would win.

Yeah I am just a network guy but I bet I know more about this than the "expert" "predicting" gas prices on CNN.

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (-1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726306)

Alternatively, so what if it is possible?

It's not like the Internet is the key to everything, or to anything, really. It's certainly not the ne plus ultra of human achievement, or the One True Path to the Future.

I predict that for most of its existence, which will probably go on for hundreds or thousands of years, the "Internet" will look shockingly unlike anything this one small fraction of one single human generation has become accustomed to imagining.

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726387)


So...you predict that things will change?

Man! Quit your day job and start your own business as a Prophet!

Go! The world needs someone of your great talents too much for you to be slaving away in front of a computer!

Re:Interesting scenario, though most likely untrue (1)

ebyrob (165903) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726447)

It's not like the Internet is the key to everything, or to anything, really. It's certainly not the ne plus ultra of human achievement, or the One True Path to the Future.

Ya, the internet is wholly insignificant, why it's barely any more important than the telecommunications infrastructure for phones was in the 70's.

And if it DID happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726373)

It's not like the Googlenet wouldn't save us.

Cogent Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726499)

Cogent just sucks, they have had several problems with their peering points, not just Level3, and it all stems from lack of equal traffic. The idea of a peering point is that you share your network for in transit traffic to other networks on the other side of your network. Cogent has always had a high level of incoming, but not in transit traffic. For instance say to get from my IP to another host would be 6 hops if I would pass via Cogent and 12 hops any other way. A proper peer would allow me to take the 6 hop route, but Cogent does not do this in a fair share. They make peers and abuse them in order to maintain the cheap prices, their poor business model is just catching up with them.

Why do you think some hosting providers specifically so NON-Cogent bandwidth? Perhaps cause they suck really..

Come on (1, Funny)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726206)

Why can't we all (Cogent and Level 3 included) just get along?

Re:Come on (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726262)

> Why can't we all (Cogent and Level 3 included) just get along?

The Internet's insecure enough without introducing race conditions into it.

Besides, that's so 1990s. The 21st century equivalent is to yell "Tier 1 ISPs don't care about spam victims!"

Re:Come on (2, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726320)

Isn't there a better way that the issue of peering can be handled/regulated?

I've always favored shotguns at three paces.

Really easy solution all net-ops already know (4, Insightful)

ProfaneBaby (821276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726210)

Don't expect to peer with people bigger than you for free forever.


"A true peer relationship is based on the supposition that either party
can terminate the interconnection relationship and that the other party
does not consider such an action a competitively hostile act. If one
party has a high reliance on the interconnection arrangement and the
other does not, then the most stable business outcome is that this
reliance is expressed in terms of a service contract with the other
party, and a provider/client relationship is established"


Level3 is threatened by Cogent's bandwidth pricing model, and is using it's weight to threaten that model, forcing Cogent to buy transit if it wants to reach its network. THat's how things work: you can't get free bandwidth from everyone, you're going to have to be willing to step up and pay for your link.

quote attribution (3, Informative)

ProfaneBaby (821276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726232)

I regret the lack of attribution on my above quote - it's from Geoff Huston, with full document available here [cisco.com]

Definitely not (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726211)

First post?

Level 3 sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726214)

They are spam friendly. Avoid at all costs.

Consider switching to someone less petulant (1)

neillewis (137544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726218)

If they don't sort it out, find a new ISP.

Re:Consider switching to someone less petulant (4, Informative)

urlgrey (798089) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726272)

As a cogent customer, it's *really* not their fault, IMHO. I gather L3 pulled the same stunt with XO last week.

As to the notion by another poster of not expecting peering with someone bigger for free forever: 38.0.0.0/8 Class A is Cogent/PSI... how much bigger than being an entire Class A (and then some?!) does one have to be to be considered [ahem] "equal"?

It was a mutual arrangement: they both allowed transit for one another's packets... pretty fair given the size and stature of them both, I'd say.

Re:Consider switching to someone less petulant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726496)

38.0.0.0/8 Class A is Cogent/PSI... how much bigger than being an entire Class A (and then some?!) does one have to be to be considered [ahem] "equal"?

I suspect it's not based on number of IP addresses, but on bandwidth used.

Re:Consider switching to someone less petulant (5, Informative)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726503)

As a cogent customer, it's *really* not their fault, IMHO. I gather L3 pulled the same stunt with XO last week.

Yeah, Level 3 is really out of line in my opinion. It's not that they shut down the peering link. That wouldn't be that big of a deal. The traffic would just flow through other providers on less efficient routes. It's not as though every single backbone carrier peers with every other. But I just checked my BGP sessions, and Level 3 is not advertising the Cogent route at all. And you know for a fact that Level 3 is receiving the Cogent route from many of it's other peers. But it appears that they are intentionally filtering out the Cogent route. Which is pretty much not playing by the rules. It's one thing to shut down a peering agreement. It's something else entirely to refuse to accept that route from any of your other peers.

Re:Consider switching to someone less petulant (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726520)

Better yet ask for service credits. Have a few clients with L3 and / or Cogent they all have problem tickets in for the lack of reachability to the other and have allready gone into some pretty stiff penalties under there contracts. Yes L3 and Cogent will try and weasel there way out of the service credits but it's costing each of them money to do so and as that number goes up they will have to figure out a way to make it work.

The real question... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726219)

Does the future hold a scenario in which my testicles are split into two separate networks, only to be connected at the whims of large flaps of skin?

Re:The real question... (-1, Offtopic)

T3h_3vi1_d3ad (920693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726257)

No no no. The real question is not "Does the future hold a scenario in which my testicles are split into two separate networks, only to be connected at the whims of large flaps of skin?" The real question is will you need to hire separate lawyers to represent both your right and left testy despite the large flap of skin separating them?

Reminds me of... (3, Interesting)

mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726221)

If not, does the future hold a scenario in which the Internet is split into several separate networks, only to be connected at the whims of large corporations?

A quote about censorship. Come on, we all know it. The internet will see that as damage and route around it. The very fact that you mention that this affects single homed computers on one or the other network means that even at the onset of this "partitioning" it is ineffective.

Re:Reminds me of... (3, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726386)

We have one large regional telco that interconnects most cities in our area and they don't pay for their peering. There's also city carrier that supplys end-point access to many city businesses. This city carrier has peer access to many different regional networks but they pay for their agreements. The small guy's peers just don't have enough financial interest in the link to give it away for free.

A data carrier makes their money off the small guys that want to plug into the heavily funded infrastructure that the big guys have spent much time building up. If you have two equally sized carriers with equal data being sent/received to the other network, it makes perfect sense to peer them. Since they both have to bridge the gap to one another's network somehow, its cheaper to go directly to one another.

Now, lets say the data flow rate isn't symetric. TinyISP and UberISP. TinyISP uses 100Mb/s on UberISP's network, but UberISP only uses 1.2Mb/s on Tiny's network. UberISP wouldn't feel inclined to allow a peering agreement since most of the financial benefit is happening by TinyISP.

Now with all that said, your argument is only partially correct. Yes, "The internet will see that as damage and route around it" can happen, but it isn't the magical sugar plum fairy granting magical bandwidth to route this traffic. Its Cogent footing the bill to L3 or some other peer in order to get to their intended recipients. Thats if L3 hasn't blocked the Cogent Netblocks as well. In which case, Cogent would be forced to have a peer Source-NAT their traffic if they wanted to reach L3 resources. Thankfully, To my knowledge this crazy scenerio has never occured.

Re:Reminds me of... (1)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726482)

... Cogent would be forced to have a peer Source-NAT their traffic ...

Don't even go there.

Re:Reminds me of... (5, Insightful)

schickb (629869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726479)

Actually it appears that L3 has done more than just drop direct peering with Cogent. L3 seems to be filtering all traffic sourced from Cogent controlled IP blocks. So unless Cognet sets up a NAT arrangement with other peers, there is no way around this problem. L3 is actively blocking Cogent traffic.

If your company or ISP uses only Cogent for bandwidth, it is currently impossible to reach L3 only connected services. I believe L3 to Cogent is being blocked as well.

Attempted (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726222)

I tried to get First Post but I was using Level3

To get the problem fixed (2, Interesting)

Dan Ferguson (691027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726224)

The customers on each one of the company's networks needs to call them and demand resolution. This is the fastest and most effective method of getting the company to pay attention and fix the problem. If the customers open trouble tickets on this issue it will get resolved. - Dan

probably unrelated... (0, Offtopic)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726226)

..but I notice I am unable to access Drudge today, first time I remember his site being down.

Re:probably unrelated... (1)

RevTenderBranson (910522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726268)

You say that like its a bad thing.

Re:probably unrelated... (1)

pcnetworx1 (873075) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726282)

Bash.org is too, how sad! Wait...

Re:probably unrelated... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726284)

there is a God!

Re:probably unrelated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726473)

calling cogent a tier 1 is pushing it, it always has been
this is proof they are not a TRUE tier 1 network

i applaud l3 for finally taking action against cogent

And techtv.com and photobucket.com, too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726299)

along with Drudge, all inaccessible through roadrunner...

Re:probably unrelated... (1)

mshmgi (710435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726381)

This is why. I cannot get to drudge or to stupidvideos.com. Many other sites as well - but those are the two which caused me to look into it a bit closer.

Your statement is incorrect (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726227)

This doesnt stop traffic from going between computers attached to these ISPs. It stops it going directly - it will now go via other providers. It will take longer but this is rather the point of the multiple peering that exists between ISPS.

For an example of this visit https://www.linx.net/www_public/our_members/peerin g_matrix/ [linx.net] that shows the peering matrix at the London Internet Exchange.

Re:Your statement is incorrect (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726266)

Incorrect. The company I work for is one of Cogent's largest clients (16 gigabits). None of our servers on the Cogent network can reach Time Warner, AOL, Verio, etc. I'm at home right now on my Time Warner connection and I'm unable to reach any sites on our network, ping any cogent routers, receive email, etc. We lost nearly 1/5th of our total Cogent traffic today due to this.

Re:Your statement is incorrect (3, Interesting)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726313)

In places that do not constitute a major conjunction of backbone connections, a Tier 1 provider becoming a bit of a rogue would have a more noticeable effect on its downstream customers. Additionally, if too many providers pulled this kind of stunt, the resulting inefficiency from rerouting packets in an end run around the broken link could lead to the entire net being bogged down in a manner similar to what happened when Nimda, Blaster, or Sasser+Welchia hit.

As seen on any network, a sufficient degree of inefficiency will result in DoS. How many peerage agreements would have to be cancelled for this to happen? While I freely admit I couldn't compute a number for an effective local DoS vs regional Dos vs global DoS, I would still be extremely interested in making sure it won't happen.

Re:Your statement is incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726358)

Not true.

I'm on Time Warner roadrunner and I can't see anything in Cogent WDC datacenter (among others). Level3 was my hop, and no longer is - the previous hop hasn't worked around it. Tada, instant breakage.

I hear that we've lost about 1/3 of our traffic (we run a rather large website) because of this.

This has meant that I couldn't do any work today. Thanks Cogent and L3, you are my heroes. Bastards.

PITA but move along (4, Informative)

Halvard (102061) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726230)

Okay, it's a pain in the ass for customers and others BUT they are businesses that negotiate peering, sometimes with monopoly money changing hands, sometimes without. It's a business dispute and it's not like Germany and France closing roads and making you drive through Belgium. They'll resolve it or lose business. Their's more of a back story we don't know.

At least it's not like UUNET more than one, some years ago, wanting to charge other Tier 1's per packet for transfer when peering while their traffic they wanted to pass for free. They were a big dog and were trying to make everyone pay. No one did and threatened to or did kill off traffic until UUNET got the sh*t together. But the did try to pull it off more than once.

Re:PITA but move along (2, Insightful)

branto (811992) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726267)

Miscellaneous people calling up to bitch about not being able to reach Network B from Network A isn't going to accomplish a thing. This is a business decision made by Level3, and they are fully within their rights to do so. Any customers that are feeling the burn of this are in that position because they are not multi-homed. Maybe this "incident" will wake them up to that shortsightedness, maybe it won't... If you are building a network out there, make sure you use 2 Carriers that are either big enough to warrant that this type of peer posturing doesn't happen, or, you buy service from a carrier who buys transit from one of them.

Re:PITA but move along (1)

Lucractius (649116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726417)

it seems to me that this kind of thing is possible but rare. But what its sudenly interested me in is just what are the Teir 1 ISPs over in my Country, afaict there are only 2, each one of them being the owner/operator of one of the 2 major international telecomunication cable routes out of Australia. But can anyone tell me if this is wrong? are they just infrastructure providers, whos place exists to supply the Teir 1 ISPs, meaning they would be perhaps one or 2 more... anyone have any idea where detailed information regarding all these interconects, and the Teiring of various ISPs can be found? (global or australian info please since i dont live in the US the info would do me little good)

On a side note. Im getting shafted by a National ISP, Telsra operate a wholesale distribution network where other ISPs lease their infrastructure for their traffic and you want to guess what their peering is. NONE. This ISP has NO peering, and i get 10 gig a month before speedcapping. They have the largest network in the country, and i dont even get free traffic INSIDE IT.

OK, WTF time here (4, Interesting)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726237)

For something as essential to the nation as internet service, maybe it's time to consider implementing regulations similar to what electric, water, gas, and telecommunication companies have.

If my grandma can't check her email for a day, I don't really care that much. If my doctor is consulting with a cardiac specialist over using VoIP (V being either voice or video) concerning an acute health problem then I have a much larger problem with outages. As long as we have important economic or healthcare services running over the internet--which is the foreseeable future--this sort of thing needs to either be avoided or have a pre-planned workaround.

I guess this explains some of the unresponsive hosts I came across today. And here I was thinking it must be Bob's Worm of the Week.

Re:OK, WTF time here (2, Interesting)

ProfaneBaby (821276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726248)

A doctor relying on an internet link for professional purposes better damn well have more than one provider, anyway.

Dual-homed networks are not affected by a simple depeering.

Re:OK, WTF time here (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726389)

Same goes for the customer too. He/she better make sure they have both DSL and Cable access. Two different ISPs using their own physical medium.

Re:OK, WTF time here (2, Insightful)

rkuris (541364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726412)

Yes they are! They can instantly become single-peered. The whole point of being multi-peered means you have multiple connectivity. One goes down, temporarily, and the others stay up. At this point, this looks like more than just a temporary outage.

Re:OK, WTF time here (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726416)

I'd like to see Level 3 get sued for $100M wrongful death as a result of this action.

Re:OK, WTF time here (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726521)

Dual-homed networks are not affected by a simple depeering.

Wouldn't that be true only if the two homes are on opposite sides of the peering breakage?

Re:OK, WTF time here (3, Insightful)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726286)

Okay, first off if your physician is using any IP-based service and ISN'T using a dedicated connection then no one's to blame except the fucktard who set it up in the first place.

If you keep the following in mind, you will be a much happier person:

(a) The Internet is not guaranteed to be secure.
(b) The Internet is not guaranteed to be reliable.

Anyone making claims to the contrary is a charlatan.

Re:OK, WTF time here (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726291)

If my doctor is consulting with a cardiac specialist over using VoIP (V being either voice or video) concerning an acute health problem then I have a much larger problem with outages.

You must be new to the internet, so let me explain something: If you think your life depends on the internet, you do not deserve to live.

Seriously. People lose water, electricity, cable TV, etc, all the time. They don't all suddenly die. What exactly do you propose the government does when the internet goes down? Send in FEMA?

Re:OK, WTF time here (2, Interesting)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726432)

:::Seriously. People lose water, electricity, cable TV, etc, all the time. They don't all suddenly die. What exactly do you propose the government does when the internet goes down? Send in FEMA?:::

My point is that this service has reached a saturation level in this society such that it must have reasonably high availability and be reasonably priced in order for society to continue functioning normally.

Essentially, it is another piece of infrastructure that we have become dependent on. Yes, I can live with internet access for a week. I did when I moved because the sole local provider has its head up its rear. However, businesses and other entities will have problems functioning at their normal levels if the internet becomes unavailable or less suitable for their normal uses for a prolonged period of time. In the case of potable water, it is simple to predict what problems will arise if availability is reduced or eliminated. What effects can we expect if the effective capacity of the internet shrinks? You know as well as I do that there are many critical systems on the internet, and if the problem gets bad enough some of them will become unusable. How much spare capacity do we have to cover the overhead associated with routing around peerage points that are disconnected for no good reason (good as in technically sound basis for doing so).

This is the issue that concerns me: While the internet is designed to handle failures and remain operable, how many failure points or shutdowns will it take before the internet in this country is unable to meet the demands required by our infrastructure? I've read nothing anywhere that attempts to address this question. While this single cancelled peerage isn't enough (as proven by the fact that I'm responding to your post), I would rather know how much "give" the system has and impose clear regulations so that corporate hissy fits like this don't push things too far. Perhaps this one cancellation is virtually trivial. My concern is the possibility of a larger spate of peerage cancellations causing problems. The internet is as crucial as telephone service to keeping things running smoothly in the US. We have oversight and regulation of the telecommunications industry along with several other services that have been deemed critical to either personal health and safety or to the national interest. I believe the internet has become so integrated into the personal, business, and political spheres that it may need similar treatment.

The point would be to ensure that the system which is supposed to resistant being broken will not only remain functional but will also always be functional enough to support essential infrastructure. Perhaps my off-the-cuff examples of what is essential and what is not were not perfect, and I'm sure either one of us could provide better ones with a bit of thought. Refuting a specific example as being flawed does not, however, address the general concern. How much of this sort of bedwetting behavior can we allow from ISPs before the consequences become bad for a society that is becoming increasingly reliant on the internet?

Re:OK, WTF time here (4, Funny)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726321)

Yes if only there were some mechanisms built into the internet as a whole that would allow for the forwarding of packets through a number of alternate routes if one link were to go down... "Routing" if you will.

I envision such a system could be seriously robust and would possibly withstand a nuclear attack.

Re:OK, WTF time here (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726365)

Well then mister smarty pants, why can't people going from level3 get to people on the other tier 1?

Re:OK, WTF time here (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726400)

Because they didn't set up redundancy.

Any good data center can route around the wholesale outage of any one provider without an issue.

Kind of like asking why you should put your financial records on the computer if a hard drive crash could mean you'd lose everything.

Re:OK, WTF time here (3, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726481)

OK I do this all day long so let me try and expain how teir 1's work in general yes there are exceptions. Teir 1's peer in a fully meshed network meaning all tier 1's have to have connections to all other teir 1's generaly in a multitude of locations. Teir ones only advertise the routes of themselves and there clients not routes learned from there peers. If you want a full set of routes then you need to pay for your connection. This actualy helps stability on the day to day as all teir 1's connect to all the other teir 1's thus nobody is transiting traffic from one to the other meaning L3 could go off the map but that only affects them and there single holmed clients (single holming is BAD)

Cogent is not a bonified teir 1 as they still pay for some of there transit.

Re:OK, WTF time here (4, Funny)

David Gould (4938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726466)


  I envision such a system could be seriously robust and would possibly withstand a nuclear attack.

Wow, sounds like something that could be of great strategic military value. I wonder if the DOD would be interested in developing this idea...?

There goes my good mood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726249)

Luckily, both my web host and a few sites I frequent that are connected by cogent. I just love having to use a proxy to get to them. Just Wonderful!

level 3 issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726252)

I don't think anyone likes level 3, my company is discontinueing contract with them because of their laxidasical response to routeing issues in their network

Only true when one ISP monopolize the internet (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726256)

We all know that's not going to happen in any immediate future. As far as Level3 and Cogent is concerned, they both suck anyway. I guess, that's when Tier 2/3 providers with multi peering come up with best solution for customers worrying about Tier 1 peering parters acting like 5 year olds on a playground.

I don't care who does what with who (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726261)

As long as they make a backup copy, I'm fine with it.

Been dealing with this all day. (4, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726264)

we got an email this afternoon from our provider, who let us know that cogent will be reachable by their second link, which is WilTel. However, the link is slower than the Level3 link. There will also be more traffic being routed through less points, meaning congestion. (and obvious lack of redundancy, if the WilTel connection has problems, no Level3) We have had users complaining about sites being unreachable at random times this afternoon. One of our providers very big customers is the OSU Open Source Lab, home of Drupal, mozilla download servers, master.Kernel.org servers, and many, many others. If your having problems reaching these sites, that is probably why.

Re:Been dealing with this all day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726375)

Guess this explains why I can't get to http://www.penny-arcade.com/ [penny-arcade.com] from Verizon's network on the east coast today.

public peering! (4, Interesting)

po_boy (69692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726280)

Everyone knows what a success MAE-East, MAE-West and the rest of the public peering points have been. Let's build a few more of them! Or, even better, encourage the federal government to get involved. Perhaps spending some of the federal budget on this problem would be a good idea. I think I recall a peering point clause in the constitution somewhere.

In all seriousness, these private companies will work it out when they realize that their paying customers are pissed and leaving because they're no longer selling very complete connectivity. Just like in the past, it won't take long. If TV has taught me anything, these problems are usually wrapped up pretty nicely in about 28 minutes.

Re:public peering! (3, Interesting)

TeraBill (746791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726352)

Public peering points are fine, but some of this may go back to what Johna Till Johnson wrote about in this weeks issue of Network World. She says that the major backbone providers lose money on providing the Intenet backbone links and that the pricing model for this is in need of change. That may be some of what is driving Level 3 in this scenario, since they do carry substantial backbone Internet traffic. Peering points don't really address this since they generally provide a way for more regional people to interconnect and to connect to the backbone providers, but if you build an peering point and none of the big providers come, who carries stuff to the rest of the world? Most of the non-tier 1 providers don't have the pipes to carry that level of traffic. I've seen smaller peering setups built and they generally only serve to provide better access between the local providers, which does have its benefits.

And with the U.N. wanting to take a more active role in the Internet, maybe they need to start trying to manage such things. If it is a utility now, like phone service, maybe we need to do more to regulate how those relationships happen, since I'm sure that if Level 3 decided not to terminate calls from Sprint, someone at the FCC would be on it pretty quickly.

Its all their fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726289)

Blame AOL and MS!

Peering through the 'problems' (1)

stock (129999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726292)

Peer Relaying should never depend on the goodwill of Tier 1 ISPs. The core backbone routing infrastructure should never have to deal with problems of ISPs. an ISP should never be a carrier, and a carrier should never be a ISP.

Robert

WRONG!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726295)

Ok first off, you need to learn how routing on the internet works. This does not mean that those two single homed computers will not be able to talk, they will just have to take a less direct route, with more hops.

Re:WRONG!!! (4, Informative)

zmq503o1 (629867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726522)

I wish that was true, but I am both a Cogent customer (100meg Link) and a Level3 customer (Multiple T1's) and the worst is true. My Level3 connection can not reach my Cogent connection, and my Cogent connection can not reach my Level3 circuts. Level3 is no longer BGP peering with Cogent so all routes normally advertised to Level3 no longer exist (from the prospective of Level3 customers). And although the request packet from Cogent might make it to Level3's network via another provider (i.e. route around the problem) with no route back to Cogent's network (BGP ASN 174) there is no way to get the traffic back to the user on the Cogent network.

Can someone post Cogent's statement here? (2, Funny)

PavementPizza (907876) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726317)

Ironically, because of the depeering, I can't get to it!

Cogent's statement posted here (1)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726360)

Cogent's statement:

Cogent Network Status/DNS Server Status Description:
Date: 10/05/2005

  Level 3 has partitioned its part of the Internet from Cogent's part of the Internet by denying Level 3's
  customers access to Cogent's customers and denying Cogent's customers access to Level 3 customers. Level 3
  terminated its peering with Cogent without cause (as permitted under its peering agreement with Cogent)
  even though both Cogent and Level 3 remained in full compliance with the previously existing interconnection
  agreement.

  Many Level 3 customers can still exchange traffic with Cogent customers because the Level 3 customer is multi-
  homed, i.e. it also has a connection to Cogent or to one of the many other networks with which Cogent has a
  peering relationship. As described below Cogent is offering a solution to Level 3 customers that are not multi-homed.

  Cogent will offer any Level 3 customer, who is single homed to the Level 3 network as of October 5, 2005,
  one year of full Internet transit free of charge at the same bandwidth currently being supplied by Level 3.
  Cogent will provide this connectivity in over 1,000 locations throughout North America and Europe.

  Cogent is committed to an open Internet. The existing interconnection facilities between Level 3 and Cogent
  remain intact. Cogent hopes that Level 3 will reactivate these connections, restoring a full level of service
  to their customers.

  For more information on Cogent's offer of free Internet transit, please call:
  NORTH AMERICA: 1-877-875-4432
  EUROPE: +33 (0)1 49 03 19 30

As a rule... (4, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726318)

I have been kicking around the fringes of the high-speed data stuff for a number of years, and there's one true lesson to be learned;

Telcos suck.

ALL of them do in their own special way.

Cogentco website problems (1, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726326)

For some absurd reason I cannot connect to www.cogentco.com [cogentco.com] . I have tried going to it with a web browser and pinging it, but it doesn't connect. The ping returns:

"Ping request could not find host www.cogentco.com. Please check the name and try again."

but, when I ping it from nwtools.com, it works just fine [nwtools.com] . I can connect to many other websites, but not to cogent. I am on a verizon DSL, if that makes any difference. Does anyone have any ideas as to what's going on?

dude, mod this up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726392)

This is someone's case report of network outages. How is this "Status:1, Offtopic"!?!

Re:dude, mod this up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726467)

Yeah no shit, wth is up with mods lately? I've seen a lot of weird moderations lately :/

Re:Cogentco website problems (1)

typobox43 (677545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726507)

That "absurd" reason is likely the very same one as is described in the article.

Connect through another peer? (1)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726335)

Ok, I read the wikipedia information on Tier 1 and Peering, so I present the following scenario. What's to stop Cogent or Level 3 from peering with AT&T, who is also peering with the other guy, and having traffic bridged through AT&T? Doesn't a peer of your peer give you access to both peer's networks? I'm wondering this, because I don't think there is anyway all the Tier 1 providers would have disagreements with every other Tier 1 provider at the same time to keep everyone partitioned. In the long run, if you had enough disagreements with all but 1 other Tier 1 provider, then you could have a problem. Because you effectively (sort of) become a Tier 2 provider since all your traffic will need to route through the 1 peer you have, and I'm sure they'll catch on to that and charge you up the wazoo for it. Can anyone clarify this for me?

That's transit (4, Informative)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726465)

Peering is when you agree to send traffic destined to network X directly to network X via a direct connection between you and X. If you're using X's network to send traffic to Y, that's transit, and X will naturally expect you to pay for the privilege.

This could spell problems (3, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726336)

Lets assume Cogent and Level 3 split up one city (and I know they have done it to at least one place) amongst themselves. Someone happens to be using voip to call 911 while on Level 3, while Cogent is maintaining the 911 system's voip call receiver, preventing the voip 911 call from ever reaching it...

wow they could both be sued for huge sums of money...

Re:This could spell problems (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726351)

good thing for them you can't make 911 call through VoIP yet, huh?

Re:This could spell problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726399)

Vonage Provides 911
Because Your Safety Is Important

Re:This could spell problems (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726445)

That's just wrong. You can call 911 on VOIP. In some cases it's even E911, and the dispatcher will get your location information automatically.

Re:This could spell problems (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726462)

Until it is mandated by FCC, I don't think, it's being done in manor where all VoIP providers provides 911 access to customers. Yes, there are few (big ones) provides it, however most cable companies providing VoIP over broadband do not.

Re:This could spell problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726460)

It's been an FCC requirement [fcc.gov] since June.

Many VOIP vendors already offer it, and all will before the end of the year.

Cogent's message (via NANOG) (4, Informative)

wayne (1579) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726380)

I can't get to Cogent's website, but according to a NANOG post, this is whatit says:

Cogent Network Status/DNS Server Status Description:
Date: 10/05/2005

Level 3 has partitioned its part of the Internet from Cogent's part of the Internet by denying Level 3's customers access to Cogent's customers and denying Cogent's customers access to Level 3 customers. Level 3 terminated its peering with Cogent without cause (as permitted under its peering agreement with Cogent) even though both Cogent and Level 3 remained in full compliance with the previously existing interconnection agreement.

Cogent will offer any Level 3 customer, who is single homed to the Level 3 network on the date of this notice, one year of full Internet transit free of charge at the same bandwidth currently being supplied by Level 3. Cogent will provide this connectivity in over 1,000 locations throughout North America and Europe.

Cogent is committed to an open Internet. The existing interconnection facilities between Level 3 and Cogent remain intact. Cogent hopes that Level 3 will reactivate these connections, restoring a full level of service to their customers.

For more information about the sales offer, please contact the numbers listed below.
NORTH AMERICA: 1-877-875-4432
ANYWHERE ELSE IN EUROPE: +33 (0)6 1101-7382

Level 3's official statement (5, Informative)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726394)

"Recently, certain peers have been disconnected from their direct connection to the Level 3 IP network. Some disconnected peers may elect to block access to certain IP addresses as a result of the disconnection. If a peer elects not to restore connectivity to the Level 3 network through alternative means, customers seeking continued access to the Level 3 network should make alternate arrangements."

They're saying Cogent is intentionally not advertising routes to them via other providers, presumably because they're upset about not having a peering agreement in place. Anyone affected by this presumably needs to harass Cogent.

http://ws.arin.net/whois?queryinput=AS174 [arin.net]

Commercial multi-homed services (1)

lostboy2 (194153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726401)

INANE (I'm Not A Network Engineer) but, as I understand it, peering has been a problem for awhile. Even if network providers do peer, as a customer your quality of service suffers. If your packets are sloughed off to some other provider's network and then there are problems downstream, for example, that provider has little incentive to help you since you're not one of their paying customers. Or something like that.

In any event, that's why companies like InterNAP [internap.com] offer multi-homed services [internap.com] .

Simple! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726425)

This partitioning is a problem because any [single-homed] computers that are connected through Cogent Co, can not connect to [single-homed] computers connected through Level 3.
In other words, a server shouldn't be singled-homed. Any other questions?

Seen it before in Australia (5, Interesting)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726433)

Reminds me on an incident that happened in Australia a couple of years back. Telstra and Optus were pretty much owned all the links outside of Australia, but Telstra lost their major one in a shipping incident. (Sharp anchors?) With nowhere for their data to go they rerouted everything through Optus to let them handle it.

Optus didn't appreciate that and promptly blocked all data between themselves and Telstra. Customers with Telstra were pretty much screwed because they couldn't contact anything and with their network going nuts even sites within Telstra sucked a lot. Still, for a couple of days there, it was two halves of an internet available in here. Was amusing to watch really.

Easy to Fix (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726434)

There's an easy technical fix to this problem: Start a nuclear war at the location of this peering point. Then by design the Internet will route around that area, and communications will be reestablished.

Some thoughts on this mess (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726441)

First, I think that Level-3 is within it's legal rights in terms of dealing with Cogent, but is probably in trouble with it's customers. I am a customer of Level-3 and of Cogent (in the same facility). When I buy IP transit from Level-3, I am not buying "part of the internet". This peering issue places 45+ Million IP addresses out of reach of the Level-3 network (and vice versa). Level-3 did not notify me that they were making this type of change. There is nothing on Level-3's website that even implies that everything is not hunky dory. If you buy a Level-3 line today, will they disclose to you that you are not connecting to the entire internet. I know I am being a little niave here, but not disclosing such a large change of policy is unconscionable.

Second, it is dishonest for Level-3 to blame Cogent for this exclusively. Level-3 had a peering arrangement with Cogent for a long time. If you look at Level-3's interconnection policy page:

    http://www.level3.com/1511.html [level3.com]

It still looks like Cogent and Level-3 could peer under these terms. It was Level-3 that pulled the plug, not Cogent.

What is really annoying is that this is only traffic from Level-3 to Cogent, not to other parts of the internet. Level-3 wants money for Cogent customers to connect to Level-3's network but does not understand that this is a two-way connection and that Cogent's customers and Level-3's customer both benefit from this equally.

Up until this point, I was very happy with Level-3. They run an excellent network and I pay top-dollar to be on it. This blatent disregard for the impact on their customers is a diservice to their customers, to their reputation, and only begs for regulation.

Cogent a tier 1 provider? (1)

lappy512 (853357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726452)

According to Wikipeida's list of tier one providers [wikipedia.org] , linked to from the main wikipedia link, Cogent is not listed as a tier one provider.

No Rules. (3, Interesting)

Nethead (1563) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726454)

The internet has no government, no constitution, no laws, no rights, no police, no courts. Don't talk about fairness or innocence, and don't talk about what should be done. Instead, talk about what is being done and what will be done by the amorphous unreachable undefinable blob called "the internet user base." -Paul Vixie

RE: Isn't there a better way?..... (1)

4tari (915744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726461)

"I ask Slashdot: Isn't there a better way that the issue of peering can be handled/regulated? If not, does the future hold a scenario in which the Internet is split into several separate networks, only to be connected at the whims of large corporations?" Why yes, there is. It's called making sure your host is multihomed ;)

This is bad. Very bad. (5, Insightful)

hernick (63550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726478)

I have reviewed all information available at this time, including discussion threads on many sites more specialised than Slashdot. This is bad. Very bad. Right now, there are millions of Internet users with partial connectivity.

But the action of Level3 is not merely an inconvenience to end users; it is hurting a great many small businesses, badly. There are thousands of small businesses that depend on single-homed Internet connectivity and that cannot afford dual-homing. There are dozens of low-cost datacenters that provide single-homed bandwith to tens of thousands of servers.

As we speak, the livelyhoods of thousands of entrepreneurs are being threatened. Many people depend on being able to offer internet services to any peer on the net. But today, Level3 has changed the rules of the game, and have split the Internet into two somewhat isolated internets.

This is happening on a very large scale. Sure, most of the affected people and businesses are going to get through it just fine. But given the sheer scale of the Internet, a small percentage of those depending on full connectivity will not escape this ordeal unscathed.

You can be sure that a few small businesses will close because of this, the reputations of a few persons will be damaged, and there will be a few bankruptcies - all because of Level3's evil actions. You won't hear about it in the media - nobody cares about such small-scale damage. But the damage is already done, and it is getting worse with every passing hour.

I urge you to join me in a five-minute hate against Level3 and all that their evil discriminative ways stand for. While Cogent is widely recognized for its shitty cut-rate network, they are the good guys here. In the past few years, Cogent has been a major driving force for lowering bandwith costs. Level3 is fighting back, and they long for the days where they charged 5000$/mbps. I say: down with Level3 !

Level3 has a reason to be scared of Cogent (1)

rkuris (541364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13726485)

Level 3 has a 1.5 billion market cap [nasdaq.com] whereas Cogent is already at 2.1 billion [nasdaq.com]

Peering 101 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13726500)

The short version goes something like this:

Provider A and Provider B peer, be it public or private, normally they do this in several places and alternate who pays for the circuit, etc. Now, under normal circumstances, they both push enough traffic from one to the other to justify this mutual payment plan. However, in some cases, you find that B is either intentionally dumping traffic into A thinking A won't notice, or A discovers that its sending so little traffic to B in comparison to the amount B is sending to A that its not worth the continued cost.

When the first sort of thing happens, it usually gets resolved -REALLY- quick, that sort of behavior is not tolerated and will result in B getting de-peered by A (and potentially others once the abusive behavior is discovered and known) exceptionally quick unless B can show that it wasn't done knowingly or intentionally.

When the second instance happens .. well .. you get what happened today (I'm making an educated guess here based on what I know of the two carriers involved). A decides that spending 30 grand a month for what is a very lopsided bandwidth agreement is no longer economically feasible or reasonable. They go to B and say 'look, we're not doing this anymore, we're basically paying a hell of a lot of money every month for you to send a ton of traffic to us, and we don't send much of anything to you. You can either pay for all (or some larger portion of) the circuits, pony up some $$ per megabit, or we'll just cut it off at the stub and be done.'

Based on Cogent's 'oh poor us' post from this morning, I'm leaning towards them having given L3 the finger when L3 said 'look, this isn't equitable, we're going to have to re-arrange the money'.

YMMV of course, but I'm betting I'm not terribly far off.
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