Faster 'Net growth rate raises fears about routers

Travis writes:

<Snipped description of problems related to single-circuit customer prems>

I think the first problem is that conventional wisdom tells the customer
that they have to buy a circuit to two different SPs in order to get
real fault tolerance. I haven't seen a whole lot of aggressive marketing
about pulling two circuits into two edge boxes, using two different pieces
of CPE or one fault-tolerant one. The industry isn't pushing the idea
that you can have redundant service from a single provider. (grain of
salt: one of our providers sold us a backup transit DS3 for the cost of
the local loop)

I'm at a multi-POP network in Boston. We've had great luck selling
customers a Verizon circuit into one of our POPs and a Worldcom circuit
into a different one. It costs more, but they don't have nearly the
exposure of a single circuit customer. However, if you're not set up to
do this, the appropriate level of paranoia calls for circuits to two
different providers. Maybe if SPs really addressed availability
requirements of their customers, it wouldn't be such an issue.


Thanks for your message. I agree that many redundancy issues can be
solved by taking circuits from different L2 providers into two
different POPs of the same IP provider. Some problems (like
catastrophic business failure of the IP provider) are not solved by
this approach, though, and customers see those points of failure as
well or better than the technical failures that you describe.

Part of the reason for the customer's perception relates to your point
about the industry not pushing the idea that you can get redundant
service from a single provider. In fact, there are large sales forces
out there pushing the opposite idea: that you must get redundancy and
you must do it by having a second provider. My experience is that
once a customer has anything like reasonable connectivity, it is
difficult to replace the existing provider because the hassle factor
and downtime are just too great a cost for an incremental improvement
or savings. For the salesperson, the right way to make the sale then
is not to try to sell someone a replacement; instead, she or he sells
them the service as an enhancement. For many companies out there, in
other words, offering to enable a customer to multi-home may be their
only shot at getting any business from that customer.

We all remember I'm not speaking for my employer, right?
            Ted Hardie

Again, let's not forget the real-world example that started the thread:

The single provider went out of business.