RE: Airplane crashing into Atlanta-NAP

Now that I've thrown in my share of late night sarcasm, It would interest
me greatly to understand exactly why you came to the following

1. The "operation" in Atlanta is Mickey Mouse

Both the Internet and the POTS system are telecommunications networks that
are vital to the modern economy. POTS moreso than the Internet right now
but the Internet is certainly heading in that direction. POTS exchanges
are always in ground floor concrete buildings with no windows or
underground. But in Atlanta they stick it up on the 5th floor of some
office building?!?!?!?

2. The floor # of a bulding affects the quality of the Exchange Point
3. The type of building affect the quality of the Exchange Point

I cannot explain these ones but have reached this conclusion from
observing how the phone company builds and locates its exchanges.

If an exchange needs to be in a shared building, there can be advantages to
having it on an upper floor. I've built a fair number of computer rooms in
my career, always taking great care with the fire protection system.
[Andrew -- remember the entire staff watching through the windows when the
fire marshal ran the halon test?]

I've never actually had a fire in a computer or communications room with
which I've been involved, but I've had several in-building floods -- caused
by firefighting on higher floors or by malfunctioning sprinkler systems in
or near the computer room.

The second law of plumbing is "water runs downhill," the first being "if it
doesn't leak, don't fix it." Keep these laws in mind when building

4. A city the size of Atlanta needs more than 1 Exchange Point

It has a lot more than one POTS exchange. Thus it will need more than
1 Internet exchange. Why should the packets from every video-call in the
city all travel downtown when frequently the two parties live in the same

I can't speak specifically to Atlanta, but in many metropolitan areas, it's
vastly faster and cheaper to get space in shared buildings. Take the Wall
Street area of New York -- there are some telco switches in the World Trade

Remember that many telco exchanges where constructed at a time when they
had a guaranteed revenue stream from monopoly local service. Local telcos
still often have advantages in financing new construction.

[Aside -- the thing that really scares me about Atlanta is an airplane
crashing into the Center for Disease Control Level 4 labs there.]

Truly I would be very interested in your thoughts on these items, as
well may a few other folks on this list.

I'm taking a long term view in which ISP's are just another form of
telephone company. Many ISP's are now getting to the size where they can
consider aquiring strategically located properties, building concrete
block exchange/colo buildings, wiring up entire office towers with
IP fiber and even running their own fibre in some case, especially in new

No argument. :frowning: I'm fighting with my local telco, not ISP, just to get a
fourth pair run to my house.

Many ISPs, however, are not quite at the stage when they can acquire
properties as easily as they can get shared space. It might be a very
useful thing for there to be some consensus guidelines to be developed for
physical planning for small to medium ISPs in rapid growth phases. I'd be
willing to put together a draft and edit in responses if there's interest
in doing this; I have some slides I've put together for a new ISP planning

I'm actually fairly familiar with the construction of Cheyenne Mountain and
other hardened military sites. Not even the military suggests building
that type of command post any longer; airborne ones are preferable. Now
THAT's an approach for a NAP -- a 747. Running to the fiber to it,
however, is something of a challenge.

By today's standards Atlanta-NAP may be a really great thing, but too soon
we will discover that we aren't living in "today" any more and the
standards will be different.

No argument. But I suggest there is a meaningful intermediate level for
which guidelines are useful, between the ordinary office and the
purpose-built facility.

Howard Berkowitz
PSC International