The Attitude (was: the Internet Backbone)

From: Sean Doran <>
It's because I'm an evil asshole determined to protect my
employer's interests and make our shareholders rich.

This is somewhat incompatible with protecting the interests
of our competitors and enriching their shareholders.

Gentlefolk, while I agree that Sean has been "mostly" right on many
technical issues, I am seriously unhappy with this attitude!

Bill, here is why you will never be taken seriously be
any ISP/NSP. If networks can't find ways to cooperaate without
prodecting there own interests, we all might as well give up


You cannot build a multi billion/trillion dollar system
based on happy thoughts.

Sean is "mostly" right on techincal issues, because that is what
he is good at, and when REAL WORLD technical issues, dictate
policy, there isn't much choice for folks like Sean.

You would do just as good slamming Cisco for limiting AGS+'s
memory size, or processor speed in 7000 series routers, which
BTW where a lot of Seans technical issues that cause these policies
too happen.

Recently, I asked why they aren't connected to the Detroit NAP. The
response was "everyone else should connect to MichNet, and pay our
affiliate fee". I noted that the others consider themselves
competitors, and taking the same attitude would expect Merit to instead
pay THEM, since MichNet generates the most traffic.

This is typical of the NSFNet regional attituded. The more cluefull
ones DO connect to Naps (Sesquinet is at Mae-Houston, for example).

Likewise, a lot of traffic from Ann Arbor Michigan to Columbus Ohio

[ example delete ]

The problem is that ISPs are allowed to shove their regional
connectivity out to others on the Internet. In effect, the _rest_ of
the Internet is _paying_ for the regional underprovisioning.

This is exaclty an issue of customer education, If customers
wanted good connectity they CAN find it.

Personally, I have little patience for the small and
not-very-clueful who want to be direct competitors with a
multibillion dollar company with lots of talent and who are
taken to whining about my policies and those of my
colleagues and associates, and even those of our
competitors. This uncharitable attitude obviously does not
endear me to them.

But your attitude that the whiners are "small and not-very-clueful" is
less than useless. There are some quite clueful folks that don't agree
with your policies, particularly with the failure to peer (and exchange
traffic) with everyone else (even small folks) at an exchange. (Sprint
is not the only perpetrator of this poor policy.)

The fact is, that vast majority of the whiners are SMALL,
and have virtually no experience operating large scale regional
or national backbones. Sprint and others have VERY GOOD operational
reasons for their policy, largely some network is better than
no network. Six months ago, if Sprint had peered with
everyone that asked, their entire network would
have melted down. (Sean correct me if I'm wrong here.)

The fact is, whether you like it or not, they _ARE_ your competitors
in their specific regions. But, to thrive, the Internet has a long
tradition of _cooperation_ among competitors.

Kinda misses the meaning of "exchange". That hurts everyone else on the
net, by increased delay and more congestion elsewhere.

In short, you are asking _others_ to bear the costs of _your_ making
money. We've seen this time and again, such as the UK provider who
sends all their traffic to the US, which then uses the congested US to
Europe links. It only saves them money because others were unknowingly
bearing the cost. Sounds like a form of fraud to me.

We if this is the case whoever is paying for those congested
links is not getting their monies worth. If they were paying
enough for thier bandwidth this wouldn't even been an issue,
and largely is an issue of legacy subsdies.

I would hope, though, that the bulk of our customers
would be much happier with us driving towards a network
reliable enough that they don't have to worry about their
customers screaming (not to mention not having to worry
about facing some very difficult scaling problems we are
already staring at), than with us being the Department of
Warm and Fuzzy Feelings.

All of them know full well that the drive ain't easy.

True. But there are some particular bones to pick with Sprint, like the
underprovisioned Texas links that kept dropping out, just when Apple
released its 7.5.3 MacOS Update to developers from Texas....

Hm.. maybe Apple should have thought a little more
about their little T-1 link to a single provider when they
had about 3 T-1s worth of data to send. I offer to sell
more connectivity to Apple, but they WEREN'T interested.
They didn't care that there application/distribution model was
broken, and breaking the net, they didn't want to fork
out the extra bucks, or deal with the internal politics
to put the release out on the West coast where they
had a much higher bandwidth connection.

So, let's see some of that vaunted reliability first, please.

I haven't seen many reports of Sprint problems since
Sprint put its policies in places and they had time work.o
MCI on the other hand has been bleeding about 30% packets out of
San Francisco, on its OWN INTERAL network for several MONTHS.
Strangely about the same time as the problems started showing up,
MCI changed some of its polcies too...

So it looks like to me, Sprint 3, WSimpson 0.

For those remain NETWORK OPERATORS, I propose a mailing list
for certified network operators, say must be peering at 2
NAPs with at least 3 peers, or multihomed, to post to the
list. This should completely elimiate the problem with
whining and people trying to "define" the internet backbone.