tiers? (fwd)

Anyone care to take a stab at what places a provider in
a given "tier-group"? Seems to me as though the large(st)
providers are a bit harsher (naturally) than the smaller

I hear this question a lot, and I don't want to get off on a rant,

Why do you want to know? It is getting to be a useless rating.
What connotation is supposed to come with being a "Tier-X" provider?
Is it indicitive of performance? I don't think so.

Despite all the controversy and nit-picks, think for a moment about
the one note that it seems everybody can agree on: How big is the
company network. Quite frankly, who cares?

Access to any network shouldn't be chosen by size, but by whom can get
you the best performing, most reliable access to your destination.
It's that simple. I've seen supposedly smart MIS people, and even
engineers make an poorly formed rash decision that they wanted to be
connected to a Tier 1 provider. Think about your destination!
If you need to connect two remote offices on different parts of the
country, then pick the same reliable provider for both locations.

Even if you're talking about generic, all round, varied destination
Internet access, the "Tier" rating is still near useless.

I'm sure that most everybody on this list has gotten enough of a glimpse
of the "big 5", 6 or 50 to know that the performance varies among them
just as much as it does among the smaller players, whether they get a
tier rating of 2 or 3.

I personally have glimpsed the performance of what I consider to be
the worst ISP in the business, (whom I'll refer to as "LAGIS" to
protect the guilty ;), and I can honestly say that performance from
most of the "Tier 2" providers around would have been far superier,
and much less costly.

Think about one of the other often-quoted metrics of a "Tier 1"
provider. Someone who doesn't have to buy bandwidth, they just peer
with others. I know I'd be rather sad if every packet of traffic I
had to pass went through one of the crowded peering exchanges.

Don't get me wrong, I have respect for a great many of the providers
that are considered Tier 1 right now. But that respect isn't granted
based on the size of their network, but of their reliablity and their

Well, sorry about the rant. Let me know if I'm wrong about any
minutiae. I'll be sure to catalog them for the next poor soul who
triggers this outburst :wink:


Only time I've heard mention from ISPs about tiers is usually
from some small ISP claiming that they are a "tier 1" provider
because they own some piece of equipment at a NAP.

Someone named Winstar called up one of my clients trying to get them
to switch from AT&T to Winstar because "winstar is a tier 1 and
AT&T Worldnet is only a tier 2 provider".

This whole thing reminds me of the useless "bandwidth to net"
that is listed so prominently in Boardwatch. BTW: Has anyone
used a program called treno to measure bandwidth availability on
the Net from different points?