Ungodly packet loss rates

The wonderful, and possibly the only redeeming quality of the new commercial
Internet is that it is a free market system. You have your choice of which
ISP/NSP to connect to as a dial-up user. Cisco also has a choice as to
which provider to connect to. If either chooses poorly, you can always seek
out those providers which do not oversell their lines, provide UPS
and power generators in case of failure, which peer openly with all networks,
and offer guaranteed reliability. Good providers are available for a price.
However, if you are concerned with price, as a lot of users of certain ISPs
are, then I have no pity.. you simply pay what you get for.

Well, I'd agree with you... if the providers I use had told me that I
was going to get degraded service. They did not. They told me I was
going to get ordinary, decent, usable commercial-quality service. It's
true that they offered me a low price, but they offered me a low price
for a product that they're not delivering to my satisfaction. Not only
that, but the low price I get was explicitly justified by a lack of
technical support, *not* by a lack of decent packet delivery.

I don't think they were or are deliberately misleading me, or
otherwise being dishonest. It seems as though they're following
standard industry practice. At this point, the sort of thing I'm
seeing seems dangerously close to becoming the accepted standard of
service on the Net. Unfortunately, it's not adequate, and it's
not what a reasonable person would expect when ordering a service.

I make no apology for looking for the best price for Internet service,
nor for complaining about it when I don't get that service.

In fact, my immediate provider, TLGnet, doesn't seem to have any major
internal capacity problems, and they do all the downtime avoidance
things you suggest. I've never had a problem with service internal to
TLGnet. It's the larger providers that seem to be the problem. TLGnet
is at fault only insofar as they have a choice of which backbones to
use... and such choice is hardly unlimited.

If you want me to contract directly with somebody who has direct
connections at all the various interconnect points, I suppose that's a
possibility. It doesn't seem to have helped Cisco, though... BBN is
pretty big, and there still seems to be lots of loss inside the BBN
network. Same for Alternet. I haven't measured it, but I've heard that
there are huge loss rates at MCI and Sprint (even if they'd deal with
me, which I doubt they would). I'm sure there are others, but who's
better? Who'm I supposed to call? How would I even *know* whether
somebody had oversold capacity?

Assuming that you're right, and that there are better providers, I
don't have the dozens of hours it would take me to pore over people's
network maps, and to read their technical information in hundreds of
different formats. I also have no control over the provider choices of
the people I communicate with... and large loss rates seem to be the
norm, not the exception.

Furthermore, I'm a bit of a rarity in that I actually understand (some
of) the technical issues. Most users are no more capable of evaluating
an ISP's network design than I am capable of flying to the moon. If
they see poor service, they just assume that the Net is intrinsically

I expect the providers I use to give me an appropriate level of
service. Unless they've explicitly told me to expect low-quality
service, I expect decent quality. From any provider. Regardless of
price. That's the issue I'm raising for the providers I'm complaining
about, and for other providers (apparently the majority) who are in
the same boat. I don't really want to single out TLG, UUNET, or BBN,
because as far as I can tell this kind of service is the norm. How
much real-world traffic is there that *doesn't* cross at least one
network with a high loss rate?

For NANOG and the industry as a whole, the issue is the fact that the
Internet is still, in some sense, "one thing". If one provider gives
poor service, everybody's customers see the results. It does me as a
customer little good to buy from a good provider if the people I
communicate with are using poor providers. It's therefore in the
industry's interest to educate customers, and to have easily applied
have quality-of-service standards. I wouldn't make such standards
mandatory, but I'd certainly think that they'd be useful to a lot of
people, both in choosing services and in explaining to users what they
could expect.

Let me stress again.. I seriously doubt this is the appropriate platform for
discussion of which providers are bad.. and therefore.. I'll stop right

So, what is the right forum? Is there a seal of approval somewhere?
Should there be one? How about a standardized set of service grades?
If I knew that I (or the other end of my connection) had ordered grade
C service, I wouldn't complain if I didn't get grade A throughput.

Right now, there's only one grade: "usable"... and I'm getting
something that barely qualifies.

                                     -- J. Bashinski

Everyone has already heard about the Win95's ping can crash DEC UNIX,
Solaris x86, AIX, Linux, ect., haven't they?

Better patch up...