Ungodly packet loss rates

I think the original message that started it was a bit out of line,
but only because it was cc-ed to NANOG without giving providers
a chance to respond to the criticism.

I apologize for that, but the point I was really trying to make was
that this sort of thing seems to be pervasive, rather than to single
out particular providers. I should have separated the specific trouble
report from the discussion of the original problem. The two have now
become almost inextricably linked. I'm sure that everybody will take
the last message I sent as trashing Alternet, which isn't what I
wanted to do at all.

What I don't seem to see is much attention given to the very high
level of service and cooperation needed to make the Net as a *whole*
reasonably reliable. When I talk about "unacceptable levels of
service", I mean service from the Net as a whole, not from any
particular provider.

For example, the problem I was originally complaining (or whining)
about seems to have been caused by a reconfiguration by some third
party, which knocked Alternet for a loop. If that's the case, it's not
Alternet's fault, and it may be hard to really call it the other
party's fault either... but, regardless, it's made my life difficult
for several days.

At a more obvious level, the loss probability for packets sent through
a chain of providers is the product of the loss probabilities for the
individual providers. 5 percent loss doesn't sound so bad, until you
realize that chaining three networks with 5 percent loss gives you
nearly 15 percent.

When I talked about standards of service, I was thinking mostly of
the loss probabilities... but you could extend it to, for example,
defining how people would do various routing configuration things.

I know that it's not going to be easy to find a way to make the Net as
a whole work. Even from my position as an outdated outsider, I can see
some of how tricky it is. I'm always amazed that the BGP
infrastructure holds together at all. However, I think it's necessary
if the network is really going to be useful.

In addition, I really do think that maybe people need a "breather"
from the constant growth.

To my mind, the right answer is to check with the folks involved!
Any other answer falls short. If there is loss somewhere, most
providers want to be told about it. In some cases, it's possible
to shift traffic around to deal with such problems. In other cases,
there may be planned upgrades in the works to deal with the problem.
In other cases, they may not even be aware of the problem.

To comdemn network providers without even asking them to justify and
investigate the loss represented by traceroute on their networks
is hardly fair.

I didn't intend to condemn anybody. I'm sure people are fixing
problems as fast as they can reasonably be expected to. The problem is
that the environment creates problems faster than people can fix
them. The whole thing is spinning out of control, and what I was
really trying to suggest was that maybe people should slow down a
little and try to develop the network at a rate that can really be

        -- J. Bashinski