[nycbug-talk] The Fiber-to-Home Ghost

Miles Nordin carton at Ivy.NET
Sat Jul 26 19:38:36 EDT 2008

>>>>> "il" == Isaac Levy <ike at lesmuug.org> writes:

    il> WTF will happen to the local ISP's?!  [...] They are carrying
    il> a great deal of the last-mile load right now,

everyone I know who's not a geek has either verizon or cable.

    il> What happens to quality when Verizon scales FIOS all alone?
    il> Do they have the experienced staf, and ability to scale?

but they're just moving people from DSL to FiOS---they've already
scaled to every household in their territory.  since they have no
competition they can do this on whatever schedule they choose.  As far
as actual size they're just playing tug-of-war with cable
companies---two buckets of shit connected by a siphon.  I don't see
scaling problems.

I just think an uncompetitive internet will be less neutral.  they
will treat their customers as an asset to be sold to hosters.  You'll
<cough> find that you need to buy ``transit'' from Level3 if you want
average web users to consider your site ``fast''.  Once they have a
critical mass of shit in their bucket, they can start blackmailing
hosting ISP's with the shitty connectivity they give the people in the

It will actually be a good thing when Verizon finishes taking over:
they can't revoke service to an area, so they won't be able to
quid-pro-quo with regulators any more.  I wonder how much of our
future NYC sold them to make us last in line at the FiOS slop trough?
It has to be less than Pennsylvania sold, so thank god for that.

anyway the Future probably won't be that bad since it's basically
already happened.  For now you can always host things in Germany if
the domestic deals get too shitty.

Also speakeasy is already using MPLS for their ``private WAN''
service.  Remember MPLS?  remember all these startups making MPLS
switches and MPLS ``edge routers'' and talking about ``metro
ethernet'' and then going out of business because no one had time to
learn how to use the weird stuff before their investment needed a
return?  Maybe there will be some interesting new ISP's coming out of
nowhere within the city limits, now that old old standards are
actually starting to get used.

It's not an old standard, but an ISP selling CEE-capable ethernet
jacks in a growing pool of large buildings would be kind of


^^^ anyone have a password for that?

``The .1au work is fundamental, however. Once that group picks an
approach to congestion management, the other pieces "will fall like
dominos," [Renato] Recio said.''

in short they are trying to make lossless Ethernet.  the ``PAUSE''
frames already built into gigabit ethernet are useless for this, and
will not be used in CEE.  PAUSE are basically not used at all, except
by crappy SOHO switches, where they do nothing but cause problems.
Managed switches only generate PAUSE frames when running short on
INput (PRE-switched) buffers, which basically doesn't happen ever.  so
802.1au are trying to come up with something that functions like the
buffer credit mechanism in fibre channel and infiniband, and achieves
losslessness, but hopefully is a little more chaotic, cheaper, and
optimal.  This will require new ASIC's.  Once 802.1au finishes and
these ASIC's are taped out, it probably doesn't matter whether it's
iSCSI/TCP, iSER/iWARP/TCP, iSER/SCTP, or FCoE.  By then even RealTek
will be selling RDMA-capable NICs, so it's just a matter of software

so, I'm saying, a new kind of ISP could sell multi-gigabit connections
that work only within metro areas among customers of that ISP.  The
gigabit port(s) they hand you might come with with like 100mbit/s of
actual Internet transit, and the rest is only for reaching their other
customers, and is lossless.  This is a way to differentiate oneself
from other ISP's under hypothetical extremely onerous net neutrality
laws: ``no no, we're still neutral, because we're not selling Internet
access.  The Innurnet is L3 and has packet loss.  we're selling
something else, a sort of WAN service, at L2 and with no-packet-loss

A metro ISP like that with relevant coverage area could create a new
market for outsourced storage, or sunray clusters, or some other weird
thing.  If you want a T1 they can sell you that, too, but it'll be
coming out of an IAD2431. :) Big companies basically run the same
high-performance WAN multiple times in parallel creating their own
little metro fiefdoms, and this could be done for half the cost.  Once
they sign up, you've got them by the balls.  They can never leave.
Since they didn't build their network themselves---or since there was
a gap of a few years when no one who knew how to build the network
worked for them any more---anyone who knows how to replace what they
buy from you will already be working for you.  THAT is the real
rebirth of the old telco business model. :) 

Maybe ConEd could do it, or some large insurance company or bank who
is already doing cost-recovery billing internally could erect one of
these ``chinese paper walls,'' or spin off their WAN department
entirely, and start quietly selling service to their competitors, 
sneaking into a few more buildings each year.
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