[nycbug-talk] Cogent and Sprint - a signal of things getting Oldschool?

Isaac Levy ike at lesmuug.org
Sat Nov 1 19:53:14 EDT 2008

Yo Miles,

On Oct 31, 2008, at 5:57 PM, Miles Nordin wrote:

>>>>>> "il" == Isaac Levy <ike at lesmuug.org> writes:
>   il> Cogent.  What's their deal?
> The idea comes from ``hot potato'' routing.
> You should ask more of an insider but I
> don't have the impression they're incompetent.

Thanks for the usual detailed insight.

>   il> I need the coming fiber *like yesterday*.
> This is where Alex and I will disagree.  I think we need neutrality
> badly, and I think that current ideas of neutrality don't even touch
> the relevant part and are so narrow they should be implemented as an
> obvious matter of course, and what we actually need goes WAY further
> than the discussion.

This is where I believe I'm on Miles' side.  Alex, (and Marc), I  
respect your views, but I like the idea of future Government  
involvement and proactive regulation of network businesses.

I'm simply getting sick of this unregulated wild-west network/tech  

Hwoever, not only was the recent 'net neutrality debate' so terribly  
misguided, but it was embarrassing and irrelevant.
The current state of the US Govt. on technical/network matters has  
been juvinile- and dangerous.  It's been enough to make many folks  
want to run from *any* Govt. regulation.

But the only place to retreat to, is the unregulated market.

If I think of how I'd like to see telcos regulated, it's all for these  

Technology gets faster/cheaper at an expected pace, why doesn't  
internet connectivity get faster/cheaper at the same pace?
As a 'colo consumer', and effectively an end-user of the internet,  
this is what I expect from the net.
Jokes and cynicism aside- when I see networks get saturated, good  
things are happening- big picture.

- Promote the advancement of networking technology
  - increasing network speed/quality/reliability
    (trying to keep up with Moores law, with computing machinery)

- Promote transparency of infrastructure
  - give users more control of their service
    (even if this simply means clearly stated policies)
    - from QoS to packet inspection, L2-L7
      (clear communication to customers what they get, what they don't)

- Keep ISP's blind to users data, just focus on throughput
  - end QoS abuses
    (e.g. VPN's requiring 'business' class service,
     logging/selling DNS record metrics to marketing/anyone;
     preferring particular packets over others based on content,
     protocol, etc...)

- Promote synchronous network connectivity everywhere
  - Let expanded application/use of the internet define network need

Here's some different ways *how* I'd like to see those objectives met  
(but different from my list of wants above, this is just thinking out  

- Legislate Separation of Content from Infrastructure businesses

- Incentivize QoS honesty
  - encourage pricing models based on speed/quality metrics
  - provide incentives to discourage asynchronous connectivity

- Get the state more involved with transparently, publically,  
regulating Telcos as a Natural Monopoly

- Penalize ISP's for inaccurate service claims
  - most consumer pipes are 60-80% sold speed
  - most colo pipes (I've experienced) are 70-90% sold speed

- Incentivize measurable infrastructure improvements
  - reduce barriers to network upgrades

But outside of legislation, social changes can have an impact:

- Hold carriers accountable for their actions
  - Make SLA's stick, all the way through the chain
  - Demand honesty and sane transparency from network providers

- Help people realize the costs of the internet, discouraging 'the  
internet is free' (cost) mentality

- Provide services people care about and respect, and from my  
experience people tend to respect these services

The greater impact of these changes is often hard to measure.

Note to Alex: from my experience- these are things you already do.

> It's nearly possible, and scalable, to deliver television over the
> public Internet.  Currently I think there may be some big gaps in the
> free software toolkit, and there may be some
> robustness/security/control-plane-DoS problems since it involves
> letting untrusted parties create state on router control planes, but
> it's already very advanced and I think is quite close.
> Also I don't think multicast will be safe without QoS to prevent
> multicast from filling your entire pipe, otherwise you could routinely
> (albeit temporarily) DoS yourself off the Internet by subscribing to
> too much.

Ha- interesting- I'd never really thought of multicast used on the  
internet this way.  Are you talking about some kind of end-user  
controls which affect multicast traffic filtering up the ISP chain?

And how do the big backbone providers, who have to run all of that  
multicast, (it has to flow somewhere, right?), how do they get  
compensated to maintain network load?

A url answer would suffice since I'm totally out of the loop on this  

> Currently cable companies are switching all their fiber to IP.  They
> will deliver television to the set-top boxes over multicast IP.  but
> they'll probably not let these IP packets leak out of their DRMbox.
> They might.  They will DEFINITELY reserve the right to be multicast
> sources for themselves so they can sell your eyeballs to others, and
> keep your choices of TV stations tied to your choice of ISP.

Yuck.  This is exactly the kind of Content+Infrastructure nightmare I  

In a sane world, I think Cable companies could make a fine business  
out of simply selling content from their respective endpoint on the  
internet- and use the net like everyone else.  Hell, their budgets  
make their respective endpoint eclipse the network capabilities  
typical home user- without mucking about with the greater network at  
all.  But understatedly, they are monsters regarding fair competition-  
and indeed they are not trying to play this way.

> Neutrality means, if television is ready to move onto Internet
> technology, then FORCE it onto the public Internet itself not just
> Internet-technology, rather than letting last mile monopolies keep a
> unicast moat around it.  The ability of any person to broadcast a live
> television station, using the same amount of his own resources no
> matter how many people are watching it, is so stunningly disruptive it
> warrants the same type of zealous government support as the original
> invention of television itself.
> Next, I think VoIP can currently work well over networks like
> Speakeasy's that impliment simple priority-based QoS in both
> directions on the DSL link, and do it at ASIC level or ATM level or
> whatever the fuck they do, the point being that you can't do it
> yourself.  VoIP also works well over cable company networks, but
> implementing the QoS for the upstream direction requires a DOCSIS
> feature called ``unsolicited grant''.  It's possible with better DSL
> modems to do your own QoS on upstream, but for downstream speakeasy
> has you by the balls---there is no way you can put the VoIP traffic
> headed toward you in front of your bittorrenting, because you've no
> control over what's headed at you.  The best you can do is leave some
> of the pipe unused and try to use TCP congestion control to leave gaps
> between packets, but this wastes speed and will work like crap
> compared to what Speakeasy can arrange with control of L2.  On cable
> or FiOS or anything else without a specific bandwidth and with a
> reservation-based broadcast upstream, QoS *cannot work at all*, in
> either direction, without cooperation of L2.
> If you're a Teliax or a Junction Networks (or Vonage), your customers
> will get much shittier service than if they buy the proprietary VoIP
> from speakeasy or time-warner.  The ATM QoS and unsolicited grant
> features these ISP's are using aren't exposed to the user, nor
> available to bits received from random sites on the Internet.  It's
> all walled-garden bullshit.  They start with the VoIP the rest of us
> are using, then add a layer of wallpaper so we don't realize it's
> VoIP, and then quietly finish the job with proper QoS analagous to
> what banks and big corporations run over their WANs.  That last step
> needs to be cracked open by neutrality legislation.  It's about giving
> end users full control over their own Internet access, and not
> allowing ISP's to tie other services to your Internet service by
> deliberately crippling their own technology.
> I think Alex will favour a system he says the british are using which
> splits monopolies vertically.  He says they have no ILEC.  There is
> one company that owns all the copper, but they don't provide telephone
> service too, just copper.  Everyone is a CLEC.

Well, this model starts screwing with my simple Separation of Content  
and Infrastructure spiel- as it puts the IP layer in as a sort of  
content layer.

I can see why (hypothetically) this would be beneficial to Alex, I see  
him as constantly being stuck in-between massive telco battles  
upstream, and customers downstream.

> It sounds harder to cheat that system, but the modern networks are
> cable and fiber, and both of these have L2 that natively accepts IP.
> For cable, TV is moving onto multicast IP.  For FiOS, AIUI (maybe
> wrong) there's no longer a TDM bandwidth reservation per house.  In
> both cases the L2 is operating at building/neighborhood-level, not
> house-level, so unless you intend to convince all your neighbors to
> switch to a certain CLEC at once I don't see how it's going to work
> because the houses in your neighborhood/building are already part of
> an IP broadcast domain.
> anyway in general I think the CLEC idea is a failure and is what led
> to the Cogent/L3 or Cogent/Sprint problem in the first place.  Markets
> work like shit when shopping stops.  Web surfers don't shop.  They get
> come-on offers in the mail from Verizon and accept them.  and the
> consequences of their (lack of) choice-making spill over to others.

Well, I agree with this sentiment- but I'm challenged to think of a  
clear alternative.  Like the quote from that Kreugman op-ed in my  
original post,

"I'm like a 19th-century farmer who had to ship his grain on the Union  
Pacific, or not at all"

It's difficult to see a way out of the lack of bandwidth choices, (or  
lack of choice based on the difficulty of acquiring/securing/providing  
these lines).

>   il> Vint Cerf, one of the
>   il> founders of the Internet, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer,
>   il> Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and Lotus
>   il> pioneer Mitch Kapor."
> wait those are McCain's choices or Obama's?  seriously some of these
> old geezers hang onto some really strange ideas very tenaciously.
> Also in this field people accomplish things early in their careers,
> and if they keep trying to do technical work after they get older it
> ends up being really embarassing shitty work.  I don't know where to
> turn.

I'm disheartened by these names too.


More information about the talk mailing list