Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the please-open-the-porthole-a-bit dept.

The Internet 210

An anonymous reader writes "Level 3, an internet transit provider, claimed in a recent blog post that six ISPs that it regularly does business with have refused to de-congest most of their interconnect ports. 'Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity.' Five of the six ISPs that Level 3 refers to are in the U.S., and one is in Europe. Not surprisingly, 'the companies with the congested peering interconnects also happen to rank dead last in customer satisfaction across all industries in the U.S. Not only dead last, but by a massive statistical margin of almost three standard deviations.' Ars Technica reports that ISPs have also demanded that transit providers like Level 3 pay for access to their networks in the same manner as fringe service providers like Netflix."

cancel ×

210 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What Level 3 can do (4, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 3 months ago | (#46928259)

Is just to cut the connection to those ISPs and see how long they will be around.

Re:What Level 3 can do (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#46928327)

That would be terribly amusing. I can just imagine what a 'dark day' would do to those ISPs, though I suspect Level 3 has contracts that prevent it, which is sad.

Re:What Level 3 can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928871)

I'm sorry customers, you can only get to sites hosted by other home customers in your region. Which are of course not allowed to host websites on their home connections. Good day!

Re:What Level 3 can do (5, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#46928377)

Is just to cut the connection to those ISPs and see how long they will be around.

But why are they peering with them if there are better routes available?

The incentive structure on all these things is wrong. One neat thing the bitcoin network does is to attach a fee to each transaction that occurs (which is due to be reduced to reasonable levels soon - pay attention...).

There's too much turmoil going on in Internet routing with regard to pricing now. Some sort of BGP extension that includes transit cost has to come along to make it all automatic and lowest-cost. It's really not much different than how power producers will bring capacity online when the market demands or when they have excess capacity they need to get rid of. The dam near me has a realtime market price terminal they watch to see when to open the gates, but Internet providers would just automate the whole thing, and then the transit pricing wars would shake out. I wouldn't mind seeing it extended to the last mile either, though with monopoly protection in place there would need to be some very reasonable connection fee floor and controls on fees, since competition can't impose those controls. But one of the ways we encourage lowest-cost is with efficient protocols and there's very little incentive to demand that from the end user right now.

Re:What Level 3 can do (4, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#46928503)

But why are they peering with them if there are better routes available?

ISPs hold a monopoly on their customers, there is no other way to get to their network.

Re:What Level 3 can do (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#46928677)

ISPs hold a monopoly on their customers, there is no other way to get to their network.

ISPs only have customers because of peerage agreements that let their customers get to the rest of the internet.

Any two-bit ISP (and in this context, that includes even the likes of Comcast) that thinks they can twist L3's arm has one hell of a nasty surprise waiting for them when their current contracts expire. This doesn't work quite the same as not getting to see this week's episode of Glee because of a pissing contest between cable companies and content providers - A week where Comcast customers can't get to Por... er... Google, means a week where Comcast loses half its customer base.

Re:What Level 3 can do (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#46928711)

90% of comcast customers are held hostage, they CANT GO ANYWHERE ELSE for internet.
This is what happens when you have a government sponsored and allowed monopoly.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

Technician (215283) | about 3 months ago | (#46929335)

In my market, this is getting shaken up. Qwest is expanding and doing quite well. When they did my street, I dumped Comcast, tripled my speed, and reduced my cost. I found no throttling, or blocked ports. I did test Comcast for the torrent throttling. 1st minute fine, 2nd minute about 1/2 speed, etc to where a file was totally stalled on a Linux ISO by the end of the day. FTP of the same file from a mirror was a 20 minute download.

Same test on Qwest is functional. I am running SIP phone service for 2 additional lines from another provider. Qwest is not interfearing.

I get calls from time to time from Comcast salesmen pusing their high speed Xfinity branded product. I give them the info of how they treated me and I have zero interest in a repeat serving. Their reputation preceeds them. Customer retention may become a priority for them soon... I hope.

Re:What Level 3 can do (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929417)

This is what happens when you have a government.

FTFY

Re:What Level 3 can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929469)

This is what happens when you have people.

FTFY

FTFY

Re:What Level 3 can do (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 3 months ago | (#46929495)

90% of comcast customers are held hostage, they CANT GO ANYWHERE ELSE for internet. This is what happens when you have a government sponsored and allowed monopoly.

Except that Comcast has no monopoly -- government allowed, government sponsored, or otherwise -- on the Internet. The closest to "government sponsored" you get is the franchise agreement with the local government, and that isn't a de jure monopoly. The economics make cable into a de facto monopoly, but the government didn't have anything to do with it.

If you want Internet, you have plenty of choices depending on where you live. DSL from your telco. DSL on the telco wires from someone else, broadband wireless, 3G/4G via usually more than one cell carrier. Satellite. And if you live so far out in the sticks that there are none of those options, then it is doubtful that Comcast has wired your neighborhood anyway. But 90% of Comcast customers do NOT live in places without other internet options.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Comcast, you don't have to make things up.

Re:What Level 3 can do (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 3 months ago | (#46929515)

Well, it's a Government monopoly with no oversight.

Because practically speaking, you can't just let any yahoo with a garden trowel and some fiberoptic cables just start digging around everywhere, it's a freaking nightmare to do that.

If we had real oversight on telcos and cable cos, enforced fair sharing of infrastructure and had state and local Governments enforce rules that make sense... Then really, the problem goes away. Even better if the local municipalities installed the fiber and leased it out to the local markets, or treated it like a utility.

Again, practically speaking, a lot of rural and suburban markets would still be underserved, but, it wouldn't be so heavily one sided nor would the barrier to entry be so high.

Re:What Level 3 can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928905)

This seems an awful lot like mutually assured destruction. How long will Level 3 maintain *its* customers after it willfully loses its connection to a huge swath of the American public? Its peerings with ISPs is its only source of value. Even if this disruption could be spun to force subscribers to ditch their ISPs, there are no other alternatives for them. And this is all contingent on Level 3 making this moral stand in the first place. When is the last time you saw a major publicly-traded company buck the shitty status quo in favor of a financially risky and potentially market-upsetting dispute?

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 months ago | (#46929241)

Any two-bit ISP (and in this context, that includes even the likes of Comcast) that thinks they can twist L3's arm has one hell of a nasty surprise waiting for them when their current contracts expire. This doesn't work quite the same as not getting to see this week's episode of Glee because of a pissing contest between cable companies and content providers - A week where Comcast customers can't get to Por... er... Google, means a week where Comcast loses half its customer base.

No, they just drop Level3. That's it.

Unless you're a tiny rural ISP, you're multi-homed. You peer with Tier 2 ISPs like Level3 and others to provide you service. Level3 peers with other Tier 2 ISPs as well as Tier 1 ISPs.

Typically, an ISP will pay for service from a higher tier ISP, and get paid for service from a lower one - i.e., Level3 gets paid from a last mile ISP, but Level3 has to pay a Tier 1 like Sprint. Other Tier 2's usually have an equal-sharing arrangement where it's free.

Naturally, everyone wants to keep traffic on the "free" peering (i.e., same level), which works when traffic is roughly equal. The problem occurs when it isn't, in which case one side or the other has to pay up for the differential traffic. (If the traffic was truly equal, then both would upgrade the ports together because both sides are dropping packets).

Of course, the Internet is supposed to route around congestion - the overloaded port means that instead of Level3 continuing to send data that way, they need to send data to another port, usually through another provider which can mean $$$ gets paid.

The fact that's not happening means either or both sides are playing shenanigans - it's a trick either side can use to force the other to comply. E.g., if Level3 has multiple ports with an ISP, they can easily force all traffic through one port, ignoring the other ports and force the ISP to upgrade that port. Then they send traffic to another port, to force that one to be upgraded as well until they're all upgraded.

It's a nasty trick, but it usually works. (A more relatable example would be if you paid for network access - you only use say, 250Mbps, so you buy three Fast Ethernet ports. But your provider wants you to buy Gigabit ports, so they basically strangle traffic through two ports, forcing it all on one port until you agree to upgrade that port to GigE. Then they send all the traffic through another port so you upgrade that, until you're paying for 3 GigE ports when 3 FE ones was sufficient).

Re:What Level 3 can do (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 months ago | (#46928741)

ISPs think that they offer "high speed", and they do, but only on the "last mile". They think that last mile is the only thing that counts as a metric.

What good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?

Congestion has always been the bigger underlying issue, because Comcast customers are clueless about what "high speed" means. The best thing Level 3 (and other peering companies like them) could be doing is running national TV advertizements announcing (without naming) that "slow internet" may not be a last mile problem. I could design a 30 second commercial that describes the issue.

"Yes, you do have high speed internet, however your ISP may not be able to deliver the promised speed".

And trust me, congested pipes are worse issue than appears on the surface. Once you hit that max, you start compounding the problem with duplicate (and beyond) packets needing to be resent because the first packet never go there. Once you get to that point, the ONLY solution is more and bigger pipes(series of tubes???) .

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#46928505)

"...There's too much turmoil going on in Internet routing with regard to pricing now..."

I think I spotted the flaw in your logic, it is because of pricing that the rest of the internet must carry the burden. ISP's that Throttle, are the problem, and not in any solution.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 3 months ago | (#46928571)

Most tier 2 providers already engage in this activity. I feel like Level 3 thinks they are a tier 1 provider and are finding out they are actually tier 2.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#46929285)

Most tier 2 providers already engage in this activity. I feel like Level 3 thinks they are a tier 1 provider and are finding out they are actually tier 2.

Ah, thanks. Reading a few of Level 3's blog posts, it sounds like they want to have free peering with everybody because that's maybe how it was back when BBN and MCI were working things out. The trouble with that is that it only works when everybody plays nice. When you can't count on all players to be nice, you need markets and competition. It sounds like Level 3 is opting to go to the FCC, asking it to regulate them instead. There's no future where Level 3 will be better off being regulated by the FCC than if they regulated their peering agreements with a pricing mechanism.

Re:What Level 3 can do (2)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 3 months ago | (#46928951)

Ya, you're forgetting the part where he who controls the eyeballs has all the power. Comcast, AT&T, and VZW all have long-haul networks of their own. This is simply their way of trying to either force companies like Netflix to dump Level3 and buy transit from them, or force Level3 to pay them for the transit someone like Netflix would as a direct customer. THIS is the problem with allowing ISPs to have monopolies. What is Level3 going to do? Consumers like myself who literally have no choice of ISP can't just up and pick a new one if Level3 were to "turn off the internet" tomorrow. Sure, I could call and complain, bitch to my local senator, but then what? The big ISPs have bought and paid for all our political representatives, so they don't have to worry about legislative repercussions. I can't switch ISPs, so they don't have to worry about losing me as a customer. Why would they ever change what they're doing?

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 3 months ago | (#46928967)

Use OSPF and use pricing as one of the variables for cost calculation? Wouldn't take a rocket scientist and pretty sure any decent sized network does this already... We are't talking spot market here - most of these costs are negotiated in long-term contracts, but no reason we couldn't design it like the energy markets (though not sure you would want to).

Re:What Level 3 can do (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929165)

This isn't about peering in the strict sense of the word. Level 3 is a transit provider, a so-called tier 1 network. [wikipedia.org] Colloquially Level 3 is an internet backbone operator. The end-user ISPs don't have global networks and need other networks to pass data through in order to reach the entire internet. These ISPs buy transit from backbone providers, i.e. their peering is not settlement free. For an end-user ISP to unclog their "connection to the internet", they have to buy more bandwidth from the backbone provider, so Level 3's "public service announcement" is a little self-serving. But of course they're right: What's happening is that last-mile providers are selling internet bandwidth that they in turn haven't bought from their upstream providers. If a last-mile ISP has oversold their access to the rest of the internet to the point where there's significant congestion, then it is that last-mile provider's job to buy a bigger pipe (or, if they feel ambitious, build a fast global network and become their own tier 1 network operator).

There is no need for a fragile real-time settlement protocol. The cost of bandwidth is determined by peak loads, so nothing needs to happen on a timescale smaller than typical demand cycles. Demand for network bandwidth can be planned, and links are not built at a touch of a button. There's nothing to be gained from opening this up to speculators.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

Zocalo (252965) | about 3 months ago | (#46928537)

Or they could throttle back the traffic on behalf of the ISPs in question to just above the maximum point that they think the congested peer will support and/or start sending ICMP Source Quench packets to the ISP's end users. The ISPs would, in all likelihood, be none the wiser, and it would release Level 3's transit bandwidth for their customers that actually care about providing decent services to their end users. It's still extra load on L3's edge routers, but at least it alleviates any problems in their core and on other customer's edges.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928563)

the largest senders of data on the internet, netflix and google already peer with the largest ISP's. if L3 de-peered from them what is that going to do?

Re:What Level 3 can do (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#46928691)

That ISP would suddenly find they can't talk to Europe or Japan or almost anything other than direct peers. Level 3 is about 20% of the world wide Internet traffic that isn't peered. Many gaming services use Level 3 exclusively because of their superior network that spans USA, Europe, and connects to nearly every country in the world.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928757)

and how hard would it be to peer directly with verizon or comcast if they started to allow it? like they did with netflix?

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 3 months ago | (#46929133)

Sounds to me like Level 3 does peer with ISPs, but the ISPs are failing to upgrade their side of the pipes so the peering suffers, just like it did with Netflix. But unlike the Netflix case, the ISP has no "asymmetric traffic" argument as to why Level 3 should pay disproportionately for peering.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46928701)

Is just to cut the connection to those ISPs and see how long they will be around.

Level3 is not your friend. They are in contract negotiations with those 6 providers. This was a shot across the ISPs bow to try and get them to agree to Level3's terms. Level3 has been in bed with Netflix for years. There is no massive conspiracy to keep you from watching netflix. There is, however, a massive conspiracy to change whos pocket your money ends up in. This is a propaganda war between the ISPs, Level3 and Netflix and the ISPs are loosing.

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928837)

they are losing the blogging war but not the money war
netflix is peering with comcast and verizon
google is peering with ISP's
figure the ISP's will start to peer with other content providers as well

Re:What Level 3 can do (1)

davecb (6526) | about 3 months ago | (#46929407)

At the technical level, treat it as if it were "bufferboat", make sure your buffers are configured properly, and use an AQM algorithm like fq_codel. Doubly so if you're Level 3 or any other poor ISP connected to the culprits!

See http://gettys.wordpress.com/20... [wordpress.com]

Ads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928279)

I'm browsing on the mobile, and there's an ad clearly designed to appeal to the site's readership's sexuality. It shows an attractive woman dressed as a storm trooper holding a storm trooper helmet. Is this what you faggots get off on? Do you like women to dress as men in uniform and wear full face covering helmets while you fuck them? Curious minds want to know.

Re:Ads (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928299)

Sounds like its an ad targeted just at you. There isn't anyone else here gets their jollies from that sort of thing.

Besides..who see's ads on this site anyways?

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928365)

You mean there are supposed to be ads on web sites?

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928325)

That ad is targeted to you. I get a asian women dating site like the rest of us.

Re:Ads (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46928439)

Doesn't appeal to me. I only get off on Ewok porn.

Re:Ads (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#46929481)

This is why Chewbacca lives on Endor.

What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928307)

In modern times you can't make a business case for capital improvements without getting someone else to pay for it.

trip the light fantastico prologue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928331)

we can rest assured something else even more distraction based will happen http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+cabal+media as usual http://youtu.be/N_z1thIRcRA rock on /. the S&M media mongrel burlesque deception will fade much more quickly than it appeared

Slashdot only allows anonymous users to post +- 1 times per day (more or less, depending on if it's you again).

NO COMPETITION -- NO INCENTIVE (3, Interesting)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 3 months ago | (#46928349)

Why would the ISPs do this? They have no incentive. The correlation with customer service is a good thing to note, too. The American people are being bent over a barrel on this.

Re:NO COMPETITION -- NO INCENTIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928425)

Why would the ISPs do this? They have no incentive. The correlation with customer service is a good thing to note, too. The American people are being bent over a barrel on this.

They can do this because they are granted monopolies.

Re:NO COMPETITION -- NO INCENTIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928869)

They can do this because they are granted monopolies.

...by politicians the people keep voting in, time and again...

Re:NO COMPETITION -- NO INCENTIVE (1)

davecb (6526) | about 3 months ago | (#46929465)

They're not granted monopolies unless they are telcos owning poles. The non-telephone companies typically bought up the space on hydro poles. Poles are a regulated monopoly, people using them are an unregulated monopoly.

NO INCENTIVE -- NO VISION (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#46928443)

You're giving ISP's a pass.

I agree, that yes, ISP's are so anti-user that they will do everything to nickel and dime them

However, it's wrong to just abdicate any notion of a public company having ***VISION*** to be a better/different company

Your comment is true, but it doesn't **have** to be...that's what you miss

Re:NO INCENTIVE -- NO VISION (1)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 3 months ago | (#46928531)

Without any market incentive, they would have to have vision, is that what you're saying? It sounds like you're advocating for some sense of social responsibility outside the market.

That's basically a non-starter in today's capitalism. I agree that they SHOULD have a sense of responsibility outside what gets them money, but they won't.

IF these corporations were actually people, they'd get the shit beat out of them every day on the streets.

Re:NO INCENTIVE -- NO VISION (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928603)

uhh, regulated utilities don't exist inside of capitalism. That's well understood by the pretty much everybody through the political spectrum except retarded shills. The reason they're regulated is because they're goverment enforced monopolies.

Re:NO INCENTIVE -- NO VISION (1)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 3 months ago | (#46928749)

If you're talking about laissez faire capitalism when you say regulated utilities don't exist, then fine. Nobody wants to talk to you, but fine. Regulation can either create monopolies or destroy them, you're just a shill who is locked into one direction of thinking.

short-term pass agreement (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#46928979)

maybe i'm just arguing semantics, but here is where you give them a pass:

That's basically a non-starter in today's capitalism

says who?

that's an honest question...how could we test the falsifiablility of your statement that "having vision is basically a non-starter"?

how can we know that is true? what conditions would have to be present?

is there something systemic that physically prevents a company from having vision and, as you say:

It sounds like you're advocating for some sense of social responsibility outside the market.

My answer is that only by looking purely at the short-term outcome could you arrive at their business model. So it does make sense to have "no vision" if you only look at short-term consequences.

We know that there are more than short-term consequences, so **on a long enough timeline** every short-sighted company will adapt or fail.

but to be honest, I think we agree...so maybe my comment is entirely semantic

Re:NO COMPETITION -- NO INCENTIVE (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928521)

take over their business?
20 years ago we had dozens of small ISP's and large backbone networks were needed to connect them
today we have a few huge ISP's. two of them are national wireless carriers with huge fiber backbone networks of their own to every corner of the USA. one of them is about to be a national network once they buy a competitor

5 years ago netflix had to peer with third party peering companies to distribute content. now Comcast and Verizon are connecting directly to Netflix at cheaper rates than L3 and Cogent and taking away their business. figure all big senders of data to follow soon

Fuck 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928355)

Teach them to get into bed with the NSA...

Dead last in customer satisfaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928403)

*cough* Comcast *cough*

Mathematical Certainty (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 3 months ago | (#46928409)

ISP's like Comcast will do this with mathematical certainty....unless we regulate it.

They barely attempt to cover it up now...this is due to the fact that they are a publicly held corporation

Re:Mathematical Certainty (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#46928473)

We should not even have to regulate this, the FTC needs to sue for not providing access to the internet as advertised.

cry of a dying business (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928449)

Level 3 has been awesome, but the ISP's now have national footprints and transit prices are dropping fast. Verizon and AT&T have it because of the wireless business. Comcast will be a national network once they buy time warner.

  figure that as transit prices drop L3 and Cogent have to carry more and more data to pay the bills but they don't have enough money left to upgrade the links and want the ISP's to upgrade them. maybe the ISP's are being dicks and trying to run L3 and Cogent out of business by denying them more links and then taking their business like what happened with netflix

at this level there is no more need of transit providers as more and more content sellers will connect directly to the ISP's. so L3 and Cogent are crying network neutrality to save their business

Re:cry of a dying business (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#46928535)

Transit prices are dropping because the hardware is getting cheaper. They're still making a profit, upgrades are part of the pricing. Even if you combined Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, you still couldn't touch the amount of transit Level 3 handles. The only thing those ISPs have going for them is having effective monopolies on the last mile.

Re:cry of a dying business (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928703)

so?
netflix is now sending directly to comcast and verizon and that's a huge piece of revenue lost for L3 and Cogent
figure MLB, NBA, NHL and other big video providers will jump ship as well if they get cheaper rates from verizon and comcast

Re:cry of a dying business (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#46928543)

There networks are fine (well at least lets not get into an engineering debate) they increase internal bandwidth as needed. I say this as a customer of them with multiple 10ge ports on a half dozen providers. Comcast etc are not increasing capacity at there peering points or paid transit, they are pretty much saying we have the eyeballs and your going to pay us to reach them. They are intentionally not upgrading to force more netflix type deals while screwing over there customer base by not giving them what they paid for.

Re:cry of a dying business (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928669)

THEIR. Not THERE. My eyes are bleeding .....

Re:cry of a dying business (2)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928745)

the point is that comcast is doing this not to kill netflix, but to kill L3 and Cogent to grab their business.
comcast and verizon want the transit business as well. ISP's used to do hosting until amazon took it away. taking the transit business is a way to get hosting back as well

Re:cry of a dying business (1)

CKW (409971) | about 3 months ago | (#46929271)

Sounds like Amazon and Netflix and Apple and others need to get together in a joint venture with Google to really go to town with Google Fiber. Imagine if all the big BIG tech vendors threw together, AND did an IPO to get enough funding to actually do it, AND did pre-sign-ups to get average people to scream blue murder to their elected representatives demanding that the TechFiber Alliance be given the same statutory access to run and bury fiber cables across people's streets and yards like the cable co's were given 50 years ago.

Re:cry of a dying business (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928553)

The future you're painting is a bit disturbing, because the service incombents are neither ISPs nor large content providers with POP networks inside the ISP networks.

New P2P applications could potentially save the day by forcing ISPISP connectivity and disrupting the payment structure.

Re:cry of a dying business (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46928679)

why? there are dozens of streaming services out there that compete with pay TV and the ISP's all give them access to their network and data centers via third party CDN's at reasonable prices

Good sub (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928455)

Good Sub (Y)
http://mosalsalikotv.blogspot.com/

Biased (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46928481)

So, just to make it clear up front... Level3 is a Tier1 provider. Basically they are an ISP to the consumer ISPs. This is how your ISP connects to the internet (that's an over simplification but it will serve our purposes here) There are other Tier1 networks that the ISPs can connect to.

The point to these peering agreements is that Netflix and other companies like them make agreements with the ISPs to elevate congestion. So Google (random example) goes to AT&T (another random example) and says "We want to sign a peering agreement with you. We'd like to use Level3 for 2 years." and if AT&T agrees they do the same. So now both companies know there will be 10gig of traffic coming at them for 2 years and they can sign a reciprocal contract with Level3. This is standard

What Netflix does that angers pretty much every ISP on the planet is that they refuse to negotiate on these agreements at all. Instead they show up and say "We're going to use Level3, and we're not going to tell you for how long. Here's a long list of conditions that may cause us to switch without notice" so the ISP is stuck not knowing how long of a contract to sign and end up losing a lot of money when Netflix switches without notice.

The Tier1 providers love this. There's nothing better if you're a network provider than a customer locked into a contract they can't get out of stuck paying for bandwidth they aren't using.

The ISPs in question are likely in negotiation with Level3 on contracts. Level3 has been using the Netflix situation to their advantage. I suspect that this blog post by their VP is just an attempt to push the issue and get them to sign deals more lucrative for level3.

Not saying the ISPs aren't sucking. But this guys words need to be taken with a grain of salt. He's not out trying to help the consumer.

Re:Biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928645)

So okay, here's what I don't get. If Level 3 (and Cogent, and others) are the ones providing the bandwidth to the consumer ISPs, and the consumer ISPs are trying to screw them, what's stopping L3/Cogent from simply telling them, "You have two options. Either you go neutral and stop screwing everyone, us included, or we pull the plug on you until you are forced to sell control of the last mile to someone who will. If you don't like it, feel free to make the huge infrastructure investments we have and provide your own transit."

Dead Wrong (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928651)

Peering agreements are between two organizations, not between two organizations with a tier-1 between them. Netflix's peering agreement was not through level-1, it was direct between comcast and netflix. Tier-1 providers are the intermediary between non-peering entities, and tier-1 providers peer with those entities.

Re:Dead Wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928875)

Exactly. @Charliemopps, that is not how the internet works.

As AC tries to explain:

Netflix _pays_ Level3 for internet access (Level3 is a tier1 so has connectivity to the whole internet). _Pays_ being the important word here
You _pay_ your ISP for internet, and they _pay_ a tier1 for access. From the money you pay. No reason to ask Netflix for money.

The actual situation is more difficult because ISPs and content providers also peer. That is, they connect to each other, and pay each other nothing for the privilege. This makes sense because both parties pay less to their tier1 or transit provider.

Re:Biased (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#46929059)

You could always peer with Netflix. Going colo or nearest IX is an option that is relatively cheap.

Three Weeks in ISP Hell (5, Insightful)

fullback (968784) | about 3 months ago | (#46928545)

I just spent three weeks in the U.S.

The internet service was like being in a third-world country, but no one would believe it if you told them.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#46928725)

You are correct. Our internet here is an utter joke from end to end.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 3 months ago | (#46928909)

The US is a big country. Maybe you were in the countryside for some reason. In the Bay Area I get 50Mbps/s for cheap, my 4G is fast & cheap. I can download "Game of Thrones" in just a couple minutes. I don't really see much room for improvement.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929151)

Yeah nobody in cities in the US has issues with shitty internet. You may want to try opening your eyes from time to time.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 months ago | (#46929155)

The size of the US matters not, as even in densely-populated areas internet access can suck terribly. The "oh but it's so biiiig!" argument just doesn't hold water, and the longer people keep using it to justify their terrible internet service, the longer they will have terrible internet service. I'm happy you can get 50Mbp/s, but that's hardly something to boast about. - there definitely *is* room for improvement.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929267)

Kamapuaa, go read about consumer access speeds in s. Korea or China or many of the European countries. Those countries have millions upon millions of people living on top of each other in tiny little countries. This makes it super easy to interconnect the whole country and all of its infrastructure at high speeds for cheap.

Here in the USA we are extremely spread out, especially when you leave the eastern seaboard. In theory out east coast, especially the northeast should have amazing Internet access for cheap. Everyone is really pushed together and the cities continue to grow toward the sky because that's the only way to go.

Out in the midwest and Pacific coast we have a lot more land and are quite spread out. With that said, SF and LA should have significantly better options for Internet access at cheaper prices then they do.

But hey, this is the USA where we have "capitalism" and its the companies rights to "earn" as much money as the market will allow them. As long as they make money, there is nothing to worry about. Need to break a law or two, just make sure you make more money then the courts and fees will take and its just a part of doing business.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (0)

operagost (62405) | about 3 months ago | (#46929077)

^ This post is certified 100% content free.

Re:Three Weeks in ISP Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929507)

Having been to a number of third-world (and second-world, in both political and developmental sense) countries, and I don't believe you, mostly because you aren't right.

USA=Third World Internet (1, Informative)

hackus (159037) | about 3 months ago | (#46928557)

I do lots of different work on different AT&T networks.

1) Equipment is ancient. Most of the AT&T network is FAST Ethernet, some switches I have worked on are from 2001. Upgrade times for these pieces of gear, incluidng one ancient 2948G distribution switch for AT&T's Uverse concentrator point?

Never.

2) IPv6. Should be upgraded already. Really. My own house network, my lab all of it runs IPv6. Throughput gains on IPv6 vs IPv4 is impressive.

Really, like 20% performance upgrade running the exact same protocols on a IPv6 stack.

When will IPv6 come to the USA?

Exactly when the upgrade approval process clears the NSA and they have the budget and the time, to rewrite all of thier spy crap to work with IPv6.

Otherwise providers are FORBIDDEN to upgrade any portion of their networks to IPv6 without NSA direct approval.

Sounds kinda crappy eh

Sorta sucks I know, but you didn't think consolidation of internet service in the United States into one company is being driven by market forces do you?

No, it is being driven by the NSA who doesn't want to work with a myriad of companies to do their dirty work.

Much easier to conduct financial and industrial espionage on companies to fund your latest terrorist group off the books if you can just control ONE company.

3) Don't expect management to get any better either. With all of the lawlessness with regards to Anti Trust acts just about being violated everyday, the law has been tossed out the window along with customer service, any possible equipment upgrades.

Just not going to happen with 1 or two companies around who secretly meet anyway and rigg everything from the stock offerings, to workers salaries...etc.

Re:USA=Third World Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928665)

Sounds like a very good ad for IPv6:
- better performance
- reduced NSA surveillance (and therefore I expect reduced surveillance from everybody else as the NSA is most likely to upgrade their spy gear first given their ginormous oversize budget...).

Re:USA=Third World Internet (3, Interesting)

wiggles (30088) | about 3 months ago | (#46928727)

>providers are FORBIDDEN to upgrade any portion of their networks to IPv6 without NSA direct approval.

Source? The signal you're picking up through your tinfoil hat doesn't count.

Re:USA=Third World Internet (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 3 months ago | (#46929013)

When will IPv6 come to the USA?

I've had IPv6 provided by Comcast (yea Comcast) for about a year now. Maybe you should find a different ISP.

Re: USA=Third World Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929171)

He probably can't.

Level 3 to pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928565)

Shouldn't that be the other way around?

L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (2)

jchawk (127686) | about 3 months ago | (#46928567)

Peering agreements are established between different networks to further the common interests of both network providers.

For example - Cogent and Verizon reach a peering agreement of 100 megabit. This is a dedicated symmetrical connection between the two companies. They do this because in theory it is cheaper to swap data directly rather then pay a 3rd party to transmit the data between the two networks.

Now what happens when Cogent goes and sells a bunch of cheap bandwidth to various providers like Netflix and begins flooding relatively one way traffic onto Verizon's network? Well they saturated the 100 megabit connection in one direction. Verizon who isn't anywhere close to the saturation point on their side says hey if you want more bandwidth you have to pay for it because we're not using anywhere near what you are and these agreements are supposed to be fairly equal with respect to traffic flows.

Level 3 and Cogent are both guilty of selling cheap bandwidth to internet companies who mostly only send traffic one way. Video, Music, etc... You can't expect the other side of the peer to just keep expanding the circuit to accommodate your horrible business model.

I'm not a huge fan of any of these companies Verizon, Comcast, Level 3 or Cogent but Level 3 and Cogent are both in the wrong given their current agreements and since they can't reach a deal in private they are parading this out in public and trying to make a spectacle.

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (2)

Cyberax (705495) | about 3 months ago | (#46928755)

That might matter if we're talking about transit networks where reciprocity makes sense (i.e. "I'll forward your traffic if you forward mine").

However, Comcast is overwhelmingly an 'eyeball' network - its customers PAY to get access to this music/video. By refusing to setup additional peering interconnects Comcast hurts its own customers. If there was some real competition then they'll be under pressure to optimize their infrastructure and reach an agreement with transit providers on fair and equitable grounds.

Some people also mix an issue of transit there. For example, if L3 and Comcast have a peering interconnect in Dallas, for example, and L3 wants to use it to send traffic to Comcast customers in San Francisco then it _might_ make sense to ask L3 to pay fair price for long-distance transit.

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46928765)

And why is Verizon suddenly getting all this traffic? Because their customers, who already pay them, have requested it. Cogent isn't some malicious entity out to get Verizon, it is giving Verizon data that Verizon requested.

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#46929055)

and now verizon and comcast are going to take a lot of Level 3's business along with Cogent's because they refused to upgrade their part of the network and ran to the blogs

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (1)

Xylantiel (177496) | about 3 months ago | (#46929127)

Exactly. The ISPs are holding their subscribers hostage. i.e. abusing their monopoly power to get paid twice for the same service.

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#46928811)

Your argument might be more compelling if there was a reason for these connections to need to be symmetrical, but there's not. Comcast customers want the Netflix data to flow to them, and Netflix wants the data to flow to them.

In competitive markets there isn't a problem (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 3 months ago | (#46928889)

As the article makes clear, where ISPs are liable to be left by consumers who are unimpressed with their service, there isn't an issue. It's only because these ISPs can't be avoided that they have the clout to pull this stunt. Markets are good - Americans don't have a free market in ISP provision, a true irony!

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 3 months ago | (#46928989)

shill harder bro

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (4, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#46929107)

Let me get this strait, Level 3 sells bandwidth of the highest quality to a company, routes it around the world with nearly no congestion, then offers to peer with an ISP for free, meaning that ISP doesn't need to route the data around the world themselves, the ISP refuses because they think the data should be not only handed to them on a silver platter, but also get paid; and you think Level 3 has a "horrible" business model?

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 3 months ago | (#46929341)

However, Comcast is overwhelmingly an 'eyeball' network

It's worth noting, however, that Comcast (and others) try to make sure they're "eyeball" networks. For many years, ISPs have been offering things like "20 mbps downloads, 1 mbps upload." You make it sound a little too much like, "Poor Comcast. They only get the 'eyeball' business, while Cogent and Level 3 go around courting customers looking for mass distribution!" Really, these ISPs have been trying to turn the Internet into more of a broadcast model for years, specifically in the hopes of capitalizing on continued control of the distribution channels to consumers.

Comcast is being paid by their users specifically so that they can access the content that's coming into their network through Level 3. Being able to provide that content quickly is exactly what they're being paid to do, but they refuse to spend their profits to build the infrastructure to provide fast access. Meanwhile, if they want a piece of the action in selling the "cheap bandwidth to internet companies who mostly only send traffic one way", then all they have to do is provide a reliable connection with a decent upload rate.

Re:L3, Cogent and Others Crying Wolf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929577)

Netflix only sends traffic that an ISP's customer requests. In your example you imply that content providers like Netflix flood data to the ISP's network, but all of that data was explicitly requested by an ISP customer who is paying that ISP to deliver the data they requested.

As for asymmetry, of course it's asymmetric! The ISP provides asymmetric links to all residential customers becuase it is expected that these customers are primarily content consumers.

Much as I suspected (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 3 months ago | (#46928609)

The ISPs are creating a false scarcity in order to try to improve their profits. At the same time they're saving money by refusing to improve capacity. It's time for this bullshit to end.

Re:Much as I suspected (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#46928761)

MOST ISP's are running on gear that is over 12 years old or older. they refuse to upgrade it even by extreme 10 year standards.

Nationalize the Internet in America (3, Interesting)

fallen1 (230220) | about 3 months ago | (#46928821)

First, let me be clear -- I'm not a big fan of this idea, but after looking at the problem from multiple angles this idea keeps coming up as the best way to spur competition and end the debate on network neutrality.

A few steps to stop this greed from happening, hopefully:

a) A clear, concise Bill of Internet Rights.
-- This must be done in order to alleviate a lot of the crap going on now. There should be terms that explicitly disallow government agencies from piping internet traffic through their data centers for "analysis" of anything WITHOUT A NON-SECRET COURT ORDER. If it can't stand up the light of day, it doesn't fit with principles this country was founded upon and which hundreds of thousands of men and women have died to uphold. Stop being assholes and running roughshod over the Constitution.
-- This must be done to guarantee privacy. As much as can be, anyway.
-- This must be done to guarantee that all data is treated equally with the obvious need for quality assurance. No more congesting nodes, no more content owner also owns the delivery network so it can shutout competition, no more "you pay us, again, for the bandwidth that our customer who requested your info has already paid for."

b) Nationalize the Distribution Lines
-- All copper, fiber, interconnects, and so on are nationalized.
-- A plan is put into place to guarantee (almost) everyone in the United States good data speeds (10mb/s up and down - minimum) by adding more and more fiber. I say (almost) because there are some VERY remote places where people live and it will take time (plus more money) to reach them. If 90% of the population can be served, including rural areas, then that would be great.
-- Everyone who wishes to be an ISP pays THE SAME per connection. Yes, that would mean someone in Small Town, Iowa costs the same as someone in New York to connect to the internet. The overhead of the ISP will determine what $XX.xx is added to the government mandated $YY.yy and here's the rub - customer service comes back to the forefront and actually means something because the Public will know what the $YY.yy is. Competition to gain and keep customers based on price alone should vanish as value-added services and real customer service return to the industry.
-- We have a glut of workers needing work. Teach them to lay fiber optic cable and copper if needed. Put them to work moving the United States back to the top of the chart in broadband/internet access. In this day and age it is a necessity, not a luxury. Easily as ubiquitous today as the telephone and mail were in their days.

I'm probably missing a massive hole in my theory (greed being at the top of that list), but if this was done it would foster intense competition and new ideas as one would not be held back by thinking "I will get blocked out by Company A because they have a grip on distribution of a similar idea." Freedom from the so-called content creators of today locking down sections of the internet or using their power to double and triple-dip the pockets of consumers and competitors.

Re:Nationalize the Internet in America (1)

rhodie (61831) | about 3 months ago | (#46929097)

Want to see the least efficient way to do just about anything? Look at the federal government...

Re:Nationalize the Internet in America (2)

eudaemon (320983) | about 3 months ago | (#46929121)

So true! That REA was a complete waste of money (for instance).

Re:Nationalize the Internet in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929221)

You can't have an Internet Bill of Rights if you do not intend to guarantee them for 100% of the population.

But, for those 10% rural customers, the government could also take over the TV satellites that are currently being used to reach them. Of course, they'll have to launch a few THOUSAND more to "guarantee" 10Mb/s for EVERYONE who wishes to use them.

You also can't teach someone to lay fiber in a day.

The Internet is Becoming a Network of... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 months ago | (#46928853)

... walled gardens.

Verizon will have an Internet for its customers, that everyone outside will have to pay to access. Verizon is basically trying to create a model where the Internet at large must pay for access to its customers eyeballs.

Other ISPs are following suit.

Keep Pressing The Public Comment Channels (4, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 3 months ago | (#46929145)

Yesterday, the net neutrality petition [whitehouse.gov] passed the halfway mark, with 18 days left to go. The FCC request for comments [fcc.gov] is still live and looking for your feedback, and Mozilla has an alternative in the offing [mozilla.org] .

Keep the pressure on, keep posting these things on your social networks, keep telling your friends. The only thing less effective than telling the government what we want is not telling them what we want. It is a double edged sword; either they do as we say, or we get one more bit of documentation to support reforming the government.

Cut the connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46929225)

Level 3 should just cut the connection for a day

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>