Sprint blocking Cogent network traffic…

It appears that Sprint has stopped routing traffic (called “depeering”) from Cogent as a result of some sort of legal dispute. Sprint customers cannot reach Cogent customers, and vice versa. The effect is similar to what would happen if Sprint were to block voice phonecalls to AT&T customers.

Here’s a graph that shows the outage, courtesy of Keynote :

Rich Miller at DataCenterKnowledge has a great summary of the issues behind the incident, which has happened with Cogent before. Rich says:

At the heart of it, peering disputes are really loud business negotiations, and angry customers can be used as leverage by either side. This one will end as they always do, with one side agreeing to pay up or manage their traffic differently.

I think this is particularly Radar-worthy because it provides an example of the complex issues around Net Neutrality . In this case customers are harmed and most (especially Sprint wireless customers) will have no immediate recourse.

Todd Underwood of Renesys has posted an incredibly detailed explanation the scope and impact of this issue. Here is a summary:

Another way to look at the scope of this event is to identify the number, size and ownership of the network prefixes affected by the outage. […] So, in total, at least 3500 networks on the Internet have less than full connectivity right now. […]

One might suspect that these single-homed autonomous systems are simply incautious or insignificant networks. After all, given the history of Internet partitions, who would be rash enough to have important network services located on a single-homed prefix in this day and age?

The following prefixes are some of the more interesting networks single-homed behind Sprint:

  • Expedia, Inc.
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Rutgers University
  • Sprint PCS (lots of networks here, of course)

And that is just a few.

The following prefixes are some of the more interesting networks single-homed behind Cogent:

  • Joost Production Benelux Network
  • Loopt, Inc.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration and many more)
  • NTT America, Inc. (and many more like it, from the T1 and hosting customers acquired from NTT/Verio)
  • Skynet Access (this might actually be good news, if the loss of connectivity to Skynet prevents or delays sentience).
  • St. Lawrence College
  • University of Toronto (and a bunch of other colleges and universities)

[…] The point here is that this is a big deal. There are lots of significant organizations that appear to have lost connectivity due to this dispute.

These same kinds of issues will likely happen with cloud service providers as well. As we’ve already learned from the evolution of VoIP, you become what you disrupt.

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