Level3 and Cogent Reconnected…For Now


UPDATE: Geek News Central sees it another way. They see Cogent as hitching a free ride and getting thrown off the bus finally. Either way, the bacbone providers are about to realize that they aren’t the ones with power anymore.
The lawsuits from this should be interesting, and are likely going to expose many of the dark edges of the connectivity market that will shock most people who use the Internet.


Cnet has the news here.
One of the sites most notably affected was the Boston Museum of Fine Arts — quoted in this story. So I took the MFA as a bellweather of when the Internet would return to normal.


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Using the GrabPERF system and one other measurement network, it appears that the Level3 and Cogent networks started speaking to each other again at approximately 16:00 EDT (20:00 GMT) today, with recovery times varying by company, backbone, and location.


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I was having a conversation on a completely unrelated matter with one of the journalists who covers the Internet space, and mentioned this event to him. He hadn’t heard of it (hey, I know how hard he works), but we both were kind of shocked that this could still happen.
A large backbone provider rarely does this just because they can; if that were the case, the Internet would be divided into petty fiefdoms where no one could talk to anyone else, which sounds awfully familiar to some of us who remember pre-Internet networks.
A large backbone provider does this to strengthen their position, and diminish that of their peering partner.
There is a lot of money being made on the Internet again. This breakage was, in my opinion, is a result of the Tier 1 backbone providers staking out their turf for what they see as another flow of big and stupid spending resulting from the frenzy around Web 2.0.
Level3 summarily terminated the peering arrangement in an attempt to marginalize Cogent, perhaps in an attempt create the impression that Cogent is less valuable to the Internet than “real” Tier 1 backbones.
What does this pre-emptive attack on Cogent’s reputation gain them? I think that the core reason is that Level3 may be trying to reduce the perceived market value of Cogent, making them a more vulnerable target for acquisition.
It will be interesting to watch what happens in a month when this flares up again.


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