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Cogent Involved In Another Peering Dispute
CEO: You're just jealous...
by Karl Bode 04:52PM Tuesday Mar 18 2008
Cogent is no stranger to peering disputes, fighting with Level3 back in 2005 and AOL back in 2002. While most peering arrangements involve carriers trading equal amounts of bandwidth, Cogent's discount Mc-bandwidth approach (100 Mbps for $1,000 per month) often involves a sharing imbalance, which results in one side or the other feeling slighted. The fights are usually resolved in time, but they're never much fun for the users impacted. Cogent's latest fight is with Swedish telecom operator Telia, and the two stopped interconnecting last week.

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This fight is impacting many broadband customers across a large chunk of Europe. Cogent, as usual, is taking a public relations beating for the dispute, but the company's CEO is claiming that the peering fight this time is about "jealousy":
quote:
"The problem is simple, no one likes our low-price pricing policy except our customers, and most of the companies have been reluctant peers with us," says Schaffer, who has guided the company through some tough times. Indeed, its Wal-Mart style approach to bandwidth has helped the company grow its revenues, but not its standing in the ISP business. "They hate our pricing."
ISP Planet makes the point that unlike other signed and sealed business deals, peering arrangements often rest on a handshake and a wink, something that may ultimately result in far more serious problems down the road (likely involving Cogent).

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trparky
Android... get back here
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Cleveland, OH
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1 edit

I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

If I had the choice of choosing who to provide me bandwidth for a server, I definitely wouldn't choose Cogent. They couldn't pay me to take their service!

Why would I choose them when there are other providers that offer far better SLAs and better service?
--
Tom

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

1 edit

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

We use around 200-300Mbit/sec of Cogent bandwidth consistently and they are terrific. We have a 100% up time SLA and our users have seen latency drop 2:1 and speeds increase over our last provider which was multi homed with Level 3 and a few others. I don't think anyone who bashes Cogent has ever really used them.

I always receive top-notch support from their NOC, and they have been willing to make adjustments to accept our equipment.
Tikker_LoS

join:2004-04-29
Regina, SK

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

it's not really the small time companies this is about, but rather the big backbone type guys

wifi4milez
Big Russ, 1918 to 2008. Rest in Peace

join:2004-08-07
New York, NY

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

said by Tikker_LoS:

it's not really the small time companies this is about, but rather the big backbone type guys
No, this is directly about the smaller companies. Cogent's "fire sale" pricing model appeals to small companies who were previously paying close to $1000 per month for their T1's. If their peering arrangements get messed up like last time, that means Joe and Schmo business owner cant reach a big portion of the sites they try to access. Because they are so cheap, and their network is so questionable, most companies only use them as a backup (or backup, backup!) to their primary internet connection. I personally dont see anything wrong with using them, but people need to understand their business model and make appropriate arrangements in case of a failure.
--

Leem

join:2003-11-01
Nanticoke, PA

1 edit

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

Unfortuntely if the ways things are going, paying extra for a backup will become the norm, especially with the growing rate of users each year, ISPS' just can't keep up with the overall growth, which means for the rest of us who have 'been' here, slowly get shafted and forced into either paying high premiums for A) Faster/more reliable service or B) paying like you said, for a backup service either way, with the sorry state of the economy right now, its not a good feeling or situation to be in.

espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
said by trparky:

Why would I choose them when there are other providers that offer far better SLAs and better service?
$7/mbps on 1000+ mbps commitments.

Are they perfect? No.

Are they good enough for 99.5% of Internet applications? Absolutely.

Most customers aren't completely reliant on Cogent, but rather just use them as one of a few different Internet uplink options.

UnKown
The Underground Network

join:2002-09-08
Orlando, FL
Cogent's business model is spectacular. Its all about bulk. They have one of the best data networks on the globe. We should see other big tier 1 providers doing the same thing as cogent. It doesn't cost these companies nearly as much as they are charging to run the network. Cogent is just bringing competition to the ball game. I loved how cogent sent letters to level 3 customers who were affected by the disconnect, offering the customers a great discount on their service. I hope they do the same to this swedish company.

Qumahlin
Never Enough Time
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-05
united state

2 recommendations

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

said by UnKown:

Cogent's business model is spectacular. Its all about bulk. They have one of the best data networks on the globe. We should see other big tier 1 providers doing the same thing as cogent. It doesn't cost these companies nearly as much as they are charging to run the network. Cogent is just bringing competition to the ball game. I loved how cogent sent letters to level 3 customers who were affected by the disconnect, offering the customers a great discount on their service. I hope they do the same to this swedish company.
Cogent's business model is only spectacular if your not a peer having to intake hundreds of TB's of their traffic, while outputting very little of your traffic to their network.

It's the equivalent of you splitting the water bill with your roomate 50/50 and then finding out your roommate takes 6 showers a day, owns 9 aquariums, and likes to listen to the sound of running water just because it makes him giggle.

Other data providers aren't "jealous" of Cogent's model, they just aren't blatant assholes. If they truly wanted to get into a pricing war with Cogent they easily could and would not need to resort to harming customers on both sides like they do everytime a peering agreement is unexpectedly cut.
--
Forum Posts:7500

Sean8

join:2004-01-23
Toronto

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

said by Qumahlin:

said by UnKown:

Cogent's business model is spectacular. Its all about bulk. They have one of the best data networks on the globe. We should see other big tier 1 providers doing the same thing as cogent. It doesn't cost these companies nearly as much as they are charging to run the network. Cogent is just bringing competition to the ball game. I loved how cogent sent letters to level 3 customers who were affected by the disconnect, offering the customers a great discount on their service. I hope they do the same to this swedish company.
Cogent's business model is only spectacular if your not a peer having to intake hundreds of TB's of their traffic, while outputting very little of your traffic to their network.

It's the equivalent of you splitting the water bill with your roomate 50/50 and then finding out your roommate takes 6 showers a day, owns 9 aquariums, and likes to listen to the sound of running water just because it makes him giggle.

Other data providers aren't "jealous" of Cogent's model, they just aren't blatant assholes. If they truly wanted to get into a pricing war with Cogent they easily could and would not need to resort to harming customers on both sides like they do everytime a peering agreement is unexpectedly cut.
The point is, running a data network is no longer as expensive as they make you think. If Cogent can do it, then they can too. The only reason Cogent users experience peering problems, is BECAUSE OF THE OTHER ISPs.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
Cogent is great. Its the FIOS of the internet, consumer/residential grade internet at reasonable prices. Remember a T3 and FIOS are basically the same, 1 costs $100, the other $10,000, which one would you pick?

Too many ISPs and backbone providers still see $$ signs in their eyes, and price as if its 1975 and Ma Bell is king, and in most cases they are Ma Bell because you have to peer with them to get good speeds and ping to the consumer ISPs behind them. $300 a month for a T1 of bandwidth? Even SDSL is cheaper.

dogma
XYZ
Premium
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Boulder City, NV
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said by trparky:

If I had the choice of choosing who to provide me bandwidth for a server, I definitely wouldn't choose Cogent. They couldn't pay me to take their service!

Why would I choose them when there are other providers that offer far better SLAs and better service?
Perhaps this is why you are not in the position of choosing a bandwidth provider?

7 or 8 years ago, I too bought into the rhetoric that Cogent bandwidth was somehow inferior. This FUD all emanated from Cogent's then competitors like AT&T, Level(3), Global Crossing, etc. who were all selling $300/Mb IP . They all said cogent couldn't possibly survive selling $10/Mb IP.

Well, we have IP from AT&T/Level(3)/Telia/Sprint...and Cogent for the past 6 years and they are all about the same in terms of performance and reliability. The only difference is now all of those former high-cost providers are pricing the same or below Cogent's list price.

Qumahlin
Never Enough Time
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-05
united state

2 edits

Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

said by dogma:

said by trparky:

If I had the choice of choosing who to provide me bandwidth for a server, I definitely wouldn't choose Cogent. They couldn't pay me to take their service!

Why would I choose them when there are other providers that offer far better SLAs and better service?
Perhaps this is why you are not in the position of choosing a bandwidth provider?

7 or 8 years ago, I too bought into the rhetoric that Cogent bandwidth was somehow inferior. This FUD all emanated from Cogent's then competitors like AT&T, Level(3), Global Crossing, etc. who were all selling $300/Mb IP . They all said cogent couldn't possibly survive selling $10/Mb IP.

Well, we have IP from AT&T/Level(3)/Telia/Sprint...and Cogent for the past 6 years and they are all about the same in terms of performance and reliability. The only difference is now all of those former high-cost providers are pricing the same or below Cogent's list price.
Cogent's bandwidth isn't inferior, and those who said it was are morons. Cogent simply violates the primary relationship between peers being that you have somewhat even traffic flows and don't simply flood other providers while taking very little traffic yourself.

To understand the issues with Cogent you need to work for a ISP or other company that has to deal frequently with peering and traffic loads.

To the average customer Cogent is a amazing deal. You just run the risk of having your site cut completely from the internet by other major peers because you chose to use the assholes of the industry and with the prices and service they offer who could blame you?

--
Forum Posts:7500
wierdo

join:2001-02-16
Tulsa, OK
7 or 8 years ago, Cogent was decidedly inferior. Their network was relatively unreliable and had significantly higher latency. And htey were unable to keep their peering ratios balanced, hence the issues with regularly being depeered by someone or another.

Now their network is better. Still not as good as some of the better ones, but much nearer the average. And now they're the ones doing the depeering and fucking their single-homed customers. If they really cared about their customers, they would accept TeliaSonera's routes from their transit providers (yes, Cogent has transit, they are not transit-free), rather than purposely filtering them. Of course, TeliaSonera generates and sinks a lot of traffic, so that would drive their costs up. Hmm..sounds like someone who one ought to peer with, doesn't it?

Luckily, most network managers have learned that Cogent only is not OK, because you will eventually get burned if you go that route.
--
It's wierdo, not weirdo. Yes, I know that's not the 'proper' spelling of the similar english language word.

trparky
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Re: I wouldn't use Cogent even if they paid me!

I used to work for a web host and did Level 1 and sometimes Level 2 Technical Support and have seen what Cogent provides as "bandwidth". Yeah, most of the bottlenecks that customers saw was because of Cogent.

Now I no longer work for that web host but I do know that they peer with Level(3), AT&T, and Time Warner Telecom.
--
Tom
smcallah

join:2004-08-05
Home

Hmmm...

When I was an engineer for Cogent 7 years ago, Telia was a peer then, and actually set to use Cogent peering as a default route.

Meaning, they were only supposed to be accepting and using Cogent and Cogent customer routes, but instead, they were sending to another destination, likely 0.0.0.0/0 on Cogent's network. Since they didn't have a transit agreement we put a stop to that quickly.

I'm not surprised Telia is still causing problems for Cogent, especially now that Cogent is competing with Telia.

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

Re: Hmmm...

I find it interesting that when we switched to Cogent, one of our customers started complaining that they were getting very slow downloads - 10K/sec type. Guess what network they were on...Telia! Maybe Telia was throttling traffic before this split.
wierdo

join:2001-02-16
Tulsa, OK

Re: Hmmm...

said by SLD:

I find it interesting that when we switched to Cogent, one of our customers started complaining that they were getting very slow downloads - 10K/sec type. Guess what network they were on...Telia! Maybe Telia was throttling traffic before this split.
Or maybe Cogent's peering link with Telia was grossly undersized and Cogent didn't feel like spending their share of the money to bring it up to a reasonable size, and when Telia told them that they weren't going to foot the entire bill, Cogent depeered.
--
It's wierdo, not weirdo. Yes, I know that's not the 'proper' spelling of the similar english language word.

statecop
Premium
join:2002-09-16
Heflin, AL

2 edits

World of Warcraft users are pissed!

This has given a lot of World of Warcraft players problems playing the game they pay for. Blizzard, the company that made wow, says there is nothing they can do to resolve it but are pointing to Cogent as the problem. I know I cant play for the lag spikes. I have been seeing major packet loss on their system for about 1.5 weeks now.

Here is a link to the wow forum about the issue.
I am still having lag spikes while not quite as long they are still pretty bad. It seems a lot of other people are noticing the problem. The people in Europe are getting a worse end of the stick than we are. It seems Cogent has changed something and dont plant to fix it.

I am not sure if there is anything you can do but if you could push it up the chain maybe someone would make a phone call to them. Anyway here is the link to the forum on the game I play on the issue.

I know several other people that are in the US that are having the same issue and thier ISP goes through this company. I think it is smaller number or not as noticed in the USA unless you are a computer gamer.

»forums.wow-europe.com/thread.htm ··· 45&sid=1

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

Re: World of Warcraft users are pissed!

Looking at those two posts, it seems a bit one-sided, doesn't it?

statecop
Premium
join:2002-09-16
Heflin, AL

Re: World of Warcraft users are pissed!

It does sound one sided but I can tell you it is not. I also have line qaulity test to support it.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
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2nd tier vs 1st tier?

This is more a battle between 1st tier & 2nd tier providers who do international traffic. While these costs have been going $$ UPward $$(as the case is with everything else).. Cogent wants to be the cutthroat renegade to buck the trend. The more they do this, the more they risk alienating themselves from peering with big U.S. carriers because of the retaliation that will occur with big European tier-1 providers. Meanwhile, more and more foreign investors are buying up and / or building infrastructure in the U.S. / North American market.. sooner or later, Cogent won't have enough clout & will either merge or be bought out by another carrier. This is what probably worries the likes of Comcast.. they're starting to build their own links throughout the U.S. or be at risk for a major bandwidth cost increase in the near future.

Capitalism INTL

@sbcglobal.net

Conformity

It's amazing that so many of you are quick to justify the blame with Cogent.

The reason for any of these companies' existence, is and will always be one thing, PROFIT, TERRITORY, and QUANTITY.

How else do you beat a company, willing to take less profit, to offer a lower price, to gain a vast majority of consumers?

BLACK BALL

I'd do it, you'd do it too, most would if you saw the amount of cash flow these companies have seen. obviously, letting go of a large cash flow is just too much to handle, so what's the next best thing? Keep your cash flow, and destroy the competition.

CAPITALISM

...yes, it does exist.

iuse_cogent

@dsl.bell.ca

Re: Conformity

Agreed. Major telcos have kept business clients paying huge costs even as their cost to provide the services from a Capex and CPE point of view has decreased substantially. I've had clients who wanted to purchase metro lambdas from their telco ISP so they could link to Cogent and peer with some allied businesses that also bought bandwidth at the same POP, with then intent of dropping their telco DS-3/OC1. Of course, the telco sabotaged the things with massive delays, engineering costs and painful technical problems, so the municipal fiber company was used and we're happy today.

The Uni I work for has several hundred Mbps with cogent and they are great VALUE. For what we pay them today, we got about 50Mbps 2.5 years ago. And small de-peering doesn't matter too much because we already have a peer fabric through the academic networks like Internet2, and deals with local ISP's. And then we also have a small backup link to another carrier to help us deal with problems like depeering or other hiccups.