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C&W De-Peers PSInet 54

scoof writes: "Might be because of PSInet's financial troubles, but according to mails to NANOG-list, C&W has de-peered PSInet. " Ah, the joys of being depeered.
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C&W De-Peers PSInet

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Non-karma-whoring explanation:,289893,s id9_gci212768,00.html []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    On June 1, 2001, PSINet Inc. and certain of its operating subsidiaries in the U.S. voluntarily filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, and most of its Canadian subsidiaries filed for protection under similar Canadian statues called the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. This will give PSINet the flexibility and time to explore all strategic alternatives while we continue deliver the reliable service upon which our customers depend. The Company expects that it and all of its subsidiaries will continue to provide reliable service to customers.
  • This []comes from the nanog list. There's an ugly discussion of how the outage might encourage the Powers That Be to step in and "make things right."
    Begin quote.
    RE: C&W Peering
    From: David Schwartz
    Date: Mon Jun 04 19:16:22 2001

    Yuck. I was interviewed by the GAO a few months back (they wanted to talk to little players about the transit market) and was worrying that the feds wanted to mandate interconnection policies in one form or another ... we certainly don't want to encourage that kind of behavior. However, it seems reasonable that if we can't regulate ourselves someone else is going to do it for us.

    It seems that everyone has fogotton what the "Internet" is. The Internet is not IP, the network protocol could change and it would still be the Internet. The Internet is not the providers, the providers could change and it would still be the Internet.

    The Internet is a spirit and a philosophy. That spirit and philosophy is of making a good faith effort to obtain connectivity and exchange information with anybody else who makes a similar effort. Anyone who claims to provide 'Internet access' or 'Internet service' or to be an 'Internet' product or service without practicing that philosophy is, in my opinion, practicing fraud.

    This applies to software, hardware, and even peering. A program is "Internet software" if it makes a good faith effort to exchange information with anybody else who makes a similar effort, not if it happens to work over the machines and protocols that happen to constitute the Internet today.

    End quote. Well said; I agree. Me, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @12:21AM (#176385)
    peering []

    Peering is the arrangement of traffic exchange between Internet service providers (ISPs). Larger ISPs with their own backbone networks agree to allow traffic from other large ISPs in exchange for traffic on their backbones. They also exchange traffic with smaller ISPs so that they can reach regional end points. Essentially, this is how a number of individual network owners put the Internet together. To do this, network owners and access providers, the ISPs, work out agreements that describe the terms and conditions to which both are subject. Bilateral peering is an agreement between two parties. Multilateral peering is an agreement between more than two parties.

    Peering requires the exchange and updating of router information between the peered ISPs, typically using the Border Gateway Protocol (Border Gateway Protocol). Peering parties interconnect at network focal points such as the network access points (network access point) in the United States and at regional switching points. Initially, peering arrangements did not include an exchange of money. More recently, however, some larger ISPs have charged smaller ISPs for peering. Each major ISP generally develops a peering policy that states the terms and conditions under which it will peer with other networks for various types of traffic.

    Private peering is peering between parties that are bypassing part of the public backbone network through which most Internet traffic passes. In a regional area, some ISPs exchange local peering arrangements instead of or in addition to peering with a backbone ISP. In some cases, peering charges include transit charges, or the actual line access charge to the larger network. Properly speaking, peering is simply the agreement to interconnect and exchange routing information.
  • This article in the Baltimore Sun [] should explain it: 02jun02.story?coll=bal%2Dtechnology%2Dheadlines []

    Interestingly, this happened last season with the St. Louis Rams & the Miami Dolphins.

  • You get your dog and wife back, the bank returns your truck, it stops raining . . .



  • What 'Karma-Whoring' means?


  • Is True.

    Read the Nanog posts again. Cutting off peering to a provider that has no transit mean they can't see each other. Period. Unless one of them would like to pay for transit.

  • PSI and C&W are both tier-1's, they don't have any transit agreements with others, which means that PSI and C&W customers are entirely cut off from each other at the moment.
    Considering that one of the root nameservers is situated at PSI makes the matter even worse.
  • Cowboy & Witless

    heh - my housemate's employer got bought by C&W a couple of years ago and it took him ages to train himself to stop calling them that.
    the telephone rings / problem between screen and chair / thoughts of homocide
  • by Kiwi ( 5214 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @02:32AM (#176392) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who is a verteran in the anti-spam wars knows that PSI was, not too long ago, notorious for doing nothing about spammers who used PSI-owned dialup connections to connect to the internet and spam to their heart's content.

    It was not uncommon, in the heyday of PSI-originated spam, for people to not allow anyone from 38.x.x.x to send email to them.

    The problem with not properly handling one spammers is that it causes an ISPs reputation to go down. Now, I have not paid real close attention to what has happened at PSI since spammers stopped using their dialups as spam-originating points, but I would not be surprised that PSI reputation as a spam-friendly ISP is one of the reasons they are having the financial problems they have now.

    - Sam

  • It takes capital resources (man power, routers, firewalls, switches, cable, computers) to peer, this sounds C&W may know that PSInet is about to eat it and they are getting ready to shift their capital resources to a peer that won't disappear and leave their money hanging in the breeze.
  • I'd be interested to know why my post was moderated down to flamebait...?
  • What 'de-peering' means?


  • I'm more curious about how it will affect the whole 'net if the company running one of the root servers goes bankrupt - do they have a contingency plan for someone else to take up the slack?

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • and being told that they didn't sell to ISPs. Huh?! Their sales rep told me that ISPs fragment their network too much and are too difficult to maintain. By selling only to business customers they could keep their network in better condition for their customers.

    So some salesman gave you a load of crap over the phone and wouldn't sell you product and that's how you know they would eventually go bankrupt? As far as I know there ws only one quarter EVER in PSINet's history in which being EBITDA prositive could be considered "in the black." You can't blame a company for your friend's lack of research.

  • Man, wish I had mod points. Great explanation.
  • You're talking about PSI and spam as if they are a thing of the past. I personally get about 6 piece of spam a week originating from the PSI network (most of it comes from miami for whatever reason). I got two of them today.

    I am one of these sick weirdo that actually investigate and report every single piece of spam to the originating ISP, as well as to other ISPs if the spammer has a mail drop box or website.

    PSI does respond to each spam report (first the canned reply, then some note saying that "action has been taken" - whatever that means). So, I don't know how that compares with their track report from way back when, but I am less than pleased about them TODAY.
  • From

    ""Peering" in the jargon of the Internet means to connect directly to another Internet provider for the purpose of exchange traffic between two providers without having to resort to the Internet backbone. "

    De-peering, then, is disconnecting from such a relationship. Whether this is indeed the case or not here is another issue, which I'll leave to those more well informed than I...

  • by snopes ( 27370 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @05:37AM (#176401) Journal
    FWIW, this just hit NANOG list.

    From: Mitchell Levinn []
    Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2001 9:35 AM
    Subject: PSINet and C&W peering

    C&W did indeed shutdown their peering connections to PSINet
    this weekend. While there are many potential explanations
    for their actions, I have no visibility into their decision
    process. I am disappointed with their decision to disconnect.
    PSINet continues to seek a resolution with C&W to restore normal
    connectivity in order to avoid further negative impact to both
    companies and the Internet. Their decision is hard to understand
    based on the following:

    - C&W and PSINet upgraded circuits used for peering between
    the two networks earlier this year. C&W's recent action
    seems inconsistent with the strategy that led to these
    - PSINet's recent addition of direct private peering with several
    of C&W's transit customers relieved the peering connections
    between the networks of a couple hundred Mbps of traffic
    (improving connectivity overall and, undoubtedly, lowering costs
    for those transit customers). This is significant only because
    C&W claims PSINet no longer has sufficient traffic to justify
    the connections according to their published standards. In
    fact, PSINet's overall traffic continues to grow.
    - Most of the PSINet traffic previously destined for sites
    behind C&W has alternative paths through other providers.
    While this sounds like a generally good thing, especially given
    the actions C&W has taken, it does make it difficult for those
    that require certain traffic levels to be maintained consistently
    for peering. Specifically, C&W's customers (or C&W itself) could
    alter "natural" traffic flow to favor (or not) various connections
    to meet their published standards (or not). PSINet demonstrated
    to C&W that if naturally less favorable announcements were
    preferred, PSINet could make an almost arbitrarily large (or
    small) amount of traffic flow between the peers. Even so, in
    C&W's opinion, PSINet will not be able to comply with their
    peering policy's traffic standards. It is gratifying to note
    that even without C&W peering, substantially all of the
    traffic previously flowing between PSINet and C&W continues to
    be delivered.
    - At this time PSINet has not disabled the C&W peering interfaces
    nor decommissioned any facilities. If C&W chooses to, they can
    re-enable interfaces on their side and bring back the connectivity
    lost between their non-transit customers and PSINet. PSINet
    remains open to discuss with them a new bilateral peering
    agreement if they so choose.

    PSINet remains committed to servicing its customers and the Internet
    with the best possible infrastructure and policies. PSINet still
    maintains hundreds of peering connections with other ISPs throughout
    the world. While posting about matters between PSINet and its
    peering partners is not typical, the circumstances and questions
    arising from C&W's decision required some clarification. Hopefully
    this additional clarification helps everyone understand the current

    -Mitch Levinn
  • IMHO, "peering" is when you have some agreement between your network and someone else's, so that you can have free/good traffic between both of them. PSINet's situation is pretty much like the situation where someone has a 100 Mbit connection to a machine in his university that, in turn, has a 1 Gbps connection to the world. You get the picture.

  • Sounds about right, yes.
    Officially, it seems C&W consider that now PSINet have depeered with a lot of the medium-sized providers such as Exodus and Abovenet (exactly what C&W just did to them ;) they no longer qualify as carrying enough traffic to be a "tier 1" ISP. As an additional kicker, now that PSINet has filed for bankruptcy protection, they are no longer able to shop around for transit to replace this peering link (after all, would *you* give PSInet a new contract, knowing that under the rules you cannot cut them off for non-payment, and based on their current stability can't reasonably expect transit creditors will be high on the list for payment anytime soon.)
  • When I saw th news, my first thought was, "woohoo! less spam!"

    I've been hating psinet for years.

    - - - - -
  • by Phizzy ( 56929 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @03:56AM (#176405)
    If you read further back into the NANOG list, you can see that about a month and a half ago, C&W sent out notices to all of the ISPs that it de-peered (it wasn't only PSI). So PSInet knew this was going to happen a few months ago, and did not take action to get another Transit provider, so that C&W customers could reach into their network and vice-versa. This hurts both ISPs, and anyone who is trying to reach PSI. While things are probably not going so well over at PSI, obviously, with them filing Chapter 11, they knew this was coming, and didn't act, and now are trying to give C&W a black eye. Peering agreements are created so that networks of roughly equal size can trade routes/data at minimal cost to both ISPs, but when one of those ISPs grows, and the other shrinks, the agreements must be re-considered. This is a fairly normal thing in the ISP world, and the only reason that this is creating problems and news is that PSInet didn't act to find a transit provider, or work out a transit agreement with C&W.

  • The fun thing is that now all C&W customers will be unable to connect to most PSI customers.

    And that's not a small amount of people/sites.

    Not true. Not all backbone providers have peering arrangements. This merely means that this traffic will not travel directly between the networks, but will be exchanged at the NAP (Network Access Point) routers, and possibly by other networks which have still have peering with both the companies in question. Almost certainly slower and with longer ping times, however.

  • Okay, I missed that point. I'd think if that was the case that the bankruptcy court (Er, PSI has filed for Chapter 11 protection, haven't they?) might have something to say about that. Or maybe not... don't know the rules exactly.
  • PSINet's network status page [] has the details - apparently 90% of the traffic is being rerouted, 10% is apparently cut off by C&W. The page does indicate that PSINet is offering to "supply service directly to C&W's customers who have been cut off". In other words, come ISP with us instead of C&W, I guess.

    Apparently getting C&W's customers is the only the only way PSINet can offer relief to their own customers cut off from C&W resources, since no other help is offered in that direction.

  • by Velox_SwiftFox ( 57902 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @12:11AM (#176409)
    Strange, this seems to be the first time I've seen backbone providers' peering arrangements considered a major news item. Doesn't this kind of thing, along with the establishment of new peering arrangements, happen all the time?

    I would think the report, if true, means that C & W is unsatisfied with the {way that|amount of|rate at} its packets are transported on PSINet relative to the way PSI is using C & W's resources.

    Other than that, I don't see why C & W would give a care what happens to PSI financially. If it closes down the peering arrangements would be beside the point.

  • If PSI goes tango uniform, who decides the next resting place of the root server they hold?
  • Back when I was a newbie admin I went shopping for a second T1 for an old ISP I worked for that doesn't exist anymore. Anyhow, I remember calling PSINet (their offices are semi-local) and being told that they didn't sell to ISPs. Huh?! Their sales rep told me that ISPs fragment their network too much and are too difficult to maintain. By selling only to business customers they could keep their network in better condition for their customers.

    I thought... That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard... Then the next boardwatch came out with the backbone provider network ratings and PSINet came out somewhere in the middle. Then I really had a clue that the company would go nowhere. When my friend bought stock in the company (with a prospectus that made them look like they were in the black till I pointed the facts out to him), I laughed heartily and told him that was a bad move.

    So the moral of the story is, I was expecting them to go down in flames eventually...
  • Due to circumstances beyond our control, the ORBS website is no longer available.

  • To add to that (good explanation, by the way), what makes this more interesting is that PSInet still hosts one of the 13 root name servers (, meaning that C&W has just cut their customers off from one of the DNS roots. It's not clear how that will affect C&W's customers, but it's still not something I'd do lightly, if I were a network admin.
  • My former employer [] used to call them "Clueless and Witless".

    'Course, they went bankrupt, too...

  • PSINet is still a pretty big player, but it would seem that since neither PSINet nor C&W have full routing tables anymore, neither is really a tier 1 ISP. Yes, I know its only 1200 some routes they are missing, but still. My guess: They'll do what Exodus and AboveNet had to do when they were in similar situations, buy transit on someone else (like sprint or verio) just for C&W's traffic.

    *Not a Sermon, Just a Thought
  • One generally accepted definition for Tier-1 is a) full routing tables b) they don't pay for transit(For their backbone atleast). I'm not sure PSINet would bring it on themselves to buy transit from C&W

    *Not a Sermon, Just a Thought
  • by Wolfstar ( 131012 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @01:55AM (#176417)
    Answer's fairly simple in this respect.

    For starters, the PEERING arrangement is gone. There's a difference between peering and transit. Peering is done when it would be mutually beneficial for both parties to share traffic, and some arrangement regarding the cost of the line - in the case of a private peer such as this - is worked out between the two. Transit is where the ISP pays out the nose for a link to the Network provider's network, allowing the ISP to use the Network provider as an upstream to access most of the world.

    Now, I work for a fairly large ISP, with a nationwide privately-owned fiber backbone. We get 16ms ping times from Maine to the Carolinas, and 70-80ms pingtimes from New York to San Francisco. And we've got TONS of peering arrangements. But there's three networks that we still aren't big enough to get transit with: Level3, UUNet, and Cable & Wireless.

    Big network providers like C&W don't peer with the small fries, and if you have a peering arrangement with one of them, you're right near the top - Tier One or Two Network provider. If C&W is dropping peering for PSINet, that means that, in their opinion, PSINet isn't classed as a Top-Tier network provider anymore. And that is the sound of the bell tolling doom for any network provider out there. That's why this is news.

  • Affective this morning Cable & Wireless started de-peering with PSINET.
    No, they're not REALLY de-peering - it's just an affectation. And yes, I do feel stupid about my mis-estimate of post position above. And now I'm being obnoxious about somebody else's spelling as well. Oh gee.

    (OT note) anybody else find it amusing that /. itself now babbles as aimlessly as a troll about "all your base" above the top of xx% of our pageviews?
  • Will PSInet have to give the name of the stadium where the Ravens play back to the city of Baltimore? Will they sell it to some else? Or will the stadium still be called PSInet even after the company goes under? Anyone know?
  • by shokk ( 187512 ) <> on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @04:30AM (#176420) Homepage Journal
    And PSI and UUNET were the biggies back in 1990, so its like hearing about an old friend suddenly leaving town, for those of us who were online back then.
  • Why did I think I was going to get that "make your time, we own *.*" electronica backbeat video by clicking on *ANY* of those links?

    Don't you editors check the title for an ENGLISH version?

    I had a player in a D&D campaign once who (running a barbarian without *common*) started talking like that.
    I thought they smoked a bowl before they showed to the game.

    krystal_blade, thanking you for the memories.

  • It looks like all traffic to C&W customers reach there now:


    Problem: Peering with Cable & Wireless was disconnected
    Affected: Connectivity to Cable & Wireless was affected
    Resolution: Service has been restored.
    Began: Sat Jun 2 05:00:00 2001 EDT
    Resolved: Tue Jun 5 23:30:00 2001 EDT
  • First they eat Interlog, and now this. I'll miss you little Toronto-ISP.

    - Ando
    You are the weakest link, goodbye.
  • From,4164,2 767702,00.html []
    At the time of the filing, made in a Manhattan bankruptcy court on May 31, the company had $2.1 billion in assets and $4.3 billion in debt. The company's main creditor is Wilmington Trust Company, which holds around $2.8 billion worth of PSINet bonds. The list also includes vendors like Cisco, Lucent, HP and EMC, which are owed for equipment, and carriers like Broadwing,
    Cable & Wireless and Metromedia Fiber Networks, owed for fiber leases and other services.
    As a customer of PSINet, I doubt they're going to make it. They have a team of spin doctors for their customers, but mine has yet to return my phone calls. Now THAT is the kind of customer service I like to get from a company that should be kissing its remaining customers' feet.
  • You got me, I thought it was a perfectly honest question.. too bad my mod points expired yesterday or I'd have modded it back up to interesting.

    Hopefully whoever did it gets meta-modded down.

  • but I would not be surprised that PSI reputation as a spam-friendly ISP is one of the reasons they are having the financial problems they have now.

    Nope, just your basic piss poor business model. Forbes had a fairly long article [] (free registration required) on the company about 2 issues (1 month) ago, they didn't seem to think Psinet would be around for long. They used debt for aquisitions, not stock swaps. When the dotcom bust happened last year the debt equity markets slammed shut on them. When ya gotta borrow money to make your interest payments it's a good bet you're on the downward spiral.

    All your snot are belong to, uhh, nevermind.

  • well, we're talking one of 13 root servers...
    frankly if the others aren't somewhere that one can pick up the slack, then those root servers are in the wrong damn place
  • Personaly I'm completely and fully unaffected by this, I have full, redundant connectivity to both psi and c&w's networks...

    I guess there is an advantage to being on @Home despite what a pain in the ass it can be :)
  • Many peering agreements have clauses for charges based on usage differential, i.e..
    How much of PSInet's bandwidth is used by C&W's traffic VERSUS how much of C&W's bandwidth is used by PSInet's traffic.

    C&W can't expect to be paid for such charges so why continue to do business with PSInet?
  • When Country & Western don't wantcha no more.
  • Gavin, This is due to a de-peering issue. NetRail no longer meets our peering requirements so we no longer peer with them. NetRail needs to become transient with someone for us to start hearing routes originated from them. We have a master ticket opened for this issue CWXXXXXXX-XXXX.
  • ORBS seems to be down & out for the count. Story on the Register, as usual.
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"
  • by imipak ( 254310 ) on Tuesday June 05, 2001 @02:54AM (#176433) Journal
    >How much of PSInet's bandwidth is used by C&W's
    >traffic VERSUS how much of C&W's bandwidth is
    >used by PSInet's traffic.

    This is irrelevant. Even in the extreme case (one party a colo, the other a dialup provider), both provider's bandwidth has already been paid for by their respective customers. Sorry, I can't remember who actually pointed this out on nanog, it was over the w/e IIRC...

    C&W has been dropping a lot of peers recently, there's been a busy discussion of this over the last week (and whether or not it's a short-term beancounter's move, or will actually help C&W in some obscure way.)

    nanog is a fascinating place to lurk, (indeed if you find this topic interesting, read the entire, LONG, thread in the archives.) I've learned an awful lot about how the *real* networks (backbones down to leaf nodes) actually operate in from reading it. It's also fascinating to see extremely intelligent engineers, who between them built many well -known networks, wrote legendary software, and so on, fighting like schoolchildren in religious wars (securing open relays, ORBS vs. MAPS, NSP filtering on the backbone, etc etc).

    The only problem is that every time it's mentioned on Slashdot, the signal::noise ratio seems to take another lurch downwards. If you haven't got a nanog-post account, you almost certainly don't need one.
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"

  • lol, now that's gotta be a hit song for somebody! "ah knew ah was through with yer pals and with you when country/western don't want me no more"
  • [] shows a marked increase in packet loss starting a few days ago. Could it be related to this?

The absent ones are always at fault.