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Re: Public peering points in the Detroit, MI Area

  • From: Steve Gibbard
  • Date: Tue Jul 17 15:51:53 2001

(Replying rather late to this, since I've been on vacation and not
reading mail)

When I was working for an ISP in Michigan (until April of last year), I
was attempting to get peering set up without a great amount of success,
but I don't think the lack of an exchange point was really the problem.
We were in several of the CLEC colocation spaces there (Coast to Coast
Pontiac, Phone Michigan/McLeod Flint, MFS Detroit, MichTel Pontiac, and
Level3 Southfield), so there were few local ISPs who didn't have something
in the same room as us somewhere.  While I'm not aware of any switches set
up at that point for public peering in any of those facilities, all of
them except Level3 made it very easy to get crossconnects done between
customers, or to look the other way while we did them ourselves.  Had
there been sufficient interest, nothing would have stopped us or one of
the other ISPs from sticking a switch in one of our racks and letting
other providers connect to it.

What I mainly encountered, though, was a lack of either interest or
knowledge from other area ISPs.  In a few cases we were able to set up
peering by running a crossover cable between our router and a peer's
router, but never having managed to get more than one peer in a given
facility, running the peering through a switch made very little sense.
For the most part, when contacting other providers about peering I would
find that they either didn't have a BGP speaking router where I wanted to
connect, showed interest in setting up peering at some point but weren't
in any hurry, didn't respond at all, or responded with "what's peering?"
or "why would we want to do that?"

I should note that this wasn't something I ever pushed very hard, and
there were a lot of smaller providers where I didn't attempt to contact
people at all.  There were also a few providers who would have been happy
to peer at a facility where we didn't have sufficient bandwidth to do so.
Somebody more committed to such a cause than I was probably would have
been able to do a bit better.  I didn't go after peering with any
nationwide providers, as my employer was probably too small for them to
notice, so I don't know if there would have been any interest in a Detroit
peering point from larger networks.  I suspect not, though, since for
those who have facilities in Chicago it is probably close enough.  It's
also been more than a year since I was involved with anything in Michigan,
though, so things may have changed some since then.

I would suggest that if somebody wants to make an effort to set up a
Michigan exchange point, Ann Arbor is not the place to do it.  My
impression is that even the few local Ann Arbor ISPs were backhauling much
of their Ann Arbor traffic to POPs in Detroit, and it made very little
sense for the Detroit ISPs to put anything in Ann Arbor.  If the goal is
to make peering easy enough that local ISPs will actually want to do so,
it makes a lot more sense to put the exchange point in a colo facility
where many of the ISPs already are.

As a side note, although I'm not sure what it has to do with setting up a
peering point, I'm not sure a lack of good connectivity very far North of
Metro Detroit and the I-94 corridor is really much of an issue, or that it
has much to do with difficulty getting around the lakes.  Michigan has
very little population very far North or I-94 and I-96, and the Upper
Peninsula (with very little in the way of telecommunications facilities)
is even less densly populated than the Northern Lower Peninsula.  I doubt
the lack of telecommunications facilities in Northern Michigan is much
more severe than in other not very populated areas of the US.


On Wed, 11 Jul 2001, Brian Cashman wrote:

> William Allen Simpson wrote:
> > 
> > Various folk have tried.  The one near the Tank plant (Warren) died for
> > lack of customers.  There was talk of one in Ann Arbor, but AFAIK it
> > never got off the ground.  I have email on it going back 7 years.
> > 
> > Merit should start one out at Arbor Lakes.  Plenty of bandwidth....
> > 
> > "John Palmer (NANOG List)" wrote:
> > >
> > > Are there any public peering points in or around Detroit, MI?
> > 
> > --
> > William Allen Simpson
> >     Key fingerprint =  17 40 5E 67 15 6F 31 26  DD 0D B9 9B 6A 15 2C 32
> I'd be happy to consider such a thing. If you could forward to me what
> you have from 7 years ago I'd be interested in seeing that. The was
> before my time at Merit. Also, John, I'd be happy to discuss a private
> peering arrangement, if you're interested. 
> A problem, I'll have to admit, is that Ann Arbor hasn't had very good
> external connectivity. This is changing and we (Merit) are in the
> process of implementing some high speed links (OC-48) out of town (and
> out of state). 
> In general, I believe that Michigan hasn't had very good connectivity
> due in part (perhaps mostly) to its geography. Most carrier facilities
> enter in the southeast, go north to Detroit, then go west along I-94
> until they leave Michigan into Indiana. It's been pretty rare to find
> fiber north of I-94 which only sits about 50 miles north of Michigan's
> southern border. The lakes on each side preclude a nice neat east to
> west fiber build. And don't ask about Michigan's upper peninsula. A
> different LATA with no available facilities (to my knowledge) across the
> Mackinac bridge. So, everything between the two halves of the state goes
> through other states. Michigan is a tough state to run a statewide
> network. At any rate, things are looking better.
> Anyway, I think that lack of good facilities has hampered the creation
> of a public peering point in Michigan. The facilities situation seems to
> be getting better so perhaps the peering point situation will too.
>      Brian Cashman
>      Merit

Steve Gibbard	

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