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North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Vulnerbilities of Interconnection

  • From: Iljitsch van Beijnum
  • Date: Thu Sep 05 17:50:11 2002

On Thu, 5 Sep 2002 sgorman1@gmu.edu wrote:

> The question is what if someone was gunning for your fiber.  To date
> cuts have been unintentional.

Think about it:

- how many fiber paths are there that cross the deserts or mountains
  between the densely populated areas in the US?
- how hard would it be to take out enough so the remaining phone and IP
  capacity gets massively congested?
- how hard would it be to slow down repair efforts?

Safeguarding an interconnect location is a lot easier than safeguarding a
cross-continental fiber.

And generally, when a pure interconnect location goes down, the impact is
farly minimal: usually only mild congestion for some destinations. Just
the networks that were stupid enough to have their transit run through the
exchange location have a real problem. (And some people are cheap enough
to do this.) The real problems start when the problem is bigger and
colocation facilities go down. Then authentication services can get wiped
out which hurts entire classes of users.

Engineering an IP network that can survive partial outages isn't all that
hard. Finding someone to pay for it all is harder. But engineering
services that store large amounts of data that can survive partial outages
isn't an easy thing to do.





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