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Re: Vulnerbilities of Interconnection

  • From: Dave Israel
  • Date: Fri Sep 13 10:55:10 2002

On 9/13/2002 at 10:30:47 -0400, alex@yuriev.com said:
> 
> > > 
> > > Yet, it is reasonable that people expect x % of their traffic to
> > > use IX's.  If those IX"s are gone then they will need to find another
> > > path, and may need to upgrade alternate paths.
> > > 
> > > I guess the question is.
> > > 
> > > At what point does one build redundancy into the network. 
> > 
> > No, it doesnt necessarily use IX's, in the event of there being no peered path
> > across an IX traffic will flow from the originator to their upstream
> > "tier1" over a private transit link, then that "tier1" will peer with the
> > destination's upstream "tier1" over a private fat pipe then that will go to the
> > destination via their transit private link.
> > 
> > I'm only aware of a few providers who transit across IX's and I think the
> > consensus is that its a bad thing so it tends to be just small people for whom
> > the cost of the private link is relatively high.
> 
> I think you are missing a one critical point - IX in this case is not an
> exchange. It is a point where lots of providers have lots of gear in a
> highly congested area. However they connect to each other in that area does
> not matter. 
> 
> Now presume those areas are gone (as in compeletely gone). What is the
> possible impact? 

They're all completely gone?  Then we have a bigger issue than the
Internet not working, because lots of us are dead.  A lot of the
exchange areas are city-wide, in a literal sense.  Take DC, for
example.  Lots of folks connect in DC, not just at MAE-East, but also
via direct cross-connects between providers, following a large variety
of fiber paths owned by a variety of carriers.  A single event that
removed all the connectivity from DC would either have to devastate
the city and surrounding suburbs, or at a minimum, distrupt
electronics (EMP airburst) or hit every power plant in the area (and
yeah, that kills folks, too, especially in winter.)

Now, having destroyed civilization in DC (so to speak), we have
removed a major exchange point, but also all traffic generated in DC.
The rest of the Internet is fine.  To break the rest of the exchanges,
we'd have to do the same to New York, Dallas, Boston, Chicago,
Atlanta, San Francisco, San Jose...  And that's just in the States.

If you were to hit a telco hotel (usually a hard target, but we'll
grant you the necessary firepower), you would inconvenience the
Internet in that area until another well-connected site could be
chosen and filled with equipment.  Internet infrastructure is
logically mapped to telco infrastructure, and telco infrastructure is
ubiquitous.  You're looking for a weakness where it isn't.  If you
wanted to hurt the Internet, you wouldn't hit a city.  You'd hit the
cross country fiber paths, out in the middle of nowhere.

-Dave





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