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North American Network Operators Group

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False-alarm generator

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Thu Sep 26 11:30:30 2002

How does the government know when the public telephone network is down?
They call AT&T.

How does the government know when the Internet is down? They pay
contractors lots of money to put colored maps on the wall.

In other words, much the same thing several thousand ISP NOCs do all the
time with their own systems.  Some ISPs also provider their customers with
outage notification through e-mail, web sites and fax.  The big difference
is having someone with the expertise and background to analyze the data,
to tell the difference between "normal" Internet problems and "real"
Internet problems.

Things turn "red" on the Internet all the time, it was designed that way.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the government version of Netmedic or
Zonealarm.  Too many false-alarms and lack of useful information for
network operators.  Why do ISPs want to provide free consulting advice
to debug why a government map turned red today?  If it is like Zonealarm
or Netmedic, most of the "alarms" are due to problems with the customer's

If the government is interested in Internet outages, why not just
subscribe to ISP outage lists and hear the story direct from the source.
Or buy a 56K to T1 connection to many different ISPs in various parts
of the country.  ISPs don't like debugging non-customer problems, but
they will at least glance at customer reported problems.

Personal opinion only.

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