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Re: East Coast outage?

  • From: Joe Abley
  • Date: Fri Aug 15 13:48:52 2003


On Friday, 15 August 2003, at 11:55AM, Michael.Dillon@radianz.com wrote:


Perhaps the lesson to learn is that very large networks don't always
lead to very high stability. A much larger number of smaller, more
autonomous generation and transmission facilities might have much more
reasonable interconnection requirements, and hence less wide-ranging
failure modes.
And if we extrapolate that lesson to IP networks it implies that any
medium to large sized organization should do their own BGP peering
and multihome to 3 or more upstream network providers.
I don't think that extrapolation is entirely reasonable. The purpose of the Internet is to provide global connectivity; the purpose of a power generation and distribution network is to provide access to power, regardless of where it was generated.

 On the other
hand, if you understand why electrical networks shed load and develop
their cascading failures, you might see some parallels between "load"
and the propagation of BGP announcements which are worrying.
A mismatch between content providers and consumers seems like a natural challenge for an Internet of distributed content. It's not obvious to me that you need to engineer around that problem in the power network to the same extent.

I wonder how much of the understanding and "100 years experience" of building power distribution networks is based on the fact that affordable, distributed, small-scale power generation is not possible, mandating large-scale, centralised generation and correspondingly complicated transmission. Perhaps the power generation problem needs the attention of a fresh set of eyes.


Joe





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