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Re: East Coast outage?

  • From: Iljitsch van Beijnum
  • Date: Fri Aug 15 14:03:20 2003

On vrijdag, aug 15, 2003, at 17:55 Europe/Amsterdam, 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.
While this certainly has its advantages, I don't think it follows from Joe's remarks. What would follow is having many smaller transit networks rather than a few big ones. But I think in this regard IP is well ahead of the electricity people.

Still, I don't think it's this simple, as the problem with power is that supply and demand must be the same at all times. So if a decent chunk of the network that connects the two goes down, the supply side gets into trouble because they're suddenly generating too much. If the difference is big enough it's probably impossible to arrive at a new equilibrium above 0 fast enough. If you connect everything together you can absorb bigger imbalances but then when you get one you can't absorb, the impact is larger of course.

Fortunately in our business we have queues to smooth the spikes in network use and when we drop packets there are no sparks.

Perhaps we should start working on a hierarchical routing system in
which the concept of a "global routing table" cannot develop. Perhaps
announcements and withdraws should have a TTL so that they never
propogate very far from their source AS?
Have a look at the work going on in the IETF multihoming in IPv6 (multi6) working group and the IRTF routing working group.

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