[svlug] the frog in the pot (me)

Luke S. Crawford lsc at prgmr.com
Thu Feb 21 00:27:46 PST 2013

> I'd say, yes, you're asking too much. If you want ultra-reliablity, it's
> not consistent with your budget.

with current services, I agree.  I think this mostly has to do with the 
competitive landscape causing all of us to use last-mile transport that 
was obsolete decades ago.

> You'd want two services, with separate
> physical transport paths. Backhoes are always digging in the wrong
> place. This would cost more than you're paying now. If you're only
> feeling warm, I'd put up with it. (I'm not a Comcast fan and don't even
> have cable.) You can save some money with DSL, but if you are happy with
> the reliablility of Comcast, I'd stick with it and be happy. If you
> switch to DSL, you'll kick yourself the first time it goes out.

Eh, reliability is more than 'on' or 'off'  -  I'm on DSL right now, 
(sonic, who I think is pretty good, but the dsl transport layer is like 
trying to run 10Gbe over a rusty coat hangar)  -  you get daily periods 
of elevated packet loss.   Actual hard outages?  pretty rare.

I mean, the state of the current last mile means that yeah, reliable 
last mile is hugely expensive, but with today's technology?  two 
providers won't help all that much with the low-level packet loss I 
see... at least until something like mtcp is widely deployed.   Most 
routing protocols are great if the line is up and good, or if it's down 
hard... but they deal poorly with lossy connections, which is the 
problem I see with consumer-grade last mile.

Personally?  the one day every quarter that dsl is down hard is 
acceptable.  I can run down to the hacker dojo, or a data center or 
something like that for that one day.   It's the daily loss, my dead ssh 
sessions, that I find maddening.

> I'm using DSL Extreme for under $25, and before that Sonic. Both use
> AT&T lines. In Cupertino. Others recommended Raw Bandwidth. Their web
> site says they also use AT&T lines in Sunnyvale. Fusion sounds nice, but
> if you don't need the phone, other options are cheaper, and there's
> always that rogue backhoe.

I've got fusion. Meh.  I'm not happy, but the price is pretty reasonable 
for what it is.  Note, the two line fusion does not mirror the data 
across the two lines;  it stripes the data across two lines.   I had to 
get rid of my second line because it actually made the packet loss 
worse.  Very disappointing.  Sonic was very cool about it and gave me 
back the extra money I spent on the second line as a credit.

  Backhoes usually aren't the problem (and backhoe accidents are 
incredibly rare compared to "the rusty coathanger is out of alignment 
today" (I mean, sometimes problems correlate with the weather.  Running 
20Mbps over cat3 (or worse)  over that distance is just pushing things; 
  if it's not just right, you see loss)   or even "the new kid touched 
the router"  (this is the problem with multiple providers.   I found 
that when I went from one provider to two (and doing my own bgp) at my 
datacenter, I became considerably less reliable, because I was then 
handling all my own routing.    I'm learning, and making fewer mistakes 
now... but  yeah, admin mistakes?  more common than backhoe accidents.)

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