View Poll Results: Who's your favorite IP Transit Provider?

Voters
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  • Global Crossing [AS3549]

    11 13.92%
  • Level 3 Communications [AS3356]

    44 55.70%
  • Deutsche Telekom AG [3320]

    3 3.80%
  • Inteliquent (fka Tinet/Tiscali International Network) [AS3257]

    13 16.46%
  • Verizon Business (fka UUNET) [AS701]

    4 5.06%
  • Sprint [AS1239]

    3 3.80%
  • TeliaSonera International Carrier [AS1299]

    12 15.19%
  • NTT Communications [AS2914]

    7 8.86%
  • Tata Communications [AS6453]

    4 5.06%
  • Cogent Communications [AS174]

    16 20.25%
  • AboveNet [AS6461]

    12 15.19%
  • Hurricane Electric [AS6939]

    18 22.78%
  • Cable and Wireless [AS1273]

    1 1.27%
  • nLayer [AS4436]

    25 31.65%
  • Interoute [AS8928]

    2 2.53%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 26 of 26
  1. #1
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    IP Transit Carrier Rating

    I am looking for information about how people prefer one or another IP Transit provider. This poll is anonymous and includes only players with a serious Global footprint in North America and EMEA region. Please select the IP Transit providers you would include, I suggest to pick between 2 and 6 providers to reflect real-world configurations.

    Please rate the following list based solely on the quality of their services, as if you had unlimited budget to populate your BGP mesh (delivery, stability, transfer rates, latency, jitters, customer care and billing prices). Do not consider anything else beyond facts (un-peer, mergers, over-priced, sub-priced) when voting but solely technical and quality aspects.
    Last edited by Dualism; 04-15-2012 at 09:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    Wouldn't you need experience with all of these providers in order to keep it accurate?

  3. #3
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    Are you looking for IPv4 or IPv6 connectivity as lists will most likely be different in that case

  4. #4
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    The poll is interesting, although I doubt it's actually going to be accurate, I think Cogent's votes in comparison to others shows that...

    More common providers by nature are probably going to get more votes.

    Also, AT&T should have probably made it on the list considering their size.
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  5. #5
    "your favorite carriers ignoring price and other factors" is completely irrelevant. I could have one carrier performs the same as another but you're lucky to get them to install a circuit on time and their billing is always wrong, and guess which one is going to be my favorite? All of these other factors, especially price, is not irrelevant, in many cases, it's more relevant than strictly the network performance itself. If you *only* cared about performance and not price, you'd get some dark fiber to every major city in the world and buy transit from every carrier in every location and then set things up however you think would give you the best performance. Ignoring price is ignoring a really huge and important factor. Ignoring price, what car is best? Ignoring price, would you rather live in a mansion or an apartment?
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  6. #6
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    nLayer, easily. They have a great network AND are great to deal with, both on the sales and support fronts. They are one of the few companies with the scale and the support to turn up multiple 10 GigEs within a day ort wo. Have really not run into a better carrier to deal with.

    Level3 would be 2nd for me, they have by far (with the acquisition of Global Crossing) the largest network and largest overall reach, overall they run a superb network. The issue is dealing with them, that a reseller is basically required to navigate dealing with that company.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitcable View Post
    Wouldn't you need experience with all of these providers in order to keep it accurate?
    You are probably right, however given the multitude of available path with each network it would be near impossible to take a vote without having a fully biased result. On the other hand, when one download over a mirror a see a constant very high speed, or use VoIP with no quality issues, and knows who’s the carrier it also help evaluate. Now even company that spends their time looking after IP Carrier such as Renesys or Gomez as core business wouldn’t be able to provide a rule of thumb for a good BGP mesh without considering a lot of parameters.

    Quote Originally Posted by DedicatedXL View Post
    Are you looking for IPv4 or IPv6 connectivity as lists will most likely be different in that case
    Both, but considering how much traffic is carried over IPv6 – it seems clear that we speak about IPv4 at the moment. Not sure all of the list can already provide IPv6 Transit as of now.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    "your favorite carriers ignoring price and other factors" is completely irrelevant. I could have one carrier performs the same as another but you're lucky to get them to install a circuit on time and their billing is always wrong, and guess which one is going to be my favorite? All of these other factors, especially price, is not irrelevant, in many cases, it's more relevant than strictly the network performance itself. If you *only* cared about performance and not price, you'd get some dark fiber to every major city in the world and buy transit from every carrier in every location and then set things up however you think would give you the best performance. Ignoring price is ignoring a really huge and important factor. Ignoring price, what car is best? Ignoring price, would you rather live in a mansion or an apartment?
    This is an interesting comment and in essence you are right. My comment was more, don’t give price more weight than its worth. As for building your own IP network, I would tend to disagree with you as this will not necessarily get you a connectivity which is as good as some carriers can provide, unless you are also a Tier-1, carry a lot of traffic and don’t dump market prices, which is unlikely the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by iTom View Post
    Also, AT&T should have probably made it on the list considering their size.
    I appreciate the fact that AT&T is a very large network traffic carrier, however to me, located in Western Europe, I rarely see any AT&T routes. From my viewpoint, AT&T is a very large eyeball network and not an IP Transit provider, although they advertise a lot of prefixes and push a lot of traffic. This is probably much different to people based in North America.

  8. #8
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    The people that are voting for Cogent are the sames ones that vote for In and Out, because they are better then McDonalds. They simply dont know what cuisine is, nor do they know what a quality network is.

    Cogent 'reliability' is measured in months between their router reboots / dropped circuits / packet loss problems, quality carriers are measured in years. We lost connectivity to the Cogent router in Equinix Ashburn twice this week so far!

    Not on the list: PCCW Global, especially handy if your users are in Asia

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Techee View Post
    The people that are voting for Cogent are the sames ones that vote for In and Out, because they are better then McDonalds. They simply dont know what cuisine is, nor do they know what a quality network is.

    Cogent 'reliability' is measured in months between their router reboots / dropped circuits / packet loss problems, quality carriers are measured in years. We lost connectivity to the Cogent router in Equinix Ashburn twice this week so far!
    Sometimes I ironically feel that people speak about Cogent has the devil. I would compare Cogent as the average Steakhouse I'd stop to fill my belly. On the other hand they have maintained pressure on the competition and their network and foot-print is not bad. I wouldn't rely on Cogent solely for my IP Transit because they are quite famous for deepering. If I was running a network-centric content/application system such as streaming or pure web-content, I would heavily push traffic on Cogent.

    Overall, my experience with Cogent was not worse than other main players. Their NOC pick up calls after 2 rings and they come up with email reply quickly. Though, I have seen some hair-pinning routes between EU and US, especially toward UPC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Techee View Post
    Not on the list: PCCW Global, especially handy if your users are in Asia
    Yes indeed. I have decided to dismiss some major plays including PCCW, FT OpenTransit/Orange, TI Sparke/Seabone, BT, Colt, TW, Tele2, ReTN, XO, Telefonica, China Telecom, mainly because in my opinion they are niche or special purpose players.

    DISCLAIMER: As of today, I am not an employee of any of the above.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    Level3 would be 2nd for me, they have by far (with the acquisition of Global Crossing) the largest network and largest overall reach, overall they run a superb network. The issue is dealing with them, that a reseller is basically required to navigate dealing with that company.
    Treating L3 and GBLX as separate entities, I really don't think L3 transit ranks too high these days anymore. L3 has always had the right fiber in the right places, good routers, big pipes, and good automation, but in the midst of MPLS fast reroute, that sort of stuff can only get you so far. For this reason, I'd probably rank networks, US-wise, from a purely technical angle, like this: nLayer, GBLX, L3.

    It'll be interesting to see what technology changes will happen with the merger, but nothing has happened yet, and there is definitely a lot of room for mistakes there. If they merge the backbones and make it MPLS-enabled, that'll be a scary beast . (But this will likely not be easy due to hardware/software incompatibility and bugs.)
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by djahandarie View Post
    Treating L3 and GBLX as separate entities, I really don't think L3 transit ranks too high these days anymore. L3 has always had the right fiber in the right places, good routers, big pipes, and good automation, but in the midst of MPLS fast reroute, that sort of stuff can only get you so far. For this reason, I'd probably rank networks, US-wise, from a purely technical angle, like this: nLayer, GBLX, L3.

    It'll be interesting to see what technology changes will happen with the merger, but nothing has happened yet, and there is definitely a lot of room for mistakes there. If they merge the backbones and make it MPLS-enabled, that'll be a scary beast . (But this will likely not be easy due to hardware/software incompatibility and bugs.)
    From a purely technical angle, Level3 has unsurpassed route miles, an unsurpassed number of POPs, an unsurpassed number of customer/direct routes (originating over 40% of routes, the only one even close is Global Crossing). Simply no one can compare to the amount of data L3 is handling, pure and simple. I really don't even see how you can say on a strictly technical level someone like nLayer can even compare. nLayer leases individual pairs of fiber from other parties, Level3 constructs brand new low latency routes, globally. If you're looking for the absolute lowest latency between all global financial markets, you'd be hard pressed to find a single network better than Level3. If you're looking at a widely distributed network of facilities/offices, you'd be hard pressed to find a better network than Level3.

    I guess if you're debating simply on the physical routers/devices in place, sure, nLayer, but it is a hell of a lot easier when you're dealing with significantly less traffic across only 42 POPs, vs. Level3's hundreds, if not thousands. nLayer is great, but the scale isn't even close. Now, if you happen to be in an nLayer POP and you're not getting service from them, you're in idiot, you shouldn't, they're amazing and I love their service. You can't fool yourself into thinking their network is anything close to comparable with what Level3 has built. between the two, I would pick nLayer, that is who I voted for, but that is based on their significant advantage on the support/customer service side and the fact they do run a superb network.
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  12. #12
    Cogent is not really recommended for european users

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by djahandarie View Post
    It'll be interesting to see what technology changes will happen with the merger, but nothing has happened yet, and there is definitely a lot of room for mistakes there. If they merge the backbones and make it MPLS-enabled, that'll be a scary beast . (But this will likely not be easy due to hardware/software incompatibility and bugs.)
    We have heard from L3 that they wont be attempting to integrate the two networks because they see it as an advantage from a resiliency point of view to keep them as two independent tier 1's. Whether or not this will actually be the case remains to be seen

    I'm surprised to see AboveNet is not more popular, I rate them pretty highly. Their tech support & account management has been great over past few years.

    I find it interesting that AboveNet actually has no debt (OK, they did go Chapter 11 during the dotbomb but still!)

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  14. #14
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    I voted for Level3, AboveNet and HE.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by qube_ms View Post
    I'm surprised to see AboveNet is not more popular, I rate them pretty highly. Their tech support & account management has been great over past few years.

    I find it interesting that AboveNet actually has no debt (OK, they did go Chapter 11 during the dotbomb but still!)
    AboveNet is being acquired by Zayo.
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  16. #16
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    Where is PCCW on the list?...they rock.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    From a purely technical angle, Level3 has unsurpassed route miles, an unsurpassed number of POPs, an unsurpassed number of customer/direct routes (originating over 40% of routes, the only one even close is Global Crossing). Simply no one can compare to the amount of data L3 is handling, pure and simple.
    No disagreement here.

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    I really don't even see how you can say on a strictly technical level someone like nLayer can even compare. nLayer leases individual pairs of fiber from other parties, Level3 constructs brand new low latency routes, globally. If you're looking for the absolute lowest latency between all global financial markets, you'd be hard pressed to find a single network better than Level3. If you're looking at a widely distributed network of facilities/offices, you'd be hard pressed to find a better network than Level3.
    I'm talking about Level(3)'s transit here, not their fiber network. Their transit is not MPLS-enabled, meaning if there is a failure which causes packet loss or very high latency, it will be there quite awhile before one of the slower protocols can get it out of the way. No matter how much presence you have, this is a problem. If a financial network decided to use Level(3), they'd no doubt get their VPN or virtual private line services which leverage MPLS fast reroute capabilities to change what would be 50% packet-loss into 2ms of extra latency to route around a dead/overloaded router.

    MPLS is no silver bullet, but I consider it a foundational principle of modern IP transit networks, and Level(3)'s transit is lacking it.
    Darius Jahandarie

  18. #18
    I honestly don't get why people recommend AboveNet... their routing isn't so good. I've been routed through London to reach Ashburn... I live 30 miles from NYC. That's just an example. I'm hesistant to buy from providers who use AboveNet because their network is really that horrible. I'd much rather have HE or Cogent or even Bandcon than AboveNet.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by djahandarie View Post
    No disagreement here.



    I'm talking about Level(3)'s transit here, not their fiber network. Their transit is not MPLS-enabled, meaning if there is a failure which causes packet loss or very high latency, it will be there quite awhile before one of the slower protocols can get it out of the way. No matter how much presence you have, this is a problem. If a financial network decided to use Level(3), they'd no doubt get their VPN or virtual private line services which leverage MPLS fast reroute capabilities to change what would be 50% packet-loss into 2ms of extra latency to route around a dead/overloaded router.

    MPLS is no silver bullet, but I consider it a foundational principle of modern IP transit networks, and Level(3)'s transit is lacking it.
    Interesting input regarding the L3 transit network, is that setup consistent throughout their network?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by flam316 View Post
    I honestly don't get why people recommend AboveNet... their routing isn't so good. I've been routed through London to reach Ashburn... I live 30 miles from NYC. That's just an example. I'm hesistant to buy from providers who use AboveNet because their network is really that horrible. I'd much rather have HE or Cogent or even Bandcon than AboveNet.
    Abovenet has its uses, just like HE and Cogent have their uses. There is no silver bullet.

    We have Abovenet part of our mix and we have a fantastic network according to our customers.
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  21. #21
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    Something that GlobalCrossing and Inteliquent (Tinet) have in common is the very few hops it takes to reach two very far locations when looking at traceroute results. Rarely will it take more than two hops to travel between two edges.

    Looking at the market offering, there are a very few provider out there who are 100% Ethernet and truly “next-generation”. Many of the big players mix old and new technologies together, though they have a real depth of geographical reach.

    I think that the relevant aspects of a Tier 1 are:

    1) The footprint and global reach
    2) The traffic engineering (link oversubscription, capacity, best paths, performance, packet loss, stability, number of planned/unplanned outages)
    3) The amount of prefixes “on-net” they announce, the more the better

    Finally, considering the success of Level(3) in this poll, there are some facts I’d like to share with you. I’ve continuously heard ramblings about Level(3) being partially owned by the US Govt. / Army.

    Do we know who are the major investors of Level(3)? Does the US gov. have any stake in the company?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualism View Post
    Do we know who are the major investors of Level(3)? Does the US gov. have any stake in the company?
    They do alot of mil contracts for hardware mostly defense stuff. Totally separate part of the company not related to the IP services.
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  23. #23
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    Can anybody share their experiences with Peer1? I know they're not Tier-1, but I'm curious to see what people have to say about them.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by iTom View Post
    Interesting input regarding the L3 transit network, is that setup consistent throughout their network?
    Yes, they do not run MPLS for any of their transit. (It's technically possible they could run some without anyone noticing, but at the very least they aren't using it in any way that benefits users.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualism View Post
    Something that GlobalCrossing and Inteliquent (Tinet) have in common is the very few hops it takes to reach two very far locations when looking at traceroute results. Rarely will it take more than two hops to travel between two edges.
    That's MPLS. There are a number of hops there which you are simply not seeing (and I'd certainly hope they're not running a full mesh).

    When you have a label-switched path in MPLS, none of the intermediate routers need to worry about, well, routing. All they do is some manipulation on the MPLS data and forward it to the predetermined next-hop.

    This allows network providers to entirely disable TTL decrementing and remove the routing tables from their core routers, creating an MPLS-only core.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dedicatedone View Post
    Can anybody share their experiences with Peer1? I know they're not Tier-1, but I'm curious to see what people have to say about them.
    My experience with them is limited, but so far it's been good, haven't noticed any serious issues.
    Last edited by djahandarie; 04-16-2012 at 07:24 PM.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualism View Post
    Finally, considering the success of Level(3) in this poll, there are some facts I’d like to share with you. I’ve continuously heard ramblings about Level(3) being partially owned by the US Govt. / Army.

    Do we know who are the major investors of Level(3)? Does the US gov. have any stake in the company?
    They're a publicly traded company, their largest shareholders and ownership structure is publicly available. Here is a rundown of some of the biggest shareholders: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=LVLT+Major+Holders
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  26. #26
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    Peer1 is my choice #1, except for the price

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