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  1. #1
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    What's wrong with Cogent bandwidth?

    I notice a lot of advertisers both on the dedicated servers advertising forums here and on their web sites make a point of mentioning that their bandwidth is not provided by Cogent. I was just wondering why Cogent has such a bad reputation that advertisers feel the need to mention their bandwidth isn't cogent rather than focusing on who does provide it as if to say "anything else is ok". Their stats on http://www.internetpulse.net look pretty average and their AS number is 5th in terms of number of peers.

  2. #2
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    Cogent rocks. People who say they suck probably haven't even used them recently. I will say, however, and the same goes for any other ISP, I would not want to be single homed to them.

  3. #3
    Cogent when they first got started had alot of issues but have for a while have improved their network alot by acquisition and $$ from cisco.
    Jay

  4. #4
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    Cogentco runs a very solid network.

    Although they still don't have the best routes available it's a rock solid network and atleast in the Atlanta market has shown to be significantly more reliable than Level(3) which some consider to be one of the strongest networks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by layer0
    Cogent rocks. People who say they suck probably haven't even used them recently. I will say, however, and the same goes for any other ISP, I would not want to be single homed to them.
    I don't know if they "rock", but I will say that most of their bad name (and associated stigma) is due to the prevalence of the oversellers who try and push/pull every last megabit that they can out of their pipe (MaxThePort.com anyone?).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mripguru
    I don't know if they "rock", but I will say that most of their bad name (and associated stigma) is due to the prevalence of the oversellers who try and push/pull every last megabit that they can out of their pipe (MaxThePort.com anyone?).
    I think alot of that has to do with customers knowing that cogent is inexpensive and wont pay much for it, they dont take into account the cost for routers/switches/network admins etc etc.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilhole
    I think alot of that has to do with customers knowing that cogent is inexpensive and wont pay much for it, they dont take into account the cost for routers/switches/network admins etc etc.
    This is probbably part of the equation too.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mripguru
    I don't know if they "rock", but I will say that most of their bad name (and associated stigma) is due to the prevalence of the oversellers who try and push/pull every last megabit that they can out of their pipe (MaxThePort.com anyone?).
    When looking at their performance to cost ratio, there aren't many who compare. Especially if you connect to them from a major area, e.g. IAD, ORD, DFW, SJC where they have at least decent routes and good peering.

  9. #9
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    Cogent is decent bandwidth at a low price. It has a bad rep from oversellers, but as a part of a mix, Cogent's perfectly acceptable. I've been pretty pleased with them and their service.

    - Jason

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mripguru
    I don't know if they "rock", but I will say that most of their bad name (and associated stigma) is due to the prevalence of the oversellers who try and push/pull every last megabit that they can out of their pipe (MaxThePort.com anyone?).
    What's wrong with trying to push/pull every mbit out of a pipe?

    If someone purchases 100mbps, they'd prolly want to be able to use 100mbps.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewhost
    What's wrong with trying to push/pull every mbit out of a pipe?
    Absolutely nothing, as long as the effort is well managed and your expectations are realistic. There's no way you're going to get a full 100mbit out of a 100mbit uplink; the queuing delay for the last few percent of that capacity is going to cause brutally painful latency.

    I think the point that's being made is there's a difference between traffic engineering and loading up a circuit and hoping nobody notices.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewhost
    What's wrong with trying to push/pull every mbit out of a pipe?

    If someone purchases 100mbps, they'd prolly want to be able to use 100mbps.
    I don't disagree with you - but, if you purchase that 100Mb/sec. for resale to end-user customers - that's a whole seperate story.
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  13. #13
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    Cogent had some issues with poor routing and stability a few years ago, mostly from them buying up and assimilating multiple networks into one in a shabby manner. But they have improved alot since then and these days the whole idea of the 'no cogent' in the network is a marketing ploy.

    As long as you are not single homed to cogent and your not doing the old bait and switch by advertising routes to other peers for ingress and then dumping all your outbound through cogent , all should be good. And it goes back to the intention and design of the provider using cogent...


    We only recieve cogent customer routes on outbound on our main network and have not had any major issues in 3 years other then the Level3 depeering but that was not an issue for us as we have L3 in our mix too.
    Last edited by ameen; 01-14-2007 at 10:28 PM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBBOT
    I notice a lot of advertisers both on the dedicated servers advertising forums here and on their web sites make a point of mentioning that their bandwidth is not provided by Cogent. I was just wondering why Cogent has such a bad reputation that advertisers feel the need to mention their bandwidth isn't cogent rather than focusing on who does provide it as if to say "anything else is ok". Their stats on http://www.internetpulse.net look pretty average and their AS number is 5th in terms of number of peers.
    In addition to the above opinions, there is nothing wrong with Cogent. After using them for several years, many of our customers love the bandwidth; it is very economical and yet perform quite well for many applications, even for local gaming. They stay within their SLA and their support team is great. I don't think they deserve the bad reputation. If there was a problem in the past, I am sure that they already put an effort to fix it. In my opinion, they do not deserve that type of treatment; at least not from our end.

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  15. #15
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    Cogent is a great network with great support. We are just about to get space on the other side of Portland with Cogent as our backup provider. Their prices are extremely reasonable and their network is rock solid (when I used them a few years ago).
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBBOT
    I notice a lot of advertisers both on the dedicated servers advertising forums here and on their web sites make a point of mentioning that their bandwidth is not provided by Cogent. I was just wondering why Cogent has such a bad reputation that advertisers feel the need to mention their bandwidth isn't cogent rather than focusing on who does provide it as if to say "anything else is ok". Their stats on http://www.internetpulse.net look pretty average and their AS number is 5th in terms of number of peers.
    Cogent is pretty bottom of the barrel as far as major transit providers go. They're the cheapest in almost every market, but performance, and reliability suffers as a result, its a niche that needs to be filled (low quality, but cheap), hence they exist. Some people say thats just the "old cogent", but I beg to differ (most people defending Cogent are also its customers, who are biased, as they're not going to belittle their transit provider, its against their best interests).

    Things like Cogent's well documented "battery maintenance" last month in Toronto that led to a complete systems failure for several hours; Or the 2+ incidents earlier last year that affected all Cogent BGP customers (Cogent continuing to announce customer routes to the 'net that it could not pass locally). Stuff like this just doesn't sell me (or many others) on the value of Cogent. This is probably why there are a lot of local ISP's and ASP's that are phasing Cogent out of their blends at contract end (according to various posts on the TorIX-members mailing list), because they're realizing a cheap provider is only effective if it doesn't severely cheapen your service.

    Also, last, but CERTAINLY not least, lets not forget Cogent's action against wikipedia's provider in August 2006, where they re-announced more specific routes to wikipedia's netblock, taking down the entire site for ~2.5 - 3 hours. This isn't the result of an "accident" (you don't accidentally re-announce more specific routes to a block that you don't directly host), thats a blatant mis-use of BGP to perform a denial of service attack, which is unbelievably shameful in my books.

    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Wikimedi...network_outage

  17. #17
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    I'm not sure from a network operator's point, but from an end-user point cogent was excellent for me. i had a server with cogent only bandwidth, and i had one outage in 5 months, which was a ~1 hr problem.

  18. #18
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    Nothing is really wrong with a pair of "Rough Riders" off the jeans rack at Sears. Some people wear designer slacks.

    Anybody smart enough to get the "Rough Riders" metaphor . Cogent is really a great product. I know many shops use them, but do not give them credit for the designer label.
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  19. #19
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    I believe Cogent has gotten a bad reputation because of when they first started offering bandwidth. Besides they usually allow IRC from their providers, which attracts a lot of ddos and their connectivity got hit a lot a long time ago. Now they're really good actually. I have servers connected through it and I have never had problems with them.

    Regards,

  20. #20
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    I am not a Cogent customer but I will still defend it. I've used them for both transit and MPLS and would not hesistate to do so again next time I have a need for their services.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by porcupine
    Things like Cogent's well documented "battery maintenance" last month in Toronto that led to a complete systems failure for several hours; Or the 2+ incidents earlier last year that affected all Cogent BGP customers (Cogent continuing to announce customer routes to the 'net that it could not pass locally). Stuff like this just doesn't sell me (or many others) on the value of Cogent.
    I've seen similar issues with both Level3 and Global Crossing. Nobody is perfect and if you have multiple carriers like any well designed network _should_ you need to expect these kind of issues from every provider you have. The gamble is them not having problems at the same time. Over the years every carrier thats been in a datacenter I've worked at has experienced downtime or minor interruptions in service.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewhost
    What's wrong with trying to push/pull every mbit out of a pipe?

    If someone purchases 100mbps, they'd prolly want to be able to use 100mbps.
    Typically it's much smarter to overbuy. i.e. if you need 100Mbps and you can only buy in 100Mbps increments then you need to buy 200Mbps to sustain any outages and bursting. Now,.. with the more you use the easier this gets, if you need 200Mbps, buy 300Mbps, etc. However at some point in time the N+1 isn't really sufficient and it needs to turn into a percentage of your average/peak usage. Anyone that truly pushes 100% of their capacity is overselling their service beyond a reasonable limit.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewhost
    What's wrong with trying to push/pull every mbit out of a pipe?

    If someone purchases 100mbps, they'd prolly want to be able to use 100mbps.
    Well in there lies the reason why cogent gains at least 50% of its bad reputation - its purchased with that exactly in mind and then sold as-is under 'un-metered' or over-sold hosting plans. People who are attracted to only 'lowest price' often are cutting other corners too - which effect quality to the end user, and why so many have been burned by cogent bandwidth from providers.

    To answer your specific question - the reason is if you are pushing near capacity latency/delay/packet-loss will be noticable to services such as VOIP or video broadcasting. Services like web hosting, email, ftp, etc shouldn't be overly hurt when you saturate a line like that (maxing it out) - but heaven help you if you are doing anything like VOIP over that line!.
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by porcupine
    Cogent is pretty bottom of the barrel as far as major transit providers go. They're the cheapest in almost every market, but performance, and reliability suffers as a result, its a niche that needs to be filled (low quality, but cheap), hence they exist. Some people say thats just the "old cogent", but I beg to differ (most people defending Cogent are also its customers, who are biased, as they're not going to belittle their transit provider, its against their best interests).

    Things like Cogent's well documented "battery maintenance" last month in Toronto that led to a complete systems failure for several hours; Or the 2+ incidents earlier last year that affected all Cogent BGP customers (Cogent continuing to announce customer routes to the 'net that it could not pass locally). Stuff like this just doesn't sell me (or many others) on the value of Cogent.
    I couldn't agree more. Seems to me that once some ISP adds Cogent they start calling it the "new" Cogent to avoid being tarred with their bad reputation. To my knowledge there is no defined point of time or any other criteria which separate this supposed "new" Cogent from the "old" one. Personally I haven't experienced any major changes that would justify this distinction.
    One of the main problems in my opinion is that when Cogent fails it often causes a major cluster**** affecting a large number of connections/links whereas failures with other carriers are usually more localised.
    Cogent will make your life pretty miserable especially if your services rely on continuous connections, e.g. IRC, and I reckon the same applies to VoIP or streaming.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by case22
    Cogent will make your life pretty miserable especially if your services rely on continuous connections, e.g. IRC, and I reckon the same applies to VoIP or streaming.
    There are many, many factors that play into sustaining connections beyond backbone transport selection; I'd love to see the scientific approach and controls you used to come up with that nugget of truth.

    Sure, Cogent's taken their hits of down time, but so has nearly every other carrier -- just look at Level(3)'s integration of Williams, or the recent mess on Savvis' backbone. Show me a carrier that claims no downtime and doesn't have a list of SLA exclusions a mile long.

    I don't think anyone is asserting Cogent is the best carrier out there, but they are certainly not as bad as some people want to make them seem. Just take a look at Cogent by the numbers:

    5th largest in terms of peering density, and 7th largest in terms of address space control. References:
    http://www.fixedorbit.com/stats.htm
    http://as-rank.caida.org/ (alternate source for address space validation)

    11th largest carrier in the world in terms of customer base. Reference:
    http://www.renesys.com/products_serv...ntel/rankings/

    For the money, I think Cogent provides a heck of a lot of value. They wouldn't be as big as they are today if other people didn't agree.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaroNet-Chris
    I've seen similar issues with both Level3 and Global Crossing. Nobody is perfect and if you have multiple carriers like any well designed network _should_ you need to expect these kind of issues from every provider you have. The gamble is them not having problems at the same time. Over the years every carrier thats been in a datacenter I've worked at has experienced downtime or minor interruptions in service.
    Ok, fair enough, everyone has their issues, thats why we have BGP right? But given this, how do you justify the outages Cogent (in TO) has caused their BGP customers, by continuing to announce BGP routes they could not pass locally? When a single transit undermines your entire network, no amount of value can excuse that.

    Also, how could you justify them re-announcing the IP blocks wiki was on as more specific routes [to nowhere], causing a deliberate Denial Of Service attack to their own customer (or rather, from my understanding, a customer who was leaving)?

    Here, I've got another good one for you from just last week, for Cogent Toronto again no less (granted the only POP I really follow):

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogent
    As a valued customer, Cogent is committed to keeping you informed about any
    changes in the status of your service with us. This email is to alert you
    regarding maintenance we will be performing on our network:
    Start time (local): 3:00 am 01/12/07
    End time (local): 7:00 am 01/12/07
    Work order number: XXXX
    Order ID(s) impacted: XXXX
    Expected Outage/Downtime: 4 hours

    Cogent customers receiving service at 180 Dundas, Toronto will be affected
    by this maintenance. Only the Cogent Order ID(s) listed above will be
    impacted.

    During this maintenance window, you will experience one or more brief
    interruptions in service while we complete the maintenance activities; the
    interruptions are expected to last less than 4 hours total. However, due to
    the complexity of the work, your downtime may be longer.
    Whens the last time that you heard about another major transit provider scheduling a 4 hour outage (not 4 hour maintenance window, 4 hours of hard down) on a major POP? Coming less then a month after their disastrous battery maintenance that had already led to hours of downtime?

    The bottom line is, theres a niche, they fill it. People are unbelievably cheap, and many of them will trade quality for price in a heartbeat (McDonalds and Walmart are two examples that thrive on that fact), they exist for a reason. But trying to tell people that they're not the cream of the crap (at least in my humble opinion) is just misleading at this point, you get what you pay for, and Cogent is well documented on this front.

  27. #27
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    If this is the new Cogent, I'd hate to see the old Cogent... We used them up through about six months ago, so it wasn't that long ago. It was the worst experience I have ever had with a carrier, and I would be hard pressed to ever do business with them again.

    When you have an 800 Mbit/sec commit with a provider and can't push more than 300 Mbit/sec for two months, there is a major issue... When they refuse to issue you a refund for that period it is even worse. Their support in general is laughable, if you have an issue, do not expect to get it resolved quickly. I believe the fastest response time we got from them was 8 hours, which was after a planned network maintenance during which it seems they forgot to properly configure our port to the way it had been... Something someone on our staff could have done in less than 15 minutes. Note: Tis was not in some tiny POP, etc. it was in Equinix Chicago.

    Cogent's network is NOT bad, as long as they are running smoothly you should be fine. It isn't for those who want low latency, as that is not what the network was designed for, but it has good capacity and good peering. There network connectivity, at least here in Chicago, is much better than the likes of Hurricane Electric, etc. The problem is, they have MORE issues than any other carrier we've worked with and it has taken much more time for them to resolve those issues than any other carrier. To give you an idea, over the year we used Cogent we had 4 customer affecting outages/issues, outside of maintenance windows, one lasting two MONTHS. We have had Level(3) for three years, with one such issues, Savvis for three years with no such issues, AT&T for a year and a half with no such issues, PCCW Global for amost two years with one such issues, TeliaSonera for a year with no such issue and nLayer for about a year and a half with no such issues. As an example, the issue we had with PCCW was more complicated, but a call to them, at 2AM, and they woke one of their main network engineers and had things back to normal in a little over an hour, compared to Cogent's 8 hours for a much simpler issue.

    Maybe I just got unlucky, but I'm not thinking that is the case, as the issue regarding our refund for the service not being provided, getting 300 Mbit/sec on an 800 Mbit/sec commit, went up the line to be handled by a VP, and the lack of support seemed to be pretty consistent.

    Note: It is my advice to stay away, completely, from anyone offering single-homed Cogent bandwidth. I don't encourage any single-homing, but especially not with Cogent.
    Last edited by KarlZimmer; 01-15-2007 at 03:05 PM.
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  28. #28
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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm not looking for anything more than web or email traffic so ping time isn't an issue. As several people have said, no carrier is perfect - Level 3 had at least 3 major outages here in London in 2005 including one notorious sunday where they suffered a power cut and didn't have a sufficient number of generators in working condition in the building to cope with the load, leading to 5 hours down time on a sunday afternoon, and another one where a thief swiped the cards from a bunch of their routers.

    In terms of testing how well connected a provider is and whether they are truely using multiple carriers or not, are the graphs provided by BGPlay (http://www.ris.ripe.net/bgplay) a reliable means or to they not display the full picture?

  29. #29
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  30. #30
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    With BGPlay I was referring to checking the bandwidth quality of individual dedicated server hosting companies rather than the major bandwidth providers internet health report monitors.

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