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  1. #1

    Who are the best / fastest bandwidth providers?

    Hey,

    I have been reviewing a lot of different data-centers and networks, and everybody seems to use different bandwidth providers. Is there any consensus on who the best (Top 5 maybe?) carriers are? According to WikiPedia.org, there are currently only 9 "true" Tier-1 carriers:

    AOL
    AT&T
    Cogent
    Global Crossing
    Level 3
    Verizon Business
    NTT Communications
    Qwest
    SAVVIS
    Sprint
    Thoughts anyone?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Deschutes, OR, USA
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    Define: "Best"??

    Best connected? Most customers? A billing dept that sends accurate invoices? Account managers with clue? BGP engineers who aren't surly?

    "Tier-1" is a meaningless term. "Fastest" is also meaningless, unless one of them has the secret to moving light faster than the others.

    I've bought bandwidth from six of the ten that you've listed at one time or another, and I've shopped three of the remaining four (unless you want to lump Time-Warner Telecom in with "AOL" through some long reach of business structure logic. Then add it to my "bought from" list.)

    I'll tell you these things:
    1. I'll only buy from AT&T again under duress, such as strong customer demand. Their network is great. Their billing, sales, and account management departments however should all be sacked. Their BGP-speaking engineers are good people. The suits and bureaucrats are not. Avoid unless unavoidable.

    2. I've never bought from Cogent. I have seen their POPs however, and they scare me. Baling wire, chewing gum & BGP hold their network together, in that order.

    3. GC: never dealt with them, beyond price quotes.

    4. L3. Great network, good routes. Straightforward invoicing. Slow to get things done... VERY slow, but they get it done right when they do.

    5. Verizon: A vast conglomerate of colossal failures. I've dealt with them as, Verizon, UUnet & Worldcom at various points over the years. UUnet/Alternet was awesome back in the early/mid 90s, but otherwise these guys are just a fine expression of ILEC mentality. Audit your invoices... closely. Better yet, just avoid them!

    6. NTT. The best of this particular bunch to be honest. Network as good as L3s. The NOC staff are the best I've ever dealt with. BGP engineers are accessible and personable. Honest and accurate billing. Great sales team. I've been a happy customer of NTT since 2002.

    7. Qwest: See "Verizon Business" above. Swallowing USWest was the dumbest thing these guys ever did. The parasite completely devoured the host. They Borged my favorite Ethernet carrier, OnFiber and completely ruined what was a great company. Oh well.

    8. SAVVIS. Never dealt with them beyond price quotes.

    9. Sprint: See "Verizon Business" above. Yet another ILEC/telco mind-set company. Too big to really be customer-focussed. Billing is a nightmare. Takes forever to get anything installed, even longer to get anything shut down!

    Your Mileage May Vary. These are the opinions solely of the author and not my employer.
    --chuck goolsbee, Prineville, Oregon, USA
    Please note: I no longer work for digital.forest in Seattle, WA, as I left them in early 2010 to pursue an amazing opportunity at an amazing datacenter project elsewhere... I do not speak for digital.forest here. However I still know they provide the best colocation in the Pacific Northwest.

  3. #3
    I don't believe cogent is a tier1 as they have to buy traffic from verio, teir1 providers are settlement free.
    Jason Silverglate jason [.at.] fortressitx.com
    DedicatedNOW Managed Dedicated Servers / | 1-973-572-1070 support ext for 24/7 LIVE SUPPORT
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  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Chicago
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    It really depends on what you are going to be using the connection for. Level3 is really good. Tons of eyes connected. GC is also pretty good.

    There are lots of Tier2 providers that are excellent out there. I would recommend checking them out before you make your final decision.

    Other choices such as Mzima and Internap combine multiple Tier1 providers to give you the best of both worlds. Internap is definitely more expensive but they handle dealing with all the providers and the BGP. Here in Chicago Internap buys transit from eight providers: AT&T, Global Crossing, Level 3, NTT, Savvis, Sprint, Verizon Business (UUNet/MCI), and XO Communications as well as adding some local peering.

  5. #5
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    Ashburn VA, San Diego CA
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    A mix of several carriers would be "better" than any one carrier. The "tough" ones to deal with (verizon, att, ect) should be bought through a reseller to help save the headache and pocket book.
    Fast Serv Networks, LLC | AS29889 | Fully Managed Cloud, Streaming, Dedicated Servers, Colo by-the-U
    Ashburn VA + San Diego CA Datacenters

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure if people deal with Cogent often but their staff is knowledgeable and any BGP related issues is fixed at the same time, there's no such thing as L3 techs working on business days, etc. They always addressed any problems within minutes when dealing with them, usually I just give them a call from the datacenter and it's a done deal.
    VEXXHOST, Inc.
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  7. #7
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    I think the best would be a mix of all carriers!
    Jordan Jacobs | VP, Products|SingleHop| JJ @SingleHop.com
    Managed Dedicated Servers | Bare-Metal Servers | Cloud Services

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooby2 View Post
    Other choices such as Mzima and Internap combine multiple Tier1 providers to give you the best of both worlds. Internap is definitely more expensive but they handle dealing with all the providers and the BGP. Here in Chicago Internap buys transit from eight providers: AT&T, Global Crossing, Level 3, NTT, Savvis, Sprint, Verizon Business (UUNet/MCI), and XO Communications as well as adding some local peering.
    More kudus for Internap here. Their bandwidth speeds are very nice.

    -mike
    Mike G. - Limestone Networks - Account Specialist
    Cloud, Dedicated & Enterprise Hosting - Premium Network - Passionate Support
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  9. #9
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    I have never been a fan of InterNAP, its very hard to get ANYTHING done.
    Jordan Jacobs | VP, Products|SingleHop| JJ @SingleHop.com
    Managed Dedicated Servers | Bare-Metal Servers | Cloud Services

  10. #10
    Depends on where the traffic is going, i would never select an american carrier for europe, only TeliaSonera. For Asia i would select NTT and for the rest just pick a random tier 1 carrier.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayglate View Post
    I don't believe cogent is a tier1 as they have to buy traffic from verio, teir1 providers are settlement free.
    According to this, they've just managed to do to so:
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2008/06/...nsitfree.shtml

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Universes View Post
    According to this, they've just managed to do to so:
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2008/06/...nsitfree.shtml
    Confirmed -

    7 vl3492.mpd01.sjc03.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.6.106) 15.548 ms 15.283 ms 15.099 ms
    MPLS Label=1122 CoS=0 TTL=1 S=1
    8 gi6-0-0.core01.sjc03.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.6.86) 14.814 ms 14.821 ms 14.976 ms
    9 aol.sjc03.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.13.2) 15.569 ms 15.114 ms 14.822 ms
    10 bb1-sjg-p0-0.atdn.net (66.185.150.80) 38.987 ms 119.282 ms 200.334 ms
    MPLS Label=139 CoS=0 TTL=1 S=1
    11 bb1-ntc-p5-0.atdn.net (66.185.152.62) 15.473 ms 16.130 ms 16.053 ms
    MPLS Label=32 CoS=0 TTL=1 S=1
    12 pop1-ntc-p0-0.atdn.net (66.185.142.113) 15.852 ms 15.423 ms 15.732 ms
    13 cor1-nc1-p4-3.atdn.net (66.185.142.154) 15.445 ms 15.435 ms 15.565 ms
    14 172.17.66.170 (172.17.66.170) 15.631 ms 15.873 ms 16.331 ms
    Fast Serv Networks, LLC | AS29889 | Fully Managed Cloud, Streaming, Dedicated Servers, Colo by-the-U
    Ashburn VA + San Diego CA Datacenters

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by The Universes View Post
    According to this, they've just managed to do to so:
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2008/06/...nsitfree.shtml
    Who cares, they are still utter crap. Besides, there is no way to confirm they transit-free relationships just by looking at the traceroutes, they could still be paying.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ollebanan View Post
    Who cares, they are still utter crap. Besides, there is no way to confirm they transit-free relationships just by looking at the traceroutes, they could still be paying.
    How about actually backing up your claims instead of stating FUD?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ollebanan View Post
    Who cares, they are still utter crap. Besides, there is no way to confirm they transit-free relationships just by looking at the traceroutes, they could still be paying.
    Cogent is pretty good for CDN as you can always push what you have however maybe their only issue is latency but they aren't what you exactly call a premium network. You get what you pay for but I wouldn't classify Cogent as "utter crap".
    VEXXHOST, Inc.
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    High Performance OpenStack® Public Cloud | Cloud Servers | Web Hosting

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