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  1. #1

    Level3 reliable enough as ONLY carrier?

    We are switching from a reseller that blends several carriers to Level3, to reduce our b/w costs (by a factor of 3x). We are driving upwards of 300Mbps currently.

    Is Level3 reliable enough in terms of uptime to be our *only* carrier?

    We are running a real-time always-on service with long-lived TCP connections, so frequent disconnections would be problematic. A single downtime of a couple of minutes per month would not be too bad on the other hand.
    Switching our stuff to Level3 is a lot of work as it is.
    Getting a second provider for the failover, which involves setting up a CISCO edge router with BGP, getting an AS number from ARIN, will make this task too big at this point. Is L3 reliable enough on its own to spare this hassle of a second ISP?

  2. #2
    I'll just tell you about our experience:
    Had Level 3 since 1995 (BBN Planet, then Genuity, then Leve3)
    Support is bad (very bad)
    Routes are usually good.
    Very seldom goes down.
    Last year our 1 Gb/s line was down for 4 days !!! We've got refund, but 4 days!!!? And we are in a carrier hotel, not like in the middle of nowhere...

    If you are running mission critical system - I would recommend to use a second provider. Even in our DC many our customers do require second network connection out of our network cloud, even if local cable or particular network device will go bad, connectivity will be still up.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tulix View Post
    I'll just tell you about our experience:

    Last year our 1 Gb/s line was down for 4 days !!! We've got refund, but 4 days!!!? And we are in a carrier hotel, not like in the middle of nowhere...
    Was this a local problem with your feed/port? Did you push them hard to fix this? Would a second redundant line to L3 have mitigated this?
    Last edited by sutrostyle; 09-14-2009 at 09:36 PM.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    I would suggest looking at someone who will give you a good price on a blended network so that you have the redundancy and the price. I would not suggest single homing to ANY provider, no matter who they are.
    James Lumby

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sutrostyle View Post
    Was this a local problem with your feed/port? Did you push them hard to fix this? Would a second redundant line to L3 have mitigated this?
    It was a problem with their main switch and they didn't have any redundant ones (including port) available at 56 Marietta telx building. Fiber was OK (and we have several more for redundancy).
    Professional Streaming services - http://www.tulix.com - info at tulix.com
    Double optimized - AS36820) network, best for live streaming/VoIP/gaming
    The best quality network - AS7219

  7. #7
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    We have Level(3) in our mix. So far this year, we have received over one month free service due to SLA credits. We had one outage that was 15 hours, another was 11 hours. In both cases, Level(3) did not even have the proper circuit design in their systems, and they were unable to detect that their own equipment at our premises was showing a fault light.
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  8. #8
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    I would definitely not recommend it. My work colo's in three different Level3 datacenters and uptime is usually around 99.5%. Two hours of downtime per month is actually considered a good month.

    There has to be a multi-homed provider that is cheaper. Have you tried negotiating with your current provider?

  9. #9
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    No one is good enough to be your *only* provider if you care about uptime.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulix View Post
    I'll just tell you about our experience:
    Had Level 3 since 1995 (BBN Planet, then Genuity, then Leve3)
    Support is bad (very bad)
    Routes are usually good.
    Very seldom goes down.
    Last year our 1 Gb/s line was down for 4 days !!! We've got refund, but 4 days!!!? And we are in a carrier hotel, not like in the middle of nowhere...

    If you are running mission critical system - I would recommend to use a second provider. Even in our DC many our customers do require second network connection out of our network cloud, even if local cable or particular network device will go bad, connectivity will be still up.
    Well said. Their support is indeed a travesty, but the network is solid. Never choose one carrier for a mission critical application, you WILL have downtime.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by jarrodsl View Post
    No one is good enough to be your *only* provider if you care about uptime.
    pretty much what he said

  12. #12
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by tulix View Post
    It was a problem with their main switch and they didn't have any redundant ones (including port) available at 56 Marietta telx building. Fiber was OK (and we have several more for redundancy).

    When did this happen? Was this just there colocation space or was this supposed to be affecting the back haul running out of there to Miami and Jacksonville?

    I'm interested in knowing a little more about this, our experiences with them have been top notch especially as far as support is concerned.

    I cant recall any major downtime with Level3 here for about a year now.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarrodsl View Post
    No one is good enough to be your *only* provider if you care about uptime.
    Good words of wisdom right there.
    Never trust just one provider.
    They will go down, someday.

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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by jarrodsl View Post
    No one is good enough to be your *only* provider if you care about uptime.
    I completely agree with that.

    In our case with don't use Level3, but I have been hearing lots of complains with it.

  16. #16

    It was their I think distribution switch in 56 Marietta st (telx building)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoRACK View Post
    When did this happen? Was this just there colocation space or was this supposed to be affecting the back haul running out of there to Miami and Jacksonville?

    I'm interested in knowing a little more about this, our experiences with them have been top notch especially as far as support is concerned.

    I cant recall any major downtime with Level3 here for about a year now.
    It was their I think distribution switch in 56 Marietta st (telx building) Atlanta - it was not a colo space.

    It was, I believe last year, don't remember what month - I can check with our director of hosting operations - he would have exact record of when that happened.

    Supportwise - before while we were on the phone we were able to resolve issues. Now they are taking your phone and promicing to respond withing 2 hours - so if you have single L3 - here we go - wait for 2 hours just to get call back
    Professional Streaming services - http://www.tulix.com - info at tulix.com
    Double optimized - AS36820) network, best for live streaming/VoIP/gaming
    The best quality network - AS7219

  17. #17
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    Just bite the bullet and multihome. Pick up a Cisco 3560 or 3750 on Ebay and take default routes. Then get an ASN and /22 from Arin no questions asked since you're multihoming.

    If you're not comfortable with this, DO NOT switch to a single carrier. you are MUCH better off staying connected to an aggregation like you currently are because they will be able to provide quicker support and better redundancy (hopefully).

    How would you like to be down for 4 days because you're using L3's IP's and they are down?

    Rule of thumb...DO NOT renumber to any IP space but your own.
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  18. #18
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    +1 to multi-homing

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarrodsl View Post
    No one is good enough to be your *only* provider if you care about uptime.
    Don't forget about carrier disputes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulix View Post
    Supportwise - before while we were on the phone we were able to resolve issues. Now they are taking your phone and promicing to respond withing 2 hours - so if you have single L3 - here we go - wait for 2 hours just to get call back
    These days we are likely to go straight to our service manager with problems. Their voice-side is even more ridiculous. We've had entire LD DS3s down and had to wait many, many hours for them to even begin looking at the problem. Escalating has proven mostly worthless.

    Sadly, Cogent's support is better. In my experience, the people that answer the phones aren't just screeners, they can often solve problems on the spot.

  21. #21
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    Overall, I like Level3's network. However, we had one instance where a router was clearly oversubscribed and an interface card had severe issues for about 24 hours - effectively rendering the connection useless. Another time they moved our physical interface (expected downtime less than 1 minute), but neglected to mention they changed the port negotiation from auto to forcing full duplex. The interface was down for about an hour while that was diagnosed.

    This is in the largest carrier hotel in Dallas. I do think they are an excellent carrier to have in a BGP mix in most cases.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sutrostyle View Post
    We are switching from a reseller that blends several carriers to Level3, to reduce our b/w costs (by a factor of 3x). We are driving upwards of 300Mbps currently.

    Is Level3 reliable enough in terms of uptime to be our *only* carrier?

    We are running a real-time always-on service with long-lived TCP connections, so frequent disconnections would be problematic. A single downtime of a couple of minutes per month would not be too bad on the other hand.
    Switching our stuff to Level3 is a lot of work as it is.
    Getting a second provider for the failover, which involves setting up a CISCO edge router with BGP, getting an AS number from ARIN, will make this task too big at this point. Is L3 reliable enough on its own to spare this hassle of a second ISP?
    If the latter is too big, just grow into it.

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