[EN] 48 of the 51 Level 3 peering agreements are settlement free
Level 3 has 51 peers that are interconnected in 45 cities through over 1,360 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (plus a few smaller ports). The distribution of that capacity with individual peers ranges from a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet port to 148 ports. The average number of interconnection cities per peer is five, but ranges from one to 20.
The average utilization across all those interconnected ports is 36%
A port that is on average utilised at 90 percent will be saturated, dropping packets, for several hours a day. We have congested ports saturated to those levels with 12 of our 51 peers. Six of those 12 have a single congested port, and we are both (Level 3 and our peer) in the process of making upgrades – this is business as usual and happens occasionally as traffic swings around the Internet as customers change providers.
That leaves the remaining six peers with congestion on almost all of the interconnect ports between us. Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity. They are deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers. They are not allowing us to fulfil the requests their customers make for content.
As an example, this is what one of those congested interconnections looks like. It is a 100Gbps interconnect in Dallas for the week ending April 3. The graph on the left shows flat tops for most of each day – the port is congested and cannot accept all of the traffic that is trying to get through. Not only are packets being dropped (the number dropped are on the right), but all those not being dropped are also subject to delay.
For comparison, below is an uncongested interconnection. This is also 100Gbps but in Washington, D.C. with another peer. This shows no congestion, although there isn’t much headroom, so a capacity augment is underway. The graph on the right shows absolutely no dropped packets.
Many peering agreements were made between engineers in the early days of the Internet and consisted of not much more than a single page of text – if there was anything written down at all. They weren’t really contracts in the way you might consider a formal legal agreement. But over the last decade or so, they have become legal contracts that have a defined term and a set of expectations that each party agrees to adhere to.