Cogent and Sprint Break the Internet!

Sprint pulls the plug on Cogent... temporarily?

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Technology]

Tens of thousands of public internet addresses located on Cogent’s  backbone are no longer accessible from Sprint Customers. This disruption is affecting thousands of web properties including WebProNews.com. Drudgereport.com was also affected by this outage but has apparently managed to route around Sprint’s network.

According to personnel inside Cogent, negotiations with Sprint regarding peering arrangements fell apart and Sprint "pulled the plug" on all traffic to and from Cogent’s network.

This breakage can be viewed at internetpulse.net, a site that monitors peering amongst the largest network backbone providers.

Peering arrangements are common amongst large backbone providers and assure traffic from one network will make it to its destination network. Cogent is no stranger to peering disputes. Cogent pulled the plug on Telia, one of the largest backbones in Europe. Cogent has also had peering problems with Level3 in the fall of 2005 resulting in network breakage.

There is no word from Cogent as to when service will be restored.

Update! Read the PR Newswire report here or here.

Another Update; I have heard from Matthew Sullivan of Sprint who had this to say:

"Jay – I saw your “Sprint pulls the plug on Cogent…” story earlier tonight, and I’d like to offer a few comments on behalf of Sprint if you have an opportunity to update your article.

As you noted, Cogent is no stranger to peering disputes, and any statements by Cogent referencing “negotiations” or “pulling the plug” are tactics to deflect attention from the real issue relating to a contract that was agreed to and signed by both parties.

We simply want Cogent to honor the terms of an agreed upon contract. Also, we’ve provided Cogent with ample opportunity to honor its contract with Sprint or make alternate connectivity arrangements. "

Cogent and Sprint Break the Internet!
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • Guest

    Thanks for the quick reporting on this disaster.  Is there any information on how Drudge was able to reroute, or any links for businesses that may help them work around this problem in the short term?

    • Jay Fougere

      As best as I can tell Drudge uses a high-availability service that can provide its own routing. I wish I had a good solution to this, as it is affecting my company as well. Short of moving all of your services to another provider or one of the (fairly costly) high-availability providers, I don’t have an answer for you.

      • Guest

         thanks Jay!

      • Don

        If you’re single-homed with Sprint, you can get a free 1 year matching bandwidth connection from Cogent.

  • Bryan

    What about me? I live on campus USF they use cogent, I have investments to take care of, but cant access my account because they use sprint.  I have my blackberry but I can only do so much on it.  This should come to an end soon, not like Boeing and their strike.

    • Jay Fougere

      You may be able to use a web proxy. It may be slow, but effective.

      iEntry operates one – pagewash.com …. coincidentally on Cogent’s backbone :(

      A google search for “web proxy” yields many results. Be sure your anti-virus and spyware detection are up to date first – these sites may be “unsavory” to say the least.

      Good luck and thanks for reading!

      • Guest

        No!  Don’t use a web proxy for banking!  You have no idea what may or may not be recorded.

  • http://djtmichaels.com Guest

    My sites are also affected, I use a sprint air card and cannot access any of  my sites or any others. I did by chance go off the sprint network and find an open network (wireless) and then able to access my sites and all other affected sites.

    If does not clear up soon, I see SPRINT losing alot of business. I understand the contract issue…But come on.

  • Guest

    I smell Class Action Suit

  • Dave

    We are a lawfirm with Cogent. The US Courts are with Sprint. It is mandatory to electronically file everything. We cannot access their system. Neither can email the other. Does this violate one’s civil rights to access courts? Are we not forced by Sprint to select a company they like or not be able to access the court system?

  • http://www.yourstudentnews.com Scott

    Does anyone know if this effects: 1) webhost service only; 2) ISP access only; 3) some combo of both.

    I am using satellite broadband (hughes net).  I am able to get to every page I need on the net except for my own.

    My host says this is an ISP problem.  I say it is a host problem.

    Help me understand this someone… please…

    Also, anyone with an ETA or guess on when this might be resolved?

  • http://www.JohnDerrick.com John Derrick

    Many years ago I swore to never host any of my websites on Cogent’s bandwitdh, because stuff like this has a tendancy to happen with them.

    Being on the outside, I have no idea on who’s fault this is, but I can say that this is the third time that I know of that this sort of thing has happened with them.



  • Don

    This is just dumb on the part of Sprint and I’m chalking it up to a grab for media attention. In the end, I think it’s going to wind up costing them more because most of Cogent’s customers are multi-peered.

    Okay, so this is the basis of their argument….

    In 2006, Cogent and Sprint entered into a "trial" settlement-free peering basis. Both sides incurred the costs neccesary to setup peering at multiple points (this isn’t cheap to do). This arrangement works fine until Sprint notifies Cogent that traffic levels are lopsided and that they should pay for the peering, or risk being yanked. Sprint, after whatever period of time, shuts down the Cogent peers.

    Having said all of that, I’m really doubting that Sprint had to pull them offline. If they needed the handful of ports back then that draws a serious question about the capacity of Sprint’s network. Otherwise, this was just a geek-embraced grab for media attention and a shot to play "my **** is bigger than yours".

    Sprint is the only one here who really has something to lose. They have end-user services to provide and those are the easiest for customers to switch to another carrier. On another note, my new VZ Wireless connection is 2x faster than my old Sprint EVDO anyway =)

    Cogent should enter into a temporary transit agreement with another provider that will allow them to reach Sprint’s ASN, and vice versa. In that scenario, Sprint still has nothing to win. The traffic simply shifts to other peers, maybe even ones that aren’t settlement-free for them.

    It’s all a big mess that can have some serious regulatory impact if they don’t settle the issue fast. Thumbs down to Sprint on this one.

    • Jay Fougere


      I have also been reading about this whole debacle on other sites and what follows is pure speculation.

      Cogent has made a business pricing bandwidth at rock bottom prices. Cogent has also been selling bandwidth with no strings attached rather than trying to set price points based on the service that is being used. I do not want to enter a discussion on net-neutrality, but this is where that comes in to play.

      Cogent recently gained full tier 1 status, meaning they do not pay for peering to any of the other tier 1 backbone networks.

      Having gained tier 1 status, the other carriers pricing models are antiquated at best. Couple this with Sprints stocks being in the gutter and this could simply be a business move to try to maintain the status quo with regard to traditional bandwidth pricing.

      Ultimately, Cogent is providing competition in a market that has made sure there was no competition for a very long time. This is good for the consumer, but bad for the incumbent Telcos who have grown accustomed to substantial profit margins. Again, this is pure speculation on my part.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Don

        You’re absolutely correct. Cogent is the outsider in the world of bandwidth, and that’s why anyone and everyone is taking a shot at them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hot about the bandwidth they sell. But I will say that it’s cost effective and has allowed organizations and providers to get a lot more for their buck.

        The arguement by competing providers has been "Well our Networks are better", and in some cases that’s true but it only matters in the case of Providers. You’re going to sell more bandwidth to Organizations (Businesses, Gov, Universities, etc.) than Providers. So Cogent is pulling away in that market and everyone else is getting left behind. Level3 tried to lower their pricing to compete and now they’re facing Bankruptcy without even coming close to challenging Cogent.

  • http://www.faqsabout.org/personal-injury-laywers-chicago Law Info

    Thanks for the great aritcle Jay

  • Guest

    We host our private e-mail on Cogent and our staff use Sprint EVDO while in the field. I gave Sprint a lot of grief over their bad business decision Friday – it was a pretty dumb move. The Sprint rep. actually argued with me that they had to do it and never acknowledged responsibility for the disruption it caused us. Turned on a second Internet connection to the e-mail server – but no doubt we’re going find another mobile broadband provider…

  • http://www.planetberries.com Guest

     The disruption this caused to so many was unbelievable.  How can business people behave in such a manor?

  • Johnny

    I won’t use Sprint for any services in my computer business.

    Sprint ripped me off in the late 1980’s when I was a young man when I sold the "FonCard" for them……remember those?  LOL

    It turned out, in Federal court, that they said my customer base, and other salesmen’s customer base, had gone to other companies like AT&T for phone services, when actually they just kept the cutomers we sent them.

    So……the reputation stuck with me and now they get NONE of my business for anything.  Some companies never learn how to treat folks right!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/laueddie Eddie Lau

    Good report Jay. Class Action suit maybe!!

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom