Archive for July, 2010

Cogent Eastbound route out of Portland to Boise and a new POP

July 9th, 2010 3 comments

It would appear that Cogent finally has a long-awaited route Eastbound out of Portland.  I just noticed it on their web site today and a quick traceroute confirms there is now connectivity to Boise.

Translating “”…domain server (xx.xx.xx.xx) [OK]
Type escape sequence to abort.
Tracing the route to (
1 (38.104.104.xx) [AS 174] 0 msec 1 msec 0 msec
2 ( [AS 174] 0 msec 1 msec 1 msec
3 ( [AS 174] 11 msec ( [AS 174] 12 msec *

I then noticed that traffic Eastbound beyond Boise to Salt Lake still prefers going through Sacramento.

Translating “”…domain server (xx.xx.xx.xx) [OK]
Type escape sequence to abort.
Tracing the route to (
1 (38.104.104.xx) [AS 174] 1 msec 1 msec 0 msec
2 ( [AS 174] 0 msec 1 msec 1 msec
3 ( [AS 174] 12 msec ( [AS 174] 13 msec 12 msec
4 ( [AS 174] 25 msec ( [AS 174] 25 msec *

Further investigation using Cogent’s looking glass tool from Washington DC shows me that either their network map is incorrect, or they currently have a circuit down from Boise to Salt Lake (or for some weird traffic engineering reason my traceroutes are not hitting it).  Routing from DC to Boise through PDX is not exactly what I would consider “optimal”.  😉

Looking Glass Results: Washington, DC
Query: trace
Type escape sequence to abort.
Tracing the route to (
1 ( 4 msec 4 msec 4 msec
2 ( 4 msec 4 msec 0 msec
3 ( 0 msec 0 msec 4 msec
4 ( 28 msec ( 20 msec ( 24 msec
5 ( 32 msec ( 32 msec 32 msec
6 ( 48 msec ( 44 msec 44 msec
7 ( 56 msec ( 60 msec 64 msec
8 ( 64 msec ( 72 msec ( 76 msec
9 ( 100 msec 80 msec 80 msec
10 ( 84 msec ( 84 msec 84 msec
11 ( 96 msec * ( 92 msec

Cogent has talked about an Eastbound route for some time now so I am jazzed to see it is finally happening!  Here is to hoping that Boise <-> Salt Lake link comes online very soon!

Whoh, hold the phone- I just noticed that my route to Boise is going the  That’s new!  Previously they only had a single router in Portland in the Pittock building.  A quick check of their POP list in Portland reveals that they are saying 707 SW Washington St is a POP which is the Bank of California building.  That’s even better news as they are now one of (or perhaps the only?) carrier that has multiple routes out of town with core routers in multiple facilities.  I can’t say that I know for sure of any carrier in town with core routers in more than one facility.


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Upgrading Qwest DSL to 12 megabit ADSL2+

July 6th, 2010 No comments

Last week I upgraded a Qwest Business DSL (err, High Speed Internet) line in downtown Portland from 7 meg to 12 meg as they are finally offering speeds above 7 meg (though 12 was the max).  It was a nominal additional monthly cost, and the upgrade was free (they even gave a month of free service).

Some interesting notes:

I had previously set my modem to do PPPoA (PPP over ATM) such that it could support full 1500 byte MTU’s (rather than the PPPoE that they have been recommending for quite some time in anticipation of the transition away from ATM).  When you do PPP over Ethernet there is an 8 byte PPP header that cuts your max payload down to 1492.  In order to take advantage of the new service however, I was forced to reconfigure to PPPoE (the 1492 byte max MTU is not a big deal and is pretty common in residential/small biz internet connections these days).  This in combination with the fact that they told me they had to make a wiring change in a “cross box” somewhere tells me that I got moved to a new DSLAM that is not fed by ATM anymore (thank goodness!).

I am particularly happy about this because I am guessing a lot of the ATM based DSLAM’s out there are likely fed by NxT-1 backhaul setups (i.e. a bunch of bonded T-1’s) which seriously limits the amount of aggregate bandwidth available to all the users.  If your providing 100 7 meg DSL lines and you only have 8 T-1’s for backhaul, that’s some serious oversubscription!  I would recommend that anyone out their with Qwest DSL do what you can (i.e. upgrade service tiers) to get hooked to one of the new DSLAM’s, even if you then later switch back to a lower speed service offering as the newer DSLAM’s are likely to be loaded nowhere near as heavily (i.e. they likely have 1 gig ethernet fiber backhaul connections).

Here is a speedtest from Qwest’s speedtest site:

Qwest DSL Speed Test After Upgrade to 12 Megabit

Anecdotally, it would seem that ping times are faster on the new DSL, though I can’t say I actually plugged into the network (wired rather than wireless) and ran the same test before making the change:

erosenbe-mac:~ erosenbe$ ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=56 time=38.520 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=38.820 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=39.110 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=56 time=39.335 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=56 time=39.174 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=56 time=39.575 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=6 ttl=56 time=38.693 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=7 ttl=56 time=38.723 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=8 ttl=56 time=39.066 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=9 ttl=56 time=39.227 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=10 ttl=56 time=39.550 ms
— ping statistics —
11 packets transmitted, 11 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 38.520/39.072/39.575/0.333 ms
erosenbe-mac:~ erosenbe$

It is worth noting that the service is indeed ADSL2+ (even though I think technically ADSL2 can go to 12 megabit under the right conditions).  The upload speed still is extremely pitiful.  I expect more in this day and age.  My FiOS can do 25 megabit down, and at least 10 megabit up (I think some plans include up to 25 megabit upload).

In this case, I am only a couple blocks from the downtown Portland Central office (PTLD69) so I am able to sync at the full line rate of 12 megabit:

Qwest DSL Modem Status Linked at 12 Megabit

So overall, it is cool that Qwest is finally offering over 7 megabit of service, but I am disappointed that 12 megabit is the top end they are offering in downtown.  I have heard they are offering 20 megabit elsewhere (perhaps out in the suburbs where they are competing with cable modems).  I have also heard that they are offering VDSL rather than ADSL2+ in some areas.  I can not think of any reason to not offer speeds in excess of 12 megabits downtown, other than to keep from competing with their metro ethernet over copper/fiber products and other high margin services.

Integra Telecom offers pretty high speed DSL offerings these days, and they are even now offering MPLS over DSL (or at least that is what I have heard).  Qwest needs to catch up.

It still is disappointing that Qwest can’t muster the cash to deploy a real broadband network (i.e. fiber to the home/business).  They are getting their butts kicked by Comcast in residential, and by all the CLEC’s in commercial.  Hopefully when they get taken over by CenturyLink things will change, but at the moment I am not holding my breath.  I am glad to be out in Verizon (err, Frontier) FiOS land.  We shall see how that transition goes as well…


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