The IP world now has another Tier-1 network. Renesys reports that Cogent (CCOI) and AOL have finally kissed and made up, 6 years after they fought a peering war that Cogent lost – perhaps the last one they did lose outright. Since then, Cogent had been buying transit from NTT/Verio to get to AOL. But not anymore, the hatchet has been buried and the peace pipe has been smoked.
There are few titles more widely abused than that of a Tier-1 IP network. The reason is that the term is not an official one, and because of that it can be redefined and stretched by whomever wants to use it – generally marketing departments. There are only 10 tier-1 IP networks: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Level 3 (LVLT), AOL, Savvis (SVVS), NTT/Verio, Qwest, Global Crossing, and now Cogent. In fact, the tier-1 ranks have been expanding lately, NTT/Verio, Global Crossing, and Qwest were not on the list until just this past year. So much peering going on.
But it is generally wrong to use this as a measure of a network’s influence, it includes a historical bias and tends to lag reality. Right now, Savvis and AOL really aren’t the powers they once were, one could expect them to drop out of the club sometime – except that they (naturally) don’t want to. Cogent has been a major player for some time now in IP transit, although the competition has been getting fiercer lately, it was natural for Tier-1 status to happen sooner or later. I wonder if now that they have achieved this goal the peering wars Cogent keeps getting into will abate. Somehow I doubt it though.
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