Optus Outage (General)

by dan, Thursday, November 16, 2023, 18:27 (250 days ago) @ dulan drift

What's an international peering network? Why did it receive changes that would close it down?

My limited understanding is that it's a network that this ISP cooperates/communicates with to exchange data. That's basically all the Internet is -- networks communicating with each other forming this one big network we call the Internet. ISPs have little monopolies over all their subjects (customers, who often have no choice but to use them or maybe one or two others). ISPs are granted a set of IP addresses. These are the numbers that truly identify your machine. Domain names, such as formosahut.com, are run by a different system of providers called DNS (domain name system) servers. The DNS system forwards a domain name to a specific IP. The internet could work with no domain names at all. It could all just be numbers.

But ISPs and the IPs they own, actually the IPs, are the true backbone of the system. The IPs are the system essentially, identifying each connection to the internet. That's how you're identified. That's your number. Your connection to the internet, via your ISP, has a number, and that number is your IP address. (IP = Internet Protocol)

Your ISP has agreements with other ISPs, usually geographically close ones, to cooperate to transport data. It's that link that was broken by the upgrade, so they say in the article.

It's very possible that this was just a stupid mistake, but as you say, you'll never know.

I'm guessing this incident must be a hot topic in public forums of engineers who work on this stuff. I used to understand much of it, but all the protocols have gotten so complicated with all the security infrastructure, etc. There are so many variables. I could probably set up a little baby internet in my neighborhood, have my own little ISP and connect to somebody else's little baby ISP, but this international stuff is obviously more complicated than that.

Regardless, there's no excuse, if it was a mistake. People can die as a result given that our communication depends increasingly on the Internet, and more now with appliances and such wired in.


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