CenturyLink is having some major issues.
There were significant Internet outages yesterday across the western US.
The timing is curious. Telcos across the nation are struggling right now with migrating off of a legacy technology known as SONET. Technologies like
MOE (Metro Ethernet) are the likely successors, but the migration path is not straight forward at all and painful at the very least. Most of the
legacy SONET transport gear is obsolete, no longer manufactured and sourcing of spares is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible.
MOE is in wide use around the country, but this is only at the 'edge'. Much of the core high-speed distribution level architecture / infrastructure
still relies on SONET for all the major links. We use SONET technology for our distribution also, and we're facing the same issues.
I suspect the CenturyLink issues are related to this (but I doubt they'd ever admit it). They're likely trying to migrate segments of traffic and
The migration to MOE across the board is pretty simple for straight digital ethernet services, but it becomes WAY more complicated when you start
getting into specialized circuits like T-1's, DS-0's and 911 services (and countless others). And then, when you couple this with all the CPE
(customer provided) infrastructure out there which relies on these services to function correctly the problem of the migration becomes exponentially
more complicated (by orders of magnitude).
For the non-technical reader, here's how this translates into plain English; here are two examples...
1. Imagine a business who has a data line which comes onto their premises as what is known as a "T-1" line (or a fractional T-1). There are literally
tens of millions of these customers in the US. All of a sudden the service provider can no longer deliver a T-1, but need to deliver a MOE circuit
instead. Now the customer suddenly has to change equipment at their premises for their system to continue to work. When you scale this up to the
millions of customers who use this technology the problem becomes apparent. Unfortunately, it gets worse though...
2. Even Mom & Pop businesses are affected. Let's say they have a gift shop or convenience store. They don't need a great big data "pipe" like a T-1,
nor can they afford the $5,000/month Telco bill either, right? Wrong. The mechanism they use to take credit cars is called a POS terminal, or "Point
of Sale" terminal. This terminal requires what essentially amounts to a FAX line to function properly. It's not VOIP, but rather requires an analog
telephone line (which, anymore, is actually a 'special order'). That analog line is delivered on what is known as a DS-O type service, but MOE can't
provide DS-0 services, only VOIP. So when the DS-0's go away...so does Mom & Pop's POS terminal. Now they need different technology in order to
continue to accept credit cards. Because over 85% of all transactions today are done via plastic (debit/credit cards) this means that Mom & Pop
suddenly lose 85% of their revenue until they make the switch.
These are just two simple examples of about 100 that I can cite. They are some of the easier of the examples to understand. Some are infinitely more
complicated, especially when you get into banking and trading.
So what these companies are doing is trying to stand up parallel technologies to "load shed" some of the easier traffic of onto the new technology,
but they don't have solutions for the millions who require new equipment on the customer end...and there's no way (no possible way) the Telcos can
afford to foot the bill for all this equipment.
Bottom line...there will be more outages (a lot more) before this
P.S. - You heard it here first, folks!
edit on 12/28/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)