This report explains how the outage of a single AS can affect the connectivity of the impacted region with the rest of the world, especially when it is the dominant ISP on the market. Internet connectivity at the network level is driven by interaction between autonomous systems (AS’s). As the number of alternate routes between AS’s increases, so goes the fault-resistance and stability of the internet across the network. Although some paths inevitably become more important than others, establishing as many alternate routes as possible is the only viable way to ensure an adequately robust system.
The global connectivity of any AS, regardless of whether it is a minor provider or an international giant, depends on the quantity and quality of its paths to Tier-1 ISPs. Usually, Tier-1 implies an international company offering global IP transit service over connections to other Tier-1 providers. But there is no guarantee that such connectivity will be maintained. Only the market can motivate them to peer with other Tier-1’s to deliver the highest quality service. Is that enough? We explore this question in the IPv6 section below. For many ISPs at all levels, losing connection to just one Tier-1 peer would likely render them unreachable in some parts of the world.
Measuring Internet Reliability
Let’s examine a case where an AS experiences significant network degradation. We want to answer the following question: “How many AS’s in the region would lose connectivity with Tier-1 operators and their global availability along with it?”