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RE: DSL (was shopping for NOCs)
From: "Christian Kuhtz" <ck () arch bellsouth net>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 17:15:34 -0400

Doesn't this have more to do with the philosophy of the company
providing service than the technology being deployed (DSL)?
Maybe the problem is that DSL tends to involve LEC people who are
infected with the obsolete lazy-monopoly attitude of the incumbents.

If I may sprinkle in my $.02, flames > /dev/null..

Even though I'm not part of the ILEC, I would like to point out that this isn't
always true...  There are also still quite a few issues with DSL technology.
Some ILECs cannot provide DSL to you unless miniRAMs (mini DSLAMs) are deployed
into the RT.  Some ILECs have very high percentages of RT served customers (I
know at least one in the 80% range), and the lack of deployable, working
miniRAMs has been part of the deployment problem for the ILEC.  And then there
are issues around the OSS availability since you can't do mass deployments
without having at least a working bandaid for the operations side of the house.
Some solutions out there (including vendor offerings) are far from it.

Some people (yes, even @ the phone company/ILEC) are working quite hard to not
let their customers stand in the rain most of the time.  Depending on ILEC, the
ratio of those working hard/not so hard may very, and so may your mileage.

In any case, are there unique operational challenges posed by DSL that
are causing some of these problems?

Yep.  There are quite a few.  I'm not sure this is the forum to address them
for the ones that I've heard of, though.

I think one of the biggest one is patience (I know, I know, but listen for a
sec), since, regardless of what the vendors would like to tell you, this is by
no means a fully baked technology.  And, in addition to that, because of the
way in which DSL is deployed, pricing models, customer bases, several other
things aside from the actual DSL ckt are challenged as well.

A lot of times, DSL drove other infrastructure technology upgrades.  Not as a
"nice to have" but as a "we can't provide DSL service without it". So, you have
tremendous about of change going on at all sorts of points in the network.
That alone can cause problems.  And it's not neccessarily the SP screwing up,
vendors are learning (new and old world) as we go as well.

And as just about everybody with operational experience knows, all surprises
aside, change is the number one reason for trouble.

Is there anything we can do as a
community to address them (or encourage the people who need to address
them, to do so)?

Not sure.

Maybe this discussion could evolve into something a little more useful
than "my DSL provider sucks"..."me too", since there seems to be a lot
of interest (or at least a lot of unhappy voices)..

Well, for one thing, it's important to understand that in addition to this
being an evolving technology, not all DSL is the same.  And even if you're
using the same modulation, the way you are actually being served may be quite

And, then there's organizational things.  The guys who provide the line are a
different organization than the guys who provide the transport from the DSL
service provider to the ISP.  And then there's lots of very bright people who
are working nights and weekends to make it work at the ISP side.  How do I know
that?  I happen to work with them.  To me, those guys are heros.

So, that being said, DSL is *MUCH* more than a phone line with high speed data
traffic over it.  I think for the most part, patience and accepting
technological reality would help.

I haven't grown a bellhead yet, so, if that's your gripe, save your energy. :)


Christian Kuhtz, Sr. Network Architect              Architecture, BellSouth.net
<ck () arch bellsouth net> -wk, <ck () gnu org> -hm                       Atlanta, GA
                                                    "Speaking for myself only."

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