23 Hops for 3 Blocks

For many years now there has been talk of creating a local Prince Edward Island “Internet traffic interchange” where traffic from one Island-based ISP to another Island-based ISP could crossover locally rather than going “out onto the Internet.” I’ve long been a supporter of such an initiative, suffering as I have from working on servers connected to Aliant while connected myself to ISN’s bandwidth.

Here’s an example of what this means, in the real world; it’s a traceroute showing the path that traffic from my iMac takes to get three blocks south to the Elections PEI server:

traceroute to www.electionspei.ca (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1  gw.isn.net (  49.664 ms  2.320 ms  2.756 ms
 2  chtw-asr1.eastlink.ca (  5.730 ms  5.635 ms  3.059 ms
 3  hlfx-br1.eastlink.ca (  14.468 ms  11.344 ms  13.646 ms
 4  hlfxnsaldr02.bb.telus.com (  12.966 ms  19.410 ms  12.010 ms
 5  hlfxnsalbr01.bb.telus.com (  76.290 ms  77.149 ms  75.740 ms
 6  * mtrlpqfbbr00.bb.telus.com (  78.142 ms  77.185 ms
 7  toroonnlbr00.bb.telus.com (  77.768 ms  113.038 ms  77.092 ms
 8  wnpgmbabbr00.bb.telus.com (  95.022 ms  75.486 ms *
 9  edtnab02br01.bb.telus.com (  83.315 ms  76.504 ms  75.822 ms
10  edtnabxmbr01.bb.telus.com (  76.433 ms  76.140 ms  75.585 ms
11  clgrab31br01.bb.telus.com (  75.769 ms  76.922 ms  75.639 ms
12  * * *
13  clgrab21gr01.bb.telus.com (  75.677 ms  75.450 ms  75.323 ms
14  bell-canada.clgrab21gr01.bb.telus.com (  90.996 ms  107.607 ms *
15 (  101.971 ms  104.196 ms  106.429 ms
16 (  81.166 ms  83.564 ms  80.917 ms
17  * (  82.586 ms  81.818 ms
18  * rtp629207rts (  95.580 ms *
19  rtp629008rts (  92.913 ms  90.662 ms *
20  rtp629048rts (  108.556 ms  90.879 ms  132.622 ms
21  alpe-pcr-oc3.aliant.net (  235.873 ms  100.957 ms *
22 (  112.616 ms  108.111 ms  101.306 ms
23 (  104.890 ms  122.166 ms  100.093 ms

Near as I can tell, my packets are going through Halifax, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton until they hit the Bell Canada network in Calgary and come on back in this direction.

All of this is happening at the speed of light, of course, so it’s not taking hours. But practical maintenance of a server over so many hops — to say nothing of what happens when things go awry — is problematic.

The logical home for a interchange like this is the University of PEI, as there already both Eastlink and Aliant bandwidth running through their facilities, they’ve got the smarts to make it work, are impartial and public-spirited and, I think, willing and ready to serve.

What’s it going to take to make this happen?


alexander o'neill's picture
alexander o'neill on November 14, 2005 - 22:24 Permalink

If all the local traffic was routed locally then they wouldn’t be able to see what you’re up to, now, would they?

Marc N's picture
Marc N on November 16, 2005 - 00:52 Permalink

3 hops for me.
1 16 ms 16 ms 17 ms chtwpe01bba-xxxxxxxxxxxx.pei.a… [xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx]
2 16 ms 15 ms 14 ms
3 17 ms 15 ms 15 ms

Kevin O'Brien's picture
Kevin O'Brien on November 17, 2005 - 01:30 Permalink

This idea has been brought to me a handful of times over the past decade(+) and I’ve always been ready and willing to cross-connect. For the past two years or so, for technical reasons, it now makes more sense for Eastlink and Aliant to “do the dance”.

Regardless, I (ISN) once brought this idea to Island Tel (before the Aliantizing) and pitched it this way, “we establish a link over which we route data (or not — as we please) and we pay for the connection on a balance of payments proportional to what we actually use”. They quoted me a price for a circuit “to connect to their system” and left it at that.

I don’t understand how someone justifies a level of arrogance wherein they a) fully understand what you are proposing but will b) not address the issue and respond, rather, as if you had asked something entirely different — to make you go away. If a serious proposal is put in acceptable terms of politeness to someone (public or private, it matters not) they have an obligation to answer with honesty. This superior and condescending attitude has driven all the conflict (and there’s been tons) between my company and the former Island Tel and to a progressively lesser extent — as time goes on — with Aliant. Oh, and my absolute refusal to be “bent over” was a major contributing factor to the strife.