Beaver

Its often been said that the Internet’s natural enemy is the backhoe. But in this case, its a set of beavers who needed some more fibre in their diet.

Many years ago I did a very complete tour of a telecom facility. The inside plant, the outside plant, the sewers, the batteries, the roof, the cold-war-era emergency call centre bunker. There was a lot of Nortel brown switches IIRC. But one of the most interesting things to me was the constant war with nature. Paper-wrapped wires? Pump air into conduit. Rodents? Armor the cable. Tree roots? Concrete.

Seems like this area needed a bit more armor in the fibre. Score 1 for the beaver! A bunch of kids will have an interesting story to tell about why their homework is not done. “No really, a beaver”. Maybe they needed to floss some spruce from their teeth?

Roughly 50 years ago I got the very first vaccine, for smallpox. It came from ‘cowpox’, and, for today’s trivia lesson, the word “vaccine” derives from the Latin word for cow (Vacca), in its honour! So, a 50-year old cow-shot that was then already a hundred years old.

Today I got another shot in the same spot at the local pharmacy. Sure it came from a political scandal-plagued factory in Baltimore with poor quality control. Sure our elected leaders had to beg our neighbours to allow a small amount of export of a vaccine that isn’t even planned to be certified for use. But, that’s behind me now. I have joined the (as of now) 35% of Canadian adults with a shot in the arm.

The best part? The odds of me accidentally infecting someone go way down. Imagine how bad you would feel if you waited for a “better shot”, got mildly ill, but made someone else more ill?

The booking system worked great (I used the pharmacy one linked from https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/). The pharmacist got 600 doses at start of week and was now out of supply.

Its not a panacea, but the best shot is the one you can get right now. I hope all of you have or soon have yours.

Yesterday we had a day-long outage of on one of Canada’s 3 national mobile operators. This had a huge follow-on impact to every sector of society, from uber eats to people eagerly waiting their vaccine appointment. It has become a very important part of our society this Internet and Mobile thing.

Now, Rogers has not announced which item failed. But given the scope and impact it would be something central (HSS, HLR, VLR, something like that). So its possible that my below suggestion would not have addressed this particular case, but nonetheless, what i feel we need is a mandated peering and roaming within Canada.

Why? Well, your Roger’s phone is perfectly capable of working on the Telus or Bell network. Gone are the days of CDMA vs GSM. So, there are many failure modes for which this could have been mostly a non-issue. Perhaps capacity, slow down, but, life would have gone on. A failed P-GW, a failed backhaul, your phone should be able to switch carrier, and, the carriers should figure out the $ amongst themselves.

On this subject, peering. All carriers in Canada, fixed, mobile, should be required to perform settlement free peering with each other at a set of IXP. Similar reason, resilience, reliance.

What say you?