Kentik - Network Observability
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Network AF  |  Season 1 - Episode 9  |  January 18, 2022

Networks and interconnectivity with Hank Kilmer

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In today's episode of Network AF, Avi interviews Hank Kilmer, Vice President of IP Engineering at Cogent. The two discuss Hank's career running major internet backbones, how he got into networking in the late 80's, and his thoughts on mentorship in the networking community.


Hi, and welcome to network a f. Today, we're talking with Hank Gilmore.

Hank has run major internet backbones since the early nineties.

He got into networking in the late eighties in college. We're gonna talk today about both technology and people. The technology, what's been the same over the last decades as the networks and internet has grown. And some of the differences that are good, some of them that are bad. And we're also gonna talk about people.

What, has been helpful to him in his career, what, try to do a coach in to bring people in. And what we maybe as a community could do better to open up networking and hope you both get in. Thanks, and look forward to having you on the episode.

Hi, everyone, and welcome to network a f. Here with my friend and fellow networker Hank Kilmer. Hank, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally?


I've been doing networking since, nineteen eighty six when I got into it. So, you know, I'm I'm younger than I look, I guess. But, needed a way to pay, pay for college. So, ended up getting getting getting involved back then running networks and writing device drivers and everything else to make it all work back, in the researchy days.

Been doing it ever since. Didn't really view it as a career at the time. Didn't know it would be a career.

But, but it's been a fun ride. It's been kinda crazy.


And you're, you're in the, Greater DC, Virginia area? I'm in I live in Maryland.

So, yeah, just outside of DC. I've been born and raised in Maryland.

The school I went to was Rutgers. So that was Jersey. So all East Coast, lots of travel for the for the for the job, but otherwise, I'll hear. I've actually done SMDS peering back when Lotsco.

Was it was it records? We did, Yeah. We did we did peering, as I was at Philly and we got we got we convinced Bell to mooch the ladder together, you know, it was technically Right. Technically RF that they could.

That's right. So that was a little funny. So, yeah, I was in Ashburn to hug our servers and, upgrade from the supe seven twenty three DXL and the CEO cab a couple three weeks ago. And I just kept driving around, and I expected to see three times the number of data centers is two years ago, but I saw, like, eight times.

I just don't know, like, an IR map of that area. And I remember Oh, yeah. And think of the power draw out there. I mean, it's improving.

Yeah. Gigawatts.

And I remember when, Bob Gibson from Case took me to the secret mysteries of May East at Gallos, I saw, like In the parking garage? In the parking garage. I think it was, but maybe when you were still at your unit and there was, like, this unit router on a two prong extension cord, plugged in. Meanwhile, I was reading this, like, oh, the NSA has all the secret tabs on the internet, and I'm just looking I'm looking at the internet.

Like, I'm there. I'm looking at the five routers, and it's like the internet, and there's no tab. So I'm like, okay. There are no tabs, yeah.

That's right. I'll tell you that there's kind of rumors all still exist. Yeah. And it and it's still I mean, it's much more distributed.

It's bigger, but it's still the same thing. You know? We could talk about we'll get to this. I've gotten to people that are like, oh, you know, provider x, you know, does this sells their net flows?

Like, what happened that a provider x doesn't do anything with their but they're not flow or is just starting to, like so unless there's, you know, unless Cisco is the Huawei, which, I think we'd we'd see that in, you know, in networking. It doesn't work. So you mentioned, you mentioned getting into networking when I showed up at Temple University later than you. So I guess it was actually eighty seven.

One year. One year. One year. Yeah.

Right. Two years later, I remember I went in and there was a professor who did computer image processing and a professor did networking. Like image processing AI. Oh, that's really interesting.

Oh, yeah. Networking. And then, you know, I actually wound up being friendly with both of them, but I found the t one you know, the the the the prep net access, and I did wind up, you know, get getting getting into that. So For and for me, I was I I needed a job.

I needed a job. I needed, so I was looking for anything.

And really just kinda got lucky.

I was there for electrical engineering. I eventually switched to computer science, my degrees in computer science, but I just needed a job, and They were building a new building, and, they were running some networking in there. This was freshman orientation week, and I saw them trying to I I saw them trying to get it so that these computers would talk and print. And I can tell they were struggling.

Was this like SIPNet and Bridges and Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That, you know, your your your taps that you have to dig in and tap, you know, your vampire tap type stuff.

Yeah. All that. Yeah.

And I tell they were struggling. And so I just went in and offered to help.

And, they they they took a chance. They said, alright. If you can get these computers to talk to each other and and and be able to print by the end of the day, I'll give you a job.

So I sat down. I'd hardly been on a computer at that point, and I flipped open the manual. And I found that the way my brain works, it was pretty logical. It was pretty straightforward.

And I got it by the end of the day, and they were true to their word. And I got a job. And the job was a mixture of running, their networking on on campuses, some getting more connectivity into the other universities and the ARPA net and that sort of thing, and some repairing of the hardware. We did.

I took took apart monitors, you know, discharge fly back, you know, fasteners and everything else. Right? General IT. Yeah.

General IT. And and, but I I very much enjoyed that diversity.

You know, we we we got a new, for, a a sun.

I think it was a sun two at the time. We got a new, networking card that that, didn't have drivers. So I spent, you know, a couple days, right, and device driver for that, and had to tweak some of the networking stacks. So it would deal with So how many protocols at the time?

So it wasn't just TCP. It wasn't just IP. No. No. It was a little bit of everything.

It was decked at Vax. The we we have the Vaxes. We had Apollo's, HP Apollo domain, which could which was That one that one was crazy because depending upon how you booted it, it was a totally different machine.

Sun, you know, we had a had a good mix of stuff. So it was, it was a My college hack was informal.

They wanted on the Apple. I think we had Apple laser printers that were hooked up and, you know, to LPD, but it was like a dollar a page, but the mainframe laser printers were free. So that was the grand project. A few of us tried to figure out how to get the CDC cyber on the net. With an LPD compatible protocol, so we could do our, you know, printouts, our laser printouts to it. That's not matrix field.

That was free, bud. Yeah.

So that was also so that was, I guess, now we'd say corporate, it was college networking, but IT, you know, support, not just terrorism. Yeah. Yeah. I got, you know, we got we got a connection up down down the East Coast.

I remember what this was later in my college days. I was doing some research and I and I They were doing some of the same research at University of Delaware, logged into one of their machines to to look at some of their research to to, you know, work on it. At the time, people are like, what are you doing? What is what, you know, why? What what do you do? Well, I make it so you kinda didn't have a way to describe it. So as I make it, so computers can talk to each other.

Okay. Why?

And you kinda get you get tired of giving examples. Like, okay. Well, I'm doing this research. So are they, and then we can look at compare datasets.

Right? That does that kind of go went over so many people's heads. It just wasn't in their world because, I mean, we're in the eighties here. And so I would just kinda say, well, it's because I think it's cool. Because it was just, you know, it's so much easier. Just move on. That's fair.

Right? Just move on. Even even ninety two.

So, I was copying where you were at the time. I went to Disclave in ninety two or ninety one or ninety two, and I saw the Digex banners, and they were like, son threes. And I'm like, oh, I have sons fours in my basement. Should really I'd always wanted to run a multi line BBS.

And I was thinking about how to explain the internet. And, you know, that was what I did. I wrote a c program that like a BBS. And so you couldn't explain IRC.

I couldn't explain IRC to people. It's a two thousand line chat board. And, like, oh, okay. I get it.

But, like, you know, it's like a nine hundred line, but with your fingers.

Right. Right. Right. And now we have only fans. So, but, but, yeah. Kind of great.

And then then what happened was people could see there was enough interesting that they wanted a Shell account. Was ultimately the goal was to get them into it. But of course Yeah. In ninety two, we didn't think people would have IP addresses at home like.

Well, right. Right. Well, and Oh, it is terminal. Right? Right. After Kyle. Yeah. Right. All you need is, and I and I had a, little deck terminal, you know, yeah.

Yeah. Exactly. And it was I thought it was the best thing. I still love that keyboard.

Yeah. You know, I know it was the best thing ever. You know, after a couple of years where you went to school. I had friends, Dave Shavette, I think his father taught up there too.

Or, no, his father-in-law taught up there too. But he had a UNix PC at home, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. He had a terminal in every bathroom, and I was telling Gail, Like, I'm gonna be like, I just had needs to be connected in the bathroom.

Right. Right. Right. Wait. You will see. You'll see. Some new. Somehow we'll get there. Right?


So so how did that go from, did you take a special interest in the inter connectivity, or was it just general while your college was just general networking, you know, across? It it was very much general. It was it and it was a bit assisted, man. It was a bit of programming. It was a bit of the the networking.

A bit of the hardware repair and rebuilding things.

So it was a bit of a jack of all trades.

When I got out of college, I I got a job for a little bit as assisted men, which was fun, for a software development house that so they they also had kinda one of everything to port their software to all the different types of machines, which was a lot of fun.

And then and then you unit. I got the I got the job at you unit when when they were you know, starting to try and do this alternate thing. Right? You know? And so maybe you could describe the internet at the time was was NSF Net, was ANS Rand, c o r e, you know, court the commercial. And so there there's like, unit was the little dog at the time. Right?

Well, it was it was yeah. It was do we make this commercial at first. Right? And you had, and kind of you had unit and psi sort of going, yeah, let's do this. Right?

You had the government controlled bits and go, yes, but we still wanna control how you talk to us. Right?

U unit had its UCP side of things, which is a store and forward. You see my telebit trailblazer in the corner there, which is really UCP optimized modem. Yeah. Yep.

Which was big and really I mean, it it was really cool. It was great at the time, but they're like, no. I think we can make this work. And, and so they started to hire people to help build out, that side of it.

And I was one of those, early round folks with them.

And so, yeah, you're you're you're dealing with companies and peep it was really more you're dealing with individuals. Yes. They had companies. Yes.

They had a job, but you're talking to somebody on own is going, yeah, I just wrote my own, you know, PPP implementation or slip implementation to get it so it could work over the telabit Right. In a dedicated manner. And so when you're trying to get them up and running and working, you're not only debugging the phone lines. Right.


You're debugging, you know. The modem will show you for your device driver. Yes. Your memory Yes.

End to end. Yeah. Yes. Which is I think part of what, at the time was, you know, having come from a little bit of a jack of all trades, that helped me a lot Mhmm.

In those days.

But also you unit had a lot of really bright people there, which helped me a lot too. Right? Yeah.

So it it it was a great job. It was a lot of fun.

So it's really so fast.

At university, well, yeah, I mean, every three months, it was like another era.

Yeah. So, like, a university and unit, you mentioned having to figure things out, yourself, really, I think a lot of companies still look for people to take the initiative and, you know, will beat their head against it until they get confused But did you have you mentioned people. Did did you have people that were real mentors about technology or how to work with people, which can be confusing when entering the workforce or, you know Right. So at at the university, and I and I'm I must admit there were great people there.

You know, you mentioned one earlier Alice, and and, Rick Crispin. And there is just a an a nice list, mel Pleasant, a nice list of of really bright people that, I kinda had my own little job to do in my own little world, and they would point in a direction, and then I would just run-in that direction. So they were kind of the, you know, they were the guides I didn't use them at the time as as as I kinda learned at you and at how to use a mentor because I didn't really know how to use a mentor because it to your point, it was, you know, There's a lot going on when you're, you know, a a late teen or, you know, sort of thing getting into this stuff and, and figuring it out.

But I would not have been successful without them either. Yeah. But I didn't really know how to tap them the way I should have. Right?

Or the way I could have. Right? And the way I learned later, at unit, there were I mean, at unit, you would have what you would think would be the best idea in the world. And you would just walk down the hall talking about it.

By the time you got to the end, it would look so different because everyone was so bright. They could follow exactly what you're doing and give it their input and advice and improve. And, you know, by the time you're at the end of the hall, you've got this much better idea Right? Yeah.

Yeah. It's it's it's interesting, and both of us are from the East Coast.

It's something I think that, we need to be intentional about, which is that there's, especially academia people and and people from the East Coast sometimes, not to overgeneralize.

There there's often the attitude that, of course, you're good. You're here.

You know, of course, you know. Yeah. And then, oh, of course, of course, I like you. You're here, but I hate your idea. Let's talk about that. And that can be jarring for for some people. And so I've seen companies try to be more intentional about that.

Not in the overvalidating, but just like reminding people that, you know, whether it's the net effect, look at all our happy customers, look at the great product, we're all, you know, without doing the everything is awesome, but that can also be, you know, intimidating.

I've seen it. It's something that networking can should should think about as we welcome people, you know, to it. I think I think our education system focuses on tasks and and and on on more concrete knowledge. The soft skills of how to talk to somebody, how to know, you know, I can criticize you and I can do it harshly, and I can do it gently.

And depending upon who you are, you may respond better to one version than the other. Privately, please. Yes. Well, sure.

I mean, that but but you're right. Well, you, you know, criticize in private pricing public. Right? Sort of thing.

But but but the but the point is how you talk with people, how you interact with them, matters. And it's it's actually arguably more important than what you know. Yeah. My first non consulting job, the CTO said Avi it's not sufficient to be correct.

Like, it doesn't matter. Right? Which is or another way, sometimes the customer it's sometimes okay for the customer to be wrong. Which is another way of saying the world is not zero and one.

It's not right and wrong. It's not this is the technically best thing that may be true. That doesn't mean people should change what they're doing or it may not be true. And they just be a matter of opinion, you know, your opinions.

Well, right. Well, but also fast forward, you know, in my career when I moved into management, I had an engineer with a with who really wanted to try his idea out.

I knew that it was not going to work the way he wanted it to, but I also knew that wasn't going to harm sort of the customer and product.

And I tried to explain, you know, for the enemy to think about some of my cons, you know, my the the issues, But in the end, it was okay. This is this is an area he wants to try. It's not gonna hurt it. Anything. Let him run with it because that's the way he's gonna learn the best. You have to let people make mistakes.

Right. And then be there to help them and go, okay. Now now let's, you know, Now this is what happened. So let's learn from it and and and move on. And We do a a follow-up on engineering, management. We can talk about what the balance there is, but Absolutely. I mean, it's the same thing if you hear it.

If you well, or if you drive on autopilot, it's very different than making all the connections yourself.

Right. Yeah. Yeah. And we used to drive around. I used to drive around without a map and just like, oh my god.

I didn't realize that was connected there. It's Right. It is very different when you get to actually, you know, see it. So at you, you know, where did you have people that helped you with the way of communication and people, you know, as well as technology?

Yes. Very much. So you know, had had mentors there in terms of both technology and being a team member and communicating and working with others, working with difficult customers.

Working with, crazy employees as things grew.

You know, the the gamut.

Unit unit was at a time where not only was the technology exploding.

They were very, good at selecting people to bring in that not only were really good at what they did, but fit.

Into you units, culture, into you units, method. And and part of that was getting a team that meshed And as you mesh with people, and that you you you instantly build a trust with them, and that gets you to listen better. Because again, I was still young. Right?

And and, learning how to how to, work with people. Mhmm. But it was really good. And, and, I think I was there maybe two, three weeks, when I, made an update to the, router that ran in front of our firewall, and I locked us out of it.

Yes. And so I walked into to Rick Adams's office. I said, Rick, I I'm doing a maintenance this weekend on our on our main router, and he kinda looked at me the why.

Because I locked this out. I mean, it was safe and locked this out, and I'm gonna fix it and recover this weekend. I think it's this nice little grin on his face. And he's like, okay, that sounds good.

Go go do. Right? You know, that sort of thing. But he he lets you. And he he he respected, you know, I didn't hide it.

I didn't. Mhmm. You know, you know, there you learn when you see how he reacted that I happen to approach that one properly, you know, and you go, okay. That went well.

If I tried to you know, shrink and hide what what I did, he would have been, had a very different reaction. That wouldn't have gone over well. Yes. And, you know, Yeah.


So I was observant. I learned, but there were also people around that that had very good reactions themselves. They clearly had, you know, a lot more experience in in life than I did. And, and, and that really helped me.

You know? So a long time ago, one of my SIS admin mentors, who would do things, like, send me mail from god at on high to make me realize that SMTP was completely unauthenticated. It was completely that same academic. Like, of course, you're awesome.

You're here, but, you know, I'm gonna torture you anyway. But Right. You know, It used to be the lord that you weren't a real sys admin until you had destroyed your first machine.

You know, real networker to you brought the internet down, but Internet's much more critical now. I mean, was was it easier to, learn by breaking things and, you know, how do we give people that, you know, how do we help people when there's so much money and, you know, criticality flowing across, you know, networking now. It is very, very difficult. It it is very different in that way. You know, at the time not only would you break things with trying things out or whatever, but the technology wasn't stable, either. So you know, you're you're fighting both of those battles.

And a lot of have a code with your initials in it running on your router. Oh, yeah. Yeah. All the time. All the time. And you're on and you're on the phone, you know, with the developers, you know, and digging in to register entries going, okay, that doesn't look right, you know.

And you really don't get to do that anymore.

And and the one of the differences then versus now, the companies are way better at testing things. So what you get works better But to your point, there's a lot of money in it, but things still break, and things still don't work right all the time. And and having a a, more complete view of how it all work is supposed to work can can definitely be beneficial. But to learn that is a lot harder, you know, a lot of companies don't have big massive labs to replicate this stuff. And how do you really replicate the size and scale and instability necessary of the internet. Right?

And by instability, I mean, just route churn. It's nothing broken or wrong. It's just, you know, I'm here. I'm here.

I'm here. You know? Right? Okay. Good. I see you. Right? You know? But how do you how do you do that in a lab at in in scale and allow people the opportunity to, you know, try different things.

It it it's it's difficult. And There's an element of, fear rolling things out and an element of fearlessness rolling things out. And and and honestly, different companies have different balances for that. I've been in the in the telco world where they want you to test something for eight, nine months, take three months to develop the rollout plan, And by the time, you know, your your idea is actually hitting the network, the technologies moved three or four generations.

But I've also been in companies where it's like, that's a good idea. Let's give it a try tonight. Right? And that balance of where do you land is, dependent upon your your culture, your customer base, and and your your your talent pool.

Right? Yeah. But it is it's hard That that's a hard balance. Yeah. We definitely see that there are, you know, I think I think there's a lot of evolution.

Because even people that come from a regulated world where they have to, you know, I mean, they're required to do all this testing and all that.

Their application developers wanna work in this very continuous way. So we sometimes get people saying, well, no, like, before can take before you deploy anything, you need to give us three months notice and that's right. That's not the way SAS works. We're deploying every day.

Or even the next scale. I remember when when we were working with Yahoo, and I was like, well, every time you make a change, you can use you know, you can query the system and see, and see whether anything broke before or after. And Igor is like Avi. Do you know how many changes we make a day?

I'm like, he's like, think about per minute. Think about per minute. Right. Right. I mean, obviously, not mostly network, but deployments, rollouts, you know, the speed of orchestration.

So I guess as you say, now there is one thing we didn't have, you know, in in the nineties, and early noughties, which is commit confirm and rollback.

Oh, yeah. Which which helps a lot for those that don't know, the way you used to try to avoid what Hank experience was, you would tell the router reboot in fifteen minutes.

And then you would make the change. And then if you locked yourself out, the router rude reboot, which wasn't good, but it might be better than, It it it gave you a chance. Right? And then you had to remember to cancel that because the other problem is it took fifteen minutes for it to reboot.

As it as it propagated everything at, you know, serial speed through the device. But the other thing, you know, we had some failure modes where one router would reboot and it would have enough it would have enough routing announcements through it. That that would make the next router fall over. So the way you would you would end up solving that is you'd reboot at this time for the whole the whole you know, section of your network.

Yeah. Well, these days are behind us. Thank you. Your time at above net. In my time at above net, we had the route redistribution incident.

Which is, you know, I I describe it to mathematicians as a distributed computation that never convergence.

But, Right? Which is basically, that's a good way to describe it. Yeah. Yeah. Right. That's why you need good good out of band.

So, So, you were at unit, Digex, above that, I did a lot of consulting now at, cogent. I'll take you on a trip down memory lane. If you think about What were the biggest links that you ran at each company? And then we'll bring you forward to coaching.

Oh. Roughly. Roughly. You know?

Well, let's see. You you know, I left you you know when it was, probably o c threes at the time. Uh-huh. Yeah. Probably probably about that.

Sprint, Sprint was kind of a fun tenure that was, you know, see twelve's. Okay. So we're still under gigabit. We're still under one team. Yeah. We probably we might have had, we might add OC forty eight then too.

You know, and and then you're you're starting to move up the ladder after that. It went kinda quickly up for that. And Gagan. Yeah.

Yeah. As you moved into back then, as you moved away from the the, the the point to point link into your your ethernet, you know, base. It went it went quick. Yeah.

Well, that was a great decision that I I really it created some trauma, in my time at above net. I mean, but when I came to above net, there was one big broadcast lamp. And some people and bandwidth was expensive enough that people were like, why do I get ten megabits in broadcast? And why are you billing me five hundred dollars a month for that?

Right. So we had to we had to fix that, but, the the purity of we don't do, you know, serial connections. We only do ethernet, well, ethernet serial, but we don't do, you know, o c a t whatever. The customer terminates in Kolo connects Ethernet, the purity of all Ethernet to customer, you know, was, definitely nice and the It's simplified so much. It's simplified.

I mean, and and and kinda how I run cogent is we keep it simple. It is a very clean, design, you know, Well, I respect that. I've I've asked you for interesting ideas a couple times and well, it's not just you. It comes from Dave, right?

Focus. Oh, yeah. This is what we do. Yeah. Our whole business model is focused. We don't have any of the TDM services.

We don't have any of this, the this, things. He says no to a lot of, product ideas, business ideas because it it diverges from what we're good at. What we're good at is taking a packet and delivering it where it's supposed to go. Yeah.

And and really, if you if you ask us to do anything other than that, that's, you know, we we will struggle with anything other than that. That we will do extremely extremely well. Yeah. Right.

Yeah. No. It's interesting. I I just plugged my basically my first hundred gig in, and there was a lot less drama than I thought.

And I was just thinking about this is more bandwidth than It was like when I was looking, I don't know, probably eight years ago at a hundred meg card, a forty eight by hundred in a catalyst, I'm like, oh, that's the t one board. And I was like, wait, that's actually a lot more. Each port is a lot more than a t one, but, you know, what what is small and what is big you know, just take his over time. So That's right.

We're gonna, you know, you get your pizza boxes now that that the lowest speed you can get on it is ten gig. Yeah. Like, okay. Well, okay.

In a in a multi tenant office building, still most people want giggy. Okay. So that means I need something else. Right?

You know? And you think about that. That's a lot of bandwidth. It's actually interesting, maybe something we could have a panel on at some point.

How hard it still is for devices to do a great job of how much easier it is in networking to limit the physical port than it is to rate rate rate limit and traffic shape. Like, it works. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

But there's just something about the physical limit, which works a lot better. It works a lot better. I think things are more expectant of that in the coding and in the and in the, you know, the drivers and everything else. And so they're they're it's just it's just more baked better.

Yeah. I mean, even in the Kintech world, the devices do a great job of of resampling.

You know, and so people could. Like, oh, can we send you one record per packet? It's like, well, you could. I don't think you want to.

And, and, you know, generally, you know, things do things doing okay job. So cogent, what can you tell us publicly about the scale, size, diversity countries buildings, you know, of cogent.

Adding new countries as fast as we can as fast as, regulation in the country allows, and we can You have, like, ten countries, a hundred countries. Like, how how distribution can work? So Dave will give you the full number run downs. We're on every continent. We are in, you know, hundreds.

And, I mean, it's it's huge. We run, you know, it depends how you count.

I I think, you know, Dave tends to use the number twenty percent of all internet traffic, on our network. And, you know, it's it's huge. It it's it's every every every continent. So That's right.

And so how many people I I loved I you asked the enable question. Right? But Yeah. How many people with enough access that they could. We we run, we run like an old school IS p. In that if you're a customer and you pick up the phone and you call in, the person that answers that phone has access to solve your problem. Access and training and everything.

So our our call center folks, our CST folks, they all have access to to make To the configuration changes. Or to the the customer attached?

To to both. Okay. You know, to both if they need it. Cogent runs, so you're that's and that's a good question that you asked because cogent runs, a rather flat network. We do not have a we're not a telco mindset that has a pure backbone edge division.

It doesn't make sense to do that all time. It doesn't make economic sense to do that all the time. It doesn't even make traffic flow sense to do that all the time. So, if you're trying to build but the way it does make sense is potential device management like what you're talking about.

Right. So we we have we have really good internal training. We have, we have developed, that over the years. We also do keep track of, you know, the mistakes that get made and how to correct them and address it and that sort of thing to to continue to refine that.

That is a weekly process for us. Mhmm.

And, but no. You you call in the person that answers it can solve that problem. They have enabled. They have they have access to do it.

I mean, it is like a SaaS company in some ways. You call it old school, but in a typical SaaS company, any developer can deploy.

Now we trust their wisdom not to do it without testing and not to do it when no one's around and Right. So the thing and the thing with with cogent is because we don't offer all these different flavors, of whatever the customer wants.

It is very standardized.

So a customer configuration looks identical across the board.

That makes it easier on, you know, the call center folks and and the knock and and my engineers to to figure out what's going on. Right?

Check to make sure it conforms to the standard. Yes, no. Okay. If yes, well, then we know how it's gonna behave.

How it should behave. Right. Now you're looking at what is what would cause it to not behave that way. Right?

Is there an outage. Is there are there errors on the on interfaces? Are there, you know, is there something else odd going on? Is there a bug?


And go from there. Which we talk about the bed all days, but networking, you still do need to know what it should be doing because you can find and do find bugs more more than in the kernel layer. So Yeah. And, you know, I preach keep it simple.

It is from Dave's point down, but it's also kind of the way I just view How many vendors? In general. How many vendors?

Do you, Rob? We we have a ton of vendors. It's one.

So you have one IGP?

We have one IGP.

We have one vendor, both for the optical layer and for the routed layer.

Yes, that we have our our our one great vendor. And that allows us to have, very deep ties within their their their business units, within their development teams.

So when we do find problems getting the right person on the phone, is is quick, is with is painless, essentially, pain other than that you're doing it because there's a problem. Right? But But, when you when you have multiple vendors, you don't have as much, influence with that one vendor. Right?

With each one v each vendor, then if you had it all aggregated into one and and be And so, you know, you have their pros and cons to the different approaches. Yeah. Well, and and, you know, there's some protocols that do better with code diversity, like, DNS.

There's some protocols that don't always do better with code diversity like BGP. Like BGP or or or ISIS or or something like that. Right. Right. In the networking world, people will argue that, dual vendors, dual routers, gives you, you know, that that that redundancy.

I would argue that the only way that gives you redundancy redundancy really is if you build two That works. Complete networks that might, you know, interact and talk to each other back and forth, but you still have to have a path that's all one vendor and a path that's all the other vendor. Because if you have an interaction bug, if you have a bug in v in one vendor, that's tripping up some data flow, whether it's packet based, whether it's routed based, and you go through that vendor, for for from customer to server or whatever they're talking to, they're gonna hit it.

So the only way you really mitigate that is to not that you'd be able to switch.

Don't use this vendor anymore. Right. I mean, I think that Yeah. The world has been better.

Generally, I see the point. Yeah. The, the internet was brought down multiple times in the nineties and knots by Again, the BGP where, you know, in theory, in networking, we have these things called RFCs, and people look at them to write the code in practice that's something that has often when I talk to academic folks looking at simulation and modeling, or network SNM, you know, it's like, you know that the actual code has bugs and does not do exactly what the RFCs said. But e even those that do, the the RFCs will state shoulds and may's.

Yes. And if I read a should in May and I decide to not do, and you decide to do, we can have a conflict that that can cause an outage. Yeah.

Right. So so if you think about I know you said you don't have like backbone or not. But, there must be more than, you know, Aaron who we see on the peering, the peering circuit doing it, you know, from the from the people that think IGP and, you know, picking your, I I guess, we didn't talk about testing, but testing devices and overall architecture, how big is so how big are the various teams, I guess, coaches. So on on the on the routing side of the house, it's it's in the ballpark of eight people. Uh-huh. Wow.

It is on the optical side. It's a similar size Mhmm. For the optics.

We have, you know, very good support groups around us that do other aspects, but it that it's a small group.

It's a smaller federal. Yeah. Focus of design, focus of vendor, focus of product is is the key to doing that. It it absolutely is.

We do not, you know, we get requests. I want I want I want to tweak, you know, my configuration. And we say no to most of I want to disackle this way. Yeah.

If I don't have a way to tool it to write a a a script that will make it repeatable.

And if I don't have a way that even with that, that I can predict how it's gonna interact, I I can't. I I we say no.

Most of the requests that we get in all honesty are better done on the customer side anyway.

They just find it easier. Well, I don't have to pay my consultant or whatever to do it. It's easier for you to start a firewall management company that just takes the the cogent needs. Right.

Oh, and, you know, the the the the other requests that we get, short of, you know, sort of these tweaks like that.

Are things like the achilles where you're like, okay. This will not prevent waste off attackers. Yeah. Yeah.

Okay. I've gotta carry a dos attack all the way across my network to this port, and I will block it on this port. And and and you think that's a good thing. Well, I think that's a bad thing, and and I would rather come up with ways to block the dos attack than I not carried across my network.

Yeah. I know back in twenty fourteen, we talked about whether providers could could co cooperate to say, hey, I'm gonna filter this. Maybe you shouldn't send it to me. But, of course, we've had issues operationally with flowspec, and then, of course, people do wanna get billed people don't really want to generate DDoS, but they do wanna get billed for traffic that is sent to them.

So there's some complexities there. But Well, and it's it's and and and the different hardware, and and vendors can treat some of this stuff differently. If I do if I do flow back and I put out an echo rule, when does that echo take effect? Does it take, effects before or after I count the packet?

Yep. If you're a usage based billing customer. Right? Well, that can vary depending upon your vendor.


You know? So, no, I wanted you to block it. You didn't carry that for me, so I don't wanna pay for it. Mhmm. But I still acted on it. So should you?

It's a good question. Right? You know?

Yeah. No. Not it's it's funny how things can often not be as simple as they seem in the Right. It seems like an easy request, but you get in that you get into some, you know.

Yeah. Well, and and again, there's people that will help customers that that either lack the resources or or sometimes sophistication, to, sell on top. And a lot of, your competitors would sell a data service and, you know, mitigation service. And, you know, the ch Chinese vendors would sell a deduct service.

Most of my customers would sell deducts mitigation service, but Right.

Used to be your Eastern European demand gen for the DDoS folks, but now it's Right. Global.

We'll just say. So Right. It spread its wings.

So, yeah, I would rather sell connectivity to those vendors. Right. I carry bits really well. Right? That's what we specialize in.

Our design is very thorough.

In terms of of the completeness of value sets, you know, how you learn routes, how you what you do with them, how you tag them, our design and and our design is very predictable.

I think that I know how it's going to behave. There are fiber cuts you know, many times every day globally. So you need to have predictability. Is the network down? The answer is yes somewhere.

Always. Yeah. Yes. Right. Yes. But I will still get your packet to where you want it to go.

You know, on the DDoS front. A lot of people, you know, we will work with them and they have normally five gigabits of traffic, maybe five years ago or twenty gigabits or fifty gigabits now, and they get an attack every so often that's five or ten gigabits. It's like, you know, you could get a couple hundred gigabits of of capacity at the same Equinix place you're at. Not that you don't want scrubbers and cloud solutions, but Right.

You know, if you don't need to just run, you know, so tight, for the costs you're looking at, you can have a many multilayer. Right? You can have more bandwidth. You could do flows back yourself.

You can engage. You can have on prem scrubbing. You can do cloud scrubbing.

And again, some people not worth it. They're just gonna do an always on solution or something.

You know, which is fine. A lot of diversity. Know, I'm at the and to your point, you know, part of Cogent's business philosophy is we wanna be we wanna commoditize Internet service. Mhmm.

So we wanna make it and and by that, that means you have to be bringing the price down. Period. Right? And so we we focus heavily on that.

The flip of that is that means that you should be able to buy whatever bandwidth you you need and not worry about worry about, you know, these these caps. Right?

Have extra. Mhmm. Bye more. If you use it, great. If you don't, you know, that's okay too.

But the in the DDoS world, you know, there are different kinds. There's ones I wanna take you out.

And I'm just gonna send you as much as I can, and that they can send it a lot of the traffic. Yes. But there's also now and has been for a while, as you know, these, a little microverse. So, of I'm I'm I'm gonna send you a huge amount of traffic for fifteen seconds.


And and your your your mitigation systems, you know, have to be able to respond really fast for that. Right? So, the only way to the only way, really to handle some of that is with extra bandwidth. Yeah.

Right. Well, and and capacity. And and a lot of our, again, our our more SaaS customers are likely to fire up cloud resource, change DNS. Fire up more application layer.

It's not just, you know, only about network. That's right. That's right. Yeah. It's gotta work.


So, no, that's interesting. So I I applaud the focus, even when it's frustrating to me personally because I'd love you all to do something. Else. Right. But, you know, it is if if you look at startup Canon, that is, you know, the mantra is focus focus focus. If you go too wide, you know, it can be difficult. Especially at at smaller scale.

And, I guess Well, if you if you think about your background in mind and where we've worked, They've either so many of them, you, unit, bankrupt, sprint, has plotted along, not bank not not going bankrupt. Digax Bankrupt, above net bankrupt.

Right? Mhmm. And one of the big reasons is they they spent too much money trying to solve all of these problems or address all of these customer market places. Right?

Yeah. Cogent. Cogent's profitable. Right? The company that bought my ISP bankrupt bought by another company that went bankrupt.

Akamai, you know, has focus.

You know? My highest focus. Yes.

So in this Tenty has focus.

Yes. Yeah. And and cogent has focus. And cogent, you know, is profitable. So I it it's, I would get yelled at if we were profitable at this point.

So we actually last year, like, had months where we were, you know, and I got yelled at. So, you know, all the bad bad CEO, you know, lose more money grow faster. So I'm happy to take more.


Yeah. Yeah. No. But you wanna know that the business can be, and you wanna keep that in control and that is, you know, it's ultimately up to every company and investors.

It's like a lot of people in Silicon Valley would say, oh, that's a lifestyle company. Well, it's their company. That's whatever they want it to be. It's the right it's the right thing.

It's their company. It's not my company. You ask my opinion. I'll give you my opinion, but I worked at Service Central, which is an awesome lifestyle company, and and Jordan and Daniel and crew now deaf.

They're happy doing what they're doing and and, you know, and, you know, then there's or, data foundry. You know, just had a great exit, you know, the yaku baitai, yakubitis, the greater yakubitis, co prosperity sphere, Texas Net, giga news, golden frog, data foundry. And, you know, they did their thing, and and, have a lot of also a lot of great people working for them. So, last thoughts on the on the, I guess, the backbone side what's the same and what's different besides speeds and feeds, you know, from Digex, well, Uunet backbone, you know, digit sprint, you know, forward to to now.

So the the the underlying architectures are really still the same. Your routing architectures, your your even you're trunking, even though it's different in interfaces, it's bigger, faster and whatnot. Right. That's all still the same.

You still have the same issues with the with, the hardware and the vendors in dealing with that and their designs and you know, how much queuing and and and tool sets you can do on it.

So for so from a from a purely technical perspective at that level.

I mean, there are tweaks. It's growth, but it is still underlying the same.

The the differences in, and and there's there's some pros and cons in some of the differences. The differences is what you get is way better tested, way better, better, quality so that you have less of these, catastrophic, you know, bugs or interactions or surprises.

That said, the it because they're it's a very complex setup in terms of your routers and the software and everything.

You have fewer of the people and some of them have retired and whatnot moved on, that understand the whole thing of how it worked.

So you have a a bug in in your router and you're dealing with someone who goes, well, my world's fine. And another person who goes with my world's fine.

Like, and and and and in my world, I have one vendor. So I'm I'm the one bridging all of these different people together saying, okay. Now your world may look fine. Your world may look fine, but this is not working. So we need to, you know, look deeper. Right?

And and and that that is challenging. I also find that true on the networking side. You know, I've got a small team of extremely experienced people.

But when you wanna bring new people in, you're bringing people in that, oh, I got my CCIE, and I know this bit of networking. I know I know this. And one of the things that I always ask, I I'm I I run the department, so I I tend to just look for personality fit and let the technical betting go elsewhere. But I ask one technical question.

You open up your browser and you type dub dub dub dot Google dot com. What happens? Yeah. I wanna hear how they think about it. I wanna hear whether they think about, you know, the DNS resolution and and and how that process works. And you know, I I I just wanna hear how they think about it. There's no right or wrong answer, really.

I'm trying to see do they have more than just I can configure a router. Yeah. I know these people draw the internet, you know, And and and, you know, it's it's a subset of that, but it's like Right. And again, that's not only a technical question. Right? If you're selling internet, maybe you should or a CDN, maybe I should know where you're where you're, starting from.

Right. And, you know, I have a friend that worked at, well, my wife's best friend, but a friend of mine too, worked at deck on some very technical stuff. Like, the thing that did the the runtime running Vax binaries on alpha, you know, for Ultrax and EMS.

And when I when I saw when I heard what he did, I was like, oh my god. That's, like, so amazing.

And he's like, yeah, we just asked people to, like, you know, compute polynomial and factorial and stuff. If they can't do the basic stuff fast, then that's the biggest predictor. And, you know, master's master's degree is the biggest anti predictor And, you know, the net the other networking question, which is really insightful of of is, like, just two machines on a network when they find each other and just understanding ARP and switches for ARP and router switches, passive observation and cam and switches. Is, subtle and, can be subtle, especially if, you know, if you haven't, if you didn't really get that in your head through through debugging.

Right. So how do you well, we'll come back to getting people at at the end, in a couple questions. Got a question about, like, getting people into it because that's as you said, like, there's a lot of there's a world of complexity.

You know. There is.

There. So I noticed, we both took a detour, not a detour, a parallel path, into policy.

I was asked, when Aaron Advisory Council was formed. I I described Aaron as the printing press for integers in North America.

You know, IP addresses and ASs. Yeah.

And, I made it a couple years and I saw you had a detour there. And I just I marvel at these messages that make it through my white list from John Curran where I see all these things going on and and grand Bbn, and now he's helping the the community. I mean, what was that like?

Why did you decide, you know, how do you think engineering versus policy stuff, because they both involve people. Right? They both involve people. They both, in impact, what we do and, and, I think it's important to be involved. I think it's important to to do what you can, but I also think, you know, priorities can can take you in different directions, which is, you know, sort of the, I I was at Aaron for a little bit. I've been on, you know, an analog program 70s and things like that.

And so I like helping, and I like reviewing, but also there's only so much time I can devote to that that isn't my paying day job. So, at but but, I found that, the policy side is much more people oriented, less, technical knowledge based.

Helps to have a technical background with it because it your your trying to make policy that that Right. Works around or with the technology. Yeah. Around.

Sometimes around. Right. Yeah. But, But mostly it's people. It's it's interacting with people. It's it's, getting consensus.

It's figuring out how to how to, listen.

I think, listening is a skill that, wish they taught in school.

Yeah. Especially with, again, a lot of smart people that are passionate about their viewpoint. It can be interesting. For me, There was enough talking about how to talk about talking about things that that my ADD kicked in, and I was, like, twitching to write code.

And, Right? You know, Alec Peterson was actually off. Maybe maybe you you maybe this is not for you. And I was like, yeah, you're right.

And I'm I'm so happy that people enjoy that, and they do the ITF, and they do ISOC and all that.

But, it is a great reason to go travel and and see people that we know, but, there's other other ways to do that. It it is, but there's other ways to do that. I think that the interpersonal relationships are are are I mean, that I wouldn't be here without them. I don't think you'd be where you are without them. They they are you can't emphasize their importance. Enough, but there are but but if you prioritize that, there are a lot of ways to do it. And and like you, I I found, you know, doing the policy useful to to help the community, to help grow this industry.

But it's also not, I'm I I would not want it to that to be my career. As I said, John, you could probably guilt me or pay me enough to do John's job if someone needed to, but I would need to. Oh, yeah. What I would do is I would do a stint at it.

Yeah. But but, I I don't think I could do it as well as he does, and and for as long as he does. I wouldn't try to be. I can just buy my relations with them.

I just decide to, you know, ignore it. So We we run one of the routes. So I I, I'm part of you know, that bit of the community there. But I also have help there, with PoVixi and and and by Well, someone had someone who ran Ican for a while, but I had worked with.

One of we had we had lunch or something, and it's like they're recruiting me to wanna run Ican, and I was so I can tell. Like, I just can't I have no like, I would never do that. Like, you have your people are always gonna be unhappy. There's nothing that you could do Right.

Make people happy. And, you know, I also didn't really agree, you know, with the clear direction they were going. You know, and stuff. But so bringing all that together, you know, you talked about the complexity of, of modern networking and stacks.

And we talked about the the primarily the ooze of nerd where you might have to ride a device driver or assistant man. No. You might help help a confused professor, do the networking, everything was related and in networking.

I've been, I guess, privileged enough to see iOS back when it was one program. Well, you know, it was like calling ARP. And ARP was calling, I mean, Right. It was is in in the bad old days.

And, and so how do we bring people in? To the community, or how do you, you know, because we can't meant people fully whole fully formed that have already broken the internet and destroyed. No. And and, you know, it it is a good question, and it is, I think that, you know, you have companies like mine, Cogen.

We we love to take people that have, you know, like, maybe a little bit of computer science computer networking or something to add a community college and bring them in and train them. And we have we've developed some pretty rich training.

And then once they get in, and they get their feet under them and they figure it out, they can decide, you, you know, what's best for them on what path to go in? Do they wanna learn more of the of the, you know, the DNS side of the world or the or the or the routing side of the world or or the optic side of the world, and and and and all of that, or is it not right for them? I I mean, they get to decide. There's people that love supporting customers, and that's different.

We have we have. Yes. We have some that that that's, you know, you can kinda see it. They're gonna do that for the next, you know, however long they want to.

And that's what they they're really good at. I think they're I think that that type of as a community, we need to recognize and do more of that. The colleges have some good programs, but they tend to want to specialize, and they want to specialize in programming more in more in in networking or in in, you know, the various different components.

And if you specialize too early in a component, you don't understand how it all works together, and you could develop the the the greatest video processor that doesn't have the buffering right to understand that between you and the and the server and the customer out out in the world, you know, is, you know, has latency to it and jitter and, you know, everything else. Right? So, I mean, I've seen that repeat itself over and over again. So that's I'm saying that from history and experience.

Not just theoretical. And and, I I think you know, that that general, it's kinda like, you know, if you wanna be a if you wanna be a doctor, you become a doctor, then you specialize.

Mhmm. Right? And you go to more school for your spec. Right. We we need to recognize that there's an element of this as we as we evolve that requires some of that.

You know, and and I'd I'd I'd I'd I'd feel like at least right now in our evolution, we're trying to specialized people too early that we're not getting that that diverse view. I mean, some of the best engineers that I that I've worked with and that I have have no computer experience prior to this industry.

They're just bright. Maybe they do AV stuff at their at their, you know, and and figure out how all that works. Well, that's that's a network. It's not a IP packet network, but, you know, a signal that goes from there to there is, you know, we we talk about network observability, but that was network observables that that that's where it came from, right, which is understanding an electrical network by observing its its outputs and understanding what's going on. You know, it's a lot of the same processes. I mean, we have all these labs and testing and virtual things.

You know, a lot of it is build this. One of the things that I don't have a CCIE, and we both come from the world where there was a ton of different protocols. And people had asked me questions, and it's like, What's your CCIE number? It's like, I don't have one. Like, I've never done IPX. Like, I have done IPX, but I don't know. You know, I just, like, packet it to stops barfing on my IP network or whatever, but or it did.

But, one of the things I always liked about CCIE was, like, the lab. I'm gonna give you a bunch of broken stuff. I broke this and you need to figure it out. Go fix it.

Yeah. Yeah. And how do we do that? And, you know, up and down and across layers.

And, you know, yeah, have that broad interest. So it's not just I wanna be a WAN engineer or I wanna do this for that. And I hope the maker, you know, I I was really encouraged ten, fifteen years ago when the maker stuff started. That yeah.

Yeah. Absolutely. You know, because it takes people down level. It can be really hard to be fair if you live in this world of all the beautiful UIs and abstraction and everything just works.

To put start poking at it, you know, can be can be tricky. Although we do have, you know, shells on OSX now. So that's that's at least positive. And Linux running on Windows.

With Linux running? Yeah. Right. Exactly. Exactly. It's it's kind of converged in in a lot of ways in that way.

But also, you know, the a lot of the, younger people I know. I mean, I have a twelve almost thirteen year old daughter and her friend group and that sort of thing.

They liked it. It all works, and they liked it. It's all easy. And they have they liked it.

I can go in and fix it. When it doesn't. Mhmm. I I'm I'm struggling to get them interested in understanding what's going on and why I have a lot of things.

That are foundational builders, relatives, you know, that got me into computers, that their kids of all genders are sort of the same thing.

And their attitude, I mean, just people I tend to hang out with is whatever they wanna do and be. They're not trying to make them be like they wouldn't make them a doctor or a lawyer, you know, or whatever.

Yeah. So they'll come from somewhere. I know. You know, globally. I mean, but, it's different than the hobbyist era.

Right. So, okay. We'll we'll put a put a put a note on that. Think about that.

I was gonna say effectively, that's what we've done. In in our our sort of generation, perhaps a better term, is we were hobbyists, and and it and it grew into a career.

It wasn't really a plan. Yes. And now when you if you want a plan, which is where, I guess, the industry is now, you need to entice people. You need to figure out how to, make a decision. It's not just networking.

There's a lot of he's talked about medicine.

Travel knowledge. There's a lot of professions where we're actually not as far from woodworkers and shoemakers and Yeah. You know, the the artisans as we as we could or should be despite Wikipedia despite all this information Right. Networking is one of those areas that, you know, need to think about. Yeah. Net networking is still part art art science.

And yeah. Absolutely. That's right. No. I mean, it's it's it's definitely true networking distributed systems there are people that lay hands on that couldn't necessarily explain exactly. They could probably reverse engineer it, but there's a lot of pattern match. And well, how did you know that?

You know, the graphs and just seemed like.

But you do anything long enough. But again, medicine, you know, it's it's a struggle for me to find doctors that will say I don't know, which is like awesome. I love hearing. I don't know.

It's like, I love hearing. We don't know. We used to do this. Now we do this.

Tell me the probability space instead of just the go do this and see me in three months, you know. Right. But I'm a horrible patient. So, I get I get asked networking.

How did you know to do that? And to your point, I I don't always have a concrete answer. I mean, sometimes, but most of the time, it's I mean, there's there's still intuition, you know, and Yeah. And and relying on that trusting the intuition, but also relying on sort of the history of what I fender.

Right? Well, as Kentic grows, we'll definitely think about more of the training, especially around internet working, and, you know, we see it ourselves, in terms of a lot of people wanting to know about networking who come from software, and there definitely could be better resource. So, we can't solve it alone, but hopefully No. I I happy to help.

Yeah. Absolutely. We need it. So last question.


Yeah, I think we've both been really fortunate to be able to make a career out of things that are fun.

But any advice you give younger self you know, on day one.

You know, can you make this thing print, or, you know, a little further on?

I I think I would have I would love to have told myself, early on to pay closer attention to the people around you earlier. I learned it, but earlier, to tap into their experience more to tap into their brains and their personalities more to to see the the pros and cons of different approaches more.

I was fortunate to to get in around some really good people.

And, And I did I could've learned a lot more than I did, earlier.

I think I I kinda learned that lesson as I went and and got better and better and better and better at it.

And, it's funny, you know, their their times, like, I'll I'll refer to myself at this point in my life as a social engineer, no longer a network engineer.

Because because my job is not necessarily to have my fingers on the routers anymore. It's to it's to get everyone on board to do to go in the same direction to to support each other and work as a team and and and all of that. So, the earlier I learned that the better life would have been.

I think, and listening is a big big aspect to that.

I wish I I was a better listener earlier.

Well, it's it's it's interesting because I don't always do this. I could be better. We could all improve. Fact, starting kentech is maybe realize how much I suck at so many things, but it's awesome because I don't like being bored.


You know, I think if you're doing a great job as a leader, people think, well, all you do is tell people what to do. I think it's actually much more listen, ask, and help.

With which which also at the early stage, if you only ask and don't do her help, then that gets sent. Right. Yeah. If you ask, looking for the answer that you want, and then you la la la la la, then that also. What? That's things that's generally Well, I I would add one one more word in in your circle trust.

You have to trust the people around you. You have to you have to earn their trust.

That you're going to help. If you just if you just listen and don't do anything, you know, that that doesn't get you anywhere. But but if you build that trust where they know that if they're gonna share something, or or answer your question or or challenge you, you know, I don't know at all. I might I might be saying, let's do this, and it's a really horrible idea. And they have to trust that they can say to me. That's a really horrible idea.

And then I'm gonna accept that, and I'm gonna listen. And I'm going to think about it. I'm not going to just react all how dare you and Right. And all of that. I mean, I I, I believe strongly and, you know, taking the time to reflect.

Try not to have that any. So, you know, people can tell me that I'm, you know, I'm I'm wrong. I'm I'm not, you know, and they can do that politely or rudely, and I accept it. Right?

I, you know, And but but that's part of who I am. That's what I bring. Mhmm. And but, it is really important. And I think that helps earn the trust. They know they can, you know, saying do anything, and I'm gonna support them, and they're gonna support me.

Or even as you described with Rick Adams a long time ago, Right? You had the trust that you could share with him and he, you know, you establish his trust by sharing being open. And then he's like, okay.

You know, and if he thought, yeah. Okay. Well, you screwed it up. You should have someone else check it, then he would've told you.

And should have, you know, do it. Yeah. That's right. That's right. I mean, and and and that's so I think I earned trust in his eyes.

But his reaction taught me a lot about, you know, about me trusting him. As well. So, you know, anything moving on, it was it was, like, it was it was a in I don't even know if he would remember it. He probably wouldn't in his you know, world. But to me, it was a big deal.

Very nervous early in this job, and, and, Yeah. It was a big deal. But but I learned a lot about that that, respect and trust and and honesty and, and how to approach things. Yeah.

Mhmm. Yeah. Interesting. Miss mistakes aren't bad.

Tell you handle it Right. Is that that that that can make them. Experiences what you get when you didn't get when you wanted.

Right. Right. Right. Right. As you said, sometimes you need to, you know, get yourself unconfused. Hopefully, with this, as limited a blast radius as possible, Yeah.

Yeah. Which good architecture helps with, which we can have a debate at some other time. Well, Hank, thank you so much for sharing.

And, it's been great to work with you and and the people who are at and have come through Cogent.

And, maybe we'll, as a community continue to work we definitely will on on trying to help people understand and get in, to the community so that, well, we can keep zooming like this. And the typical wave, we're gonna keep the ground off cliffs. Yes. We can't we can't, you know, just take people that started as hobbyists in the eighties, so that that will not work.

Needs to be diverse in people. That that'll run its course. Yeah. That's right. That's right.

Yeah. No. There definitely are younger folks and and, but we need to help. You know, it's possible to get there, you know, from from the outside, but it needs to be, a little bit, more ordered and and, also tell the story better, which hopefully.

I think telling the story a little more a little more I think a little more community involvement in the in the, labs and training and teaching. It shouldn't just be the vendors. It shouldn't just be, University, which have, which has different focuses. Right?

So, yeah. Well, plus the it's not actually a technology thing. Peering is not actually a technology thing. No.

Right. So the business and economics and politics and all that, but again, different topic. Of time. Right.

Well, thanks again. I've been on both sides of that politics.

Yeah. Well, that's the funny thing is different companies in and of course their life, they go from the bed, Galler guy to the to the, wait, why won't people?

So, you know, it just shows that people tend to be given the same patterns when they have the same inputs.

Right. So Right. Right. Yeah. Okay.

Well, thanks again. And Thank you. I'm sorry to chat with you soon. You bet. Take care.

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About Network AF

Network AF is a journey of super-nerd proportions into the world of networking, cloud, and the internet. Avi Freedman, self-described internet plumber and podcast namesake, hosts top network engineering experts from around the world for in-depth, honest, and freewheeling banter on all-things-network — how-tos, best practices, biggest mistakes, war stories, hot takes, rants, and more.
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