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Asia Online's Woes -- Are We Getting The Full Story? 9 May 2001 Edition
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What's going on over at Asia Online.

Several local websites hosted with Asia Online have been at best "slow" and more often than not just completely unreachable for nearly a week now.

These sites include two that I visit quite regularly: IDG and Netguide.

7amNews Sci/Tech

I contacted both IDG and Netguide last week to let them know that there was a problem and was surprised to see that things were no better yesterday.

This morning the NZ Herald ran this story but I wonder if it's giving us the whole story.

For some time now Asia Online traffic has been routed through Sydney Australia.

Yes, that's right -- even though the servers are located here in NZ, a traceroute shows that it takes around 15 "hops" to reach servers hosted at the ISP and that for most local Net users, their requests, and the returning webpages have to negotiate a torturous route.

After passing through some local machines, requests to Asia Online are then (for most local users) passed off to Netgate.net.nz where they're forwarded to a router at syd.connect.com.au. They then pass through three Telstra routers in Sydney before returning across the Tasman to another Telstra box in Auckland. Then it's off to tcnz.net before being forwarded (finally) to Asia Online's server farm.

Of course then any requested data has to come all the way back before it's displayed.

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    Although Telstra is not best known for its ability to configure routing tables and their inadequacies have caused grief before -- I have been told this morning that this particular routing issue can be laid fairly and squarely at Telecom NZ's door -- because they refuse to peer with Asia Online.

    One thing's for sure -- since some ISPs are still paying separately for their international IP traffic, sites hosted at Asia Online are placing an unnecessary cost-burden on other local ISPs because that traffic is considered to be international in origin and destination -- even though the servers are here on NZ soil.

    Of course Telecom NZ stand to make extra money from the forced "international" status traffic passed to-and-from Asia Online -- so this would perhaps explain why they've proved unwilling reluctant to fix it. In fact, the situation has gotten so bad that there is talk of a separate link being installed (and not by Telecom) to bypass the ridiculous "via Sydney bus-tour" on which most Asia Online traffic is currently forced to travel.

    So, Asia Online may well be under a protracted DOS attack -- but the "round-about" routing forced on them by Telecom NZ sure won't be helping at all.

    As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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