North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Definition of a burstable circuit

  • From: Alex Bligh
  • Date: Wed Aug 22 16:13:17 2001

Without getting into a religious debate, I need some consensus for a
problem that I am having regarding the definition of a burstable circuit.

In my view of the world, a burstable circuit is defined as one where the
customer can send us as much data as they would like (for example, an
entire DS3's worth on a consistent basis), and we would bill them for
usage above the contracted amount via some method (we use 90th
percentile reporting)

In someone else's view inside the company, the customer should be
prohibited from sending above the contracted rate for any extended
period of time by policing at the ATM layer.  Both views are viable, but
I believe (nearly religously) that the former view is correct.
The holder of the latter view has the benefit of history on
his side. Remember Frame Relay and terms like Bc (committed

What you are talking about is a varient of volume based billing
or metered service. The fact that you can 'burst' (for up
to 5% of samples without being billed extra (actually
just 'use' as you could do it all in one lump in one
day of the month, which is hardly a burst), led some
marketroids to call this a bursting service a long while
ago, has (sadly) caught on, to the point where now there
are two definitions in equal use, and a lot of confusion.

The confusion is then added to by sales people who
just say 'yes' to the question 'does the bursting
work like [x]', for all values of x. Then the unhappy
customer is annoyed when they either receive a bill
for more than they expected, or find that after 3
seconds, their initially extremely zippy ftp session
slows down to their committed rate. Cue support call
from right. Exit sales person, pursued by a bear market.

Alex Bligh
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