Hurricane Electric

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How can you sell against deeply-discounted burstable bandwidth?

[Jan.13, 2017] How can you sell against deeply-discounted burstable bandwidth?

Background: Some vendors offer burstable bandwidth at incredibly low prices, and may also agree to low commitments aggregated across multiple ports (sometimes at multiple locations).

Of course, you'll always want to watch for "the usual" special terms: high setup fees, price-escalation language, or service-level guarantees. But there's a lot more to research.

Talk to your customers and other agents about any issues they've encountered with these ports. Research whether any network issues are being honestly explained by the vendor (will the vendor always say "it's a DDOS," even if the issue is overselling and saturation?).

  • Some vendors may configure their Quality-of-Service (QoS) settings to prioritize some customers' traffic over others. Thus, discount customers might find that during peak hours, and during DDOS attacks, their traffic is impacted much more than other customers with ports in the same location. Which priority will be reflected in the customer's pre-sales testing?
  • Some vendors may offer low-cost bandwidth by grossly overselling capacity. When the uplink is saturated, traffic is delayed and packets may be lost. Some vendors may also impose rate limits (throttling) on some customers during peak usage periods, so that a customer might not be able to burst to the full expected capacity while the uplink is near saturation … but during off-hours, the same port may easily burst to the full 10Gbps during a DDOS attack against that customer.
  • Pay attention to the measure: typically, usage-based billing is based on "95% usage," where the top 5% of traffic measurements on the port during the entire month are excluded. (This excludes typical traffic bursts from infrequent events, such as a DDOS.) Very slight changes can have a huge billing impact; for example, some vendors may measure the 95% only on some peak days during the week or month.

How can you sell Hurricane Electric IP Transit against deeply-discounted burstable bandwidth?

  • First, always provide the customer with Hurricane Electric's flat-rate pricing as well as any burstable pricing they've requested.
  • If a customer wants service across multiple POP locations, ask your channel manager about special pricing for certain types of customers.
  • Next, make sure that the customer understands what the other vendor is actually promising and delivering; challenge any unrealistic promises, and help the customer do research to find the truth. Is the customer being quoted a low rate per-Mbps but with a monthly "port fee" added?
  • If the customer chooses to order service from another provider, keep in touch! A few weeks or months down the road, they may experience issues and need a replacement service (or additional service). Remember that Hurricane Electric can turn up a new port in just one or two days, in most situations.

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