Why does Sonic not offer fixed IP addresses on their own fiber service?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
10 posts Page 1 of 1
by rcoaster » Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:29 pm
Hi-

Maybe this has been answered a hundred times already, if so, I apologize for the redundant question.

Why does Sonic not offer fixed IP addresses on their own fiber service? (I am aware of the AT&T-resold fiber not offering them, I am specifically asking about the 100%-Sonic service.)

Losing my analog telephone service would be terrible; losing my fixed IP address on top of that is a complete deal-killer for any service "upgrade".

Thanks-

Chris
by dane » Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:40 pm
There are a number of reasons for this:

First and foremost, supporting static IPs adds significant network complexity due to inflexible numbering configuration in the network. In other words, the need to allocate IPs statically into specific POPs and chassis is a significant challenge as the network changes and grows. On the Fusion service, this has proven very burdensome, making changes in the way we serve customers extra complex and error-prone.

Second, there is a sales and support complexity that brings costs which do not align with the goal of delivering the fastest fiber-optic service to all households at the lowest possible cost. Training staff and supporting static IPs and their configuration and management is an extra task here, and as we scale and attempt to connect everyone, product simplification is necessary.

Finally, static IPs are no longer as critical as they were in the past. Cloud-based services and IoT remote management no longer requires a static IP in the way that older devices used to.

We have heard from folks that they would be happy to pay some additional amount, $10 or $20, to have a static IP address. But the number of customers who want/need this is very tiny, and the revenue would never offset the issues above.
Dane Jasper
Sonic
by ngufra » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:15 pm
It was convenient to have a static IP that i could use in the A record for e.g. home.<mydomain.com>

What I did instead is use no-ip dynamic dns service. They assign me <myaccount>.no-ip.com and i use that in the CNAME for home.<mydomain.com>
This way home.<mydoamin.com> points to the public IP of my router.

I need to have a small program running on a server to update no-ip whenever my public ip changes.
by ewhac » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:10 pm
Thank you for finally directly addressing this question. I suspected it was related to support costs, but some of the conspiracy theories I was forming in my head were growing downright outlandish. I hope none of these additional costs come from static IP subscribers badly managing their machines.

dane wrote:
First and foremost, supporting static IPs adds significant network complexity due to inflexible numbering configuration in the network. In other words, the need to allocate IPs statically into specific POPs and chassis is a significant challenge as the network changes and grows. On the Fusion service, this has proven very burdensome, making changes in the way we serve customers extra complex and error-prone.

Would it help if you were able to change static IP allocations from time to time? I very much want to keep static IP, but I don't need a specific IP address. So if an email were to show up reading, "Hey, we're juggling our network around to support new subscribers, so your static IP block is changing from X to Y. This change will take place on $(DATE)," I'd be okay with that.

Finally, static IPs are no longer as critical as they were in the past. Cloud-based services and IoT remote management no longer requires a static IP in the way that older devices used to.

I think you're going to find various degrees of disagreement on this point. While this is true to some extent, there remains the issue of control. I'm sure you've heard the aphorism, "The Cloud is just a fancy term for, 'Someone else's computer.'" Control of one's own presence on the network has slowly been pulled away from the end-user and increasingly centralized, leaving us with dumb terminals designed solely to consume, and little opportunity to create and produce. Yeah, I could setup a VPS and host a mail and Web and Mastodon server there, but that machine is not mine, running software I don't control. Yeah, I could post a video to YouTube, but it can be pulled down at any time for any reason, including no reason.

That having been said: Have you considered static IP via VPN? ("What?") Basically, set up a VPN concentrator whose internet-facing IPs are subscribers' static IP allocations. The subscriber then sets up a VPN tunnel from their box to the concentrator. Poof! Their box looks like it's sitting on a static IP address (because to all outward appearances, it is), and you get to centralize static IP management on a handful of VPN machines in a manner most convenient for you and avoid all the annoying one-off POP routing. (This has the added benefit of, if someone starts attacking my box, I can tear down the VPN link, and still be able to talk over the net via the normal DHCP connection.)

Something to think about, maybe?

Again, thank you very much for concretely addressing this question.
by dane » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:29 pm
I don't think it'd be practical to provide a static IP which was subject to change. And it just makes it not possible for us to do the kind of bulk network changes and rearrangements in routing and transport that are possible when everything is dynamic and we can change with no notice on the fly.

Yes, we have considered offering static IP via our VPN concentrator. As you note, it'd be more feasible to maintain on our side, but more complex for the customer. But notable also, it's not something that Sonic alone can do - if VPN static IP is the solution, you could obtain that elsewhere and solve the problem that way! Also dyn DNS, or your own cloud host for hosting your application or even for VPN termination, etc. Lots of potential solutions.

For us, these things come down to the workload limits and the key priorities of the team here.

What we feel most strongly we must accomplish is to massively scale up the deployment of new fiber to every premise, and that is a big challenge. It's not just a financial or sales and marketing or support challenge, it's huge in the systems that support the scale up of fielding, engineering and managing the construction and activation of huge amounts of complex new outside plant and network.

So, our network and software teams are really focused on the nuts and bolts of making those things happen. We want to bring gigabit (and beyond) service to everyone we can as rapidly and cheaply as we possibly can. That leaves no time for "nice to have" add-ons at this point. If there are development or network engineering resources available, they should be on a task which furthers that one key objective. We are not a large organization with lots of excess staff looking for new lines of business, new features or new revenue, we are instead a relatively small organization working to scale up our primary deliverables in a big way.

Hope that makes good sense!
Dane Jasper
Sonic
by klui » Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:43 pm
Perspective from someone who's on resold ATT and probably those on [V]DSL, I would give up static IPs if it means Sonic would build out their network faster so it could reach my residence. @ewhac, since you already can get it, naturally you feel differently.

For the technically capable you can always colo your solution and you would own the storage. Obviously it would cost a lot more. Therein lies the challenge.
by rcoaster » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:31 pm
Dane, I appreciate the quick and detailed response. I have had one of the free "dynamic DNS services" in the past, and I am sure it can work reasonably well especially if I get a paid version. But I really like just having things so simple on my end, where I can just connect to any device in my home by using my memorized IP address rather than an indirect name that has to be resolved and so on. I wish there were enough other customers who wanted the same thing so that it was financially feasible to offer.
by ewhac » Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:25 pm
(BTW, this question keeps coming up. Somebody should pin this post so it doesn't get lost.)
by ngufra » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:19 am
In a previous post on the topic, I think someone mentioned a dynamic dns json api from sonic but I never had a chance to try it. I am using no-ip. just need to update it every month so it does not lapse.
by ngufra » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:12 am
The rest api is documented here: https://help.sonic.com/hc/en-us/article ... DynamicDNS

This thread also mentions it. viewtopic.php?t=5189

If you can get it to work, please document it!
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