PacketFabric Frequently Asked Questions
What does the “PF-XX” stand for in interface and circuit names? What does “CT” mean in IDs?
PF-AE: LAG interfaces and aggregated dedicated cloud ports
PF-AB: Flex bandwidth container
PF-AP: Ports and non-aggregated dedicated cloud ports
PF-BC: Backbone virtual circuit
PF-CC: Hosted cloud connections and virtual circuits associated with dedicated cloud connections
PF-DC: Marketplace virtual circuit
PF-IX: IX virtual circuit
PF-L3-CUST: Cloud Router
PF-L3-CON: Cloud Router connection
PF-MC: A marketplace virtual circuit that connects to a cloud port
PF-PD: Point-to-point connection
PF-TC: Test virtual circuit (no longer used)
Colt-powered port IDs start with CT-. If a virtual circuit has CT in its circuit ID, then one side of it lands on a Colt-powered port. For more information, see Colt-Powered Ports.
For more acronyms, see Acronyms and Terms.
Where can I find your Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
There is a link to the SLA in the PacketFabric website footer.
Account administration and support
How do I receive maintenance notifications?
An administrator needs to add you as a company contact with the Technical role.
For more information, see Maintenance Notifications.
What is the difference between users and contacts?
Users can log in and access the portal. Contacts cannot.
You can create a contact representing someone who is also a user, but this is a manual step and does not happen automatically.
Because contacts do not need credentials, you can use an email distribution list in the contact details. This might be useful when handling maintenance notifications.
For more information, see the following:
What is my support level?
All PacketFabric customers have access to 24x7 support.
To open a ticket, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-844-475-8322 ext. #2.
For more information, see the following:
User credentials and authentication
How long can I remain logged in?
What authentication apps do you support with MFA?
You can use any authenticator app that supports the Time-based One-time Password algorithm (TOTP). We have tested and confirmed compatibility with the following:
I have MFA enabled on my account, but I have lost my authenticating device. What should I do?
If you saved the backup codes you received when you enabled MFA, you can use one of those to access your account and set up a new device.
If you don’t have your backup codes, have an account admin contact email@example.com and we’ll work with them to restore your account.
If you are the only account admin, we will work with you directly to restore your account, but we will need to verify your identity via at least two contact methods.
Do you do advanced billing or billing in arrears?
We only bill for services already rendered.
For example, the invoice you receive in August reflects the services you used in July.
Will my credit card automatically be charged every month?
Once you have a credit card on file, yes.
You can opt out of automatic payments at any time. For more information, see Automated Credit Card Payments.
Why can’t I see my old invoices?
In June, we migrated to an in-house billing system (see the June 30, 2020 release notes).
Currently, invoices that were generated with our previous billing platform are not available to download through the portal. This is temporary and we are working on a way to import all legacy billing data. Until then, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get copies of old invoices.
I sent a payment. Why is my invoice still showing overdue?
What does “Finalized” mean for an invoice?
“Finalized” means the invoice is ready to be paid. It has been reviewed (if necessary) and includes all monthly charges.
You might see the following invoice statuses:
- Finalized: The invoice includes all charges and is ready to be paid.
- Overdue: The invoice has not been paid and it has been more than 30 days since the invoice date.
- Closed: Payment has been received and applied.
How do I dispute charges?
What happens when the current contract for my service ends?
Do you charge a fee if I cancel early?
Services and routes
What is the underlying technology used in your service offerings?
For our point-to-point EPL (Ethernet Private Line) product, we use L2VPN/pseudowire: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4906
All other services are EVPL (Ethernet Virtual Private Line) and we use EVPN-VXLAN: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc8365
Can I get my service delivered via copper handoff? What about multimode fiber?
Do you offer wavelength-based services?
Are your services redundant?
Our Ethernet-based services (EPL and EVPL) are delivered via a layer 2 overlay and are inherently protected.
We guarantee packet delivery from point A to point B within a given latency SLA, however we do not guarantee it will take any particular layer 1 path.
Should there be a disruption at the physical transport layer, the PacketFabric network will automatically adjust and re-route traffic over other paths.
How quickly can I expect my service to be rerouted in the event of a Layer 1 fault?
Where can I find out more information about your latency metrics?
Why am I seeing increased latency on a service?
A 15ms to 25ms increase in latency is considered normal when we have to fail over to a less preferred path in the fabric. We don’t typically shift traffic around these core fabric links, but fiber cuts do happen from time to time and are outside of our control.
Running your ports at line rate can also increase latency as we do not inspect your Ethernet frames to provide any type of Quality or Class of service for any particular IP packet type.
However, for any kind of unusual or suspect latency, you should email email@example.com or call 1-844-475-8322 ext. #2.
Can I get a copy of your KMZ?
Due to the nature of our network, we cannot offer this.
While PacketFabric operates its own optical transport network, we did not build our own fiber. Instead, we have chosen to partner with numerous national and regional line system providers.
We have used an assortment of technologies to piece together this network: from dark fiber in metro areas, to leased spectrum frequencies over longer paths, and even wave services in more difficult to reach locations. This design allows us to maintain as much control over fiber link operation as possible, leverage other carriers’ long-haul DWDM systems, and control costs in locations that have fewer options and less available bandwidth.
Our approach to building our network backbone allows our network architects and capacity planners to add new backbone routes into the network without having to rely on any one line system operator. In other words, we stitch together the best of multiple line-systems to give us the paths we desire.
As a result, we do not provide a client-facing master KMZ document that details all of our pathways, because some providers require a non-disclosure agreement on specific routes.
We understand that you need to ensure redundancy with your existing services. We are more than happy to work with you on an individual basis to address any concerns or answer any questions you might have about any specific paths on our network.
Can you restrict my service to a specific fiber route?
Not at this time.
If your preference is that a service goes down instead of being rerouted, we recommend a BFD configuration between your endpoints.
Cross connects and LOAs
What is an LOA?
LOA stands for Letter of Authorization or Letter of Authority. They are also sometimes called LOA-CFAs (Connecting Facility Assignment).
The LOA is required to install a cross connect between your equipment and ours.
The LOA tells the data center three things:
1.) You have permission to connect your equipment with ours.
2.) The exact location of the port at which they should install the physical cross connect.
3.) The media they should use for the connection.
Click here to download a template.
For more information, see Cross Connects.
The data center cannot install my cross connect because the port is occupied. What does this mean?
We pre-cable the rear side of all our panels. Sometimes data center technicians will mistake this to mean that the port is already occupied. However, the front side of the panel should be open for new cross connects.
If they are still reporting that the port is occupied after checking the front panel, it is possible that the previous cross connect was never removed. To have us verify this for you, open a ticket by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do ports need to be physically connected after an order is placed?
Cross connects are a physical connection, so yes.
However, all PacketFabric equipment is pre-patched and pre-cabled and ready for connections. This means that we just need to complete any patching to your local side that is not already in place.
Why do some of my ports allow me to order a cross connect while others don’t?
The ability to order a cross connect through the PacketFabric portal depends on the data center. If you do not see the Cross Connect action in the port’s overflow menu, you will need to generate an LOA and contact the data center directly with your request.
For more information, see Cross Connects.
When does billing start on a port?
What does ‘powered by Colt’ mean?
When a port is “powered by Colt,” this means that it is owned and operated by Colt Technology Services but can be used as if it is a native part of the PacketFabric network.
For more information, see Colt-Powered Ports.
What is a “non-core location” and why is the SLA not applicable for it?
A non-core location is also known as a “single-armed” or “single-homed” site.
Our core locations are multi-armed/multi-homed. This means that there are multiple fiber pathways connecting to the POP device, and should something happen to one fiber pathway we can reroute your traffic with minimal disruption.
However, a non-core location is connected to a single fiber pathway. Think of it like a cul-de-sac: one way in, one way out. This means that if something should disrupt connections along that pathway, we cannot reroute your traffic to avoid disruption, thereby upholding the SLA.
Do you support jumbo frames?
How many bytes should I set for my MTU?
This depends on the service.
Access ports, point-to-point, backbone virtual circuits: for optimal performance, set your MTU to 9000 bytes.
Cloud connections: This depends on the cloud service provider. See below under “Cloud Connectivity.”
How do I order an ENNI port?
Can I LAG multiple EPL services?
Not directly, but there is a workaround.
Our EPL service is transparent and our routers will not act on LACP packets. We only pass them to the other side of the circuit.
However, because the LACP packets are passed to the other side, it is still possible to exchange LACP packets between the both sides of the service.
This means that LAG participation will be between your network devices on each end of the service and not between your network device and our network device.
Why can’t I add this port to a LAG?
To be included in a LAG, the ports must be at the same site, in the same zone, and have the same speed and media.
If a port already has a virtual circuit attached, you must remove the virtual circuit before adding it to the LAG.
If you have verified it matches that criteria and you are still unable to include it in a LAG, then the port likely does not support LAGs. Not all edge ports support LAGs at this time.
Do you support multi-chassis LAGs?
For EPL circuits, you can configure a multi-chassis LAG on your devices and we will transparently pass LACP frames between them.
EVPL circuits do not pass LACP frames transparently, and therefore multi-chassis LAGs cannot be configured across them.
How many ports can I add to a LAG?
Virtual circuits/EVPL connections
What is the difference between EPL and EVPL circuits?
PacketFabric offers EPL services through our Point-to-Point product. Virtual circuits and cloud connectivity connections use EVPL connections.
- EPL is a traditional point-to-point Ethernet virtual connect between physical interfaces. This type of connection is also commonly referred to as a “pseudowire.”
- Each interface can support only one EPL connection, so each physical interface only has one logical interface (unit) associated with it.
- There is no rate limiting or white/blacklisting of MAC addresses when using EPL mode.
- EVPL allows for multiple point-to-point virtual connections between interfaces. Each physical interface can support multiple virtual circuits.
- This means many logical interfaces (units) are associated to each interface, each with their own unique VLAN relative to the physical interface.
- VLAN tags on either side of the virtual circuit do not have to match, but can.
For more information, see the following:
How do I change the VLAN ID for a virtual circuit?
What are the recommended BFD timers to run across your virtual circuits?
Why are capacity bursts only available for some virtual circuits?
Currently, you can only add a capacity burst to a longhaul virtual circuit that is on a dedicated billing plan (e.g. 1 months, 12 months, etc.)
This is because those are the only type of circuits that would require an hourly burst.
- Metro - Metro virtual circuits are free of charge and do not have term limits. When creating the circuit, you should provision a capacity large enough to accomodate bursts. You can edit the virtual circuit to set rate limits for when you do not need extra capacity, or just delete the circuit altogether and create a larger or smaller one without worrying about prices or contract lengths.
- Longhaul usage-based circuits - These circuits have no capacity cap other than port size.
- Hourly longhaul circuits - If you want to increase the capacity for an hourly circuit, simply delete it and create a new one.
- Marketplace and IX virtual circuits - These virtual circuits involve a third party who must approve any capacity increases from their side, making bursts difficult.
Do I need to set up a cross connect to PacketFabric?
No. You do not need a physical port or a data center presence to use Cloud Router services.
We can transfer data between your cloud environments, but then you would be responsible for reaching the cloud via another route (such as over the open internet or a VPN connection).
Can I connect my on-premises network to the cloud router?
Yes. If you aren’t already connected, you will need to provision an access port in one of our locations and set up a cross connect to our network.
If you already have an access port, you can use that to connect your on-premises network to the Cloud Router.
Is Q-in-Q supported?
Q-in-Q tunneling is fully supported. Q-in-Q S-tag/S-VLAN is supported for Azure connections. If you require S-tag/S-VLAN for another cloud, contact your Customer Service Manager to discuss options.
Is multicast supported?
Do you provide public IPs?
/31for public connections.
Can I use my own public IPs for the router peering? What about my own public ASN?
At this time, you cannot use your own public ASN.
For an AWS public virtual interface, you can use your own public IPs. When you provision your connection, we send AWS an automated email to confirm that you are authorized to use our public ASN with your public IPs. All public virtual interfaces require up to 72 hours approval by AWS.
You can also use your own public IPs when configuring Microsoft public peering.
You cannot use your own IPs for Google or IBM.
Can I use my own private IPs?
This depends on the cloud service provider.
For router peer IPs:
- AWS allows you to input your own IP addresses or have them generated on your behalf.
- Microsoft Azure requires you to provide your own subnet ranges. The peer IPs are auto-allocated from this range.
- For Google Cloud and IBM Cloud, the IP addresses are generated on your behalf and cannot be edited.
When advertising VPC subnets, you can set your own prefixes (up to 1000 in and 1000 out).
Is IPv6 supported?
Can I have an EPL virtual circuit into the Cloud Router?
How long does provisioning take?
Provisioning can take up to 10 minutes, depending on the cloud.
Additional configuration takes a few more minutes depending on how many prefixes you need to add.
How many connections can I have per Cloud Router?
Can a virtual circuit be ordered from a Cloud Router to anywhere in the PacketFabric network?
Will my data traverse the public internet?
How do you choose the best path for data to take?
What do you mean when you say it’s a “distributed” service?
Rather than creating one centralized router to handle inter-cloud, we create routing instances at each location you provision a connection.
This allows us to avoid hair-pinning traffic and provides far more scalability.
Can I have a combination of public and private connections on a single Cloud Router?
Yes. However, review the requirements for the Cloud Router ASN before creating the Cloud Router: BGP Reference
For example, you can have both private and public AWS VIFs on a Cloud Router, but if you create the Cloud Router with a private ASN, then AS prepending does not work for public VIF connections. See AWS docs - Prerequisites for virtual interfaces.
Cloud Router Site to Site VPN
What if I don’t see my VPN device in the verified presets list?
Do you support NAT for VPN connections?
Cloud Router public connections support NAT within the same Cloud Router, so you can achieve NAT from private space behind IPsec to a public cloud.
Note: We don’t support NAT on the IPsec connection itself on our side but the customer side can be behind a NAT gateway.
Can I change the VLAN on a Hosted cloud connection? I do not see a way to change this in the portal.
The VLAN ID on Hosted cloud connections cannot be modified once the circuit is created.
If you need to change the VLAN ID of an existing connection, you need to delete the connection and then re-provision it with the desired ID.
Depending on the cloud service provider (CSP), you should be able to reuse the unique identifier provided on the cloud side (e.g. pairing key, service key, etc.)
Are there any extended contract terms (12-month, 24-month, etc.) available for Hosted cloud connections?
Do I need to reprovision my monthly Hosted cloud connection at the end of each month?
How many bytes should I set for my MTU on cloud connections?
For access ports, point-to-point, backbone virtual circuits, set your MTU to 9000 bytes.
For cloud connections, check the cloud service provider requirements:
AWS Direct Connect: When creating a Direct Connect virtual interface, you can optionally enable jumbo frames at either 8500 (Transit VIF) or 9001 (Private VIF) bytes. If you do not enable jumbo frames, or if you use static routes, the MTU is 1500 bytes. For more information, see Setting network MTU for private virtual interfaces or transit virtual interfaces.
Google Cloud Interconnect: Google allows a maximum of 1500 bytes.
Azure ExpressRoute: Azure allows a maximum of 1500 bytes.
IBM Direct Link: IBM allows a maximum of 1500 bytes.
Oracle FastConnect: Oracle allows a maximum of 9000 bytes.
How is the portal experience different for reseller customers vs. customers who sign up directly with PacketFabric?
- Reseller customers do not create billing accounts. As such, when ordering services, reseller customers do not have an option to select a billing account.
- Reseller customers do not receive invoices from PacketFabric.
- Reseller customers cannot see the Billing tab in the portal.
All billing is handled between the reseller and the customer.
- Reseller customers see customized Contact Us information. This information is provided by the reseller.
- The reseller - and not PacketFabric - provides technical support to their customers.
- Reseller customers do not have to wait for their account registration to be reviewed and approved.
- If a reseller performs any actions on behalf of the customer, that activity appears in the customer’s logs.
I want to offer a discount to my customer. How do I do that?
My customer just ordered a port. Why isn’t it showing up in my MRR?