Is New Zealand Spark traffic using CF still routing through Japan?

I’ve read that for people using the Spark ISP in New Zealand, who access a website that uses Cloudflare CDN, they are offered files all the way from Japan and not Cloudflare’s NZ or Aus servers.

I’m not a network tech guy but I understand it’s something to do with Spark not peering and something to do with Cloudflare not having ‘nodes’ (whatever that is) with Spark.

Details in this post;
https://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=39&topicid=242084

Is this still an issue? The reason why I’m asking is, I’m a web designer, one of my clients will get more international traffic soon but most traffic will still be NZ based. So what I need to avoid is, if I sign them up with Cloudflare, I can’t have the NZ Spark users being served website resources from Japan.

If a Pro plan resolves this, that’s fine with me.

Hello,

On our Free or Pro plans (or Business plan in Korea), we serve you locally with any ISP that interconnects with us, but not necessarily for traffic accessed only via an ISP that does not peer with us.

If some of your traffic is being served to users at ISPs that do not peer with us, there is a good chance it may be served from non-local routes. Despite being closer to one particular PoP you might find that your traffic is flowing through another one located further away. While performance for some of these customers may be reduced at times, all other Cloudflare benefits will work the same.

You can read more about this on our blog: The relative cost of bandwidth around the world

It seems that we don’t have direct peering with them and more to via intermediary (Equinix): PeeringDB. Direct peering with one specific internet providers requiring behind the scene of complex cooperation which should benefit all parties.

If you want to make sure you retain access to all Cloudflare transit providers worldwide, the option is available to our Business Plan (outside of Korea) or our Enterprise Plan anywhere in the world in your Cloudflare dashboard, under the Overview section.

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I am the OP in that Geekzone discussion you link to (and Geekzone owner).

AFAIK yes, Spark is not peering directly with Cloudflare. Spark has some very high requirements for peering and from conversations traffic from Cloudflare is not high enough (compared to Akamai and others) to justify peering. There are also other points but I am not free to discuss those. Spark people won’t publicly give any more information than “this is commercial sensitive”.

However sources tell me it seems Spark traffic now goes through Melbourne or Sydney instead of Auckland (and a lot better than Tokyo as before).

A paid plan will not change this.

If you visit Geekzone from a Spark connection you will have an idea of how much this impacts traffic - reality is, with the high penetration of fibre connections the impact on this traffic is not a big deal and trans-Tasman transit is pretty quick.

Interestingly this is what Cloudflare Analytics tells me where NZ traffic is being served from (and Geekzone sees just under 50% of traffic going to Spark ASN):

Capture

Edit: chart for NZ only traffic below:

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I’m also one who has complained about this in the past. I’ve found no rhyme or reason on how Spark / Cloudflare direct traffic. For example, on a free site currently I am getting routed to Sydney, on a Business site I am getting routed to Brisbane (which is actually further away).

IIRC, Spark are the only ISP in New Zealand who refuse to peer directly with Cloudflare. Other ISP’s will have a great experience by routing traffic to the Auckland PoP however Spark customers are getting a terrible user experience with any site on Cloudflare as they’re going overseas.

If peering and site speed is important then Cloudflare + any ISP that isn’t Spark is your best choice.

This is true from a user’s perspective. As a content owner/provider and looking from the other side, consider Spark traffic as a roundtrip to MEL or SYD - at most it will be a few millisenconds added to the whole experience - more reason to optimise your pages/assets.

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Thanks for all the replies!
Like freitasm, I’m coming from the owner/provider side of things. It seems that it won’t be a problem then for me to add some of my sites to use Cloudflare CDN.
NZ Spark users will still have a good, fast user experience.

Thanks again, that was very helpful.

Hi all,
This is interesting.
We have had major issues on our site last week (13/14 May) with excessive 522 errors. After changing settings and chasing our tail things have settled and it seemed only SI xtra customers could not use our site (522 error at checkout). This then settled to now being only Spark customers who use the site regularily. New customers on spark have no issues but customers who use our site daily or weekly are still having issues of slow site, not loading proplerly, 522 error, etc. We called Spark and they said it was cloudflares fault and they would not deal with us directly, clouldflare had to call them (not sure how to make that happen LOL).

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