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We identify the role of equal strength interference links as bottlenecks on the ergodic sum capacity of a K user phase-fading interference network, i.e., an interference network where the fading process is restricted primarily to independent and uniform phase variations while the channel magnitudes are held fixed across time. It is shown that even though there are K(K-1) cross-links, only about K/2 disjoint and equal strength interference links suffice to determine the capacity of the network regardless of the strengths of the rest of the cross channels. This scenario is called a minimal bottleneck state. It is shown that ergodic interference alignment is capacity optimal for a network in a minimal bottleneck state. The results are applied to large networks. It is shown that large networks are close to bottleneck states with a high probability, so that ergodic interference alignment is close to optimal for large networks. Limitations of the notion of bottleneck states are also highlighted for channels where both the phase and the magnitudes vary with time. It is shown through an example that for these channels, joint coding across different bottleneck states makes it possible to circumvent the capacity bottlenecks.