Engineer internet peering

#LINX82 – visible signs of growth of the internet

Sat in the LINX82 meeting. If you’ve never been, these LINX meetings are where the people who run the internet in the UK get together to chat – about the nuts and bolts of the internet.

Today we are discussing the Open IX developmental standard, getting an update on the US exchange, following the Manchester IX update yesterday. Traditionally an ISP’s connectivity to the rest of the internet is a mix of peering, where one network connects directly to another through a mutual not for profit internet peering exchange such as LINX or LONAP (both of which Timico is a member of) or  using a commercial provider of international connectivity called transit.

Peering is cheaper and over time represents a growing proportion of internet traffic.

LINX, which is the London Internet EXchange is expanding – to Manchester and the USA. I have been in two minds about this. Each of these regional exchanges are mutually independent – connecting in Manchester or the USA doesn’t mean you can peer with someone connecting at LINX in London.  So in one sense I had initially to ask myself why an organisation that set its stall out as a London exchange would want to also be elsewhere.

The LINX argument for its own regional expansion is that if it is to continue its growth in London it needs to be seen to be more of a Global player and the first choice for new members looking for a first connection in Europe. LINX competes with the likes of  AMS-IX (Amsterdam) and DEC-IX (Frankfurt) in this respect, both of who have been establishing bases overseas outside their original locations.

The long term trend is forecast to be towards more and more regional peering.  If you are in one city and want to connect to someone else in the same place why haul the traffic back to a hub such as in London that might be hundreds of miles away? You do need a critical mass of traffic for regional peering to be economic but the growth in the use of the internet is such that  the business case is beginning to become valid for more locations.

On balance, personally knowing the board of Directors at LINX and although I was originally sceptical, I have gone with the flow regarding this expansion. The numbers coming out of LINX certainly show real growth continuing to happen.

In the last three months LINX membership has grown from 469 to 477 companies and its connected capacity from 6.792 Tbps to 6.999 Tbps. This is a huge capability. Peak traffic remains at 1.618 Tbps. LINX is undoubtedly a major global presence on the internet to the point that the exchange has already connected its first 100Gbps port.

The internet industry. It’s an exciting place to be.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

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