Engineer peering

IXScotland4 meeting Dec 1st

IXScotland4 is happening on Monday 1st  December, in Scotland. If you’ve never been to Scotland it’s a great time of year to go. Whisky tastes a heck of a lot better when it’s ‘orribly cold and wet out there. Oh and dark.

ixscotland4Only joking. 55 people from 36 organisations have so far registered to attend. Its a good level of interest considering IXScotland’s membership currently numbers 13. It’s also fair going for what is still a nascent operation carrying on average below 40Mbps of traffic. At that level of bandwidth there’s a long way to go.

However go it will. The policy of opening regional exchanges is a good one. What’s the point of hauling traffic hundreds of miles and back again when a short cable under (or over) a corridor will do. Peering exchanges are all about the customer experience. Speed. Adjacency. Networks connecting at IX Scotland will be providing their customers with the best possible internet connections. People do notice these things1.

Traffic will grow and having the exchange there will also encourage this. The UK has a number of regional exchanges, ie those outside of London. IX Leeds is independent  but LINX operates IXPs in Scotland, Cardiff and Manchester. A regional IXP will normally need some kind of support to get it going be it from the membership, local government or as is the case in Scotland, LINX.

The model doesn’t necessarily work everywhere. It really needs a carrier neutral POP. A town where there are lots of independent datacentres would have each datacentre wanting to host the IXP with the others reluctant to participate as it would look as if they were supporting their competitor.

You can find the agenda here. An interesting afternoon in prospect. LINX tell me there will be more on their recent pricing announcement plus “A major provider of anycast DNS services is about to set up a node at IXScotland.” Oo. Wonder who it could be:).

Of particular interest is the panel debate:

How do we improve connectivity in Scotland?
Panel will consist of representatives of Scottish government, commercial and community broadband access provision in Scotland, content provision in Scotland.

This is an universal question that could be the subject of discussion anywhere. Scotland of course probably has a significantly higher proportion of beautiful open countryside that is the root of the problem connectivity problem. It’s a dilemma.

Anyway if you fancy a trip to bonnie Scotland in December this is your chance. See you there? Also read loads of great peering contributions in our peering category here. Och aye.

1I had occasion to look up a website in Liberia recently. Took minutes to load a small 90 seconds promo video. I subsequently found out that the only connectivity in to Liberia were 16E1s vi satellite link. It’s an extreme comparison but people fast connectivity is becoming increasingly important.

Apps Engineer peering

Slack Instant Messaging

Using Slack Instant Messaging for our LONAP communications

Just trying out Slack Instant Messaging for now. My first reaction when one of the boys suggested it was “oh no, not another IM system. Why can’t we just use hangouts, or messenger, or anything we already have.”

I’ve changed my mind. Having a system that is essentially private for one company is great. I get notifications on my Android when a Slack IM comes in. Normally I check my mail for LONAP messages but only do it periodically. We don’t use gmail which is my normal platform for everything else.

Slack UII also have slack for my Chromebook. It’s a web based service so no plugin. At least not one that I am using. I  can enable desktop notifications but have happily left this switched off as I prefer the notifications to come in on my phone. I do like the fact that you can choose keywords for alerts.

It’s generally early days for us with Slack but the omens are good. We are expecting it to turn us into a more responsive organisation. It’s all about serving our members 🙂 We are a very distributed team all working remotely so good comms are essential.

If you don’t know or haven’t been following recent posts, LONAP is an Internet Exchange Point that connects eyeball networks with content providers. We have some major global names as members: Twitter, Google, Netflix etc.

There is a good chance that if you are using social media in the UK you are reaching it via LONAP which has a great reputation as being a network run by engineers for engineers.

As far as Slack goes I have been a user of Instant Messaging almost from the start and have grown sceptical as to whether anyone needs a new service. There seem to be loads of them all over the place.

My mind has been changed, by Slack. I’ll still use Facebook to chat to the kids and Hangouts for the businesses but where LONAP is concerned, Slack Instant Messaging it is.

Engineer peering

Euro-IX 25 Bucharest live commentary Day 2 pm

Euro-IX 25 Bucharest live commentary Day 2 pm

Was too busy doing stuff this morning and much of it was tutorial, AGM, elections so didn’t do any live blogging. This afternoon am back on the case. Yesterday’s coverage of day 1 here.


Euro-IX 25 Bucharest live commentary – Day 1

Euro-IX 25 Bucharest live commentary – Day 1.


Engineer peering

ECIX free 20Gbps Netflix bandwith Frankfurt

ECIX free 20Gbps Netflix bandwith Frankfurt. More news from Deutchland as Netflix announce a deal with Frankfurt based commercial internet exchange ECIX.

ECIX free 20Gbps Netflix bandwith Frankfurt. I posted quite recently that ECIX had won the right to host Netflix traffic in Frankfurt. This was a surprise as DE-CIX, one of the largest internet exchanges in the world (universe!) would have been the favourite to win the business.

This latest announcement is all about an offer that ECIX are offering in conjunction with Netflix. Netflix have launched their services in Germany today. For internet service providers this is significant news as in other markets Netflix traffic represents a significant proportion of the total bandwidth used on networks with particular spikes in the evenings when consumers are more likely to be watching movies.

ISPs therefore need to be geared up to carry this traffic which is where ECIX come in. For anyone wanting to peer with Netflix in Frankfurt, ECIX are offering 20Gbps of bandwidth free of charge for the first year. According to the ECIX website this is worth E22k in the first year. As a promotional aside the cost of the equivalent offer at LONAP, where I am a board member, would be £6,500 for the year but this is a different market and ECIX is a commercial venture as opposed to the “mutual” not for profit nature of LONAP.

Netflix will also provide a free ECIX port for up to three years for all networks that qualify for and install a Netflix Open Connect Appliance. This appliance is installed in an ISP network to cache Netflix content and improved the quality the delivered service to the end customer. It should also cut down on the amount of peering bandwidth used.

It would be interesting to understand the business case here which will be based on the cost of the Appliance versus the value of bandwidth saved.

This ECIX/Netflix offer is quite innovative. In the German peering market it will generate a lot of publicity for both parties. Also it’s a fair bet that ISPs will take more than two 10Gig ports and certainly the traffic after the first year isn’t going to go away. The only way is up in this game.

ECIX free 20Gbps Netflix bandwith Frankfurt – you know it makes sense:)

Engineer media peering

Netflix Germany launch to use ECIX instead of DE-CIX

Netflix Germany launch uses ECIX instead of largest player DE-CIX

Netflix, in case you didn’t know is a company that streams TV to your home over your broadband internet connection. In fact in markets in which it operates Netflix is responsible for a big proportion of bandwidth usage. Last year Netflix was reported to have 29% of all USA ISP traffic. Netflix Germany is a new venture.

There are all sorts of issues to take into consideration before Netflix can launch in a new country. Content licensing rules and local regulatory rules for example and what the competition looks like. Some countries may demand investment in local content.

From a technical standpoint Netflix also has to make sure their network can deliver the content to local endpoints. They do this through a number of methods including placing a cache inside an ISP’s own network providing that ISP is large enough and its traffic levels sufficiently high to justify the cost of the equipment. For the most part your ISP will likely carry Netflix content through its peering arrangements.

Peering in internet terms is the sharing of traffic between service providers. I’ll carry yours if you carry mine. It is by far the most cost effective way for an ISP to connect to “the internet” which is of course just a large global collection of individual ISP networks. To make this easy the industry has spawned Internet Exchanges (known in the game as IXPs). In the UK we have a number of them including LONAP, of which I am a director, LINX, London’s largest and the UKs oldest, IX-Manchester, IX-Scotland and IX-Leeds. The regional market for IXPs is an emerging one. The IXP model is that of  mutually beneficial not for profit.

Netflix Germany has put its peering arrangements in place and there is a shock in store. The natural thing for Netflix would have been to join Frankfurt based DE-CIX, the world’s largest IXP. However instead Netflix Germany has opted to join ECIX, also based in Frankfurt but much smaller than DE-CIX. In Frankfurt ECIX has 34 members compared with DE-CIX’s 580. Logically you would opt for DE-IX as doing so would make it a lot easier to connect to many more ISPs and thence to their end users.

However the Netflix entry on industry resource peeringdb shows the following message:


Netflix will not be on DE-CIX Frankfurt. We encourage you to join ECIX and will also allow PNI from any network that desires to interconnect with us at Equinix FR4 & FR5

This announcement has sent shockwaves around the IXP world. It’s great for ECIX as it will encourage new members. The alternative of Private interconnect through Equinix would probably come at a cost as Equinix is a commercial, for profit data centre operator.

Word has it that the decision was taken because DE-CIX pricing was far too high.

This is quite interesting as there is a tendency for the larger internet exchanges to add overhead. The internet is growing so fast that IXPs are growing almost automatically along with it. With growth comes new members, bigger ports able to handle more capacity and also more cash.

The relatively easy availability of cash is what makes the scenario interesting. It is easy to understand how an organisation with lots of cash might look around at ways of spending it. The purely mutual model might suggest that this cash is returned to the members in the form of lower operational costs and membership fees. However the European IXP market is also becoming quite competitive as organisations fight to attract new members moving into the area. For example LINX, DE-CIX and AMSIX (Amsterdam) might all be competing to be the first European peering point for North American and Asian networks. This competition demands marketing resources. With the growth of traffic over an IXP network also comes responsibility to maintain uptime and this also costs money.

Getting the balance right of where to spend the cash is not an easy one and one wonders whether, if we are hearing right that this is a pricing based move,  this is now reflected in the Netflix Germany decision to choose ECIX over DE-CIX.

Netflix Germany end users will be oblivious to all this but it does go to show that underneath it all the internet is a complex organism with lots going on to make it work. It’s also an industry that is highly interesting to work in and gets more so with each passing year. If there is anything more to report I’ll get back to you. You heard it first on etc…

Engineer gadgets peering

BYOD strategy revealed at LONAP board meeting

BYOD strategy revealed at LONAP board meeting.

Lonap held its regular board meeting on Wednesday at Will Hargrave’s house. These are very long days but worthwhile. We have a lot of stuff to plough through. LONAP operates a BYOD strategy. The IXP is very leading edge especially when it comes to HR and IT.

The featured image illustrates the byod strategy at work showing Will, Andy (Davidson) and Rich (Irving) sat around the board table in front of the various notebook computers. Andy is a Microsoft guy. He has a Windows computer with a touch screen Needs to be to get the most out of Windows 8 or so I’m told. Will is an Apple fanboi. He is actually sat in front of my Chromebook but you can see his Mac on the table next to Rich. The various makes of notebook have a white letter near them to denote flavour.

Rich has a letter T next to his. That’s because his notebook is made of tree. It’s quite nifty. Comes with its own advanced carbon based stylus which has a neat way of erasing mistakes. The stylus has a soft plastic top to it which when moved back and forwards across the lines on the page left by the carbon erases the carbon marking, or most of it anyway.

Tree based notebooks aren’t perfect but nobody expects the finished goods so early on in the product lifecycle. The stylii for example still have some way to go. The sharpened front end does have a tendency to break although Rich seems to have mastered the art of applying just the right amount of pressure to avoid damaging the tip. These stylii do represent a marketing opportunity to sell accessories. The product team must have all worked at Apple at some point in the past. They seem to know their stuff.

Available for purchase are a sharpening device (v handy in the post 9/11 security conscious world of the global internet executive) together with a nifty case that can hold multiple stylii. Rich pointed out that you can get them in a huge range of different colours. They also sell storage containers known colloquially as bookcases. These are also made of carbon although like in any market there seem to be cheap imitators on sale made of something called MDF.

Being a fan of cloud technology myself I did ask Rich whether there was a virtual version of his Tree technology. He mentioned something about Carbon offset which I didn’t completely get and not wanting to look stupid in front of the others I kept shtum. There’s bound to be a cloud version available or at least coming soon.

Readers looking to implement their own byod strategy should at least take a look at Tree technology when considering notebooks. The one at the LONAP meeting certainly had a nice feel to it. They have the weight just about right and Rich says it is totally customisable. You adjust it by simply tearing out pages until you get to the weight that suits you. I should warn you that this process is irreversible so you do need to take care. If in doubt consult a qualified Tree surgeon.

That’s in regarding the LONAP byod strategy. Lots happening in the Autumn. Stay tuned for loads more useful tips’n stuff though not necessarily anything to do with LONAP’s byod strategy.

LONAP is a Global top 20 Internet Exchange. Read about them here. Also loads of LONAP content on this site – check it out here.

Engineer engineering food and drink fun stuff peering

Pissup in a Brewery – Photographic Proof of a Great LONAP-Sponsored Evening

Pictures from the Pissup In A Brewery held at the Fourpure brewery in London on Thursday 26th June

The Pissup In A Brewery, twas a good night. Sponsored by LONAP it was mostly LONAP members and guests. The rain held off, the food was universally acclaimed as fantastic, the beer was pure, copious and appreciated by all.

I’ve been to two other Pissup In A Brewery events, or Pissups In A Brewery. The first was with Bethesda RFC to a brewery in Liverpool, Castle Eden I think it may have been although time plays tricks with the memory, especially where a brewery is involved. We declined a tour of the brewery in order to maximise the efficiency of our two hours’ free bar. You can imagine the carnage of a coach load of rugby players let loose in the bar. We stopped in Rhyl for fish and chips on the way home. That’s all I can remember.

The other Pissup In A Brewery was at Batemans’ in AWainfleet. Wainfleet was once a port but the river has long since silted up and it is now a cosy village a few skims of a flat stone from the coast. It was a friend’s birthday and we didn’t find out until the end of the trip that he had paid for the lot of us.After the tour we retired to a pie and a pint on one of the local Batemans pubs. V civilised.

Last Thursday’s Pissup In A Brewery was held at Dan Lowe’s Fourpure brewery in South Bermondsey a stone’s throw from Millwall FC. Nuff said. You will note that the phrase Pissup In A Brewery gets repeated a number of times in the post. This is simply because the phrase to me seems to have become a brand in its own right. I can envisage having lots of pissups in lots of breweries. Reality is we might just repeat it next year, Dan Lowe and sponsorship willing. Like I said, twas a great night.

Thanks to LONAP for the sponsorship, thanks to Fourpure Brewery for having us, thanks to Richard Gibbs Catering for a great barbecue and thanks to all who came and enjoyed themselves and helped makeit such an enjoyable night.

competitions food and drink fun stuff peering

Win more Pissup In A Brewery tickets – competition # 2 – what is my favourite beer?

freebeer_250Okeydokey here goes competition number 2. Seeing as this is a Pissup In A Brewery we are talking about what is my favourite beer? There are clues to be found around but I’m not going to help you any more than that.

Answers by noon tomorrow as after that I have to go to a speed reduction seminar that starts at 1pm – 36 in a 30. Fair cop guv. Slap the cuffs on.

If you missed competition number one here it is but it is now closed. Note 19 LinkedIn shares fair play. LinkedIn members have their priorities set right.

Engineer fun stuff internet peering

Dress to impress – LINX 20th birthday bash photos by @andyd #LINX85

Dressed to impress – terrific images courtesy of Andy Davidson from the LINX 20th birthday bash at the Cumberland Hotel in London. We are all v sophis.

Andy is a keen amateur photographer and is a member of a club – they have regular get-togethers to shoot a variety of artistic subjects.Ask to see more of his stuff. He has a career beyond the internet. He even appears in some of his own photos – very long armed selfies.

All work and no play eh?…

Engineer fun stuff internet peering

The night before the morning after @routerfixer #LINX85

photo booth at LINX85 - 20th birthday celebration

Photo booth pic from the LINX 20th birthday celebrations at the Cumberland Hotel. A great time was had by all. Slight oddity, considering the internetty nature of the event, that the photo booth would only print out “polaroid” style pictures rather than being able to email me an electronic copy (cf the image of my eyeball by the opticians last week). This photo is a photo of a photo.

The two serious looking guys are Clive Stone and Steve Lalonde.

It’s funny to think that the last 20 years, the life of LINX, represent a substantial part of the total lifespan of the internet. ARPANET dates back to 1969. So if you were born before 1969 you pre-date the internet. You will be able to tell because when you first sign up to Facebook and need to choose your date of birth, any year prior to 1969 on the sign up page will involve scrolling down to get to the right number. They make it easy for those born in the “internet age” – their birth dates are displayed on the initial screen.

While I’m in a historical perspective mood and looking for milestones in my timeline it occurs to me that in In 1995, one year after the founding of LINX, I bought the Bill Gates book “The Road Ahead”. At the time this was a visionary work by one of the world’s most successful high tech entrepreneurs. We would have to be patient as the “information superhighway” was still some time in the future.

This is no longer the case. We have been streaming down the information superhighway for some time now, a fact reflected in the success and growth of LINX as an Internet Exchange Point.

I will be 72 years of age on LINX 40th birthday. I won’t be in the internet game although I trust I will till be an user (:). It’s going to be an exciting next 20 years. We no longer need Bill Gates to provide the vision. The vision is whatever your imagination can come up with (teleporting aside).

In the meantime Happy Birthday LINX, and all who sail in her (!?)

Engineer engineering internet peering servers

The 3rd LINX router modelled by @neilmcrae and Keith Mitchell #LINX85

So you think you know your routers? This SPARCstation,,  was LINX’s 3rd router installed at Demon in Finchley (AS2529) in 1994. Before most of today’s ISPs were a twinkling of a Microsoft egg timer.

The SPARCstation is modelled by Keith Mitchel and Neil McRae who I realise don’t look old enough to remember those days but you would be wrong:)

The lads might be able to enlighten us re the throughput capability and route capacity of this box. It would be a far cry from the 100Mbps 100Gbps toys that Neil plays with nowadays at BT. It probably didn’t need to support more than 20 routes!

Neil is holding the router, Keith has the cup of tea. Note that the box is being held higher up than the cup of tea. That’s in case Keith drops the cup – safety in mind.:)

One also wonders at which point racks were standardised at the U dimensions they have today. Many an ISP had rows of tower PCs stood on metal shelves. Of course U’s these days are often Virtual.

linx85 keith neil

SPARCstation IPX

broadband Business business applications internet net neutrality peering voip

Net Neutrality and Telephony

Net neutrality and VoIP telephony – thorny issues the industry needs to negotiate welcomes “VoIP Week” contributor Rob Pickering, CEO of ipcortex.

Most folks who work in the VoIP industry have at some point been subject to a casual horror story from a new acquaintance about evil VoIP and how they tried it once and that it nearly brought their business to its knees. My heart sinks whenever I realise that this is the direction in which the conversation is going, at which point I usually find myself wishing I’d said that I did something less controversial for a living…like writing computer networking software! I listen, though, nodding politely, already forming a conclusion — after all, it would be unlikely that the problems experienced were due to a fault in their equipment or termination provider, both of which are probably perfectly reliable. No, a lack of a suitable quality of service (QoS) between their premises and termination provider is almost always the culprit in such circumstances.

The UK service provider industry has developed lots of solutions to the QoS problem, and things are far better now than they were just five or ten years ago when the market was in its infancy. The quality and availability of last mile circuits, particularly in metropolitan areas, has massively improved with successive advancements such as LLU, FTTC, FTTP, and cost-effective, high bandwidth Ethernet IAD type circuits. There has also been a trend towards integrated providers delivering the whole service — access circuit, Internet and telephony — as a single package. Behind the scenes, this may or may not translate technically into a full end-to-end in-house QoS-managed solution, depending on the provider and sometimes the geography of the customer. It does, however, assign commercial responsibility for delivering a fit-for-purpose solution to a single party, and this can only produce a better quality outcome for the customer.


Such an approach is certainly not universal. The US market has developed differently, for instance, and most VoIP termination providers don’t get deeply involved in provision of access circuits, instead opting to rely on decent low loss, low jitter transit or peering arrangements, and their customers’ own commodity access circuits. Often they will do a bit of automated “connection testing” as part of their signup process, however in general customers on unsuitable circuits tend to weed themselves out.  This does produce some benefits for customers, including more transparency with regard to costs, as well as a bit less lock-in as there is no commercial linkage between access and over-the-top (OTT) voice service. Today, in fact, several of those US suppliers are entering the UK market with this same business model.

Which brings us on to Net Neutrality. Whenever this subject comes up, we tend to think about its obvious effects on consumer entertainment services. The future development of the telephony industry is, however, intimately linked with this issue. Whilst the raw, per-consumer bandwidth requirements of a VoD service like Netflix is greater, the network characteristics required to deliver a reliable telephony conversation of at least ISDN quality are in some ways more onerous. Though buffering can always be used to counter horrible jitter on the underlying path for a video stream, and content caches are already used to reduce transit requirements, neither of these methods can be used to reduce the pain on a real-time voice conversation. If telephony providers can no longer get good, zero-packet loss, low jitter transit, or peering with many leading access providers, then an entire business model may very well be frozen out.

How do you think the industry will develop? Vertically integrated one-stop shops for network access and telephony, or universal OTT providers? I’d love to know your thoughts.

VoIP Week Posts:

Engineer Net peering

An invitation to Berlin – BCIX May 8th

trefor_250This post, by Wilhelm Boeddinghaus of BCIX is a short and sweet summary of Internet Peering in Berlin together with an invitation to their next shindig on May 8th.

Berlin is the Capital of Germany and has about 3.400.000 inhabitants, many datacenters and many interesting startups. The Berlin Commercial Internet Exchange (BCIX) runs switches in the six most important datacenters. Our members can connect from any datacenter to peers in any other datacenter in Berlin. All DCs are carrier neutral and have several fiber providers to choose from.

The BCIX today has 59 members and offers ports from 100Mbit to multiple 10 GBit. Smaller and larger ISPs connect and peer in Berlin. The traffic is as high as 55 GBit/s in the daily peek.

Three to four times a year the BCIX invites the Berlin peering community to our community meetings. We always try to find new interesting places to gather. Nearly 100 mostly technical people show up and enjoy technical presentations and beer and food. Join us on May 8th!

Check out the BCIX website here.

Auf wiedersehen,

Engineer Net peering

#peeringweek wrap up

trefor_350Peering Week has been a great week for content on The subject is deeply technical with its fair share of acronyms and buzzwords which might leave the layman baffled.

Although posts on this blog are often written to make the technology that powers the internet easier for the casual passer by to understand sometimes trying to explain something would involve the publishing of whole text books online. We therefore try and mix up the content with technical posts that assume the reader already has a reasonable knowledge of the subject combined with some lighter content.

During Peering Week we have had 18 excellent contributions from some of the people who run the internet in Europe. This might sound dramatic especially considering that the internet is made up of sixty or seventy thousand Autonomous Networks. The contributors this week run Internet Exchanges where a greats many of these networks connect to each other.

Internet traffic is growing rapidly and everyone in the business is tremendously busy. I am therefore hugely grateful to everyone who has taken the time and effort to put together a great set of blog posts that really do include something for everyone.

In reading #peeringweek posts you will get an understanding of what is going on “under the bonnet (hood)” of the internet including technology, commercial and political issues. There have been contributions from the biggest and smallest Internet Exchanges, from the oldest and the newest kids on the block.

I can say that we will definitely be having another #peeringweek. We will also be having weeks that focus on other areas of interest. Broadband, mobile, VoIP and cloud immediately spring to mind.

Thanks again to both readers and contributors and have a great weekend 🙂

Engineer internet Net peering

Peering policies #peeringweek

trefor_250You’ve read so far in Peering Week about the many hundreds of thousands of connections that join together the 30,000 or so networks on the Internet. Some of these connections are negotiated in minutes by specialist engineers who work for these networks at one of the many peering events that happen throughout the year. The result is a “settlement free” connection between the networks, and traffic between the customers on each network starts to willingly flow.

However, some networks require potential peers to meet and continue to meet various specific technical or commercial criteria before agreeing to peer.

Most of the time such criteria, known in the trade as ‘Peering Policies’ make a huge amount of sense. For example, a peer will often state that they will not make a free peering with someone who is also buying IP Transit from them. Or will not peer with a network that is a “customer of a customer”, so as not to deny revenue from their own customers.

Although many peering policies are beneficial, sometimes peers have policies which have a detrimental effect on their business and the internet as a whole. I’ve picked some of my particularly favourite policies which have the worst unintended side-effects for us all to mock.

broadband datacentre Engineer engineering internet peering

IXManchester – It’s Quiet Up North #peeringweek

IXManchesterSo IXManchester has been up and running for nearly two years (must make sure someone organises  another birthday party for June) and things continue to grow at a slightly slower pace than the first hectic few months.

January saw a IX Manchester meeting take over part of GMEX Manchester Convention Centre the afternoon before UKNOF 27 and the steering committee were hoping that there would be an announcement on the completion of the fibre ring that would add M247 Icecolo in Trafford and Telecity Joule House is Salford Quays to the core – alas the supplier seems to have run into “issues” and we’re still waiting.

The good news was that the original Brocade’s (re-tasked from the LINX Brocade LAN in London and in service for a number of years before its upgrade to Juniper in 2012) were replace with shiny new  Extreme X670’s. Once the software upgrades have occurred then these will allow ConneXions services providing networks access to the IXManchester LAN from remote locations.

There are now (as of writing this) 44 connected broadband networks with 46 ports in use, 7 of these are 10G so there’s just over 100G of capacity in operation with the new sites and partner connections we’re hoping to crash through 200G this year. Thats a long way behind LINX London with its 500+ members and nearly 8Tb of capacity but its pretty good for a second city in an European country as you can see from the EuroIX list.

In remembrance of the EIX WG I shall now leave you with a traffic graph…


Other peering week posts you might like to read include:

UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges
The evolution of an IXP network engineer by Rob Lister
Why does Scotland need an Internet Exchange? by Charlie Boisseau

Engineer peering

ECIX – RemotePeering to help the small ones #peeringweek

ECIX started as a classical Internet Exchange in Berlin, Germany. We tried to sell peering ports to ISPs, carriers and hosters on our platform, hoping to give them some advantage over buying ip transit. Mostly smaller companies made use of it. Shortly after Berlin, we opened an IX in Düsseldorf, which is the biggest internet hotspot on the biggest urban agglomeration in Germany.

Obviously having local peers from carriers with end customers and datacenter operators with content is the best mix. There were people offering content and people eager to consume it.

How does peering work? You run a service called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) on your edge routers installed at the demarcation points of your AS. BGP manages the connections between the AS edge routers and is responsible to build a table of IP prefixes. This is the Routing Information Base (RIB), summing up as much as possible IP addresses under one entry by aggregation. BGP also is responsible to make a selection of the best path between two AS networks based on rules und communities. After the best bath has been chosen, you will forward this information to the forwarding daatabase used by the router to move IP packets.

An ISP is normally connected to more than one AS. In the beginning you will buy one link from a bigger AS and connect the second port to an IX. You are doing so, because you will not have all worldwide available prefixes on an IX. Therefore you will need a default path for all the AS you can not yet connect to via the IX. The IX traffic should normally be much cheaper than the IP traffic you are buying from a bigger AS. This is because you are paying only for the physical link to the IX port and the management fee at the IX.

One day one of our bigger partners offered us connectivity between Berlin and Düsseldorf. This was the starting point of our remote peering product. Starting small with just a Gigabit-Ethernet port and a few hundred Mbps of traffic, customers started to use that service. Especially smaller ISP were happy to take part and by that way they extended their service reach to Berlin or Düsseldorf respectively.
Over the last four years we expanded this service to new locations like Hamburg and Frankfurt. We upgraded our transport backbone from pure Ethernet-transport between the cities carrying only VLAN to MPLS/VPLS transport over rented wavelength.

To be clear about it, the ECIX POPs are working standalone with their own peering mesh and peering IP address space. The remote peering product connects the customer using a virtual ethernet link to that local peering mesh.

With enough experience and knowledge in remote-peering, we searched for new opportunities in Europe and found LU-CIX to be interested in connecting Luxemburg to Düsseldorf and the rest of the ECIX POPs. Later that year we joined AMSI-X remote peering, with competitive pricing and a large number of customers using this service right from the start.

What we did wrong: definitely using a layer 2 Ethernet Backbone link to connect the peering lans. This was a hard time, filtering broadcast traffic, counting local traffic, etc.
What we did right: switching to MPLS/VPLS and using virtual point-to-point Ethernet links between the remote customer and the local peering LAN.

Any issues? Yes there are some unsolved things to be fixed. First of all, the unbalanced selling of ports. Normally the customer of a smaller IX buys remote peering, not the other way around. Second the BGP routing must be very consequent on the customer edge routers. Not sending traffic over long distance links, if the peer is also present on a IX nearby. We try to help with our route-servers and sophisticated BGP communities.

Would we do it again? Yes! Remote Peering is one of our main features and we are continuing to find new interesting remote IX to the benefit of our customers.

Other peering week posts you might like to read include:

UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges
The evolution of an IXP network engineer by Rob Lister
Why does Scotland need an Internet Exchange? by Charlie Boisseau

Engineer peering

The Italian Internet Peering Landscape by Mauro Magrassi of MIX – the Milan Internet Exchange #peeringweek

Forewords: The Italian Landscape

Basic facts about Italy and its Internet Landscape:

a. Italy has a strong incumbent, one of the strongest in Europe. It has been amongst the first in splitting domestic and global/foreign business into two separate branches, where the international one is Sparkle, one of the Renesys baker’s dozen, if not a Tier-1.

b. most of the business is concentrated around Milano as this city is the sixth european telecommunication services market according to Telegeography.  Nearly all internet traffic is backhauled there in a ‘Docklands-like’ location known as Via Caldera, a business campus located on the west side of the city close to the highway ring.

c. following Telecom Italia approach, nearly all the big national players (carriers and ISPs) have been always trying to attack adjacent markets, like colo, system integration and so on. As a result of this carrier neutral co-locators have always found an extremely hostile environment there, and are almost unknown. Even in Milano there is just one of them. Basically anybody which has a national network have developed his own data centre.

d. Italy is not a language or cultural hub for the neighboring countries, but

fun stuff peering

Tomo entertains in Leeds Town Hall #peeringweek

Tomova Yoshida from JPNAP is a globe trotting musician cum IXP engineer. He entertained us all in Helsinki with impromptu Beatles renditions on the grand piano at the 23rd Euro-IX Forum social night. At the 24th Forum he stepped up a gear.

OK he accompanied the Euro-IX drunks choir on the piano. But he did a lot more than that. Leeds Town Hall, the venue for this week’s social, has one humongous organ. “It is the most magnificent organ I’ve ever seen” one attendee was heard to say. Well I have to agree with her.

The images below are of the choir in action around Tomo, sat at the piano, the view of the hall and dinner from a seat in front of the organ pipes, the view of the organ itself from the back of the hall and of me in my standard issue Yorkshire flat cap with John Souter of LINX and Melanie Kempf of DE-CIX.

Finally at the end of this post is a short  video of Tomo playing the organ so that you can appreciate the sound. Magnificent it was 🙂

choir of IXP peers

dinner at leeds town hall

leeds town hall organ

revelers at leeds town hall

Other peering week posts you might like to read include:

UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges
The evolution of an IXP network engineer by Rob Lister
Why does Scotland need an Internet Exchange? by Charlie Boisseau

Engineer engineering peering

The evolution of the IXP Network Engineer… #peeringweek @lonap

Tales from the rarely sighted and lesser spotted IXP Network Engineer…

From the beginning, the principle of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is simple. It’s just a layer 2 network, to which participating service providers connect.

Most IXPs started small, and were managed by volunteer efforts, or by another organisation until they become large enough to become an independent organisation, and maybe employ network engineers.
So what do these engineers working at IXPs do?

In the beginning, we just installed the hardware, plugged in the cables, configured a few things and then went to the pub. Life was good! But those days in the pub weren’t to last!

broadband datacentre Engineer engineering internet Net peering

Why Does Scotland Need a Broadband Internet Exchange? #peeringweek

Almost a year ago exactly, an ambition I’ve had for a very long time came true.  It’s not a personal ambition (not exactly on my bucket list), but it’s an ambition I wanted the local Scottish Internet and broadband community to achieve.

After years of failed attempts, talking amongst ourselves in the community and generally making very little progress, on the 27th of March 2013, LINX held a meeting in Edinburgh to discuss the possibility of having an Internet Exchange in Scotland.  It was at that meeting that the community agreed to ask LINX to build what would become IXScotland.

One might wonder why Scotland needs an Internet Exchange of its own? 

Engineer peering

To the glory of the internet #peeringweek

stained glass at Salem church datacentre LeedsMay your networks be stable and free from DDOS attacks. Always wear a white hat and be nice to others. 24th Euro-IX Forum, Salem church, AQL, Leeds.

Other Peering Week posts on include:
UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges


Business peering

The @asda Golden Cone #peeringweek

golden traffic coneThe Golden Cone. Sometimes you come across something quite by accident that lights up your life. It’s similar to finding a ten pound note in a pair of trousers you haven’t worn since last summer, but different.

This morning we were on our way to the 24th Euro-IX Forum in Leeds and Rob Lister decided we would take a different route to  the one we had been using. This took us past the ASDA offices which was where we discovered pure treasure. Traffic cones of bright gold lined the parking spaces nearest to the front door. Position A.

The second photo shows you why they were there. Rewards for good behaviour/good attendance/top performance/name drawn in a raffle1. One wonders whether there is the obverse incentive at the point at the end of the car park farthest away from the door. Or maybe naughty employees aren’t actually allowed to park and are made to get the bus in to work (nothing wrong with taking the bus – I don’t know what they were thinking!).

Of course this HR morale booster could also work the other way. Staff might actively seek not to win to avoid approbation by jealous peers. Still, it was a good idea, I suppose…

golden cone parking space

Other Peering Week posts on include:
UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges

1 delete as you see fit – I don’t actually know the answer.

Engineer peering

St Patrick’s Day celebration at 24th Euro-IX Forum #peeringweek #Guinness

guinness,arrayWhat a beautiful sight. Dozens of Guinness’ arranged tidily ready for consumption at the 24th Euro-IX Forum. Elsewhere in the world there is trouble. Planes get hijacked, countries annexed, revolution plotted but in Leeds all is well.

Guinness – not just a drink, an art form.

Other Peering Week posts on include:
UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges

broadband dns Engineer engineering internet ipv6 media Net peering

Experiences of Launching a Broadband IXP in North America #peeringweek @LINX_Network

LINX Head of Marketing and Business Development Ben Hedges shares his experiences launching a broadband IXP in a Peering Week guest post.

The opportunity to co-host the 24th Euro-IX forum in the UK has come along at what is a very exciting time for LINX. It’s our 20th year and this event comes shortly after us opening two brand new IXPs; IXScotland in Edinburgh and LINX NoVA in North Virginia, USA.

With LINX NoVA being our first overseas exchange there has been a lot of attention worldwide for what we’ve been building in the States. In this blog I will look to explain the background as to why we’re doing what we’re doing and why we believe this is an important development for LINX and its members plus the peering industry as a whole.

Engineer peering

Cooperation Makes Internet Exchanges Future-proof #peeringweek

Internet exchanges have come a long way since the early nineties, when most of these platforms were formed. In the previous twenty years the niche industry of IP interconnection through public peering has seen a number of evolutions. How can Internet exchanges remain successful in the years to come? Especially those with an international focus?

Let me first start with the factors that are key for keeping Internet exchanges healthy and their business sustainable:

End User fun stuff peering

The bald patch #peeringweek

Satellite image of a bald patch. This is an anonymous bald patch photographed by a passing spy satellite en route to a help search for flight MH370 missing in the Indian Ocean. GPS coordinates suggest the person in the photo was in the Leeds area at the time although no information is available about his identity.

Speculation abounds concerning whether the bald patch was at the 24th Euro-IX Forum at AQLs Salem datacentre though there is no hard evidence to support this. We shall probably never find out who’s bald patch this is.

bald_patchAmazing what technology can do now innit?

Photo courtesy of Edward Snowden.

Other Peering Week posts on include:

UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing

Engineer fun stuff peering

A load of Crapper #peeringweek #peeingweek

You can tell when it’s time for a coffee break at a conference. My attention starts to wander and to wake meself up I take to posting unusual or unexpected things.

Because it is Peeing Peering Week on I thought it highly appropriate to put up this picture of a very fine cistern in the gents toilet. If you click on the photo you also get to see some excellent copper pipework that delivers the contents of the cistern to the urinals below.

For the avoidance of doubt there was nobody else around in the toilet at the time. That would have been a little on the dodgy side.

The second pic is simply the plaque outside the AQL datacentre. It is self explanatory. And finally there is one of me in front of a green screen. No idea why the green screen was there. I could have gone to the effort of putting up an electronic backdrop but the only one I could find was of Leeds and I could have just gone outside and taken that photo.

a crapper cistern in the gents loos at the AQL datacentre in Leeds

Salem chapel Leeds


Other Peering Week posts on include:

UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing

More toilet posts:

More power to the portaloo

Engineer internet peering

@jodam talks 400GbE at 24th Euro-IX Forum in Leeds via Skype from China #peeringweek

John D'Ambrosia Chief Ethernet Evangelist  DellInteresting talk on 400GbE  at 24th Euro-IX Forum in Leeds by Dell’s Chief Ethernet Evangelist John D’Ambrosia – 400GbE is currently up for discussion at IEEE meeting in China.

John was actually speaking from China using Skype. It was remarkable quality video – no synch problems and showed up perfectly clearly on a large screen.


Other Skype related posts:
Microsoft to pay a lot of money for Skype? – back to dot com bubble days?

Flashback to Christmas Eve 2010, Skype outage and Talk Talk traffic surge forecast on Xmas Day

Skype Sold

Net neutrality, Skype and Commissioner Reding