Engineer peering

dearly beloved bretheren – Salem church Leeds #peeringweek cc @aqldotcom

salem church Leeds AQLHere at AQL’s Salem church for the 24th Euro-IX Forum and Peering Week on AQL have very impressively converted the church into a datacentre. Upstairs and looking down through a toughened glass floor at the racks is a conference centre. It’s a great facility.

I thought I’d put up the header photo because it shows the mix of Apple / non Apple users. Simple really. You can click on the pic to enlarge it. In case you’re wondering there were a lot more people sat on my side of the church – it was where the door was. 110 people have signed up for the Forum which continues to grow.

More as it happens…

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 peering

The very early days of LONAP – The London Neutral Access Point #peeringweek

Raza Rizvi is an early pioneer of the internet in the UK. He spent ten years on the board of LINX and was one of the founding signatories of LONAP. In this very interesting post he discusses the early years of internet peering in the UK and how the founding of LONAP came about:

Back in the middle of the second-half of the 1990s if you were a UK ISP that wanted to show you were serious about providing quality Internet access to your customers, you had to be seen to be connecting, or peering, with other ISPs.

The simplest mechanism to do this was to join a peering point.

Engineer peering

INEX’s IXP Manager – tools to help manage an Internet Exchange & invitation to Dublin #peeringweek

IXP Manager has grown organically within INEX over the last decade from a CRUD interface on database tables to a fully fledged management system with an ever increasing toolkit of provisioning, configuration and management scripts built around it. If you’re an IXP starting up (or an IXP looking to grow and offer more value to your members), the question isn’t why should you use IXP Manager but rather why the hell aren’t you?

Every individual and business battles the philosophy of not invented here on a regular basis. And with good reason – it’s often more rewarding and interesting to build stuff yourself, just the way you want it. Building a management system for your IXP seems like a lot of fun. And it is – we did it after all! But, after six years of building, tweaking and improving IXP Manager, it can become a bit of a chore to crank out new features every couple of months.

Now, I want you to think about this –

Engineer peering

Next week is Peering Week on #IXP #euroix #internet

treforTo coincide with the 24th Euro-IX Forum being held on Monday and Tuesday in Leeds (England) we are having a peering week on

Last month James Blessing provided us with a primer on how ISPs provide internet access using Peering and Internet Transit. Every day next week we are going to be featuring guest posts by experts from amongst the top Internet Exchange Providers (IXPs) in Europe.

Look out for posts from all the UK players – that’s IX Manchester, Leeds, Scotland, LINX and LONAP together with contributions from various European centres of excellence including Holland, Ireland, Italy, Germany.

Stay tuned. You won’t want to miss a single word 🙂

Other peering posts – The LONAP AGM and my first Banksy.

datacentre Engineer internet olympics peering

Regional Peering in the UK

When I was asked to write a piece about regional peering I thought it would be a quick update on the current state of affairs in the UK. Alas with all these things I realised that I need to add a little back story. Feel free to skip over the content to the end if you know all the bits…

The Internet (and what its not)

Most people know the Internet is not a single entity but rather a collective of networks that use common standards to create a single network made up of independently run and managed networks that allow their customers and end users exchange traffic and therefore create the Internet and its public face – the World Wide Web.


At the edge of each network there are a bunch of routers that communicate with other adjacent routers belonging to other networks using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). At a basic level each network tells the other network what it knows about its network and (depending on commercial concerns) other networks it knows about using the BGP protocol. This information is shared in the form of “routes” which define a certain block of address space and how to get to it.

This leads naturally to a quick

Engineer peering

Call for peering posts

Hi All

Going to have a peering week, or few days anyway, to coincide with the Euro-IX Forum in Leeds on 17th and 18th March.

This being the case I’m looking for contributions of a peering and networks related nature. If you are a member of an IX and have a good idea please drop me a line to my email.



Engineer peering

Offline and LINX84

Suppose it doesn’t do any harm to be offline for a while. I’m on a short flight back from the Isle of Man to London City Airport and LINX84. The offline state seems a little strange when compared with the highly connected nature that is the whole purpose of LINX.

At every LINX meeting they report the vital statistics. Increase in membership, port count, usage. In my offline state all I can report is the number of pages read in my book. This is not very many. I bought the book, “Exile On An Island” by Don N.L.Giovannelli, TS in a the second hand bookshop in Peel. I’ve quickly lost interest in it tbh. Ah well. No idea what the TS stands for. Some Italian title perhaps. Can’t look it up. I’m offline.

It’s amazing how much we use the internet without realising it these days. Even my eighty year old dad, when we were talking about the takeaway menu at the local Chinese, said “just look it up on the internet”. I already had of course 🙂

They are always the same anyway, Chinese takeaway menus. It is expected. Annoys me when I got to an Indian restaurant to only find out that it does “designer” meals – tandoori lobster or venison. All I want from an indian restaurant is a familiar menu cooked well. Simples.

Anyway I can write the first LINX84 related post for you from the airplane. I looked up the stats this morning. Peak traffic is up to 1.981Tbps, membership numbers are up by 7 already in 2014 to 501. All good stuff. Onwards and upwards. Downwards actually. We are 15 minutes from landing and have to put away our laptops.

Ciao bebe.

Posted from the London City Airport DLR platform at 14.15 courtesy of EE4G.

End User peering

Football Association founded here @LONAP AGM

FA_plaqueThis morning I walked from Kings Cross Station to The Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen’s Street. I was early, it took half an hour, saved money on a taxi/tube and was good exercise.

When you walk somewhere you see a lot more than when taking public transport. The Freemasons’ Hall stands on the site of the Freemasons Tavern. There is plaque to that effect. Actually the plaque tells us the Football Association was founded there on 26th October 1863.

Bet they had a good old night of it. It’s not often anyone founds anything as big as the Football Association. Wouldn’t mind doing it myself. Not the Football Association obvs. Some other equally exciting (!) Association.

Note it looks as if the season started quite late in those days – assuming they got on with it after founding the Association. Gets earlier every year.

I understand that the 2015 season will shortly be getting under way, allegedly, so I’ve heard. An all.

I’m not a Freemason btw. The LONAP AGM is being held at the Freemasons’ Hall – read more about LONAP here.

Read more about regional Peering Exchanges and specifically IX-Manchester here.

Lots of posts regarding LINX here.

Euro-IX meetings posts here.

End User peering

Alarm clocks, body clocks and LONAP AGMs #IXP

On the 07.20 from Lincoln Central Station headed to the LONAP AGM (sung to the tune of Homeward Bound by Paul Simon).

Piece of trivia for you. Traditionally when I catch the 07.20 I get a cab to pick me up from the house at 06.50. We are only 5 minutes from the station, especially at that time of day, and I like to make sure I have plenty of time to get there, just in case of a problem en route.

At that time of day there is never a problem. I always get there far too early and end up spending 10 – 15 minutes in the waiting room. Time that would have been better spent in bed.

In order to get showered and ready for a cab at 06.50 I set the alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal at 06.20. This means I wake up at odd times during the night to check to see if it’s nearly time for the alarm, in case it didn’t go off. Result: terrible night’s sleep.

After years of doing this, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, I have come to the realisation that

Engineer peering

LONAP AGM & my first Banksy

banksyGot together with the LONAP board yesterday to go through arrangements for next week’s AGM. It’s been another year of growth. Better not tell you any more at this stage or I’ll be spoiling it for Tuesday.

As a not for profit we try to keep overheads down and yesterday we borrowed a meeting room off Vision IPTV in the shadow of the BT tower.  On the end wall of the building was a Banksy. My first one! I was thrilled.

Apparently when the council leased the building to it’s current occupiers they wanted to charge them extra because of the Banksy. That angle didn’t work. Then some time later someone else in the council decided the mural was getting a bit worn and wanted to paint over the whole lot!

That’s when Vision IPTV decided to place a clear protective screen over it.

coldwar corridorThere’s not much else to report other than the meeting was held upstairs in what appeared to be a building right out of a 60s cold war movie. I could imagine Michael Caine striding up to me, leather shoes echoing along the corridor, saying “My name is Harry Palmer”.

We all sat in the meeting room jointly editing the slide decks for the AGM in the LONAP Google Apps Drive space. Internet connectivity was provided my my EE 4G  MiFi dongle. I was getting 16Mbps – perfectly adequate for 4 laptops hanging off it.

London is a bleak place in January. We finished our work and retired to a warm pub, an old favourite, The Lamb (Conference Room L) in Lambs Conduit Street, for a cheery pint and a chat about life, the universe and internet connectivity.

All work and no play makes Tref a dull boy. As you know:)

Engineer peering

Internet connectivity powered by beer and curry #ixmanchester

Did you know that the internet is powered by beer and curry?

Am at the IX Manchester meeting today. IX Manchester is an Internet Peering Exchange that allows networks local to the area to connect to each other so that internet traffic destined for each other’s networks travels by the fastest path rather than having to be backhauled to London then boomeranged back up to Manchester.

Consider the scenario of you, sat in your front room. You want to check out the opening times of your local sports centre so you

Engineer internet peering

#LINX83 – traffic growth and regional expansion

I’m at LINX83. The eighty third quarterly meeting of the London Internet Exchange. The statistics associated with LINX continue to astound.

LINX has 492 members, 1191 connected ports 683 of which are 10GigE and 1 100GigE port with 2 orders in process. The LINX network carries 1.791 Tbps of peak traffic with 7.324 Tbs capacity (plenty of headroom there) to 60 member countries.

This is an enormous amount of traffic and capacity upon which I’m not going to dwell much more (unless as I’m sure it will, something interesting comes up during the LINX83 sessions).

I do however want to talk about regional peering efforts.

Engineer internet peering

Sensible freebies for network engineers at #LINX83 #IPPerformance

usb bottle openerWhen engineers get together at conferences and trade shows a flock of vendors naturally flutters down and starts pecking around looking to impress (totally random collective noun btw). This is indeed the case at LINX83. One of the tools of the trade in the conference impress the engineer game is to hand out freebies. LINX83 is no different. There are pens to be had and there are USB memory sticks.

USB memory sticks are a standard freebie but one that vendors need to take great care over. The bar is set by LONAP who handed out 32GB USB sticks at their AGM at the beginning of this year. Every USB freebie is measured against this mark.

AT LINX83 USB sticks are available but not at 32GB. They are only 4GB! Ordinarily this would engender contempt but not on this occasion for as you can see from the inset photo, these USB sticks are also beer bottle openers. IP Performance, the fine organisation handing out these freebies has struck at the very heart of what makes an engineer tick. Beer.

Someone, I think it was me, suggested that a 32GB or even a 64GB version could be produced attached to a Screwpull corkscrew. This kicked off a debate about the sense of having electronic circuits near to a source of liquids. This would apply to beer as well as wine..

I say that an engineer wouldn’t spill his or her beer or wine regardless of how difficult the bottle cap or cork was to extract. I realise also that many fine wines come in screw top bottles but the very best, as consumed in great quantities by LINX members, will be cork and the Screwpull corkscrew is a suitable tool for extracting such stoppers.

I already have a Screwpull at home but if anyone has a stock that needs giving away please let me know – with or without 64GB memory stick.

You heard it first on…

Engineer peering security

Team Cymru – the correct pronounciation

On a completely different note whilst I was at the Euro-IX conference last week someone gave a talk that included something about Team Cymru. Team Cymru are a top bunch of guys in the cyber security space.

However there is something that urgently needs addressing about the organisation and that is how you pronounce their name. I’ve been hearing Team Kim-roo which is understandable but totally incorrect. I’m sure that the good folk at Team Cymru will not mind me saying that the correct way to pronounce the name is Come-ree. It is the way that the Welsh would say it.

There. I’ve got that one off my chest. Cymru am byth!

Business events internet peering

Joint Lonap/ISPA bash

Lonap and ISPA are having a bit of a bash in September. If you are a member of either org or not a member and but in the internet industry and potentially a member, we want to see you there.

It’s on 24th September at the Phoenix Artist Club in London. Check out the details here.

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.

Engineer peering Regs voip

A Day In The Life #ITSPA #Lonap

Trefor DaviesI read the news today oh boy. Andy Murray through to semi-finals. I saw the last hour or so on the TV when I got home from work last night. Goo’on Andy!

Today I’m off to the big smoke on the 07.20 for a full day of industrialising.

This morning I have and ITSPA council meeting. After lunch it’s the ITSPA AGM followed by the Summer Forum we have, every summer, natch. These ITSPA workshops are always most informative. We have an update of how the market is going by Matt Townend of Illume. The market for VoIP services is on the up.

Then Pete Farmer of Gamma is going to discuss what’s going on in the industry from a regulatory perspective. There’s lots to consider: Draft Communications Data Bill, Narrowband Market Review, Non Geographic Calls Services and more.

Then after the break yours truly is going to chair a panel discussion entitled “Federated Communications and Call Terminations – Is free the way forward?” Should be an interesting debate. Bear in mind when considering the “free” bit that we will all still want to get paid.

After a short reception I then shoot off to a dinner being thrown by Lonap where I will be chairing a debate on the merits of connecting to overseas POPs. This dinner is restricted to CTOs and Chief Technical Architects of network operators and should be a most useful and informative evening.

Then tomorrow morning I have a breakfast meeting, but tomorrow is another day…

I read the news today oh boy. Four thousand POPs in Blackburn Lancashire. You probably need to be of an age to understand that one!!!

Engineer internet peering

Vodafone GlobalNet C&W integration #LINX81

Just had an interesting talk from Matt Jansen of Vodafone GlobalNet. Matt was originally with AS1273, ie Cable and Wireless which has been acquired by Vodafone. The C&W brand has disappeared.

The interesting aspect of the talk was that Matt described the process of integrating the Vodafone and C&W networks. Voda and C&W have networks all over the world but the steps being taken are largely the same as those taken by Timico during the integration of our own acquisitions, albeit on a much smaller scale.

We are talking about rationalisation of existing pipes and suppliers, removal of duplicate services etc. Of course the savings that may be achieved by Vodafone are on a much bigger scale that Timico’s own efforts but the principle is the same.

Although the internet is driven by complex technology the high level principles are fairly simple and apply no matter the size of the network.

Engineer internet peering

#LINX81 internet plumbing stats

I’m at LINX81. I go to a couple of LINX meetings a year as it’s a great place to catch up with what’s going on in the world of internet plumbing. Laymen will probably not understand the allusion to plumbing. The internet is made up of lots of “pipes”. A pipe is usually measured as a multiple of Gigs (1x, 10x, 100x) is connected to a port, one at each end of the pipe (obv).

In the internet plumbing world the bigger your pipe the bigger your bragging rights. It’s all about shifting data. Timico I’m pleased to say uses 10Gig ports at its peering exchanges – LINX and LONAP. There is only one 100Gig port at LINX and that belongs to BT. I understand there are more in the pipeline.

The internet as you may know is made up of tens of thousands of autonomous networks. The chances are your favourite website is not hosted by the same network operator that provides you with your connectivity. What your ISP does is it connects its own network to every other network on the internet which it partly does via peering exchanges.

A peering exchange is a point at which networks connect to each other for the sharing of internet traffic. Being a member of LINX brings us lots of benefits. You can get an idea of this from the LINX stats:

468 members (39 new applications in 2013 so it’s growing)
1135 connected member ports
362 member-facing 1GigE ports
631 member-facing 10GigE ports
1 member-facing 100GigE port
over 1.618 Tb/sec of peak traffic (swoon)
6.792 Tb of connected capacity (so notionally plenty of headroom)
58 member countries

Peering at LINX connects us to a large chunk of the internet at relatively low cost. More from LINX81 as it happens.

Engineer internet peering

Submarine cables at #euroix #ixp

Good talk at Euro-IX on submarine cables from Alan Mauldin of TeleGeography.

The world is still very much increasing it submarine cable capacity. Interestingly the drivers for new builds are not capacity exhaustion. It’s more likely to be down to a range of things including Route Diversity – new physical paths being valued, Cost Optimization – use of new technology may lead to long-term unit cost reductions, Competition — still room for new competitors in some markets where high prices persist, Build-vs-Buy Strategy – become an owner, not buyer, of capacity, Peer pressure, ego, national, & corporate pride and First cables (for some island nations).

I quite liked the national/corporate pride bit. It follows on from a chat I was having on the subject of size pipes during the break. In our internet world the capacity of your network connection(s) is a bragging point.

Chat up line of an internet geek: “Fancy coming back to my place to see the size of my pipe?

Timico customers are taking 10Gbps connections. I’m looking forward to our first 100Gbps connection.undersea cable capacity

I lifted this chart from Alan’s presentation (thanks Al). It shows that we, the world, currently have roughly 70Terabits per second of intercontinental internet capacity. Impressive. We aren’t using it all yet of course but the only way is up.

Interactive submarine cable map here. I think I may have linked to this before but no harm in doing it again.

Another interesting interactive map is of the world’s internet exchanges here. This shows you where the meeting points of the internet are. The places that ISPs connect to/at to carry your internet traffic. When you send an email or click on a web page the data will travel through one or more of these places.

It doesn’t cover private connections but these will largely be done at the same locations. That’s all.

Apps End User mobile connectivity peering phones

Google Now wow

googlenowGoodness gracious me it’s the 12th of April already. We are nearly a third of the way through the year #wosthatallabout? Fortunately the worst bit is over, weatherwise, supposedly. Those that have survived the winter are clearing out their nests in anticipation of a new season of renewal and growth etc etc etc.

Today I have a bunch of conference calls and am working from my home office. Looking out onto my back garden the birds are gathering new nesting materials. Nice.

I just popped down to the station to pick up a bunch of train tickets bought in advance to get the best deal (coz I’m tight) and noticed something eerie on my phone. Google Now not only told me the weather at Lincoln train station but also at Schipol Airport and in Hamburg.

googlenowI can already hear the “so what”s and the “get to the point”s. The fact is I am traveling to Hamburg tomorrow via Amsterdam Schipol for the 22nd Euro IX Forum. It’s in my calendar. Google Now saw this and told me what it thought I wanted to know.

Well it is absolutely right. I did want to know the weather at my destination because I have been wondering what to wear. Those who know me will realise that this is somewhat unusual for me but we have been suffering from “brass monkeys” weather and how am I to know that it isn’t just the retribution of a merciless god on a heathen population. The same powerful being might have had a different attitude towards the Germans who have been very generously propping up the Euro for a substantial chunk of mainland Europe, as well as the occasional paradise isle. No point in me turning up in Germany in my thermals if shorts would be more suitable.

As it happens it looks like the weather is going to be the same in Hamburg as it is in Lincoln Station so the Germans must also have done something wrong. Hah!

So for me Google Now, right now is looking quite useful. I like the way that it tells me how long it would take me to drive home from wherever I am at any particular time in the same way that in the morning it tells me how long my drive to work is going to be. It also seems to vary its output based on traffic conditions.

It’s pretty cool. At this point in time I’m not worrying about the fact that it knows quite a bit about me though that is something I will have to keep an eye on. The fact that I can switch Google Now off doesn’t make much difference here because probably all that is doing is switching off the display mechanism and not the actual gathering of the data itself. I dunno.

Anyway I’ll keep you posted on my progress in Hamburg. Look out for a post on the world’s biggest model railway. Oh and there’s Euro-IX of course. A gathering of the world’s finest internet exchanges which I will be attending as a director of LONAP. I will report back.

Ciao baby.

Engineer internet peering

Trefor Davies elected to board of LONAP

@tref on a VoIP conference callYesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting and 15th birthday bash of LONAP – the London Access Point. LONAP is a not for profit Internet eXchange and is used by Timico along with LINX (London Internet Exchange) for peering with other networks.

In a world where uptime and resiliency of networks are important LONAP and LINX are complementary and together provide Timico and its customers with fast access to a large number of networks and content.

I am particularly pleased proud honoured to announce that at yesterday’s AGM I was voted onto the board. It’s an exciting time to be around. The type of service provided by LONAP, for those of you unfamiliar with the IX genre, is fundamental to how the internet operates. You may also have noticed that the use of the internet is growing rapidly. To be on the board at this time is to be in an environment where lots of change is happening all the time.  In a world that is moving so quickly it is important to stay at the leading edge and working with LONAP will help Timico to stay at the front of the pack.

The photo was taken by outgoing Chairman Seb Lahtinen – I’m at the LONAP social after the AGM and actually on a VoIP conference call. The restaurant, Belgo, had excellent O2 WiFi coverage and I spent an hour on the mobile VoIP client with a flawless “signal”. I’m not going to tell you what I was doing with the cuddly toy though seeing as it is Friday there is a Timico megamug for anyone who can tell me who gave it to me.

Engineer Net olympics peering

A funny thing happened on my way to #LINX79

Today is the quarterly LINX meeting. LINX79. It’s been going for a few years now – you can work out how long yourselves.

These are great meetings. You can learn more in two days here than in the rest of the quarter in between. LINX continues to grow. It in part reflects the growth of the internet but also the fact that LINX some time ago hit a critical mass and is a great place to peer if you provide connectivity to the internet.

LINX has 443 members. Last year the membership grew by 49. So far in 2012 they have had 86 new applications – that’s double the run rate of 2011! Since LINX78 only 3 months ago the peak traffic has grown from 1.431Tbps to 1.538Tbps and connected capacity has grown from 5.958Tb to 6.14Tb. What that is saying that the traffic is continuing to grow over and above the huge peaks we were seeing during the Olympics which themselves drove a significant rise.

For the sake of comparison if your broadband connection gives you 10Mbps (as I recall the UK average is now around 12Mbps) then the 6.14Tb capacity at LINX is about six hundred thousand times faster.

Colin McFarlane speaks his lines to Trefor Davies on the train to LondonNow to the “funny” bit. I bumped into a neighbour of mine on the platform at Newark Northgate station. Colin McFarlane is an actOr1.  He lives round the corner from me. Colin is working on a very interesting project that should hit the streets next year. It has a technical slant that I will talk about sometime in 2013.

You might know Colin as the Police Commissioner in one of the Batman movies or working with Rowan Atkinson in The Thin Blue Line. I’m sure he’s been in other things but not being much of a TV watcher I don’t know them.

Colin was on his way to Paris to record a cartoon voiceover and on his way was stopping off in London to audition for a stage show. He had a wodge of scripts in his hand and asked if I would help him to remember his lines.

Bear in mind we were in the quiet coach. So there I was reading a classic black American script in an American accent whilst Colin performed in the seat in front of me. I could almost hear the audience, breathless in anticipation of what was to come. Being in the quiet coach we could hear a pin drop. Very dramatic!

We finished the script, the rest of the coach applauded (very quietly) 2, the train pulled into Kings Cross and we went our separate ways – he to his audition and me to the TUC centre for LINX79. Colin did tell me the name of the play but I won’t share it in case he decides not to take the part. He is bound to be offered it, natch.

1 I left the capital O there to make sure you got the pronunciation right 🙂

2 Only joking there, they didn’t – I’m sure it was my fault not Colin’s, or maybe we were being suitably quiet


Engineer olympics peering

If you see a network engineer pat him on the back and buy him a beer – Olympics good job #LINX78

I’m at LINX78 the latest quarterly meeting of the London Internet Exchange. This meeting is particularly interesting because it comes immediately after the Olympics and its attendees represent the vast majority of UK internet access networks. In other words the people responsible for making your web browsing experience a good one during the Olympics were all here.

This community of engineers should stand up and take a bow as part of the team that made the event a total success. Whilst there will be the odd exception and glitch the network of UK plc performed incredibly well. From a personal perspective although I was on holiday I kept in touch with the office from time to time.  The level of support calls in to the Timico NOC was as we would normally expect and we got the additional network capacity planning just right which is hugely satisfying.

CEO John Souter described the “Olympic  effect” seen at LINX in the run up to the games. Since LINX77 in May the exchange has seen a 20% increase in traffic capacity growing from around 5Tbps to 6Tbps. In a single month over 60 10GigE ports were installed as part of a capacity growth that month of 800Gig (including the first 100Gig port connected by BT).

The rush was prompted by a June 19th cut-off date for new capacity needed before the 14th July Olympic change freeze at LINX.

If you need some perspective consider that the average UK broadband speed is less than 10Mbps. The 6Tbps capacity is the equivalent of over 600,000 broadband connections running flat out. It’s not really a good way of looking at it as there are many other factors that need to be considered – networks have alternative routes to the internet , broadband connections not running at capacity to name but two. However it is a testament to the efforts made by the UK network operator community to ensure that their contribution to the Olympics was a success.

Note I’m told that the Dept of Business Innovation and Skills (Vince’s lot) asked for a daily report on how the LINX network was performing – such is the critical nature of this infrastructure. LINX is going from strength to strength. The exchange currently has 431 members with 64 having joined this year (that’s up on the 49 new members for the whole of last year).

If you see a network engineer pat him on the back and buy him a beer (several beers knowing the engineers I know).

Engineer peering

How much would you pay for a haircut? #LINX77

Glamorous city centre hotel £47.50 a night if you book far enough in advanceIt’s a glamorous game, the internet. You get to go to all sorts of exotic locations. On this occasion it is the Travelodge in Covent Garden – a bargain at £47.50 a night (note bar set for other Timico staff 🙂 ).

On this occasion it is very handy for the LINX77 meeting at the TUC Congress Centre. We always have a social evening after the first day. Being a lightweight I left at 9.30 to hit the hay but was able to snap some interesting views on the way back to my room. Some were just plain artistic with their neon lights on display (as editor I make the call) and some were downright illuminating.

I first give you the artistic shots. It is worth reading the illuminating bits at the bottom, especially if you are used to paying £8 for a gents trim at the barbers as I am.Matilda the Musical - v colourful I thought Matilda stood out for me – very colourful and I’m sure I would have enjoyed the show. The theatre was at 7 Dials, You probably know it. It’s on the way to Covent Garden from Kings Cross Station. There are lots of nice looking bars and restaurants around that area.

bar cafe gallery

7dials  by nightOldest Punjabi restaurant in London apparentlythe diner You need to scroll down to after the picture of me and the lads at Laredo mexican restaurant to see the haircut bit.They are tough at LINX - one beer in each hand - same as the old days on the frontier The first thing to observe is that the hairdresser is named Sassoon – presumably after the WW1 poet, Siegfried. I’ve read his stuff.sassoon salon - I wonder if the coffees are free?You have to click to enlarge the pricelists – I photo’d them through the shop salon window. If you look carefully you can see that a cut can be as much as £145 if you want it doing by international creative director Mark Masefield. If you want to leave the salon with dry hairsassoon - a cut above the rest? that can put you back another £50 – plus £10 if you want them to use an iron !!! It takes years of practice to get that iron bit right – they have to try it out on students first. Then if you want a bit of colour in your hair that’ll be another £230 – for asassoon - colourful prices full head mind you – it’s cheaper if you only want half of it doing. I can’t imagine anyone asking for the half – unless they just do the front so it looks as if you have had it all done when someone is looking straight at you. Add tips into the mix and I reckon you can kiss goodbye to a monkey (all London hairdressers tawk loik vat yanow).neal street - the sign

At least when the hairdressers at Sassoon talk about where they are going on their holidays it will be somewhere nice. You of course will not be able to go anywhere other than Butlins because they will have all your money.

I normally get mine cut at Antonio’s on Wragby Road in Lincoln – as I said £8 for a quick number 2 back and sides – in and out in 5 minutes. Check him out in this promotional video which some of you will remember from my pigeon racing days.

I’m in the wrong game and it is now 11pm – I wanted to be in bed by 10 – night all.

Engineer peering video

The joys of travel – #LINX77

another bout of delays on the East Coast line

Today I’m headed for LINX77 in Laandan. if you’ve never been you need to go, assuming you are in the networks game. It’s a great opportunity to meet people – network actually.

To get to Laandan I have to catch a train. Driving into Central Laandan isn’t practical. This morning I worked from home first thing and caught the 11.35 from Lincoln Central, due to connect with the 12.16 from Newark.

I had plenty of time when I got to Newark. A train pulled in. Apparently it was the 9.06, running a smidgeon late. Uhoh! I don’t know whether I’ve ever told you but me dear old mam is from Mohil, County Leitrim and one thing she has passed on to me, apart from a love of (warm) Guinness is a bit of the “luck o’ the Irish”.

Click on the header to reveal more. A train pulled in (very late)

Business dns internet peering

Nominet non-executive board elections – vote Seb Lahtinen

Seb Lahtinen is very active in the UK internet scene andSebastien Lahtinen is standing for re-election as a non-executive director of Nominet amongst other things runs the LONAP peering exchange used by many of the country’s ISPs and hosting companies.

Seb is also a pal and is standing for re-election as non-executive director of Nominet, the UK’s Tier 1 registry for .uk domain names and safe pair of hands for what is one of our critical strategic infrastructures.

He is a serious minded individual and I’m sure makes an impactful contribution to Nominet’s board. I have already voted for him and thought I’d help out but giving him some airtime. I asked him three questions:

Cloud datacentre Engineer peering

Notes from London Internet Exchange (LINX), including Telecity and Datacentre Market Growth

I usually attend the quarterly meetings of the London Internet Exchange (LINX). At the risk of boring readers you do find some fascinating facts at these get togethers.

LINX has 383 members with 56 new applications in 2010. That’s huge growth. Members come from 50 countries – so despite having London in its name LINX is very much international in its orientation.

LINX has 304 10Gig ports and carries over 776Gbp/sec peak traffic – roughly the same amount of traffic as around 160,000 Standard Definition video streams or 40,000 High Def. Traffic is up 22% in the last three months!

LINX members can reach around 78% of all websites in the world through their London connections. Interestingly historically LINX traffic has been fairly smooth whereas an individual ISP will see spikes based on high profile events such as the Olympics and the Football World Cup. Now even LINX is starting to see the effect of these events. The Chilean mine rescue is one example. People watched it on TV at home and then carried on using the internet once they had arrived in the office.

At LINX71 datacentre operator Telecity have just told us that they are selling out colocation space as fast as they can build it. They currently have around 23MW in the UK with a further 21MW in build.

Mind bogglingly they say that Google has as much datacentre space in Liege in Belgium as does Telecity in the entire UK.

More interesting facts as the surface – you read them first on

Cloud Engineer peering Weekend

New #LINX added value service – chutney peering at LINX71

Timico CTO Trefor Davies and Entanet CTO Steve Lalonde try out new chutney peering at London Internet Exchange (LINX) meeting

The internet is a continuously changing body of many thousands of networks small and large connected together, mostly for the greater good.  The functionality provided by the internet is growing at a mind boggling rate. The London Internet Excange (LINX) as one of the world hubs where these thousands of networks meet to exchange traffic has just expanded its remit to include chutney peering.

Chutney peering is very similar to the peering of  internet traffic. The photo in the header (courtesy of @thomasjelliott – click to see more) shows the worlds first ever chutney exchange at a LINX meeting. The two peers are Timico CTO Trefor Davies (left) and Entanet CTO Steve @routerfixer Lalonde.

Engineer internet peering

LINX new members > London grows in internet importance

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) this morning announced three new members: Hutchinson 3G, Kenya Data Networks and from the USA. The only surprise as far as Hutchinson goes is that they were not already a member.

The addition of two new international members does however serve to underline the importance of London as a peering point for the global internet community.