Engineer internet

20th Anniversary of FICIX at Euro-IX 23 Helsinki

euroixI’m at Euro-IX 23, the 23rd six monthly get together of the people that run Europe’s internet peering exchanges. Without these mutual not for profit exchanges your internet connection would cost a fair bit more.

Euro-IX 23 is in Helsinki because 2013 is the 20th anniversary of the founding of FICIX, the Finnish internet exchange.

It’s very much worth looking at the connectivity provided by FICIX over the last 20 years.

1993 10Meg Ethernet hub soon upgraded to a switch
1996 155Mbps ATM
1999 622Mbps ATM
2002 1GigE
2004 10GigE
2013 100GigE ready with first ports expected to be provisioned in 2014

This roadmap is interesting because it is an illustration of how the internet has grown over the last 20 years. It also shows the flow of technology during that time including the demise of ATM.

Time was all your home broadband surfing would have been made over an ATM backhaul connection (the link between the telephone exchange and the internet. Now it is almost certainly done over 10GigE.

Unless you are in the business the chances are you won’t understand any of these terms in which case just note the flow – 10>155>622>1,000>10,000>100,000 millions of bits per second. Remembering that the average broadband speed of something like 14Mbps is faster than the total aggregated connectivity of the whole of Finland in 1993.

Cop this Euro-IX video to understand how the internet works and what peering is all about – you don’t need to be a techie to watch.

Video and header image/logo courtesy of Euro-IX.

End User internet security voip

How to tell if a phone call is going to be a scammer

Most people have picked up scam phone call at sometime in their recent short lives. I’ve noticed that they all have similar characteristics in that when you pick up the phone there is always a second or two of silence followed by a foreign voice saying “can I speak to Mr Davies please?” (replace Davies with your own name obv). It’s down to the latency over the internet.

It’s also because they are using some cheapo poor quality VoIP service. Thinking about it, their conversion rate would be much higher if they spent a bit more cash on better quality comms. The quality of their internet access is particularly important although in their case it might not make that much difference as I suspect the packets are traversing the internet for most of their journey. A good quality VoIP provider will hardly touch the internet, if at all.

I’ve adopted the practice, upon hearing the noisy silence before the attempt at a con, of being very familiar “I thought it was you. I wondered when you were going to call”. This tends to confuse them momentarily. All these scammers sound the same to me anyway. It’s probably the bad line but it might always be the same person. Would explain how they always seem to know my name.

That’s how you tell it’s a scammer. It’s all about the noisy silence before they realise you’ve answered the phone.

A public service blog post from

Business Cloud datacentre

What to look for when choosing a data centre

the new Timico Network Operations Centre in Newark has gone liveA data centre’s a data centre isn’t it? Power, aircon, security and diverse connections in and out of the building? Pick a location and a Tier level – 1,2,3,4 to determine the resiliency and cost. Throw in some green credentials and your uncle’s name is Bob!

Well you could put it like that. You wouldn’t be looking at the whole picture. Before building our Newark data centre we at Timico did a fair bit of market research. We looked at the needs of our customer base and what was available in terms of infrastructure technology that fitted the bill. The latter ranged from getting all the electromechanical bits right and ensuring that the cloud story was absolutely up there. When talking cloud we are talking the connectivity, storage processing and virtualisation infrastructure.

There was one piece of the story that we found compelling. This was how to make sure