Engineer peering

conference freebies

Sometimes when someone is making a statement you just have to sit up and take notice.  In this case LINX69 sponsors Prolabs have impressed by giving us branded  4GB USB memory sticks.  The new bar has been set.

Coincidentally I recently did a screen on all my kids’ USB sticks checking for viruses. They produced 14 of them for scanning ranging from 128MB (virtually useless these days) to a few 500MBs.  One memory stick had a virus. Beware.

Anyway if any other vendors want an obective assessment of their marketing freebies you know where to send them:-).

Engineer internet

100GigE – 5 years from initial idea to standard

Day1 of LINX69 had networking equipment vendor Brocade giving an interesting talk about the rollout timescales for the 100GigE standard.

The 100Gig standard has taken 5 years from initial ideas to fruition with ratification being expected in June 2010. Coincidentally the 40Gig standard will have taken the same amount of time with a parallel development aimed at the server market.

40Gig kit reuses some 10Gig elements which is what should allow it to fit in the appropriate part of the price/performance curve.

Whilst a number of vendors have announced 100Gig products it remains to be seen how rapidly some of these will be rolled out and adopted. During the last wave of network upgrades (1Gig to 10Gig) many equipment vendors had their fingers burned as industry uptake took a lot longer than anticipated. Nortel, for example had apparently predicted 2 million 10Gig port shipments by 2002 but actually took another 7 years to hit that volume. Somewhat symptomatic of the problems the Nortel business found themselves in methinks.

The upshot is that vendors are unlikely to rush out 100Gig products.

We expect of course that next gen technologies result in lower per port costs. Currently this is not the case for 100Gig due to high optics and component costs. Based on historical trends these are expected to drop in 2011/2012. For the moment 100Gig is therefore very much one for the early adopter.

The chart below shows the timeline between adoption of the standard for each technology. Considering that it takes 5 years to develop a standard and looking at the 2002 dot com bubble bursting date that the 10Gig standard was ratified  it is perhaps no surprise that 100Gig was delayed.

Ethernet technology adoption timeline - courtesy Brocade Networks
Ethernet technology adoption timeline
Engineer internet

Is LINX getting too big?

An interesting question posed during the Board Election Hustings at LINX69 today was “is LINX getting too big?”

For the uninitiated the London Internet Exchange is a membership owned Internet Exchange where network operators peer with other network operators. This means that they pass traffic between each other free of charge. There is a cost for this – running the “exchange” involves buying and maintaining expensive bits of kit that all members connect to.

This cost however is far lower than the alternative of buying access to internet sites around the world from a commercial supplier – something known as internet transit. LINX membership in theory gives you access to around 70% of all internet routes.

LINX is growing rapidly. The organisation has 357 members with 22 new applications in 2010 to date. Network operators want to join because as LINX grows the benefits also grow.

The question at the hustings is valid though. The problem is that the internet was designed as a robust network able to withstand problems at any given single point. If those networks comprising the internet increasingly connect at a single place then this obviously counter intuitive to the way the internet is meant to work.

Now LINX does operate a very robust network – effectively two networks based on two different vendor equipments. It is becoming an increasingly attractive place to peer.

I can’t tell you what the right answer is. ISPs just need to make sure they have alternatives.

Engineer internet

Google redirecting to Swedish site

For some strange reason as I travel down to LINX69 in London the on train wifi is directing me to Google’s Swedish website. It would be interesting to find out whether this is down to the service provider network being used by EastCoast Trains or something happening in the Google network itself.

I guess someone at LINX69 would be able to find out.