DE-CIX sets a new record with 2021 data traffic figure
DE-CIX has confirmed just how much data passed through its exchanges last year – and it comes as little surprise that the figure has set a new record.
The global exchange operator saw a 20% increase in data traffic in 2021 compared to the full year 2020 – reporting 38 exabytes of data flowed through DE-CIX exchanges around the world.
The figure is the latest in a series of records to be confirmed by DE-CIX, which has had unrivalled visibility over global traffic growth over the course of the pandemic.
On the full year 2021 figure, Dr. Christoph Dietzel, global head of products and research at DE-CIX said: “Overall, global data traffic stabilized at a high level in 2021, after the outbreak of the pandemic and the record-breaking year in 2020, and continues to grow steadily.
“This shows that concepts such as work-from-home with video conferencing, and home entertainment with video streaming and gaming, have become established in everyday life, and this growth will only continue.”
That said, gaming traffic bucked streaming trends when pandemic restrictions were eased.
Detailing the 2021 trends, DE-CIX said the data throughput of video conferences via the Frankfurt exchange – one of the largest exchanges in the world – was "especially high in the first months of the year, up to the end of lockdown and contact restrictions".
In the summer months – which naturally see less traffic but last year were coupled with lower infection rates and vacation time – it was only half as much as at the beginning of the year. For video streaming via Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and others, the distribution was similar, but with smaller seasonal differences. However, in gaming, the final months of the year saw new peaks.
In 2021, DE-CIX Frankfurt saw more than 29 exabytes of data traffic over 12 months, a peak data throughput of nearly 11 Tbps, and over 1,100 connected networks.
DE-CIX recorded a 6Tbps world record throughput in Frankfurt in 2016, with the 9Tbps throughput record set in December 2019. The first record spike of the pandemic was witnessed in March 2020 when DE-CIX Frankfurt saw a data throughput record of 9.1Tbps.
To help comprehend the full year figure of 38 exabytes, DE-CIX explained that it is the equivalent of the storage capacity of more than 300 million smartphones, each with 128 GB of storage. Further, if one placed 300 million smartphones end-to-end they would "more or less reach around the Earth at the equator".
If that doesn't make your jaw drop, 38 exabytes is also the data volume of a video stream in HD quality lasting nearly 1.5 million years.
DE-CIX currently operates a total of 32 internet exchanges worldwide, either alone or in various cooperation and partnership models. This year DE-CIX Barcelona went live and plans were announced to upgrade the Frankfurt exchange to make it suitable for the era of 800 gigabit Ethernet. However, the biggest headline was undoubtedly the launch of Space-IX, which DE-CIX International president Ivo Ivanov detailed for Capacity back in October.