Covid-19 pandemic driving traffic up 40%, says Linx

Exclusive: Covid-19 pandemic driving traffic up 40%, says London Internet Exchange

10 February 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Linx, the London Internet Exchange, says traffic on its main platform has gone up by 40% in the year of Covid-19.

That figure was achieved on its main platform in London, LON1, but it was closely reflected across all of Linx’s UK and US interconnection hubs.

Richard Petrie (pictured), Linx CTO, said the exchange’s peak traffic record stood at 4.30Tbps in March 2020, but was 5.64Tbps in November and 5.93Tbps in the first few weeks of 2021.

“We continue to see strong traffic growth across both our London based exchange points, with LON2 peaking well past the 800GE mark again this week,” said Petrie.

“With schools and many of the UK universities now running 100% remote learning, LON2 traffic has surged in January.”

Linx runs a dual network infrastructure in London to provide members with added resiliency, both stretching 64km and serviced by 16 points of presence (PoPs) from multiple carrier neutral data centres.

There are regional exchanges in Wales, Manchester and Scotland. Linx also operates an internet exchange in the Ashburn, Virginia, area just outside Washington DC.

The disaggregated platform uses hardware from Edgecore Networks and software from IP Infusion, and “it is performing fantastically, with our SLA exceeding 99.9999% across the last three months alone”, said Petrie.

“As everyone has been affected by the pandemic, we all have personal experience of how the internet is being used differently to the way it was before. More home working, video calls, online shopping, home schooling, as well as increased access to on-demand TV content and gaming.”

To handle these changes, Linx said that many larger content networks have taken a regional peering approach during last 12 months. “By keeping traffic local to the end user, this ensures that their network is able to deal with increases in traffic levels, lower latency which results in an improved end user experience.”

The eight-million-year-long video call

Worldwide, DE-CIX Internet Exchanges saw a total of 32 exabytes of data traffic flow through global IXs in 2020 – roughly the same amount of data required for an eight-million-year-long video call.

DE-CIX CTO Dr. Thomas King, said: “We knew from the beginning that the Internet would withstand the extraordinary year of 2020 and the Corona pandemic, but to see such an enormously high figure now in black and white is quite something, and makes us very proud. At our Internet Exchanges, we have observed how data traffic has increased in the past year, especially in the areas of working from home (for example, video calls and VPN connections) and entertainment (for example, streaming and online gaming). Digital services and applications are more essential than ever, and must function with as little delay as possible."

Frankfurt saw two record peaks: 9 terabits per second (Tbps) of data throughput was reached in March, and in November a new record of 10 Tbps data throughput was registered at peak times for the first time.