Australia’s internet exchanges begin backbone ramp-up – Telco/ISP

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The Internet Association of Australia has embarked on what will eventually be a national program of upgrading its IX Australia core networks, rolling out 400Gbps switches in its NSW-IX internet exchange point.

The only non-profit internet exchange operator in Australia has seen steepling traffic in the Covid era, and decided that adding capacity in 100Gbps increments was no longer viable.

The association said its national exchange point system regularly peaks at over 900Gbps, and NSW-IX traffic routinely exceeds 400Gbps.

“What we’ve been doing is adding 100G links,” CEO Narelle Clark told iTnews.

“We run uncongested, so we make sure we’ve always got more capacity than we need,” she said.

Adding links 100Gbps at a time just meant “all we were doing was burning ports, and we need to connect members to those ports”.

That led to the decision to roll out 400Gbps switching kit from Arista Networks.

The upgrade will link the nine Sydney data centres that comprise NSW-IX: four Equinix locations, two NextDC, plus Fujitsu, Global Switch and Vocus.

The NSW-IX will be the first of IAA’s six Australian internet exchange points to upgrade to 400Gbps.

It comprises nine Sydney based points of presence connected in a fully redundant, diverse fibre ring.

The new switches will be deployed to consolidate the core, and increase overall capacity, with the option to offer 400Gbps ports to members directly.

The redundancy means in normal operation the core will have 800Gbps available to it, and members will get the option to connect to 400Gbps ports.

Clark said similar infrastructure will roll out in other states in response to demand, and that the organisation expects the rollout to be completed by the end of the year.

The Internet Association of Australia team conducted months of bench testing for interoperability and protocol performance testing before selecting Arista.

Clark explained to iTnews that IXs, which were originally conceived to let ISPs pass traffic to each other without sending it over expensive “transit” links from carriers like Telstra, have evolved into a vital part of internet infrastructure.

One member’s traffic analysis, she said, showed that 75 percent of that ISP’s traffic was delivered from the exchange point, including content from the likes of Google, Netflix and Facebook in caches in the IX.

Content distribution networks like Cloudflare and Akamai also have presence in the exchange points to push traffic to member ISPs.



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