200 Gigabits a Second

Todd Underwood of Internet consultants Renesys has an interesting post for the day AMSIX, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, set the world record for Internet traffic through a single facility. At 2110 CET on Monday, the world’s biggest IX saw more than 200 gigabits a second of netty goodness hurtling through its multiple 10GB Ethernet switches. That’s a whole lotta traffic. And love, this being Amsterdam.

But what especially interests me about it is that somehow, everyone does these things differently. In North America, public IXen don’t really count for much—even the mighty Equinix sees only half AMSIX’s traffic across all its exchanges. Traditionally, ISPs and telcos have preferred to set up private interconnections, or else pay a private exchange operator like Equinix. In Europe, though, public exchanges run by their users as co-operatives, where everyone connects to shared high-capacity Ethernet switches, have been a vital part of the Internet infrastructure from the word go, with LINX in Tookey Street, London SE1 being the first. Over the years, they have grown spectacularly and continue to do so—a year ago, AMS-IX was doing half the traffic it is now, LINX has doubled since January, and DECIX in Frankfurt is up 150 per cent this year.

There’s obviously a political/cultural analogy here. The Americans prefer to set up their own private wires, and the Europeans prefer sharing a really big Ethernet ring, operated as a non-profit organisation. And the South Koreans have arrived at a sort of hybrid solution, doing private interconnection in a very big way but within a shared facility. But there doesn’t seem to be any great difference in the results.

Geek culture bleg: If multiple Linux boxes are boxen, multiple muxes are muxen, more than one VAX used to be VAXen, why aren’t more than one switch switchen?

5 thoughts on “200 Gigabits a Second

  1. The -en plurarl is formed by analogy with some German-derived (?) plurals like oxen. Generally it gets only applied to words ending in x.

    [Pity – I like switchen]

  2. Boxen doesn’t refer specifically to Linux boxes, just to generic UNIX-like systems. And of course the plural of UNIX is “unices” not “unixen”. Foolish consistency, hobgoblin, etc, etc.

    Switchen does sound cool, though.

  3. Maybe this has nothing to do with culture but with history. In America the Baby Bells didn’t know that you could make big money out of them while Europe was a little behind America and the Bells of Europe could see the opportunity to make big money but couldn’t go full in because of regulatory problems (as they were monopolies). So the second best solution after doing it yourself is doing it cooperatively

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