Pandemic drives internet exchange traffic gains across globe
As 2021 rolls on, it’s worth taking stock of how the past year’s unusual global circumstances have affected the world of internet exchange (IX) data-traffic services. In short, this has been a period of significant growth. The elevated levels of traffic coursing through Equinix Internet Exchange platforms illustrate clearly how IP traffic has grown and what kinds of data are transiting IX hubs across disparate geographies and cultures.
From South America to the U.S., to Europe, to Asia, we’ve seen an expansion of traffic through Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) facilities. At its core, this growth reflects a confluence of evolving data-intensive applications and increased video services demand driving greater levels of traffic between service providers, enterprises, regions and individual consumers.
To support this accelerating growth in traffic, Equinix Internet Exchange enables network service providers (NSPs) to deliver services (such as IP-transit, last-mile, and security services) over highly secure, cost-effective private and public virtual LANs (VLANs).
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Traffic statistics illustrate rapid global growth
The following summaries present the growth in overall global traffic, the number of total customers and ports, and traffic by region for Equinix Internet Exchange installations compared to last year:
- Global Equinix Internet Exchange peak traffic—Maximum peak traffic at the end of March 2021 measured 19.6 Tbps. That’s more than 4 Tbps above the data rate observed a year ago and makes the Equinix Internet Exchange platform the largest aggregate platform in the world.
- Equinix Internet Exchange customer and port count growth—For Q1CY 2021, the number of live Equinix Internet Exchange ports totalled 5,992, with 1,577 in APAC, 2,980 in the Americas and 1,435 in EMEA. All of which represents a cumulative 7% increase over the same period for 2020. Provision capacity is up 32%.
- Equinix traffic growth by region—Volume 4 of the annual Global Interconnection Index(GXI) illustrates how digital leaders all over the world are harnessing interconnection—the direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners—to drive a competitive advantage. The installed interconnection bandwidth capacity of enterprises and service providers on Equinix’s global platform is estimated to reach a 45% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023. The following diagram breaks out projected interconnection growth rates by region.
Equinix Internet Exchange maximum peak traffic at the end of March 2021 measured 19.6 Tbps, more than 4 Tbps above the data rate observed a year ago.
Projected Installed Interconnection Bandwidth Capacity Growth Rates (in Tbps) by Region
(2019 to 2023)
The top three industry sectors driving private interconnection bandwidth capacity growth worldwide are telecommunications, cloud and IT services, and content and digital media. These industries are the top three drivers in the Americas as well. In Europe, finance-related traffic takes the number three spot. In Asia-Pacific, manufacturing is the third greatest driver of private interconnection-bandwidth capacity.
The following summaries detail traffic growth for key metropolitan hubs by region observed at the end of Q1CY 2021 (and compared to Q1CY 2020).
Singapore—Equinix Singapore is the most network-dense data-center campus in Southeast Asia and offers access to many of the international and regional networks connecting the region, including one of the world’s 3 GRX peering points. Singapore continues to be our largest IX hub in terms of IP traffic, and the 4th largest of any provider globally, with peak-traffic now more than 6 Tbps, representing growth of 42% year-over-year (YoY). For more details about Singapore performance for 2020, read Singapore’s Equinix Internet Exchange growth.
Melbourne—Home to Australia’s second-largest economy, Melbourne offers access to a diverse local economy that includes advanced manufacturing, global financial and multinational firms, professional and scientific services, and technology companies. This vibrant metro contains a rapidly growing IX platform with maximum traffic increasing 41% YoY. Melbourne offers direct access to multiple networks and the subsea Australia Singapore Cable (ASC).
São Paulo—São Paulo now has global significance as an international internet hub and is one of our largest IX metros. The 4th largest city in Latin America, São Paulo is at the epicentre of exponential new IP traffic growth with increasing local content and digital media (CDM) traffic demand. In March 2021, peak-traffic in São Paulo exceeded 600 Gbps, which represented growth of more than 100% YoY. To help ensure an optimally robust, redundant data infrastructure, we’ve implemented Equinix Internet Exchange at our Rio de Janeiro location to provide São Paulo with seamless disaster recovery support.
Miami—Miami is home to the NAP of the Americas (NOTA), the primary internet exchange point and communication gateway to commercial centers in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe. Miami is Equinix’s 9th largest global IX hub (up one place), mainly due to subsea cable traffic moving between the U.S. and LATAM from hyperscale cloud and CDM providers. In Q1 CY2021, traffic in Miami exceeded 800 Gbps, which equated to growth of more than 49% YoY.
Frankfurt—Frankfurt is one of Europe’s leading financial centers and a major hub for banking, commerce and manufacturing. Frankfurt is Equinix’s 3rd largest IX in EMEA in terms of traffic as more network and cloud providers and ISPs, see it as a European traffic exchange hub. The progress on our IX has been very encouraging and in March 2021 we passed 100 signed members to the platform.
Amsterdam—Our Amsterdam campus is one of the densest locations in EMEA for network and content providers and it also provides secure, direct connections to a vast selection of cloud providers. Amsterdam is Equinix’s 4th largest IX in EMEA in terms of traffic. During 2020 we added more members and ports to the Amsterdam IX than any other IX platform in the region, as customers from all verticals continued to leverage Equinix for their interconnection needs.
Why is this growth happening?
One clear driving factor is the increased traffic attributable to the demand for streaming video services and real-time interactive video from homes and businesses due to pandemic-based limitations on travel.
The top three industry sectors driving private interconnection bandwidth capacity growth worldwide are telecommunications, cloud and IT services, and content and digital media."
An analysis of traffic type over the past year suggests that a combination of elevated online gaming and e-sports audience participation are significantly contributing to IP traffic growth. The majority of traffic flowing over the Equinix Internet Exchange infrastructure in aggregate is attributable to major content providers. Service providers make up 80% of the Equinix Internet Exchange traffic and in subsequent blogs, we’ll be talking about the enterprise traffic that comprises the remaining 20%.
How Equinix Internet Exchange fits into global IP traffic transport
To understand the role of Equinix Internet Exchange, it’s useful to consider it in the context of overall internet traffic transport. IX traffic occurs over the highly distributed environment of the web’s networking infrastructure. That is suited to data streams of relatively modest throughput requirements. In comparison, private, one-to-one cross-connect, IP-peering solutions support much higher throughput requirements.
As a result, roughly 90% of IP traffic is routed over private cross-connect environments, while the remaining 10% transits IX-style architectures. For example, a 6 Gbps connection from a content provider to an ISP would almost certainly be routed over a single cross-connect, whereas 6 smaller streams of 500 Mbps from the same content provider to 6 separate ISPs would be shared over a single port on an IX fabric.
The majority of traffic flowing over the Equinix Internet Exchange infrastructure is attributable to major content providers."
It is also important to note that Equinix Internet Exchange can work in tandem with Equinix Connect™ to accelerate user access to IT infrastructure on Platform Equinix over the public internet. Available in 40+ global markets, Equinix Connect is a secure internet access service that provides direct and secure connectivity from Equinix IBX locations.
Equinix rolls out RPKI support
The internet is increasingly faced with myriad new security threats. In response to those threats, governing bodies, such as the IETF, work to integrate security protocols and standards that help reduce the risk posed by malicious software and hackers.
The Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) is one of those security standardization initiatives. RPKI is designed to secure the internet’s routing infrastructure, specifically the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Equinix is committed to helping ensure data security across its infrastructure and is now rolling out Equinix Internet Exchange support for RPKI on a regional basis.
Equinix Internet Exchange making strides in emerging markets
Our Equinix Internet Exchange worldwide presence is expanding significantly into emerging markets for more scalable digital interconnectivity. Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Oman are just a few of the focus areas for our growing global support for low-latency, secure data connectivity. Look for more details about this critically important customer growth opportunity in coming installments to this blog.
You can also get hints about how to benefit from low latency and cost-effective traffic exchange when using Equinix solutions by viewing our Equinix Internet Exchange webinar.
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Roughly 90% of IP traffic is routed over private cross-connect environments, while the remaining 10% transits IX-style architectures.