We are the road workers at an intersection on the digital highway

Who is NL-ix?

Behind the world of the Internet, behind the world of fibers, protocols, peers and terabits, are actual people making it all work. But who are these people? In other words: Who is NL-ix?

Today: 🤝 Gert-Jan Aalderink, Network Architect

I’ve been with NL-ix for over 14 years now and a lot has changed over the years. The industry has evolved and the team has grown. But the one thing that stayed the same, is the Greek restaurant, in the centre of The Hague, that we love to go to on Tuesday’s for our team lunches. It’s where we take our customers, and I even held my wedding reception there in 2004.

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Gert-Jan Aalderink

I’ve had several roles throughout my time here at NL-ix, and right now, I’m a network architect. The best way to explain what I do, and what NL-ix does as a team, is to see us as road workers at an intersection on the digital highway. Imagine the internet as a highway structure, made up of several big intersections. Pretty chaotic. We maintain our intersection and make sure everything runs smoothly. Imagine if that intersection broke or got clogged up, many people would have to drive a completely different route – and they wouldn’t be happy. 

It was around 1994, when we still had dial-up connections, that I started playing around with the internet. It was exciting, yet the most interesting thing people went to see on the internet then, was a picture of a coffee pot in the UK, to check whether it was full or empty. Thrilling stuff. However, I was interested in the internet for more reasons than just that coffee pot, and so in ‘95 I started my Bachelor's Degree of Science.

Upon graduation I started a traineeship at Internet Exchange Europe. The CEO of Internet Exchange Europe at the time was Jan Hoogenboom, who you might know as one of the two founders of NL-ix. He was my internship counselor, so we go way back and I stayed with the company while it was acquired by PSINet. 

After the internet bubble burst in 2003, my career took a different turn. Then in 2009 I got a call to have a cup of coffee with Jan and Misha, and just like that I began my journey with NL-ix.

We are the road workers at an intersection on the digital highway

Gert-Jan Aalderink

Before KPN acquired us, we were a company of only eight people – and five of them were technical engineers. Every person practically had their own department. There was a backbone hard, backbone soft, support and provisioning. And I did special projects. Everything that wasn't a standard came to me.  As the company grew, I moved to field engineering and did some big migrations. A few years back, my colleague Dirk joined the company as an architect and I followed. We have great synergy together, and are working on some long term projects. 

One of the projects I'm most proud of is the migration of the old Telecity One site to what currently is Digital Realty AMS17. They had built a tower over the existing data center, and it was our job to migrate customers into the new tower. The migration took six months of preparation, and we had a plan that allowed customers to interrupt their connection only once while they were moved.

Right now, we’re working on migrating toward Nokia, which will take us some time to roll out through our entire network. I'm excited about every step of the way and can't wait to look back and see a job well done.

Please contact Gert-Jan if you have any questions.