NL-ix drives innovation

with their 800GE deployment

29 March 2023, Published in the EE Times, by Jeff Sugimoto - Nokia

NL-ix drives innovation with their 800GE deployment

As one of the pioneers of internet exchange, NL-ix has always embraced cutting-edge technology to serve its customer base with innovative and cost-efficient interconnection services. NL-ix’s resilient, low-latency network provides a complete portfolio of interconnection services directly available in over 100 data centers in Europe, giving its customers complete control over their cloud and SaaS connectivity.

Nonetheless, increasing adoption of the cloud and its services has further driven the need to increase the capacity and performance of NL-ix’s underlying network interconnection infrastructures. Traffic from many new bandwidth-hungry applications, such as online gaming, high-res video and latency-sensitive and mission-critical enterprise services, is being delivered across its network. This emerging deluge of capacity requirements is supported by Equinix’s most recent Global Interconnection Index, indicating that global interconnection bandwidth is forecast to grow at a 40% five-year CAGR, reaching 27,762 Tbps. This equals 110 zettabytes of data exchanged each year. Add to these capacity demands, the additional desire to provide a more sustainable and power-efficient network seems both challenging and paradoxical.

The leaders of NL-ix, a leader in interconnectivity services that is based in the Netherlands, realized that they needed to act. As a result, they determined that 800GE technology is the solution, as it represents an increase in speed and a path toward sustainability. By deploying 800GE technology and simultaneously simplifying NL-ix’s network design, they would be able to meet their conflicting goals of dramatically increasing the speed and performance of their services while simultaneously conducting them in a cost-, space- and power-efficient way.

NL-ix’s partnership with Nokia

NL-ix’s partnership with Nokia began when it chose Nokia to be its pan-European optical supplier. When NL-ix execs learned about Nokia’s new FP5 silicon and its 800GE technology, they were keen to continue the partnership—but now with IP routing.

NL-ix execs seized the opportunity to simplify the company’s network and upgrade its capacity with Nokia’s 800GE technology. The redesign and rebuild of the company’s network included the deployment of 800GE access and interconnection capacity across all of its datacenters in Amsterdam. After this initial deployment, Frankfurt, Germany, will be equipped with 800GE access capacity next, with its remaining pan-European network to be gradually upgraded.

By simplifying NL-ix’s Amsterdam region of its pan-European network and deploying the Nokia 7750 SR-14s routers in the three Amsterdam core data centers, it has transformed Amsterdam into Europe’s first “next-generation data hub.” As a result, this deployment has augmented access and interconnection capacity to 800GE, as well as significantly reduced power use, and simultaneously lowered the total cost of ownership in the Amsterdam data centers. In fact, after deployment, NL-ix achieved a nearly 90% reduction in power.

Real deployment in a demanding network

NL-ix is working on the deployment of 800GE technology with some of the most innovative institutions in the world; namely, Nikhef (the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics, performing research in particle and astroparticle physics) and SURF (a collaborative association of Dutch educational and research institutions that acquires and develops the best possible digital services while fostering continuous innovation through shared knowledge).

Nikhef and SURF partnered to open the “innovation roundabout” in Amsterdam, which is a test environment where both organizations can experiment with and conduct research into the next generation of new network technologies. By leveraging an upgraded speed of 800GE, this test environment is more than 1,000× faster than the internet connection of an average household in the Netherlands.

With this new 800GE service, SURF, Nikhef and the Dutch and international research community are forging ahead in the field of network technology. The innovation roundabout will continue to contribute to strengthening the Netherlands as an education and research digital hub.

Overall, 800GE technology is beyond just speed. Rather, it is a significant technological transition where performance, capacity and sustainability converge and are not at odds with each other. Innovations like 800GE technology are needed to continue to innovate while also giving back to the world in a sustainable way.

Jeff Sugimoto

Jeff Sugimoto is vice president of Nokia’s Webscale business, where he leads the unit’s global strategy and technical teams. Working with some of the largest and most sophisticated internet and cloud providers, Jeff blends his 20+ years of networking experience with a deep knowledge of cutting-edge technology to help customers build the next wave of internet services. Previously, Jeff led the North American Consulting Engineering practice for Nokia’s IP service provider and large enterprise customers. He also held several senior roles in product management and network engineering. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Western Ontario and is based in Vancouver, Canada.