London Internet Exchange selects Foundry Networks switches

JANUARY 30, 2007 � Foundry Networks' BigIron RX Series switches enable LINX to cope with the shift traffic commonly handled today, namely real-time applications like voice and video, which are sensitive to congestion on the network.

JANUARY 30, 2007 -- The London Internet Exchange (LINX), one of the largest global InternetExchange Points (IXP), has installed Foundry Network's (search for Foundry Networks) BigIron RX-16 Series backbone switches to meet rapid growth in its membership, which is comprised of the world's leading content and Internet service providers. The increased switch capacity is required as the volume of Internet traffic is growing 50% year-over-year; today, LINX says it handles more than 116 Gigabits of traffic per second.

LINX is a not-for-profit organization owned by its content delivery and Internet Service Provider members, offering peering between all the parties to exchange Internet traffic in order to reduce costs and provide more direct routing of traffic. Membership has exploded in the past four years, up from 120 to over 230 organizations today, with 18% growth in 2006 alone, say LINX representatives. This makes it one of the largest IXPs. LINX members come from over 30 different countries around the world, with access provided to over 50% of the global routing table.

"With demand for GbE and 10-GbE port connectivity outstripping the capabilities of our existing infrastructure, we knew we'd have to buy new chassis to cope," recalls Mike Hughes, chief technology officer for LINX. "Switch technology has jumped a great deal recently and next-generation products like the BigIron RX are better, faster, and more cost effective than what was considered leading edge just 12 months ago," he notes.

Such high-speed connectivity is required by the LINX as it needs to keep pace with demands placed on it by members and maintain 'headroom' capacity to deal with sudden upturns in Internet usage or massive failures in the Internet elsewhere in the world.

The BigIron RX series switches also enables LINX to cope with the shift in the type of traffic commonly handled today, namely real-time applications like voice and video, which are sensitive to congestion on the network.

"Our testing showed that, compared to the competition, the BigIron RX switches have very low jitter--in other words, the delay in the frames going through the box is uniform, which means sound and video are smooth as packets aren't re-ordered or dropped," explains Hughes.

The new switches also feature Foundry's Metro Ring Protocol II (MRP2), which enables the creation of multiple overlapping network rings without a single point of failure. Using the new BigIron RX16 and MRP2, LINX has created a virtual 40-GbE core by trunking together four 10-GbE links, with smaller 10-GbE rings connecting to it using existing
Foundry switches. Should there be break in Internet transmission, MRP2 works in milliseconds to find an alternative path to route traffic, thereby, offering a huge boost to ensuring service reliability, report LINX representatives.

Built for high availability, the BigIron RX-16s feature complete hardware resiliency with redundant management, switch fabrics, power, and cooling, says Foundry. This is complemented by advanced software resiliency, including hitless failover and hitless software upgrades.

"One of the key aspects about Foundry is the ease with which equipment can be upgraded and next-generation solutions interoperating with existing product," Hughes notes. "We're often re-building the aircraft in flight--enhancing the network and moving customers with us at the same time. This is crucial since higher density switches will always be needed as capacity demands keep escalating. We'll need even higher density 10-GbE switches to keep up with this," he admits. "In three years time, I'll be looking for a box the same size as the current BigIron RX but with the same number of 100-GbE ports as there are 10-GbE today. It is great to see the company thinking this way already by making BigIron RX-16 chassis completely 100-Gigabit ready," says Hughes.

"LINX is a flagship reference site for us and demonstrates how our high-performance networking design and engineering approach applies in practice," adds Ken Cheng, vice president and general manager, high-end and service provider systems business unit for Foundry Networks. "In the past, some vendors have made claims to powering the Internet, but it would be fair to say, given the amount of traffic that LINX handles with Foundry switches, that we're powering the Internet but at today's speeds, namely 10-GbE."

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