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Preparing Our Network for the Games

23 · APR ·2012

Olympic Countdown 95 days to go Resilience and capacity planning are at the heart of our core network design. Preparing for the 2012 Olympics has been a relatively straightforward process for us because the network has been inherently built to cope with huge volumes of traffic and failure scenarios. In many ways 2012 is a simple extension of the good practises we already employ to serve our customers in a resilient and uncontended fashion. All DSL services are always mapped from suppliers into at least two independent nodes on our core network. Key anciliary services, RADIUS, DNS and SMTP, are similarly spread across separate geographical locations, and all datacentres connect back to two others via diverse dark fibres. In the event of a black-out at one of our datacentres all DSL based services would automatically fail-over to one of several other sites and carry on working. Our customers typically also have demand for high bandwidth as well as uptime, so capacity is carefully engineered with low thresholds set to trigger upgrades. On our DSL platforms routers are kept at no more than 30% usage during peak hours, with average across the network typically 15-20%. This ensures that traffic re-routed during a failure can be absorbed at other sites with ease. Ethernet, colocation and leased line customers connect and route directly via our MPLS core network backbone, and typically place a higher demand on the network. This core is also the fabric which connects together our datacentres, so we use multiple 10 Gb/s wavelengths on our own WDM equipment to provide extremely scalable bandwidth. In preparation for the Olympics we are operating with peak backbone usage typically between 5 & 10% and have plumbed in an additional 40 Gb/s of Internet transit routing capacity - enough to comfortably serve huge customer demands whilst being able to also cushion large DoS attacks. And because demand for network bandwidth is increasing at an exponential rate, no sooner than the Olympics are over work will begin on a £2.4M upgrade of our network, designed to deliver a fabric for the most demanding applications for several years to come.

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Posted by Sanita Karra