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LINX Warns Scottish Internet Exchange IXScotland Lacks Vital Support

Monday, August 22nd, 2016 (3:56 pm) - Score 1,519

The London Internet Exchange has criticised last week’s progress report on the roll-out of “superfast broadband” in Scotland (here), not least because of Audit Scotland‘s failure to fully reflect that LINX has already established an Internet Exchange in Scotland (IXScotland) and it needs support.

The report stated that the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has been working to develop the Scottish Government’s vision of “world-class digital infrastructure.” As part of that SFT have also proposed 6 interconnecting key “pillars” of infrastructure, one of which is centred around “Exchanges“.

According to Audit Scotland, “While there is an exchange in Scotland, the majority of data must be sent to England before returning to Scotland.” The point is understandable, but a spokesperson for LINX today complained that “no reference was made to the fact that LINX had established such an exchange nearly three years ago” (here).

At present IXScotland is a single node IXP (Internet Exchange Point) using switching gear from Extreme Networks, which functions independently of the much larger LINX networks in London and Manchester. The exchange, which keeps traffic local and thus improves latency / regional connectivity, is managed in consultation with a local steering committee of member networks.

However the exchange has not grown as fast as LINX would have liked and today it only handles 708.90Mbps of peak data traffic via 20 connected members (the network also supports 19 Gigabits of connected traffic), but there is some progress (see below).

ixscotland_one_year_traffic

By comparison IXManchester was launched a year before IXScotland and has seen much stronger growth, with 78 connected members and 35.82Gbps of peak traffic.

John Souter, CEO of LINX, said:

“We worked very closely with the Scottish Government when launching IXScotland but unfortunately growth at the exchange has not been as rapid as we would’ve liked. We know that the LINX membership is keen to be even more involved with developments in the country and that includes raising awareness of the benefits of joining a local exchange.

IXScotland has so much potential – with a more concentrated effort from all parties it could become an effective interconnection hub for the country and something the whole tech community can benefit from.”

James King, Scottish Futures Trust, added:

“We have taken the lead to develop an approach to implement the Scottish Government’s World-Class digital vision. Our focus, working together with industry and the Scottish Government, is to ensure the right mechanisms, partnerships and commercial approaches are developed to deliver a programme to improve digital infrastructure investment and its delivery across Scotland’s diverse landscape. Anything that can be done to move the agenda along is a positive step for us.”

Naturally IXScotland’s future would be much brighter if they could encourage more ISPs and local businesses in Scotland to join up. This would of course be helped if reports, like the one from Audit Scotland, actually recognised their contribution and delved into the matter with a little more depth.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Owen Rudge says:

    I daresay it would be a good start if you had the major ISPs (BT at any rate, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media would be good too) making use of this IX, along with the likes of JANET. I don’t know quite how the backhaul for mobile data connections work (my guess is that it’ll probably all be routed to some central servers in London), but if it were possible to “devolve” to Edinburgh and peer, it would surely reduce latency and load on the rest of the network.

    I guess it’s more convenient for the ISPs just to have everything in one place though, and no doubt cheaper too…

    1. Alasdair says:

      Re: Owen’s comment about mobile data connections… he’s quite right, Vodafone traffic for example all joins the public internet at their HQ in Newbury so the ~800 mile roundtrip is unavoidable for that network when accessing resources local to Scotland.

    2. dragon says:

      I guess it depends on the ISP and their network layout, The ones using PPP you may find the BRAS is in London or Manchester anyway, in which case peering on IX Scotland probably makes little sense as the traffic would have to still to go the Wholesale network handover point/BRAS first anyway.

  2. Optimist says:

    Does it have any links to international backbones?

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