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No one expected 2020 to start off like this. The world is challenged by a global crisis that has forced companies to change the way they run their business while dramatically altering how people access and consume the internet.

Data and graphs have shown significant increase in internet traffic around the world.

The amount of stress on the internet infrastructure also means the internet exchanges (IX) and internet service providers (ISP) have to effectively manage these higher than usual volumes.

New world records

The biggest upswings have been noted by DE-CIX in Frankfurt but everyone is expecting similar results at other exchanges such as the Amsterdam Internet Exchange(AMS-IX) and London Internet Exchange(LINX).

Of course, new all-time traffic peaks were recorded over the last few weeks. The good news is that IXs are built for these surges and are well prepared to deal with them.

While this bodes well for the industry in terms of proving its worth towards facilitating global communications, the trouble is that not all downstream service providers are ready for the sudden upswings.

This could result in higher lags, slower internet speeds, and—heaven forbid—outages if the current bandwidth demand escalates tenfold due to worsening scenarios.

Can IP transit weather the new normal?

Transit providers are receiving more requests for upstream traffic and are now serving large volume of IP transit – a service where an ISP allows traffic to travel through their network to its final destination.

There are three tiers of IP transit providers, and latency can be a major problem when high volumes of IP transits (so-called ‘hops’) result in even tier 1 providers becoming less efficient or more selective in routing transits. For customers, this also means running the cost up since IP transit service is charged on a per volume basis.

Consider a scenario where after the pandemic subsides, the global upsurge for internet bandwidth becomes the new normal. Is there an alternative solution to meet the challenges?

Remote peering is the prescription

Instead of relying only on IP transit, a lot of ISPs and over-the-top (OTT) media services have already placed their bets on leveraging the IXs to keep traffic local.

Plus, the IXs have the dedicated bandwidth capacity to serve the increase in demand. This ensures that user experience is not adversely impacted in locations where there’s high internet traffic.

Many if not all of these ISPs and specialised applications and content providers need to peer at the IXs. To handle the sudden spikes, they will also need to increase their bandwidth capacity for connecting to the exchanges immediately without being locked down on a long-term contract.

The answer is of course remote peering to allow these service providers to peer on-demand at the local internet exchange points (IXP) from anywhere around the world. 
For instance, a service provider based in Asia can now deliver content to their European audience efficiently despite the surging internet traffic.
The peering footprint matters
Not all remote peering partners are equal. This is where choosing one with a large global presence and wider connectivity ecosystem can make a difference in terms of service quality.
As a global service provider, Epsilon’s interconnect fabric provides access to over 220 data centres and offers remote peering at the largest global peering exchanges, including AMS-IX, DE-CIX, LINX and many more across different regions.
Besides that, we have automated a large part of our operations which means you can turn up new services within minutes. We provide on-demand connectivity on our software-defined networking (SDN) platform, Infiny, allowing users to scale their network in a secure and flexible manner.
Not only do we offer on-demand remote peering, but also a full suite of connectivity solutions to cater to your needs and support your end-users.
The Connectivity-19 lesson
Just as the world thought it was ready in 2019 to face all kinds of adversities, the global outbreak proved us wrong.
The idea of digital transformation as an ongoing journey has never been more apparent. Most businesses are digitally ready to face the current situation, while some are now facing their biggest challenge ever.
Following this train of thought, service providers have had years to digitally transform to meet the escalating winds of change and deliver new customer experience.
Now’s the time to shine.
For any telcos and ISPs still basking in the complacency of legacy technologies and fallen behind on network transformation, now’s the definitive wake-up call.
The suffix ‘19’ stands for the year of the COVID-19 pandemic—shall we name the lessons in pre-empting internet upsurges as Connectivity-19?
This is a stark reminder amidst the thousands of businesses worldwide faltering in the wake of the impending recession: Transform or Perish.
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