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LINX News

2017 IXManchester DNS Training & Karting Event to bring networking community together

By | LINX News
It was announced at the LINX98 member conference that LINX will be staging another IXManchester training, networking and karting event on Tuesday 17th October.
The 2017 training and karting event, which will again be held at Daytona Manchester in Stretford, has been organised in conjunction with the IXManchester steering committee and Systems & Network Training. This year’s training is focussed on DNS and DNSSEC. By the end of the session delegates will be able to explain how DNS and DNSSEC work and will benefit anyone new to DNS or anyone looking to expand their knowledge on the subject.
The event is technical but non technical people have benefited from the session before. As the session is only two hours long it is fast paced.In addition to the training, a networking lunch and karting social has been arranged to enable Internet professionals to meet and discuss ideas and future plans for peering in the region.

Feedback from last year’s BGP training included the following comment:“I really enjoyed the karting yesterday and found the BGP training useful…was a good taster and we might get the full training from those guys”. 

LINX announce price cuts of up to 40% on port fees at IXManchester

By | LINX News
LINX, the leading European provider of Internet interconnect services, announced at the LINX98 member conference on 21st August that it is to significantly reduce 10GE and 100GE port fees at its regional exchange, IXManchester.

Monthly 10GE port prices will be cut by 22.8% to £270 with 100GE fees reduced by over a third to £1350 (39.3%). In addition, the first 1GE port at IXManchester is available at no charge and comes as part of LINX membership. These prices will to come into effect from 1st October 2017.

Established in 2012, IXManchester is rapidly approaching 100 connected networks who pass a combined 35Gb/s of traffic at peak times. This makes IXManchester the biggest peering LAN in the UK outside of London and an attractive alternative to peering in the capital. LINX CEO, John Souter, said:

“Last year we implemented mid-year price cuts of up to 40% while simultaneously announcing plans of a major upgrade of our LON2 network in London. The introduction of new LON2 equipment allows us to re-deploy the original hardware into our Manchester sites as part of our long-term support for regional peering in the UK.”

IXManchester operates across three city locations; Equinix Williams House, Equinix Joule House plus the M24Seven data centre in Stretford. Chris Byrd, Technical Director at M24Seven, said:

“IXManchester is very well established now and M24Seven is proud to have been host to one of the exchange’s three city sites for the past three years. The decision to reduce prices is great news for the networking community in the region and will help further enhance Manchester’s status as a leading tech city.”

Last year, Manchester made it into the top 20 European Digital City Index for starting and scaling a digital tech business. In addition, £10million in government funding is being proposed for a future project to test IoT technology.

Creating a buzz for LINX98 Manchester

By | LINX News
The LINX98 member conference is just around the corner, taking place at Manchester Central Convention Complex on 21st and 22nd August. To help create a ‘buzz’ for the event, here’s a sneak peek at the branding style we’re using for our T-Shirt giveaway!
If you’re not familiar with the ‘Manchester Bee’ it was adopted as a motif for the city during the Industrial Revolution. This was at a time when Manchester was taking a leading role in new forms of mass production which lead to it becoming the world’s first industrial city. The Bee gained a global presence more recently as it came to symbolise the strength of the city following the tragic terror attack earlier this year.Manchester is known for being a ‘hive’ of activity and this spills over into it’s current digital status within the UK.

The city is home of LINX’s first regional Internet exchange point, IXManchester and last year, made in to the top 20 European Digital City Index for starting and scaling a digital tech business. In addition, £10million in government funding is being proposed for a future project to test IoT technology*.

Special 50th edition of the LINX magazine, HotLINX, out now!

By | LINX News
LINX has published a special expanded edition of its membership magazine, HotLINX, to mark its 50th issue. The lead story is news that London has been revealed as the most connected city in the world following research by the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
 
HotLINX began as an eight page newsletter and has undergone a number of redesigns since then. Readers can see just how many for themselves by turning to page 23 where all 49 previous covers can be viewed.HotLINX was first published in the year 2000 and the Internet world then is very different to the one we live in today. As the telecoms landscape has evolved so have the subjects that have been covered. 

For this edition we look a range of industry topics such as IoT and cloud services as well as other technical topics including route servers, automation and DDoS.This edition also features a review of the LINX AGM and Board Elections in May. Seb Lahtinen was re-elected for a second three year term along with Lee Hetherington, Edge Network Strategist at Facebook. Lee has been interviewed in the ‘In the Spotlight’ feature on page 21.

Here’s a selection of some of the other stories included in this issue:

LINX NEWS

It has been announced that NaMeX members Convergenze and SED Multitel connect to LINX via IXP Reseller programme. We also have a bumper section dedicated to LINX activities in America where there’s been impressive growth at LINX NoVA in Q2 this year.

INDUSTRY NEWS

In our industry news pages we report on what could Ofcom’s new UK Code of Practice mean for ISPs, the end of mobile roaming charges in the EU and the facts and figures behind EE’s Glastonbury temporary network. There is also a report on the merger of Digital Realty and DuPont Fabros Technology in $7.6 billion deal.

EVENTS

In a four page events section we preview LINX98 in Manchester and the 12th European Peering Forum in Lisbon which take place in August and September respectively. We also feature LINX’s first trip India for the South Asian Network Operators Group which began just as HotLINX went to press as well as look back at LINX’s involvement at London Tech Week held during June.

Finally there’s also round ups and articles from the Internet Society, RIPE NCC, DNS Belgium, Kentik, Netnod plus conference sponsors Corero and Daisy Group.

IXScotland expansion

By | LINX News
Introduction
In late 2016 the Scottish Government (SG) allocated a grant to improve the infrastructure at IXScotland and to encourage networks to interconnect there. Any organisation is welcome to submit a bid for support from this SG grant, however content delivery networks will be prioritised in order to specifically address an SG objective.  Others may bid, but bids would have to include a compelling proposition demonstrating the overarching objective of developing IX Scotland.Funding is available for initial data centre setup and running costs or some combination of the two for a defined time-period. This document advises interested parties about the grant, how to submit a bid for funding, associated timelines and the information that will be required as part of their bid.LINX Trading Ltd is responsible for administering the SG grant. It is therefore important to stress that successful bidders will not receive SG funding directly. LINX Trading Ltd will order and pay for the relevant resources — backhaul, transit, rack space, — from suppliers. It is a condition of the grant that the funds must be committed before the end of 2017. The ad-hoc, independent IXScotland Development Group (IDG) will oversee the allocation of this SG grant, evaluate funding requests from prospective bidders and decide which bids will be in the best interests of the Internet sector in Scotland. IDG is chaired by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and its constitution does not contain any entities which would otherwise have an interest in bidding for funding. It is wholly independent of LINX and LINX Trading Limited.Successful bidders will be required to interconnect at IXScotland for a minimum of three years. It is likely that 10G port fees will be introduced at IXScotland during this time. Prospective bidders should, therefore, indicate whether their requests for funding take account of the cost of these potential fees or not.

Funding allocations made by the IDG will be final as a result of the requirement to commit the SG grant by the end of 2017 and there will be no right of appeal either directly to SG, LINX Trading Limited or the IDG. The IDG will decide how best to apportion the available funds between bidders. It is under no obligation to accept or reject any bids from specific industry sectors. Bids for funding of approximately £50-100,000 will broadly be in line with current expectations and would, therefore, be considered more likely to be successful than bids for £250,000 or more unless an extremely strong and compelling case is provided in support of such a bid.

Timetable of events

17th July: Prospective bidders should send their expression of interest (EoI) to IDGresponse@linx.net This EoI is simply to advise IDG how many bids it is likely to receive. It does not bind either party to submit or evaluate a bid for funding

31st July: midnight deadline for submission of grant application to IDGresponse@linx.net

31st August: successful applicants notified

1st September: resources released

4th December: project completed

Requirements

The IDG assumes that an organisation applying for funding under this programme will be using either caching and Internet transit or backhaul transport for serving the content. organisations with a different setup and/or need for both Internet transit and backhaul must describe their architecture and why this is needed.  IXScotland is currently available in Edinburgh at the Pulsant South Gyle datacentre and will also shortly also be available in the Datavita Fortis datacentre near Glasgow.

Applicants must submit a short ( no more than 5 sides of A4) document addressing the following criteria:
1.     Connected port(s) size.

2.     Estimated cost and size of rack space requirement (including power) for their equipment and datacentre location(s)

3.     Estimated cost of proposed Internet transit requirements. If this bandwidth is to be used for out of band management or cache fill, the applicant must specify which.

4.     Requirements and likely cost for backhaul bandwidth and the destination(s) of this bandwidth

5.     Overview of the bidder’s network or distribution platform and how it will benefit the Scottish Internet community.

6.     Size of connected bandwidth and estimates/projections of usage

7.     High-level deployment programme including timeline

8.     A named contact and email address

Any additional questions must be submitted to IDGresponse@linx.net. IDG will provide all bidders with answers to clarification questions unless these are considered commercially sensitive or confidential. Bidders should, therefore, identify any such queries at the point of request – any identification of queries as confidential after they have been received may, at the discretion of the IDG be rejected.

Should an applicant wish they may submit variations of their requirements or an alternative option where they believe it would be of increased value to the Scottish Internet sector.

Evaluation criteria

Using the information above, the IDG will aim to provide funding to as many applicants as possible within the available SG grant funding envelope. The strategic goal is to select applications so that the maximum traffic and content accessed by end-users in Scotland will be available for peering at IXScotland. IDG is tasked with making the best use of the funding for the overall benefit of Scotland’s Internet infrastructure as a whole rather than specific bids. For example, a modest application by a small provider that is valuable to the Scottish Internet community may be preferred by IDG. Similarly, bids from two (or more) CDNs could be more successful than an application from a single provider who requests all or most of the available SG funding.

When evaluating applications, the IDG will try to optimise requirements for rack space, Internet transit and backhaul, in relation to the resources available to maximise the three points highlighted below.

Aside from the overall benefit to the Scottish Internet community, the IDG will assess bids on the basis of (in no particular order or rank):

1.     The estimated number of users of the content;

2.     The bandwidth that could be peered at IX Scotland; and

3.     The value of the content for end-users in Scotland.

Responsibilities of successful applicants

Successful applicants will be expected to sign a short side letter promising fair and reasonable behaviour at IXScotland. Orders for equipment and connectivity are likely to be processed by early September and that infrastructure will be expected to be in operation at IXScotland no later than early December 2017.

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LINX Route Server Project

By | LINX News
Internet exchange points provide every connected member with a direct Layer2 connection to all other members at the exchange. Across this Layer2 network, members will establish BGP peering between each other, allowing them to exchange IP prefixes and subsequently allow traffic to be routed between them across the peering LAN.  
 
This is done by setting up bilateral peering session, which means that once members agree to peer, they configure their routers by establishing a BGP session between them. At large IXPs, (LINX has over 750 members available for peering) setting up these individual BGP sessions, and the required operational overhead can be a challenging and time-consuming task.  The large number of BGP sessions can also lead to performance issues, especially in the case of members with lower bandwidth requirements, and as such often less powerful routers.
One way to overcome this, is the use of multilateral peering. To enable this, LINX provides route servers  on each of each Peering LANs. Members who want to use the router server, only have to establish a single BGP session. This will provide them direct access to the prefixes of any other member using this route server. Particularly for new members, the ease with which they can access many peers allows them to quickly see a return on their investment for joining the Internet Exchange. It also reduces the network management overhead again bringing value to the member. Members also use them for redundancy purposes.
There are a few instances, which might prevent some members from using a route server. They may have an open peering policy but they like the ability to shut down a peering session if they develop an issue with the peer. Although it is easily possible to achieve this also on route servers, the complexity is higher compared to a simple shutdown of a direct peering session. When peering, members should follow best practice rules but this can be a complicated, time consuming processes and sometimes errors creep in. Incorrect routing information can cause connectivity problems, the most common of which is the advertising of invalid prefixes or leaking a full or partial routing table. With direct, bilateral sessions, it is easy to build prefix filters to prevent issues from propagating into the network. However, because of the volume of peers available at the route server this becomes much harder for the individual member to manage. 

 

LINX have embarked on a project to address this issue. The project is going to be carried out in two phases. All prefixes will be validated against the publicly available IRR databases. Specifically, LINX are going to use radb.net. This is a conglomerate of internet registry data bases and mirrors all the largest and most important IRR and private databases. If a prefix is found to be invalid then it will be tagged with a communicated BGP community. LINX will also be working with members to identify any possible issues, and where necessary provide guidance on how to address them. It also means that from the moment LINX start tagging, any member who is receiving invalid prefixes can easily stop this from happening by applying a simple prefix filter to his own router rejecting any prefixes tagged with that BGP community. LINX will continue to monitor the number of invalid prefixes and would expect to see them drop over time. It is hoped that after 6 weeks or so that the levels would have dropped significantly. Once this has happened, LINX will announce phase two of the project. In phase two LINX will no longer propagate any prefixes that are deemed to be invalid. If members want they can still receive these prefixes, however the LINX default will be not to propagate. Any member wishing to receive such prefixes will need to contact LINX directly, via the support services mailbox. The aim of this project is to capture and reduce all non malicious errors and reduce member issues caused by prefix leaks.

Validating against the IRR database means that it becomes very important that all members have correct and current information in Peering DB. LINX has always stressed the importance to members of registering their information on Peering DB but as this project becomes live it is now critical.  LINX are urging all members to check and update their information on peering DB. As a future improvement, LINX are also evaluating the use of additional checks, i.e the use of RPKI to further improve the platforms.

PRESS RELEASE: Italian Internet Exchange NAMEX becomes very first LINX IXP Reseller product partner

By | LINX News
The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is pleased to announce NaMeX Roma Internet Exchange, as the first partner to sign up to the new LINX IXP Reseller programme.
LINX launched its IXP Reseller programme last year. This service will allow networks to connect to their network via a third part exchange such as NaMeX, thus giving the member network access to the array of benefits and services that LINX has to offer. The connection is made using one of LINX’s existing resellers meaning the new member has just a single invoice to pay.NaMeX are hosting their next annual meeting in Rome on 3rd July with the Italian peering market high on the agenda. This event will be a great opportunity for the Italian networks to learn more about the benefits of peering with LINX in London.Maurizio Goretti, CEO at NaMeX underlines that “This new collaboration between two not for profit and member based IXPs represent an increased value for both exchanges and their affiliates.”LINX Chief Marketing Officer, Kurtis Lindqvist, added, “We are very excited about this new partnership which has a number of mutual benefits for both LINX and NaMeX. The IXP Reseller facility strengthens the service offering of NaMeX allowing them to offer networks in their region use of a convenient connection point to the UK.”LINX is one of the largest member-owned Internet Exchanges in the world, with over 750 member networks connected. It provides members with resilient and faster network connections as well as guidance on the latest public affairs issues.For more information please visit the IXP Reseller web page.

Interview with Bijal Sanghani, Secretary General of Euro-IX

By | LINX News
HotLINX Editor, Jeremy Orbell, speaks with Bijal Sanghani, Secretary General of Euro-IX, to discuss her role and how the organisation is encouraging stronger links between Internet exchange points worldwide.
First of all please tell us about background in the telecoms industry and career to date.
After gaining a degree in Mathematics and Computing at Middlesex University in the mid-90s I took up a position at DEMON Internet as Hostmaster. After about a year I moved to Level 3 where I was a provisioning engineer before undertaking IP support and network engineering roles at FLAG Telecom and Sohonet respectively. In 2005 I joined Reliance Globalcom, initially as a technical support engineer in operations, and then as a solutions engineer. It was from here I joined Euro-IX as the Head of the Secretariat in 2011. I’ve also been RIPE NCC Working Group Chair since 2004.

How did you come to be involved with Euro-IX?
Prior to being involved with Euro-IX I was working with many Internet exchange points through my day-to-day work. When the position became available it was timely because I was looking for a new challenge so put myself forward and was interviewed for the role by Euro-IX Board members Job Witteman of AMS-IX and John Souter of LINX who then appointed me.

What exactly does your role as Euro-IX Secretariat entail?
Euro-IX is now a membership organisation of over 80 IXPs, not just Europe, but from all around the world. For that reason alone I’m certainly kept busy! One of the key things we’re trying to do is build on the services we have and also grow the membership because the more exchanges we have on board the more experience and knowledge we can share amongst the community. We have a monthly newsletter to keep our members informed of activities and we host two forums a year. In fact we’ve just had one in Barcelona which saw a record 48 IXPs attend, and to get that many together in one room was very special. Euro-IX is also the secretariat for IX-F, which is the Federation of Internet Exchange Points, which comprises of representatives from four global IXP Associations. In addition to Euro-IX these are APIX (Asia Pacific Internet Exchange Association), LAC-IX (Latin America & Caribbean Internet Exchange Association) and AfIX (African Internet Exchange Association). Each one has its own administrator to provide administrative support within the defined work areas of the Federation and I carry out that role on behalf of Euro-IX. Working together helps feed another key project which is our IXP database that now forms an important part of our new website. Some of the tools we have are an IXP Directory, an IXP Service Matrix and Peering Matrix as well as an ASN Database.

You mention that Euro-IX is not just about European exchanges. I understand that JPNAP from Japan were one of the first join.
Yes, that’s right. We actually have three IXP members from Japan now and one from Brazil who were also early non-European members. To have members from these countries and other international territories prepared to travel such distances to attend the forum in person certainly demonstrates the value they are getting from these events.

Peering forums have been taking place for more than a decade now and that is another form of IXP collaboration. What do you think about these particular events?
I think they are great because they bring together the wider Internet community and make it easier for interconnection to happen. We always talk about peering being done over a handshake and these kind of events that promote that. There are so many now however but that just proves how successful they have been for the industry. There are now over 500 Internet exchange points in the world with more and more new ones being built in cities and countries which haven’t had an exchange before. Euro-IX, in fact, has a fellowship programme where established IXPs are mentoring these fledgling exchanges. For example, LINX is a mentor ZIXP, the Zambian Internet Exchange. In Barcelona we had guest IXPs from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Pakistan, Kenya and the Republic of Congo. The benefit for them is that they are not only able to learn, but they can take back that knowledge and experience to their regions and IXP associations. This also helps them improve their own events and meetings as well.

What plans do Euro-IX have in the immediate future?
This summer we are looking to organise a series of workshops and hackathons which is part of a goal to bring our members together outside the main forums. The aim is to collectively solve common technical issues that exchanges may be facing. We’re looking at the BIRD route server as one such workshop to identify additional features we can use and developments to looking glass facilities. All the relevant details will be announced on our website in due course at www.euro-ix.net.

PRESS RELEASE: Lee Hetherington and Sebastien Lahtinen elected to the London Internet Exchange Board at LINX AGM

By | LINX News
Members of LINX, have elected two members to its executive Board at its annual general meeting in London.
Following voting, Sebastien Lahtinen and Lee Hetherington (pictured second right and far right respectively) garnered the most support from the membership and are hereby elected to serve three year terms.Lee Hetherington currently represents LINX member Facebook, where he works in the team responsible for Edge and Caching strategy in EMEA for the Global IP Network and CDN. Specifically focused on the EU, Lee leads interconnection, IP network and Caching strategy efforts for Facebook across the region.Sebastien Lahtinen has served on the LINX board for the past three years and was seeking re-election for a second term. Seb is a director of hosting company NetConnex and co-founder of independent broadband information site thinkbroadband.com.For this year’s election Board members Patrick Gilmore and Sebastien Lahtinen, had both retired by rotation. While Seb had indicated his intention to seek re-election Patrick had chosen not stand again. In these circumstances it meant that there was guaranteed to be at least one new face on the LINX Board.LINX chairman Murray Steele said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick Gilmore, whose service on the LINX Board for over ten years has clearly been an invaluable contribution, and from whom I have learnt a lot about the industry we serve.

Murray added: “We are pleased to welcome Lee Hetherington to the LINX Board. It is always beneficial to get a different perspective and I am very much looking forward to working closely with Lee and Seb to ensure LINX’s continued success.”

PRESS RELEASE: LINX response to article in The Register

By | LINX News

LINX considers the article about us in The Register today to be highly misleading. Duncan Campbell, long known as a journalist specialising in stories about surveillance and the secret state, has turned a routine story about a review of LINX’s internal governance into something quite different.

On Tuesday 21st February, at LINX96, LINX members will be asked to consider, and if thought fit approve, changes to LINX’s constitution, known as the Articles of Association. This comes about as a result of a process first announced to the membership in August 2016.

We published details of our proposals in a LINX member governance consultation, at LINX 95. This paper includes details of all the key changes that have been proposed, as well as the reasoning and the key principles that guided their development. We have been consulting the members since then, and having listened to the feedback LINX’s Board decided to go ahead at the next member meeting. We therefore published the legal instruments to implement those proposals on 27th January, and additional explanatory material on 8th February.

Contrary to the statement in the Register article

“At the meeting, members will be asked to approve a new “gag clause”, banning directors they appoint from asking members to agree or approve technical or security changes to enable or support surveillance.”

nothing in the proposals bans directors from asking members anything. There is no basis in fact for this claim.

The articles we have put forward for member consideration do include a clause intended to prevent a minority of the Board from forcing the company to break the law, by empowering the Chair to stop that minority from blocking a legally necessary Board decision. From this general protection Duncan Campbell has produced his headline “UK Snoopers’ Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors”.

In the unlikely event LINX were ever instructed under the Investigatory Powers Act (a.k.a. the “Snoopers’ Charter”) to intercept traffic, that would likely come with a gag order – not because of anything in our Articles, but because gag orders are a part of that law, just like they are a part of similar laws in most countries.

Under our current proposals, we recommend creating a special new ability for elected directors to veto a decision by a majority of the Board. This is intended to further protect membership control of LINX. We do propose constraining this new power, so that it cannot be used to force the company to break the law without majority support on the Board. This has nothing in particular to do with gag orders under the Investigatory Powers Act; it is equally applicable to any law.

In our view, to make the controversial issue of government surveillance powers the focus of a story that is really about an ordinary corporate governance review is in our view quite misleading as to the nature and effect of our proposals. LINX is a committed membership organisation, and our members will be the ones that decide whether to change our Articles. It is a shame that a provision intended to reinforce the membership’s control of the company as its governance evolves has been so misrepresented.