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Capacity Planning a Priority for LINX Networks

A year ago the team at LINX were reporting record rates of network traffic growth, as the first anniversary of the pandemic approached. So how are things looking another year on, are things still on the rise or are we seeing online activity returning to a new normal?

It’s February 2021 and the London Internet Exchange (LINX) are communicating a 38% growth in overall network traffic and their primary network in London, LON1 showing a 40% traffic growth when compared to the start of 2020.

When the first UK lockdown commenced at the end of March 2020, LINX’s peak traffic record stood at 4.30 Terabits per second. The UK based IXP is now fast approaching 7Tbps as the new maximum peak sits at 6.811Tbps.

Figure 1 LINX Traffic levels between 2019 and 2022

So, it’s obvious the amount of online traffic globally continues to grow, but what other factors have the team at LINX noticed about their members network habits?

Mike Hellers, Product Development Manager at LINX says;

“Our growth is back to what we saw before the pandemic, but all of that happens on a higher base traffic level now.”

“Besides the peak and average traffic levels, we are tracking a number of other metrics internally. One of those metrics is the relation between connected capacity  (total capacity of all member ports)  and peak traffic levels.”

“Historically, this ratio is fairly stable and indicates how well our members manage the capacity on ingress and egress of their networks. In addition, especially at this scale, traffic growth has been fairly predictable over the years. This was different during the pandemic. Nobody anticipated that whole countries would go into lockdown, and as such the resulting changes in traffic flows were not in anybody’s network capacity plans.”

Planning Ahead With Increased Capacity

While our members had enough capacity on their existing ports to handle the growth or reroute traffic where needed, the average traffic levels increased rapidly, indicated by the change in the ratio between connected capacity and traffic levels.

Throughout the last two years, we can see our members adding capacity by adding additional ports or upgrading to larger ports to catch up with the traffic growth. Still, until now, the ratio has not yet managed to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Figure 2 Connected Capacity vs Average Traffic between 2019 and 2022

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