Level 3’s New 100Gbps Internet Ports And The Era of The Xenottabyte


Recently, Level 3 announced that its customer Valve Software (Steam) is upgrading its Internet Ports to 100Gbps. Although they don’t mention what they’re upgrading from – its likely from 10Gbps. The latest high capacity Internet Ports are available in 26 markets, including North America and Europe. In the same press release, Level 3 mentioned that its backbone capacity is more than 42Tbps. The first thought that comes to mind – what is the impact to the CDN industry, especially those CDNs that are using Level 3 for transit?

The impact is a game changer. When it comes to individual PoPs, the majority of CDNs have multiple 10Gbps Internet Ports (circuits) in deployment from multiple carriers. If a CDN PoP is pushing 100Gbps of sustained traffic, at a minimum there needs to be at least 300Gbps of available capacity, in order to accommodate peak traffic.

At 300Gbps of capacity, a CDN would require 30x10Gbps circuits. The 100Gbps Internet Ports dramatically changes the PoP environment. In one fell swoop, a 100Gbps port replaces 10x10Gbps ports. And 3x100Gbps ports replaces 30x10Gbps ports. Just imagine the work that will be involved when CDNs have to yank out the old to make room for the new.

Why is 100Gbps circuit preferable to 10x10Gbps ports? Cost. Its better to have one minimum monthly commit than 10 minimum monthly commits (1 per circuit). Even if the commit is aggregated across all circuits in all locations, whenever a 10Gbps circuit is ordered, carriers require a minimum monthly commit per 10Gbps circuit.  This has to be the biggest game changer Level 3 has introduced into the CDN market in a long time. Good for them.

What do you get when you add up the following?

BOOM!!! We get 4k streaming from the Red Camera to the First-Mile to the Middle-mile to the Last Mile to the 4k enabled TV.

And Cisco’s projections of 2 zettabytes per year by 2019 goes out of the frying pan and into the fire. Sorry Cisco, but by 2019, we are looking 2 Xenottabytes 🙂 and we’re not joking – you were only off by 6 zeros.

That’s what happens when hundreds of millions of cool people all over the globe connect to the net at multi-Gbps via cell phones and broadband.

How much is 1 Xenottabyte:

  • 1 Zettabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
  • 1 Yottabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
  • 1 Xenottabytes = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
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