Building your core network

It is the 21st century, the number of people on Earth is reaching 8 billion, and we are experiencing the network connectivity’s flowering time connecting the entire planet. In parallel, we are going through many challenges, like pandemics, energy crises and instable economies.

Organizations are becoming more aware and clearer in defining their needs when building a core network, focusing predominantly on areas like optimal bandwidth, critical connectivity moments, level of security needed, and required encryption.

On the other hand, network providers’ approach must also be adapted to the new circumstances in order to offer the most appropriate solution and successfully drive their own businesses. Open and transparent, or observant and careful? Or both? For customers, there is no room for the wrong choice when taking decisions about vital infrastructure such as network connectivity.

Our three product owners describe different perspectives and considerations when making decisions about the direction to choose when building your organization’s core network.


Why and when IP and DDoS by Arelion?

David Young, IP product manager

In the modern world, Internet is critical to everyday life, whether it is people’s connections to media, gaming, or administrative functions, or more corporate critical connectivity to SaaS applications that make doing business possible. Internet, and access to that network, has become as important a utility as water or electricity.

With the receding of the pandemic not having bought hordes of workers back into the office, the idea there will always be a convenient physical aggregation point for your employees, a core idea that MPLS networks were based around. Now, secure VPNs into data centers have become the norm, and this requires quality and quantity of Internet access at both sides of the tunnel to ensure workflows remain intact.

In addition, applications have increasingly moved away from servers in offices, or even within a private network’s data center site. SaaS is now the norm, not the exception, and this continued decentralization of the traditional corporate network requires a major re-think of traditional network orthodoxy, where Internet has to be regarded as a core part of the overall structure. Nothing else comes close to the level of commercial and physical flexibility that it provides.

It is important to understand however, that not all Internet providers are created equal. Although the tendency is to look for just the cheapest cost for the bandwidth you want, if your core network is based around the Internet, then you need to ask yourself some questions:

  • Does my Internet provider overbook its network? If your ISP is proceeding to share the bandwidth you pay for with other people, are you really getting that value for money? In reality, this means congestion, which means packet loss, which ultimately translates to slow and lost connections to cloud services your organization needs to survive.

Arelion does not contend its backbone, allowing you to work with confidence.

  • Am I confident my IP provider is utilizing the latest technology and equipment? Creaking old routers and other devices vital to the operation of the network are not a foundation you can base your business-critical infrastructure on. Outages are the inevitable result, and this is time your business is non-operational.

Arelion invests heavily in keeping its network equipment up to date and operational.

  • Is my ISP connected well within the Internet? If you base your core infrastructure around the Internet, it is essential that you demand the best possible peering, or connections with the other Internet companies. No ISP is an island. Bouncing traffic from one side of an ocean to the other to reach a server 100 km away will reduce your performance to the point that no flexibility is worthwhile.

Arelion, a Tier 1 carrier, consistently ranks as no.1 connected Internet provider according to Kentik Market Intelligence.

  • How secure am I? Could a DDoS attack overwhelm my available bandwidth and leave my day-to-day operations down, or worse, at ransom to a criminal element? Does my provider have the bandwidth to absorb these attacks on its own backbone, and can they protect me from this increasingly common attack?

Arelion can provide a highly capable DDoS mitigation service, that allows you to keep on working through a DDoS attack. With automatic mitigation in place, all you should notice is an email telling you it happened, and Arelion dealt with it.


Why and when Ethernet by Arelion? 

Anna Maslewska, Ethernet product manager

Ethernet is very much addressing the critical connectivity use-cases – high bandwidth, secure, business critical connectivity DC-to-DC, to corporate hubs and clouds. With in-build resilience over the MPLS core backbone it ticks the business continuity requirements so naturally expected from all our customers.

Targeted at customers who want to maintain the end-to-end control of IP, our services enable IT network teams of global multinationals to fully control their own IP architecture, IP version, IP addressing scheme and routing tables.

Long-haul connectivity, where long fibre paths dramatically increase the likelihood of outages and performance issues, are a perfect example of where Arelion’s Layer 2 Ethernet can provide a compelling alternative due to its resilient nature – combining performance, cost, and peace of mind.

We have customer examples who tried our Point-to-Point Ethernet EVPL while experiencing sub-sea fibre cable break – and they kept the Ethernet solution – benefiting from the in-build protection.

We have other customers who replaced their multiple Wavelengths with Ethernet ELAN (any-to-any) solution – allowing easy connectivity between all sites – again protected.

Sustainability and infrastructure costs have pushed many of our existing customers to take advantage of our MSOP proposition, adding Ethernet to the same ports where they may be already running IP Transit or Cloud Connect – all services logically separated on a single port.

The bandwidth requirements are only going up – confirmed by recent Vertical Systems Group Gigabit Ethernet port projection outlook stating that customer demand for 100GE ports is on pace to triple by 2026.

Just before this report came out, we launched our 40Gbps Ethernet bandwidth option delivered on a 100GE interface – we listen to our customers and know that even if they don’t need these types of bandwidths now, they can have a clear and easy upgrade path with Arelion, as we already support 40Gbps on our “build for capacity” network as standard.

Other great customer examples using Ethernet include content providers, on-line streaming – video platforms, contact center providers, companies offering cloud-based solutions needing neutral access to multiple clouds as well as connecting own locations at high bandwidth, trading companies and many more.


Why and when Waves by Arelion? 

Johan Godal, Wavelengths product manager

Digital communication relies on networks of fiber optic cables and building – all from huge data centers in big cities to small amplifier huts in remote locations. Outages happen, for example construction workers accidently cut cables, ship anchors and trawlers do the same, equipment fails, and we are also witnessing deliberate sabotage.

Dual failures are possible, but outages for networks are almost unacceptable. A recent example is what happened in the Shetland Islands, when the archipelago was cut off from the digital world (payment terminals in shops, mobile networks etc.) due to a dual failure on the sea cables.

Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in demand for 3 and 4-way diversity. Governments are also focusing on this – in 2020, Arelion won a contract with the Norwegian government to secure an additional route for Internet traffic out of the country. So, we expect to see more requirements on security coming out of government regulations and demand to their providers in RFPs.

For the big critical capacity flows, customers want to be in control of their own network. They know where the routing is and they can run their own security protocols on their data. Network providers need to create new diverse routing options in order to facilitate 3 or 4-way diversity. Special focus needs to be at Metro areas, where it is difficult to design the required diversity level.

Over the last few years, Arelion has worked systematically to address these issues, improving our routing, getting new routes into our network, and tidying up legacy Metro design. A good example is Amsterdam where we have gone from 2- to 4-core wavelength nodes. In other words, we have 4 diverse routes out of the city.

In order to create networks with the highest level of resiliency, Wavelengths is a key building block:

  • It is deterministic so one knows where it is, then it is simple to just add other wavelengths to build up required diversity (the other wavelengths can be bought from the same or different providers). It is important to check how it is routed, some providers use shared infrastructure.
  • It is upgradable, so customers can upgrade Wavelength capacity now to 400GE, if needed, adding multiple Wavelengths on the exact same route.
  • It is fully transparent and secure, for example, customers can run their own encryption since it is dedicated capacity that is not part of any shared network.

Our Wavelength customers are using our services as part of their network that have a great capacity need. Typical examples are transport of IP traffic to peering locations, building of your own Ethernet/IP backbone to serve customers, or building networks between customers’ data centers, but also with direct connections to cloud service providers.

Curious to know more? Read our guide: What is DWDM?


Learn more about the products you should consider when building your core network: