DE-CIX has showcased how new interconnection solutions are building bridges for the Internet of tomorrow, connecting Earth and space.
Currently, about 40 percent of the world’s population has poor or no access to high-speed Internet. Internet coverage from LEO satellites offers the potential to bring areas away from the major terrestrial data highways online.
“Businesses in these locations have been struggling to digitalize,” explains Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX International, “and there is a lack of suitable Internet access for educational institutions, for example. Often, the only access is via copper cable networks and, at best, geostationary satellite links – resulting in Internet speeds as slow as less than one megabit per second and latency (response time) of up to 400 milliseconds, which is simply not sufficient. The maximum latency for a good user experience of today’s digital applications is 65 milliseconds or less, which can easily be achieved in regions with good interconnection. DE-CIX is working to bring high-performance interconnection services closer and closer to people and businesses, everywhere, and welcomes the opportunity to work with the LEO satellite operators to make this a reality.”
Typically, the interconnection of multiple networks is handled via an Internet Exchange (IX) – ideally in a digital hub with a large ecosystem of networks, cloud providers, and digital infrastructure providers. To make this work, the satellite Internet provider’s ground stations must be connected via fiber to data centers that connect to the chosen IX – either directly on-site or via high-speed fiber to an IX-enabled data center nearby.
Internet Exchanges such as DE-CIX provide excellent opportunities for satellite Internet providers to connect to relevant networks so that their users can access the global Internet with the lowest latency.
To minimize latency LEO satellite network operators should connect to the geographically closest hub to the respective remote location. Large content networks and content delivery networks will cache the most in-demand content in such locations, meaning that this content can be accessed with low latency.
Internet Exchanges can already support the infrastructure needs of the full range of space network operators, especially LEO satellite operators, with terrestrial interconnection.
In addition to the satellites, end consumers on the ground must of course also be connected to the Internet. A data center – even a small container data center – can act as a ground station, and this is then connected to users via the local last-mile cable or mobile networks.
Communities that do not have the necessary interconnection expertise can enlist outside help to get their own IX up and running. Interconnection providers like DE-CIX can quickly and agilely set up such a local IX as a fully managed service. This creates the conditions for the local community to build its digital ecosystem.