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Covid-19 Planning and Response

Top Line Data for Covid-19 at INEX:

  • Core capacity of the INEX network increased by 30%
  • 20% traffic growth since the lockdown
  • 30% extra port capacity provisioned for members
  • A record level of traffic (482Gbits) over INEX was recorded on March 24th, coinciding with An Taoiseach’s address to the nation.

INEX began planning around the then emerging risk of Covid-19 in early-February, identifying risks and possible ways in which the IXP could mitigate the impact of civil isolation / work from home measures when introduced. 

The INEX IXP infrastructure has been designed and built to be managed on a remote basis and all INEX team members have the equipment and services in place to enable them to work remotely. This means that, in a full ‘work from home’ directive, INEX continues to be operated on an as-normal basis. Since mid-March, the entire INEX team has been working from home.

In the planning exercise, we considered what would happen if the Government imposed restricted movement/school closures due to a wide-scale outbreak. We identified two key actions as being critical in relation to INEX being able to continue to deliver peering services to members.

The first is a significant increase in traffic from home internet connections (video streaming, work from home traffic, etc.). The INEX team used insights gained from the increase in traffic during Storm Ophelia and ‘Beast from the East’ storms – and also analysed IX traffic in countries that have had to impose such restrictions as a guide on this.

A review of existing member traffic levels was undertaken, which was delivered via a capacity dashboard developed within IXP Manager. Members likely to experience capacity issues, in this modelling, were contacted directly and advised that it was predicted they may experience capacity issues on their INEX ports in the event of a lock-down. A number of Members have now progressed to add further capacity, both content providers and eyeball networks and further upgrade requests continue to be received, which the operations’ team is fulfilling.

The second key action was that we recognised that, in the event of there being any restricted movement, self-isolation or data centres being closed to external visitors, that the operations team may not be able to get to INEX’s PoPs to bring on new ports. To mitigate this risk and enable INEX to be able to bring up new ports remotely, the operations team activated a plan to pre-install a number of 10G and 100G ports in each PoP. In the event that members want to add additional capacity and the operations team are not able to access the data centre, these can now be brought live remotely. Certain network and port management activity still requires onsite visits by engineers and we liaise closely with the data centre partners in relation to on-going access, keeping all team safety as a priority.

INEX has also pre-emptively built out an extra 100G of core network capacity on INEX LAN1 between Park West and Citywest, which is now in production.

We have ongoing interaction and engagement with our colleagues at other IXPs and we have shared our approach to identifying and mitigating risks with a number of them as part of our support and contribution to the community. 

The IXP Manager capacity dashboard, which was fast-tracked for development to deliver insight to member capacity issues, was released to all IXP Manager users on March 21st, in order that they might also benefit from its reporting.

Overall, INEX has implemented what is believed to be a reasonable and practical set of measures to ensure that the impact of Covid-19 will be minimised, and which will allow the INEX IXP and team to continue to perform on an as-normal basis.