The United States may have built, and still oversee, the Internet but it looks as though it's time the Yanks learnt a thing or two from the rest of the world. And leading the way, we are pleased to say, is the UK.
California has Silicon Valley, but London's Docklands now boasts the world's busiest independent Internet hub, according to the London Internet Exchange (Linx).
The not-for-profit exchange, owned and financed by 150 ISPs and content providers, now passes 40 gigabits per second through its network at peak times. While some co-location facilities, where major ISPs own hardware, might have larger total traffic than Linx, the London network is the largest to be managed by a single organisation, the group said on Thursday.
Founded in 1994 by five ISPs, Linx allows members to pass Web downloads, emails and other data directly to other members. Its switches are housed in eight facilities in Docklands, East London, connected by dedicated fibre-optic links. Members are based throughout Europe, the US, Asia and Africa. Content provider members include the BBC, Linx said. Members have access to about half of the world's Internet routes, Linx said.
Total traffic volumes are at least 55Gbit/s when private peering arrangements are factored in, the group said. These are arrangements between just two organisations, allowing them to swap traffic directly. More than 90 percent of the UK’s Internet traffic passes through Linx's facilities, the group has said.
Jessica Hendrie-Laiño, chair of the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA), said the traffic milestone shows the UK's Internet industry has reached a world-class level. "Linx has been at the heart of UK Internet activity for almost a decade and its influence extends throughout the world," she stated.
A new programme allows smaller overseas ISPs to connect to the exchange via existing members' hardware, giving them a virtual presence on the network without having to maintain their own London facilities. In April, a deal with New York interconnection site Telx allowed Telx members to connect to Linx as if they owned facilities located in London.
At an August general meeting, Linx cut prices to members because of better-than-expected growth. Linx chief executive John Souter attributed the group's healthy financial position to a higher-than-expected take-up of new ports and more new members than expected.
Also in August, Linx passed a new anti-spam Best Current Practice (BCP) code, guidelines guidelines designed to make it easier to quickly close down spammers who host e-commerce sites on a legitimate network while sending bulk spam via third parties.
Linx maintains a statistics page here showing traffic flow in bits and packets, total routes and other data.