If data is the new oil, then the pipelines that channel the ‘oil’ will be supporting four connectivity trends this year

As individuals and businesses consume more data in an increasingly interconnected world, reliable and fail-safe Internet connections with the lowest possible latency (time taken for data to be transferred) are becoming more crucial.

To support this global connectivity demand, internet exchanges (IX) are playing an increasingly significant role. 

One of the major Internet Exchanges, DE-CIX, has identified four connectivity trends that will shape the world in 2022, and how internet exchanges facilitate solutions:

  • On-demand virtualized connectivity to support accelerated automation

    To increase operational flexibility, more industries are developing solutions to automate routine IT tasks, especially amid uncertainties in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

    If, for example, a retailer’s business activities suddenly shift from the physical store to the online store, they must be able to react quickly so as not to frustrate customers with downtime.

    To cater to on-demand changes in connectivity needs, IX operators allow users to manage interconnection services via both API and self-service portals. A retailer on the virtualized network can easily book and change connectivity services with their IX as easily as buying more computing power from their cloud service provider.

    At the physical network level, IX operators themselves use patch robots to reposition cables within seconds, to support speedy changes to the network connections 24/7.

  • Two new data exchange paradigms on the horizon

    Where large data packets of confidential information need to be exchanged bilaterally, some parts of the data is still stored on hard disks and has to be physically transported.

    One upcoming solution is Gaia-X, a project to create a sovereign European system for secure data exchange based on decentralized, interconnected infrastructure services.

    Another security-related service that will be increasingly in demand is Closed User Groups, which allow different actors to connect with their private networks via an IX.

    • Closed User Groups enable enterprises to create their own interconnection environment—away from the public peering infrastructure. They can connect with select partners, suppliers, and customers present in multiple different locations, in order to share data securely and efficiently.
    • The interconnection platform provides a direct connection between members of the Closed User Group, with optimized security measures and improved performance. This allows business partners or suppliers to quickly, securely, and directly exchange the data needed to develop or operate complex digital services – ranging from digital health services to autonomous driving.

    While cloud solutions facilitate data storage and handling, interconnection platforms will be the key to enabling many-to-many data exchanges.

  • ‘Glocalization’ is gaining traction for an extra edge

    For many mobility applications, extremely low latencies of less than one millisecond are crucial. Since data does not move infinitely fast, it is necessary for the nearest data center to be a maximum of around 80km away.

    Data centers situated in a centralized internet structure (where they are sited only in metropolitan areas) can no longer cope with such demanding latency requirements.

    In 2022 the hosting and processing of data will move increasingly close to the edge, nearer the actual location of the consumers of data and where the data has to be processed.

    To some extent, this is already the case: DE-CIX is already seeing accelerated growth in Tier 2 and Tier 3 Internet Exchanges, such as the Ruhr-CIX in Germany, which will open up populous regions further removed from the existing digital hubs.

    This ‘global localization’ (glocalization) will continue, and many IX infrastructures will in future be found not only in the established digital metropolises, but also in regional centers all over the world.

  • IXes will power AV connectivity needs

    Autonomous vehicles are the future, and their viability depends on stable data connections at all times. For example, real-time information on the nearest charging station is crucial for the operating radius of electric cars.

    At the same time, advances in AV safety and reliability will only increase the demand for high speed, low latency wireless data exchange. As AV manufacturers outsource advanced connectivity challenges to external connectivity specialist vendors, the framework for the data exchange between car and server, and between different partners, will have to be as fast as it is secure.

    Internet exchanges will be the connectivity backbone that supports AV and other similar industries.