German Internet Exchange Operator Sees 'Unusual' Peak in Traffic During Coronavirus Outbreak

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As the coronavirus outbreak and its consequences progress through Europe, the demand for internet traffic is on the rise. DE-CIX, a German internet exchange operator, is witnessing increased traffic and its B2B customers are ordering higher data caps in light of the outbreak. 

Dr. Thomas King, CTO of DE-CIX,  pointed to the importance of a secure and reliable internet infrastructure amid the "exceptional situation people are currently experiencing with the COVID-19 virus," King said in a statement last week. 

"Capacities in our own network are regularly expanded on a long-term basis. We always plan for about 12 months in advance. We continue expanding as soon as 63% of the existing capacities are reached." King said via a press release Wednesday. 

"The remaining 37% free capacity is needed to create redundancy and to ensure that we always have enough free capacity for traffic growth. In addition to our network for the Internet Exchange, customers also need to expand capacity in their own network. These expansions are carried out by the customers themselves, according to their own processes and procedures."

The Internet Exchange Operator is witnessing a 20% increase in traffic since the beginning of March, making the 37% headroom guideline they have been practicing come in handy. 

Meanwhile, DE-CIX also witnessed a peak data rate of 9.1 Tbps on its network, which is the highest figure it has recorded to date. Its previous record was  8 Tbps in December 2019, which goes to show how dramatic the increase in traffic is.

With the increase in demand come customers ordering increased data caps. Although data caps aren't all too common in Europe on the customer side, DE-CIX is seeing an increase in orders from global data hubs to keep up with customer demand. 

We're curious whether internet exchange operators will opt to lift the data caps for B2B clients during the duration of the coronavirus crisis in the same way that AT&T has done for U.S. customers. Lifting data caps could work in the short-term as a social gesture to split the burden of the outbreak. That being said, as the situation worsens, it could also lead to internet congestion. 

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • InvalidError
    Nothing particularly unusual about one thing spiking at times where nearly everything else is shut down. Births have an "unusual" spike nine months after major power outages too.