Core Network Upgrade
The internet has changed the way we function, and life without network connectivity is almost unthinkable nowadays. Whether it’s streaming content from Netflix, shopping online, constantly checking Social Media, or working from home on cloud-based applications, our lives have been transformed in the last ten years.
The unsung hero in a world of apps, content streaming and the digital economy is the underlying network. Like a motorway that expands as we need it, we expect it to connect us without any fuss, and that’s pretty much what happens.
But behind the scenes, an enormous amount of planning, design, investment and management takes place to enable the cool stuff to flow without a hitch. At a point in time when our core network is about to undergo a major upgrade. Head of Enterprise Products - Jan Collins, shares the developments and the benefits they bring to everyone.
“The latest phase in our multi-million-pound on-going network investment will see a massive performance upgrade in capacity and resilience” says Jan.
“Reliability and high-speed performance improves business efficiency and employee productivity with consumer services and applications running effortlessly, without any annoying buffering interruptions."
Our ‘always-on’ network is recognised as critical national infrastructure for the islands, supporting vital connectivity and communication services that have been especially significant in the current global Covid pandemic.
The Channel Islands unique geography enables connection to the world through dedicated points of presence (PoPs) in London and Paris, with links back to Sure’s other Island jurisdiction the Isle of Man, via a PoP in Dublin.
“Things can happen when there’s such a reliance on undersea cables to connect us” continues Jan, “we regularly have instances of undersea cables need repair, such as when a ships anchor in the channel snags and breaks a cable on the sea bed. A ship then has to locate the damaged fibre optic cabling, and repair it, often in difficult weather conditions on high seas, it’s quite an operation.”
Multiple resilient networking routes between all locations ensure customers are best connected and protected if one of the links fails, and the network is engineered to provide continuity of service through diverse international routing options.
“Connectivity ‘uptime’ is guaranteed for all services, including data, cloud, internet and fixed and mobile telephony” continues Jan.
“Recent growth in digital services has been unprecedented, and we now have advanced direct connections with internet service partners like Microsoft, Google, Oracle and Amazon.
Direct connections to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others, through our two London PoPs avoids the use of the public internet. Security is increased and general internet delays are bypassed, with customers having a secure, direct and uncontended ‘pipe’ to their cloud services.
To ensure a great viewing experience, we’ve enabled services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Apple, YouTube and other service providers to host their content closer to customers, in our island based hosted cache facilities. This increases the speed of service and minimises latency delays,
Hosted ‘cache’ servers on the islands enable popular services to be delivered directly from our network, rather than from across the globe. It’s why Netflix and others work so well over the internet, and updates to services like Apple iPhone IOS and Microsoft Office are quick because they’re handled locally.
Threats from cyberspace are a real problem, and the network identifies and blocks malicious traffic like distributed denial of service (DDOS) threats before they get to the islands. We can have in-bound traffic scanned and ‘scrubbed’ at network points in London and Paris, to prevent the transmission of ‘dirty’ data packets to the islands, with no adverse service impact.
We’re happy to stay out of the limelight and let the application providers have the glory” concludes Jan, “For us the knowledge that we’ve built something that both business and consumer customers benefit from is enough for us.”
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