DE-CIX, the operator of the world’s largest Internet Exchange (IX) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, recently announced its findings after observing the way customers have been utilizing the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of public restrictions and preventative measures to keep viral spread down, including social distancing and enterprise workloads moving online, DE-CIX noted a strong change in data traffic and Internet usage behavior among its customers. 

At the time of observation, the average level of data traffic at DE-CIX Frankfurt increased by 10 percent compared to just a week prior. Compared to the weeks leading up to the coronavirus measures, there had also been a significant increase (about 50 percent) in video conferencing traffic through platforms such as Skype, Teams and WebEx, as well as an increase of about 25 percent in online and cloud gaming. There was also a significant increase in traffic from social media usage, and the number of registered VPN (Virtual Private Network) users had also seen an uptick. Looking beyond the company’s Frankfurt location, DE-CIX expects to see similar results among its other IXs. Overall, demand for additional customer capacities has increased by 20 percent worldwide across all DE-CIX Internet nodes since the beginning of March, 2020. 

“Capacities in our own network are regularly expanded on a long-term basis. We always plan for about twelve months in advance. We continue expanding as soon as 63 percent of the existing capacities are reached. The remaining 37 percent of free capacity is needed to create redundancy and to ensure that we always have enough free capacity for traffic growth,” comments Dr. Thomas King, CTO at DE-CIX. “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.” 

DE-CIX customers across the globe are increasing their data capacities to meet the expanded virtual demands of their end users. Regarding this increase in demand from protective health and safety measures, Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX International, notes, “In times when people have to practice social distancing and perhaps self-isolate, a direct connection to family, friends, and the company environment via the various private and business applications is essential. The operation of this application layer and the exchange of data must run smoothly. Here we see it as our maxim to guarantee our customers – and thus Internet users worldwide – a trouble-free, secure, and reliable Internet.”

In some cases, capacities have more than doubled. Increases in capacity are especially noticeable with the major global Internet and content providers. Especially in international data hubs such as New York, Madrid, and Frankfurt, the demand for more capacities at the DE-CIX Internet Exchanges is high, leading the company to see new record levels of data traffic at peak times.

DE-CIX Frankfurt set a new world record in data throughput just one week ago, reaching over 9.1 terabits per second, increasing its data throughput by more than 12 percent in just a few months. This newly established record comes after the latest record high in December 2019 when the same IX broke the 8-terabit-per second record. Further local records were set in the last few days at the DE-CIX locations in Munich and Madrid. 

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