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Lumen, Google, Microsoft launch new optical interconnection ecosystem

Lumen Technologies has collaborated with Google and Microsoft on the launch of a network interconnection ecosystem, ExaSwitch. 

This platform is designed to satisfy the high bandwidth needs of organisations in order to route traffic dynamically and quickly between networks, and without third-party intervention.

The ExaSwitch project was created to route traffic between large internet and cloud networks. Early adopters include Lumen, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and an additional as yet unnamed large cloud provider. Additional participants are expected to join, allowing the system to become easier to automate, scale and manage capacity between members.

The system works with the ExaSwitch administrator (Lumen, in the project’s early stages) installing optical hardware at the preferred location for each participant, who will choose their own fibre source for connecting into ExaSwitch. When two participants agree to connect, they are able to join through self-provisioning, or an API portal driven and managed by the administrator. The real-time capacity deployment allows them to easily order, modify and delete services as needed. 

Participants benefit from more efficient connectivity between parties, thanks to the self-service portal. Connections are set up in 400G increments and can be consumed on demand in 100G increments, with each site capable of up to 25.6Tb/s of optical cross connects. Participants will be able to connect their edge sites, data centres and central offices in major markets.

Andrew Dugan, Chief Technology Officer at Lumen says: "The days of slow, legacy cross connects are over; ExaSwitch is the future of network interconnections. Large network backbones no longer need a physical location to connect. Instead, optical switching will be used to establish high-capacity optical links between metro sites. And it's so much more than just internet peering; it's an on-demand network connection for quickly deploying needed capacity across all types of data traffic exchanges."

Steve Walter, Global VP of Network Operations at Google adds: "We like the ease, speed and cost efficiency of performing interconnects to network partners directly from our main sites. ExaSwitch provides an agile, on-demand platform using proven technology that achieves that."

Frank Rey, Partner, Azure Networking at Microsoft concludes: "Creating a geographically distributed yet automated interconnection platform creates so many options to improve connectivity, resiliency, and speed to add capacity on to one's network. We are pleased at the opportunity ExaSwitch has to change the interconnection ecosystem."

Lumen is currently operating the ExaSwitch platform in US interconnection hubs in Chicago, Dallas and Virginia. The company plans to expand to all major markets in North America with large internet hubs.


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