Belnet, the IT partner for research, education and public services, is launching its brand new BNIX platform at the beginning of 2022. BNIX is the internet exchange that channels the larger part of Belgian internet traffic. The goal of the project is to make BNIX future proof, with the ever increasing data streams as one of the main drivers, and to become even more able to meet specific client demands.
BNIX is the ‘roundabout’ on which all major Belgian telecom operators and many big companies offering internet services, exchange data with each other. Examples of the first are Proximus and VOO-Brutélé while the latter mostly consists of content platforms like Netflix and Facebook, and big cloud infrastructure providers such as Microsoft and Akamai. BNIX makes sure that all data traffic on all these ‘highways’ reaches its destination as fast and efficiently as possible, allowing almost all Belgian end users – private and business – to use the internet as smoothly as possible.
“Since 1995, when Belnet founded BNIX, internet traffic has evolved tremendously”, says Dirk Haex, Technical and Co-General Director at Belnet. “The corona crisis for instance boosted traffic to unseen and unexpected heights. In 2019, no one imagined that we would be facing peaks up to 600 gigabit per second a year later. Fortunately, the capacity of the BNIX platform was up for the job, allowing millions of Belgians to work and study from home. But in order to meet future challenges, continuous platform innovation is crucial.”
Additional scalability and technological innovation
For this reason Belnet is investing in a new and flexible platform, with a smaller carbon footprint as an additional advantage. It’s focusing on increasing scalability and technological innovation while maintaining the level of robustness and stability of the current platform. Belnet is buying multiple switches, each one having a capacity of 3,2 terabit per second. If needed, upscaling can be done very quickly.
“This project makes sure that we are fully prepared for future data peaks and will enable us to create more possibilities for BNIX”, explains Stefan Gulinck, Network Architect at Belnet. “We will be more flexible in terms of expansion of our geographical presence to other data centers, increasing the port density and meeting specific client demands. Next year, we will be able to offer private VLANS, allowing participants to connect regardless of public peering.”
The reseller program, launched in June 2021, is also part of the renewal. Stefan Gulinck: “Thanks to this program, external parties are able to resell BNIX services to remote participants that are not present in one of the three BNIX locations in and around Brussels. This way, these remote participants can use BNIX services in a cheaper way and with less administrative complexity.”
Lastly, the companies that are connected to BNIX will be able to use a renewed IXP Manager-based portal. This enables them to manage their ports use in a simple way and gives them a good view of their main peering partners.