Q4 2021 & Q1 2022 Technical Update

Q4 2021 & Q1 2022 Technical Update

The end of the year has proven very busy for France-IX’s technical team. We are thus publishing a global review of all the network and systems evolutions that occurred during the last quarter of 2021 bundled with the first quarter of 2022.

General News

  • Core routers are now deployed

France-IX’s Core routing project was introduced and described in previous quarterly updates. The most important takeaways are that we launched an invitation to tender, which led us to selecting Cisco’s 8201-32FH fixed 400GbE routing platform. We also conducted a complete lab testing prior to production.

The last 6 months were dedicated to the actual deployment of the hardware. Its integration into the existing network has required the activation of MPLS “flow-label” and “control-word” features to ensure hashing would continue to work properly across all link aggregation groups. Where necessary, the MPLS pseudowires carrying services were thus updated to calculate hashing labels at the edge.

A long series of maintenance operations were necessary to ensure a safe deployment. As of today, all 100Gbps-based edge-to-core links have been successfully migrated from the P+PE nodes to the new P-only nodes at our core locations : Interxion PAR5 and KDDI/Telehouse Léon Frot. Yet to be migrated are national waves, this will be carried out in the upcoming weeks. The core routing platform is now handling a few hundred gigabits per second of customer traffic, and so far is behaving perfectly well.

Traffic engineering goals are, as before, the avoidance of any ECMP between PEs except at core locations where local core routers are seen as spines. This ensures a stable RTT between peers no matter the kind of traffic they exchange.

The final architecture was designed to be simple, yet highly scalable, able to handle a few Tbps of traffic. The introduction of more routers in the core was made possible from the very beginning to support this ambition. The hardware we deployed being 400GbE-oriented, we already migrated local links to 800Gbps bundles, and we are planning to start long-haul 400G-ZR deployments in the very near future (see section below for more details).

About a whole year was necessary to go from the first ideas to the final roll-out of this project.

  • Telehouse 2 – Leon Frot private room will be handling Telehouse 2 – Voltaire 10G-MMR customers soon

Last summer, we successfully migrated all our Voltaire 100GbE ports (coming from the MMR) to the new infrastructure in Léon Frot. We are now planning a few maintenance operations to migrate the remaining 10GbE MMR ports to those new routers, splitting them out to balance traffic levels. New customer ports will also be wisely allocated to adjust traffic distribution in the future. Past migrations now represent more than 500Gbps of traffic flowing through Léon Frot’s infrastructure.

Léon Frot private room is a key and long term project for us. Greenfield deployments like this one are unique opportunities to capitalize on past experiences, successes and mistakes, in an attempt to build a solution that will hopefully prove scalable while keeping simple operations like customer arrival, equipment migration and WDM system upgrades.

Among the cornerstones of this design are Minkels Nexpand racks, that were customized to the very detail, providing easy PDU management, simple cable routing, and flexible equipment installs. We also installed two Huber+Suhner LISA ODFs in the room, with the goal to convert most cabling to a fixed state, while pushing all moves, adds and changes into the ODF system that is designed to handle it – at scale.

  • France-IX Toulouse is live

France-IX Toulouse was opened last fall. This new exchange platform serves the 4th biggest French city in terms of population.

Technically speaking, two Nokia 7250 IXR Big-e were deployed at Fullsave’s TLS00 datacenter: one for production, the other as local spare. A server stack was also installed, composed of a monitoring probe and a general purpose hypervisor. The monitoring server is used for continuous performance tests (latency, jitter, loss, BUM) towards every other region. Route-Server VMs are hosted on this stack. A local SNMP poller and a flow buffering tool will be installed on this stack.

10GE and 100GE ports are now available for customers. Remote peering and layer 2 services towards Paris through a dedicated link are available, with just 9ms RTT!

The upcoming year will be full of surprises in terms of geographic extensions. Stay tuned!

  • 400G-ZR backbone turn-up at Data4 Paris-Saclay

The migration to a 7750 SR-1 in Data4 Paris Saclay, and the parallel deployment of 400G-ready core routers, enabled us to consider building a long-haul 400G-ZR link in our backbone.

We started by extensive interoperability tests with pluggable optics, mixing vendors and platforms, to ensure smooth operation in the field.

After carefully designing an amplification chain on the Data4 to ITX5 link, we turned up last month the first 400G-ZR. For this purpose, pre-amplifiers and boosters were installed and tuned to allow the existing 10G-ZR links to run parallel to the new 400G-ZR one on the same dark fiber. We observed so far normal operation of this link over more than 3 weeks.

With this conclusive test, we are planning to roll out 400G-ZR to more links in the near future, starting with TH2 to Data4, and continuing with other PoPs this year.


A few figures about Q4-2021 and Q1-2022:

  • New customer ports (including upgrades) Q4-2021 / Q1-2022
    • 10G: 16 ports / 16 ports
    • 100G: 3 ports / 4 ports
    • 400G: O port, we are waiting for you!
  • Availability during Q4-2021 / Q1-2022 
    • Paris: 100% / 100%
    • Lyon: 100% / 100%
    • Marseille: 100% / 100%
    • Toulouse: 100% / 100%*
  • NOC service Q4-2021 / Q1-2022
    • NOC tickets handled: 53 / 61
  • Outages
    • No outage on Q4-2021 / Q1-2022

Upcoming projects and operations

  • Inter-region links will be moved to P-routers ;
  • A new region will be launched in Lille ;

  • A RFP is ongoing to deploy and increase capacity between regions ;

  • A RFP will be launched in order to strengthen the infrastructure in the Auvergne Rhone Alpes region. New links (dark fibers and waves) will be deployed ;

If you want more technical information, you can follow our large panel of twitter accounts (@as51706 for Paris, @as42064 for Marseille, @as43100 for Lyon, and the newcomer : @as47184 for Toulouse).

Happy peering with us,

France-IX technical team

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