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last change: June 01, 2021

History of VIX


Platform renewal with pizza service

After nearly eight years of operation, the hardware infrastructure of the VIX is completely replaced in May 2021. The previously used chassis-based devices with line cards give way to fixed-configuration switches of one rack unit each (aka "pizza boxes"). With the new switches from the Arista 7280 series, the overall capacity of the VIX increases significantly. The new design also simplifies future upgrades: Components can now be added easily without any adverse impact for existing participant ports. Furthermore, Infinera's new WDM components increase the capacity of the cross-connections between the three VIX locations from 160 Gbps to 9.6 Tbps.
The entire transition is carried out smoothly during ongoing operations with only 2-10 minutes of downtime per participant port. We are also very pleased that the new hardware reduces our peering infrastructure’s energy consumption by around 80 %.

VIX traffic exceeds 1 Tbps

In the last few weeks of operation, the previous VIX platform still sets a new record: On 27 April 2021, total VIX traffic exceeds the "magic threshold" of 1 terabit per second (5-minute average) for the first time.


VIX and COVID-19

The corona pandemic is also noticeable at VIX: On one hand, the VIX team works from home from mid-March until the end of the year (and beyond), which means longer lead times for some on-site activities. On the other hand, it can be observed that the traffic volume at VIX increases significantly at the beginning of the first lockdown in March, but drops back to the usual level over time.
This is probably mainly due to the fact that initially not only Internet traffic suddenly increases, but also the traffic distribution (who communicates with whom, but also the temporal distribution throughout the day) changes seriously. Somewhat later, various capacity adjustments and optimization measures by VIX participants apparently ensure a return to "normality".


NIS Regulation enters into force

In the context of the national implementation of the EU-wide "Network Information Security" (NIS) Directive, VIX is defined as an "essential service" in July 2019. Among other things, this requires complete documentation of all security-related processes at VIX. Beyond this, additional measures are taken to standardize and optimize existing processes. The adaptation of VIX's Information Security Management is based on the ISO 27001 standard in order to facilitate future certification.

Increasing traffic volume

In the first half of 2019, the daily peaks of data traffic on VIX average about 600 Gbps. This puts the Vienna Internet eXchange in the midfield of European exchange points. A new traffic maximum on VIX - over 770 Gbps - occurs on 12 March 2019.


Doubling of intersite capacity

In order to have sufficient reserves even for exceptional network situations, the bandwidth of the cross-connection between VIX1 (University of Vienna) and VIX2 (Interxion) is extended to 2 x 160 Gbps at the end of March 2017.


New traffic record

On 13 December 2016, traffic on VIX exceeds the "magic" 500 Gbps mark for the first time. The VIX team celebrates the historic event with a cake, freshly baked and decorated in accordance with the occasion by Erwin Rennert.


Third location at e-shelter

At the beginning of October 2015, the third VIX site in e-shelter's (as of June 2020: NTT's) data center in the 10th district is put into operation. Thus, in addition to the University of Vienna in the city centre and Interxion in the north of Vienna, there is now another possibility to connect to VIX in the south of the city. VIX3 is connected to VIX1 and VIX2 via path redundant fiber optic links.

Reseller program

The first contracts between VIX and resellers are concluded in autumn 2015. The new reseller program offers several advantages for potential VIX participants: They no longer have to connect their routers on-site (or via self-organized carrier links) in Vienna, but can leave all formalities and technical measures to the reseller. Furthermore, resellers usually provide low connection bandwidths as well (directly at VIX, the minimum is 2.5 Gbps).

Need for speed

In April 2015, Akamai International B.V. puts the first 100 Gbps customer port on VIX into operation. The first 100 Gbps link aggregation follows later that year: From November 2015, A1 Telekom Austria AG is connected to VIX1 and VIX2 at 200 Gbps each.


New hardware platform

The existing RX platform by Foundry Networks (from 2008: Brocade) is being replaced in the summer of 2013 by the successor series MLXe, which also supports 100 Gbps connections. A chassis with 32 slots is installed at both VIX locations, and an additional 8-slot chassis at Interxion for terminating the slower connections (up to 1 Gbps).

In the course of this, the WDM technology used is also being renewed: Instead of CWDM, DWDM is now used, along with a doubling of the available channels from 8 to 16. This means a possible bandwidth of 2 x 160 Gbps for the cross-connection between the two VIX sites. In practice, it is initially extended to 2 x 80 Gbps.

Peering Days

Together with the Prague-based NIX.CZ (Neutral Internet eXchange), VIX organizes the first CEE Peering Days in May 2013. This international conference for Internet Service Providers - primarily from the Central and Eastern Europe region - has since been held every spring in changing cities and enjoys great popularity.


New VIX Carrier Room in the NIG

The VIX room in the "Neues Institutsgebäude" (NIG) of the University of Vienna, which was occupied in 1999, is bursting at the seams again. Therefore, all equipment is moved into a newly adapted "VIX Carrier Room" in the same building in January 2011. It offers significantly more space and a completely new power supply and cooling infrastructure. A 24/7 access system enables VIX1 housing customers for the first time to access their equipment in the NIG around the clock and even unaccompanied by VIX employees.

Switching to WDM

Also in January 2011, the "Passive WDM" technology (WDM = Wavelength Division Multiplexing) is implemented at VIX. This potentially multiplies the bandwidth of the cross-connection between the two VIX sites. Initially, it is extended from 2 x 10 Gbps to 2 x 20 Gbps.


New route servers

As of spring 2010, VIX participants may use two central route servers to facilitate the setting up of peerings.


New office space

In February 2008, the VIX team moves from Vienna University's "Neues Institutsgebäude" (NIG) to a neighboring building (Ebendorferstrasse 10). The VIX equipment and postal address remain in the NIG.


Terabit switches for the anniversary

10 years after the founding of the Vienna Internet eXchange, another hardware renewal is necessary, as the devices used can no longer keep pace with the annual doubling of traffic volume at VIX. They are replaced by two Foundry Networks terabit switches with a maximum data throughput of up to 1.6 terabits per second. In addition, the bandwidth of the cross-connection between the two VIX sites is increased to 2 x 10 Gbps.

The migration is carried out smoothly, without interrupting the switching service, in cooperation with Interxion and Siemens at the end of March 2006. At the end of 2006, the volume of peering traffic at VIX is in the range of about 1 gigabyte per second, adding up to about 100 terabytes per day.


IPv6 at VIX

In parallel with implementing IPv6-based services for the University of Vienna and within ACOnet, the VIX team starts to offer support for exchanging IPv6-encoded data packets between interested ISPs. In order to prevent interference with the regular IPv4-based traffic, the IPv6-related connections are initially handled on a dedicated VLAN, which is later abandoned as IPv6 technology becomes more stable. Since the beginning of 2005, VIX participants may use IPv4 and IPv6 equally for their peerings.


Second location at Interxion

In 2001, VIX has already 70 participants including some well-known internationally active ISPs such as Deutsche Telekom and Cable&Wireless (USA). Due to the limited space available at the University of Vienna and the increasing traffic volume, the Vienna Internet eXchange has to be expanded to a second location and the switching hardware has to be renewed.

Interxion, a company operating data centers in many locations throughout Europe and also in Vienna-Floridsdorf (21st district), is able to provide sufficient space. Moreover, it is not competing with ISPs in the field of commercial carrier/telecom or ISP business - the neutrality of VIX is thus preserved. The decision to enter into a partnership agreement with Interxion proves to be the right one, as there is excellent cooperation right from the start.

New switches, new cross-connection

The construction of the second VIX location requires major investments: The Cisco switch is replaced by two new Extreme Networks switches capable of handling 1 Gbps connections. The connection between these two switches at the two VIX sites consists of two separate pairs of dark fiber which are routed over completely separate physical paths.

Foundation of Euro-IX

In May 2001, the European Internet Exchange Association, or Euro-IX for short, is launched as a common platform for European Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). VIX is one of the founding members. Meanwhile, more than 70 IXPs participate in Euro-IX (as of 2019).


Dedicated VIX room in the NIG

In 1999, the Vienna Internet eXchange is already occupying 5 full racks of equipment in the NIG ("Neues Institutsgebäude" of the University of Vienna) and interconnecting 33 ISPs. At that size various bottlenecks become more and more obvious. Thus, the service is relocated to a dedicated area in the NIG later that year. The new room is properly set up with air conditioning, UPS and 21 racks. On this occasion, the previously used Cisco switch is also upgraded in order to better support Fast Ethernet.


Foundation of VIX

The Vienna Internet eXchange (VIX) is launched in 1996 by the Vienna University Computer Center. It comprises bilateral peering agreements between the first Austrian Internet Service Providers (ISPs): ACOnet, EUnet GmbH, IBM Global Network, VIAnet and APA. This lays the foundation for connecting additional ISPs. The goal is to keep local Internet traffic as local as possible in order to avoid expensive long-distance traffic routes, increase data throughput and minimize delays.

The background: During the early years of the Internet, it was a common situation - particularly in Europe - to see packets with a source and destination address from within the same city crossing national boundaries twice, or even the Atlantic Ocean. Just because the customers happened to be connected via different ISPs (Internet Service Providers), the packets had to find their way to a common network node and then back again. In order to minimize such detours by exchanging packets locally, so-called Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) were set up over time wherever several independent ISP were active in the same geographical region.