In 15 cities with one or more city rings, SURFnet is building a second (redundant) PoP (point-of-presence) alongside the main PoP with SURFnet7. Redundant PoPs ensure that an emergency at the main PoP does not affect the rest of the network.
The SURFnet network consists of a national network and city rings, which are connected via the main PoP. If there is a problem with the power supply at the main PoP, for example, all the locations on the city ring would lose their connection. Though this virtually never happens, it remains a risk. In order to offer customers greater certainty, we are building redundant PoPs in 15 cities. In other words, we will be creating a second access point to the national network for all the city rings in these cities. All the city rings will then be connected to the national network via two different PoPs. If one PoP fails, the other PoP will always be online. A major disruption or emergency will no longer be able to cause any harm.
Six finished, another nine to go
SURFnet is creating a redundant PoP in 15 cities with a city ring. In most cases, the redundant PoP is placed in an existing location in one of the city rings, which is connected to the national network. The other city rings are also connected to this location. In practice, this means that we divert fibre-optic connections to ensure that all the locations in the city are connected with the two main locations. We started building the first redundant PoP in the summer of 2014. Six cities are now complete. Another nine to go!
The implementation consists of four phases.
- We reach contractual agreements with the new location, e.g. regarding the installation of equipment and the use of rack space. These agreements are already in place for most of the institutions.
- We examine the fibre-optic infrastructure. How is the location connected with the network, which new fibre-optic connections are required and which existing connections can be relocated so that we can link both the national network and the city rings to the redundant PoP? The installation and relocation of the optical fibres can take six months.
- Once everything is in the pipeline, it is time to activate the fibre-optic cables. They will already have been relocated and looped, but the new location will not yet be active. On the first night, we connect the redundant PoP to the national network.
- On the second night, we also connect our network equipment (NGE switches), from where our services are provided to all the locations in the city rings. As we divert all the city rings to the redundant PoP, all the locations will be linked to the national network by means of two separate access points.
Choice of main location
In any project, there can always be an unexpected turn of events. For example, after entering talks with a new location, subsequent quotations may reveal a fibre-optic infrastructure so expensive that the cost of location becomes prohibitive. If this happens, SURFnet will need to look for a different location for the redundant PoP.
You may wonder why we don’t we get quotations first and then look for a main location? The reason is that SURFnet feels it is important for locations to be keen to take part. We require access to main locations on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year. There are also benefits for the institutions, as they are closer to the core of the network. For SURFnet, the search begins with finding favourably positioned locations that are also keen to take part.