NZ brings software-defined networking to internet exchanges

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NZ brings software-defined networking to internet exchanges
Network engineer at work.

Claims world first.

CityLink, the operator of New Zealand's Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), will adopt software defined networking in the country's five nationwide peering points.

The IXP operator, which is owned by TeamTalk, has been testing equipment from SDN-enabled switch vendors over the past year.

TeamTalk's group chief technology officer Jamie Baddeley told iTnews that the SDN architecture approach for the exchanges is the first of its type in the world.

According to Baddeley, the main benefits of SDN IXPs are that they are more secure, stable and predictable.

"Traffic on the exchange is entirely and solely the traffic that providers would expect to see on the exchange," he said.

SDN IXPs also protect providers at peering points from one other, Baddeley explained.

"There will be no leaking of traffic that shouldn’t be there — for instance like internal routing protocols or management protocols that others really shouldn’t see — and it is not possible to do nefarious things like capacity theft," he said.

Baddeley said he got the idea to reenginer the Internet exchanges with SDN late in 2012 and has been working on it ever since.

"I had the idea in my head crystallise late last year and presented the plan to the New Zealand Network Operators' Group in February 2013 and Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) a month later," Baddeley said.

North American SDN switch vendor NoviFlow will supply the OpenFlow 1.3 compliant switches for CityLink. 

Baddeley would not reveal the cost of the SDN rollout, but said it is similar to current 10Gbps networking equipment.

A small team of five are working on on the project, according to Baddeley.

The first Internet exchange to have SDN architecture rolled out will be in Wellington, Baddeley said, with the country's largest peering point in Auckland next.

Baddeley said SDN in the Wellington exchange should be operational early next year. 

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