The growth of Internet traffic has presented a significant challenge for large content and cloud providers (Hypergiants or HGs), which are constantly seeking innovative solutions to reduce latency and enhance user experience. Two solutions are deploying services and servers inside end-user networks (off-nets) and joining Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).
In the first approach, HGs install servers inside other networks to serve users in those networks or their customers. This strategy localizes their content within the hosting network, reducing traffic crossing network boundaries.
The second approach involves establishing peer-to-peer connections with other networks via IXPs. These, in turn, lead to decreased response times and better overall performance.
The Number of Foreign Networks in Greece Has Increased by >1,000%
Recently, in collaboration with Prof. Xenofontas Dimitropoulos and George Nomikos at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, we examined the evolution of the Hypergiants’ off-nets and the presence of foreign networks in Greek IXPs and/or colocation facilities from 2013 to 2021. Foreign networks are those whose organizations’ headquarters are not in Greece.
Figure 1 shows that the number of foreign (networks) ASes in Greek IXPs and/or colocation facilities has increased by 1,030% since 2013.
In addition to foreign networks, we observe that Akamai, Alibaba, Amazon, Cloudflare, Facebook, Google, and Netflix have off-nets in Greek networks, of which Google, Akamai, Facebook, and Netflix are responsible for 95% of the off-net server deployments.
Further, in Figure 2, we can see that the number of Greek networks with an off-net presence has increased by 109% since 2013.
Further analysis uncovered that five major ISPs host Google and Akamai servers. The presence of the HGs across several Greek ISPs further enhances their resilience in the country. Learn more about Internet resilience in Greece.
This increase in off-nets indicates a dynamic and evolving Internet landscape in Greece and, in turn, Africa, Asia, and Europe, given Greece’s location (Figure 3) and geopolitical importance.
This evolution could have implications for network planning, security considerations, and the overall adaptability of the infrastructure to changing demands.
Learn more about our research via our 2023 GRNOG presentation.
Katerina Lionta is a postgraduate student in the computer science department at the University of Crete and a visitor at the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH). The General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Posts funded this work.