Blog, Network

In Our Network: Liberty Global

Internet Routing Basics

The basic principle for routing traffic on the public internet is that our network is linked to other networks via certain uplinks and transit providers that connect us to other networks via their own. When you request another service, our router advises your server/computer how to join, and then the data is sent/received over one of our uplinks.

Having multiple uplinks to different networks is the approach we take, not only for redundancy but also for the benefit of having traffic take the shortest and most direct route to the end-user/visitor.

Network performance varies depending on the originating or destination networks. If one is single-homed (only has access to their own upstream/connection), it may perform poorly when transferring over lots of hops due to tracking by other routers in between them and where you are going next.

Our Previous Network Blend

Based on our existing network blend, most traffic to Liberty Global went via our transit providers or the Virgin Media peering at LINX.

Moving forward, Peering with Liberty Global

Firstly let’s have an insight into Liberty Global as an ISP;
– they are the largest international cable company in the world
– serve over 59 million active subscribers.
– span multiple countries.
– operates own backbones.

Liberty Global is the parent company and usually operates or it’s the sole or main provider for the following ISP’s amongst others:

  • UPC (EU)
  • Ziggo (EU)
  • UnityMedia (DE)
  • Virgin Media (UK)
  • Telenet (BE)
  • Vodafone (NL)

So in short – by adding Liberty Global into our network blend we will improve overall performance for the customers of many of the ISP’s across the EU above. Not only by reducing the hops between the link and latency whilst also allowing the customers own local ISP to manage/route the traffic as desired to the destination reducing the impact of any potential transit/3rd party impacts or congestion to increase throughput.

Local UK Impact – Virgin Media Peering

For UK based traffic on saying Liberty Global’s Virgin Media (19% Market Share UK ISP offering FTTC ~ up to 300Mbps to the premises) they typically do not offer a local peering policy via the ISP directly.

In this case, we turn to Liberty Global to allow peering and direct uplinks to allow you access to the network without congestion during peak times which is faced via many of the legacy Virgin Media peering providers.

Prior to peering:     ~3Mbps / 15 hops / ~10% Loss
Post starting private peering (Liberty Global direct): 220Mbps / 7 hops / <1% Loss
Standard 50Mbps & 200Mbps VIVID Connections used
during tests from Q3 ’16 ~ Q1 ’17.

Real World Tests

Try our LookingGlass to check your routing and throughput now:
LookingGlass Console – Test Files: 100M 1G

Updated (Current) Network Blend

Our current network blend can be seen on our Network Page for up to date specifics.

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