Will Hyperscale Cloud Companies (e.g. Google) Control the Internet’s Backbone?

Rob Powell reports that Google’s submarine cable empire now hooks up another corner of the world. The company’s 10,000km Curie submarine cable has officially come ashore in Valparaiso, Chile.

The Curie cable system now connects Chile with southern California. it’s a four-fiber-pair system that will add big bandwidth along the western coast of the Americas to Google’s inventory.  Also part of the plans is a branching unit with potential connectivity to Panama at about the halfway point where they can potentially hook up to systems in the Caribbean.

Subcom’s CS Durable brought the cable ashore on the beach of Las Torpederas, about 100 km from Santiago. In Los Angeles the cable terminates at Equinix’s LA4 facility, while in Chile the company is using its own recently built data center in Quilicura, just outside of Santiago.

Google has a variety of other projects going on around the world as well, as the company continues to invest in its infrastructure.  Google’s projects tend to happen quickly, as they don’t need to spend time finding investors to back their plans.

Curie is one of three submarine cable network projects Google unveiled in January 2018. (Source: Google)

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Powell also wrote that SoftBank’s HAPSMobile is investing $125M in Google’s Loon as the two partner for a common platform, and Loon gains an option to invest a similar sum in HAPSMobile later on.

Both companies envision automatic, unmanned, solar-powered devices in the sky above the range of commercial aircraft but not way up in orbit. From there they can reach places that fiber and towers don’t or can’t. HAPSMobile uses drones, and Loon uses balloons. The idea is to develop a ‘common gateway or ground station’ and the necessary automation to support both technologies.

It’s a natural partnership in some ways, and the two are putting real money behind it. But despite the high profile we haven’t really seen mobile operators chomping at the bit, since after all it’s more fun to cherry pick those tower-covered urban centers for 5G first and there’s plenty of work to do. And when they do get around to it, there’s the multiple near-earth-orbit satellite projects going on to compete with.

But the benefit both HAPSMobile and Loon have to their model is that they can, you know, reach it without rockets.

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AWS’s Backbone (explained by Sapphire):

An AWS Region is a particular geographic area where Amazon decided to deploy several data centers, just like that. The reason behind a chosen area is to be close to the users and also to have no restrictions. At the same time, every Region is also connected through private links with other Regions which means they have a dedicated link for their communications because for them is cheaper and they also have full capacity planing with lower latency.

What is inside a Region?

  • Minimum 2 Availability Zones
  • Separate transit centers (peering the connections out of the World)

How transit centers work?

AWS has private links to other AWS regions, but they also have private links for the feature AWS Direct Connect – a dedicated and private & encrypted (IPSEC tunnel) connection from the “xyz” company’s datacenters to their infrastructures in the Cloud, which works with the VLANs inside (IEEE 802.1Q) for accessing public and private resources with a lower latency like Glacier or S3 buckets and their VPC at the same time between <2ms and usually <1ms latency. Between Availability Zones (inter AZ zone) the data transit there’s a 25TB/sec average.

From AWS Multiple Region Multi-VPC Connectivity:

AWS Regions are connected to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as well as to Amazon’s private global network backbone, which provides lower cost and more consistent cross-region network latency when compared with the public internet.  Here is one illustrative example:

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From Facebook Building backbone network infrastructure:

We have strengthened the long-haul fiber networks that connect our data centers to one another and to the rest of the world.

As we bring more data centers online, we will continue to partner and invest in core backbone network infrastructure. We take a pragmatic approach to investing in network infrastructure and utilize whatever method is most efficient for the task at hand. Those options include leveraging long-established partnerships to access existing fiber-optic cable infrastructure; partnering on mutually beneficial investments in new infrastructure; or, in situations where we have a specific need, leading the investment in new fiber-optic cable routes.

In particular, we invest in new fiber routes that provide much-needed resiliency and scale. As a continuation of our previous investments, we are building two new routes that exemplify this approach. We will be investing in new long-haul fiber to allow direct connectivity between our data centers in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.

As with our previous builds, these new long-haul fiber routes will help us continue to provide fast, efficient access to the people using our products and services. We intend to allow third parties — including local and regional providers — to purchase excess capacity on our fiber. This capacity could provide additional network infrastructure to existing and emerging providers, helping them extend service to many parts of the country, and particularly in underserved rural areas near our long-haul fiber builds.

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Venture Beat Assessment of what it all means:

Google’s increasing investment in submarine cables fits into a broader trend of major technology companies investing in the infrastructure their services rely on.

Besides all the datacenters AmazonMicrosoft, and Google are investing in as part of their respective cloud services, we’ve seen Google plow cash into countless side projects, such as broadband infrastrucure in Africa and public Wi-Fi hotspots across Asia.

Elsewhere, Facebook — while not in the cloud services business itself — requires omnipresent internet connectivity to ensure access for its billions of users. The social network behemoth is also investing in numerous satellite internet projectsand had worked on an autonomous solar-powered drone project that was later canned. Earlier this year, Facebook revealed it was working with Viasat to deploy high-speed satellite-powered internet in rural areas of Mexico.

While satellites will likely play a pivotal role in powering internet in the future — particularly in hard-to-reach places — physical cables laid across ocean floors are capable of far more capacity and lower latency. This is vital for Facebook, as it continues to embrace live video and virtual reality. In addition to its subsea investments with Google, Facebook has also partnered with Microsoft for a 4,000-mile transatlantic internet cable, with Amazon and SoftBank for a 14,000 km transpacific cable connecting Asia with North America, and on myriad othercable investments around the world.

Needless to say, Google’s services — ranging from cloud computing and video-streaming to email and countless enterprise offerings — also depend on reliable infrastructure, for which subsea cables are key.

Curie’s completion this week represents not only a landmark moment for Google, but for the internet as a whole. There are currently more than 400 undersea cables in service around the world, constituting 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles). Google is now directly invested in around 100,000 kilometers of these cables (62,000 miles), which equates to nearly 10% of all subsea cables globally.

The full implications of “big tech” owning the internet’s backbone have yet to be realized, but as evidenced by their investments over the past few years, these companies’ grasp will only tighten going forward.

China Permits Virtual Telecom Operators vs Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)

China has granted the official go ahead for virtual telecom operator businesses after piloting the practice for almost five years. The China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued official licenses to 15 private virtual telecoms to resell internet access, the ministry said in a statement released Monday on its website.   These virtual operators, including Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Xiaomi, do not maintain the network infrastructure but rent wholesale services like roaming and text messages from the country’s three major telecom infrastructure operators China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom.

In a move to further open up the telecom sector, China started to issue pilot licenses in May 2013 to private companies to allow them to offer repackaged mobile services to users. It issued pilot operation licenses to eleven ‘mobile virtual network operators’, or MVNOs, at the end of 2013  which has gradually increased to A 42 virtual telecom businesses.

Granting virtual telecom operators official licenses is aimed at encouraging mobile telecom business innovation and improving the sector’s overall service quality, the statement said.

Reference:

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201807/23/WS5b559eb4a310796df4df82ed.html

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While Amazon is not a virtual ISP, they do offer Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service:

To securely transfer data between an on-premises data center and Amazon Web Services (AWS), consider implementing a transit Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).  Transit VPCs not only manage your networks more efficiently, but also add dynamic routing and secure connectivity in your cloud environment. Because these transit VPCs are deployed with high availability on AWS, downtime is limited.

Amazon’s VPC lets a company or enterprise provision a logically isolated section of the AWS Cloud where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network that the user defines. The user has complete control over the enterprise virtual networking environment, including selection of IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways. You can use both IPv4 and IPv6 in your VPC for secure and easy access to resources and applications.

These AWS resource requests are implemented virtually and can be used to connect Amazon VPCs, whether they are running in different parts of the world and/or running in separate AWS accounts, to a common Amazon VPC that serves as a global network transit center. This approach uses host-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) appliances in a dedicated Amazon VPC and helps to simplify network management by reducing the amount of connections required to connect multiple Amazon VPCs and remote networks.

Simplify network management and reduce your total number of connections by deploying a highly available, scalable, and secure transit Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) on AWS.

Download the eBook to learn more about:

  • How to build a private network that spans two or more AWS Regions
  • Sharing connectivity between multiple Amazon VPCs and on-premises data centers
  • How transit VPCs enable you to share Amazon VPCs and AWS resources across multiple AWS accounts

For more info please refer to https://aws.amazon.com/networking/partner-solutions/featured-partner-solutions/

 

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