Cloud growth drives network upgrade at Brisbane ISP

APEXnetworks in continuous upgrade process

Growth in demand for Metro Ethernet services has driven a program of ongoing upgrades at Brisbane Internet service provider APEXnetworks over the last 12 months, according to chief technology officer Ryan Crouch.

APEXnetworks is a wholesale aggregator of carrier services. "We bring together connectivity from every carrier in the country so our customers are able to source connectivity from the best suitable service type at a location," says Crouch.

The company has been running since 2006 and has two POPs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and the company's footprint also includes Perth

"We fly under the radar because most of our products are bundled into other IT products," he says.

"The majority of our customers are all IT companies who use us to build all the network components for their managed service customers. So they might be dealing with IT remote desktop or they might be doing server support and we just do all the connectivity."

The other group of customers are poker machine operators.

"So there's a huge variation in customers, but they all bundle connectivity in their products, and that's what we facilitate for them," Crouch says.

Bandwidth demand has increased 140 per cent over the last two years, according to the company. As a result APEXnetworks has found itself deploying networking gear every month, Crouch says.

APEXnetworks switched network vendors last year after an evaluation process in 2012. The company settled on Brocade; cost and support were factors but flexibility and port density were the deciders.

"In the business that we're in, it's really about features not so much raw throughput and bandwidth," Crouch says.

"What we were really struggling with was our existing vendor did not have the port density nor the bandwidth capabilities at the price point that we needed to be competitive, so that's really where we ran out to investigate a new vendor," Crouch says.

"With Brocade we were able to get a lot of bandwidth added to our network in our core," the CTO adds. "A few years ago we had no requirement for 10 gig; we [now] have a considerable number of 10 gig and 40 gig interfaces across our core network and without Brocade this would have been an extremely expensive exercise.

"It's facilitated our own internal network and also given us the flexibility to deploy all kinds of services to our edge customers as well."

The company is using Brocade NetIron 2000 CER Series routers, and ICX Ethernet switches from the vendor, including the Brocade ICX 6610 switch, which has 48 gigabit ports and eight 10 gig ports.

"Everything's obviously converging on Ethernet and so the basically the bandwidth numbers are changing the most," Crouch says.

"We just didn't have the port density. In the last couple of years, with everyone moving towards cloud-based services and central stuff like that, that pushes up the WAN link sizes and then we also need to facilitate the very large bandwidth requirements in the data centre."

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