Straight off the bat, 2021 has been an exciting year. His Majesty, The King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, joined us to discuss developments in digital infrastructure in the Netherlands and how companies in the industry managed to handle the significant increase of volume while maintaining reliability and security demands during the COVID pandemic.
Throughout the year, due to new rules being enforced due to the pandemic worldwide, we’ve been working hard to not only maintain service quality for our current deployments but expand significantly throughout the world, connecting everyone and everywhere.
Travel restrictions make our engineers sad to stay put where they are. Fortunately, over the years we’ve been in business, we’ve established international partnerships that we could leverage to expand our deployments globally, setting up infrastructure closer to the end-users and connecting it to local networks. Here’s a quick glance into some new areas we’ve set up shop in this year.
你好 Shanghai, our engineers have worked hard to deploy our infrastructure on the mainland, and we’re thrilled to serve games close to the 26 million people living in Shanghai.
Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen have joined the i3D.net party this year. While building our new Points of Presence, we always measure the real-world latency of connectivity links to ensure it stays as low as possible. Especially on the Oslo-Amsterdam route, we managed to pull some mind-blowing numbers, bringing the latency down to 14.5ms round-trip, 53% lower than other connectivity providers.
How do we do this, you may ask? We don’t go for the cheapest routes; we optimize our entire network for latency. So, cutting corners by jumping on submarine cables brings benefits, with less zigzagging between buildings, roads, and railways. COVID taught us to avoid crowded places.
St. Petersburg and Milan are our latest server PoPs in Europe. We have also added Zurich and Bucharest as network PoPs, connecting Central Europe to its end-users while deploying compute resources in new areas.
Santiago and Buenos Aires have opened alongside one of our first-ever Points of Presence in Sao Paulo. By doing so, we can reach a more significant proportion of users in South America with a latency more suitable for gaming and video calling.
We’ve expanded our PoPs in the United States with Atlanta to better serve the south-east. Furthermore, we’ve upgraded Newark, once a network PoP to a full-blown build, delivering compute-resources to ensure applications run as close to the end-users in the north-east.
Existing PoPs such as Hong Kong, Newark, Tokyo, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Ashburn, Singapore, Madrid, and Los Angeles, among others, have received extensive upgrades throughout 2021. Bigger routers, more compute resources, new connections ensure we maintain low latency while scaling up for our customers.
We don’t just set up shop in new locations; when we do, we also make sure to connect with all relevant local networks so that end-users don’t have to do any scenic routing. With over 250 turn-ups in 2021, we have connected a new backbone link, PNI, IX, or IP Transit on every single weekday – yes, we’ve been busy 😊.
Our ability to connect to Internet Exchanges worldwide brings us to the top 20 of the most interconnected networks globally, placing us at the 17th spot (up 6 places from last year). We’re very humbled by being present in the company of Netflix, Yahoo, and other household brands. One very special IX deal we’ve struck is the first AMS-IX PoP outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands; our very own Smartdc datacenter in Rotterdam.
However, connecting to Internet Exchanges is not enough to connect everywhere and everyone. Thus, we doubled down on peering connections with local and global networks bringing the online world to all users in the comfort of their homes with low latency and no scenic routing.
Furthermore, with the number of planes in the air decreasing, the number of packages we transport over our network increases. So, we’ve increased our transit routes massively, now circling the entire planet to make sure that friends, colleagues, and family members from different continents can enjoy (online) life together.
The combined capacity of our connected internet exchanges, peers, and transit routes has grown 11-fold since the start of the pandemic, and it isn’t showing signs of slowing down as we reaffirm our commitment to serve 1 billion users by 2025.
Growth like that isn’t happening if you keep close to yourself. We’re delighted with our partners, such as Equinix and Dell, who helped us meet challenging deadlines and scale up our infrastructure throughout the year.
Aside from our partnerships, we’ve invested heavily in our own partners – everyone working within i3D.net. Working amidst the pandemic isn’t always easy yet we’ve been able to switch to remote working successfully whilst staying in touch with our team through monthly care-packages, being transparent and high in candor. While we take care of our colleagues, we are keen to welcome more in the upcoming year; we’re hiring!
Umm… Absolutely! But we don’t just talk the talk; we deploy our own infrastructure as close to your player base as possible, providing the best user experience. That’s why we have opened as many Points of Presence as we did this year! But there’s more…
While our engineers have been working hard to open new PoPs, connect everyone to our network and rack servers, our development teams doubled down on our commitment to the gaming industry to improve our anti-DDoS offering. Available at all locations, without adding any latency – resulting in us deflecting a 1Tbps+ attack without impact.
We further strengthened our Game Hosting Platform, allowing you to scale up into many compute resources with 3rd party providers (as no one likes vendor lock-ins). Our all-in-one platform includes many services, such as a no-impact patching system, allowing you to patch gameservers without players noticing. This works seamlessly with our integrated CDN to distribute game files to your game servers at the edges. The best thing is, all of it is now accessible through SDK’s built for Unreal, Unity, and of course, our own API.
Even though we could not see our partners and customers face to face this year, everything we’ve done was with you in mind. For example, our friends over at Psyonix released Rocket League Sideswipe, which we were happy to collaborate on a successful release. Or our close collaboration with multiple AAA studios to launch their games in early 2022.
Well, we do not know. Fortunately, our commitment does not stop at video gaming. Our global infrastructure deployment and network allow an excellent fit for WebRTC based applications, where companies such as Discord and Whereby have created online spaces to get together virtually, and we’ve been happy to contribute our share.
Our year was started by His Majesty the King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands joining us. It ended by being recognized by the FD, a leading financial newspaper as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Netherlands for the 8th consecutive year. We’re thrilled to expand globally on a massive scale while being recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies on our home turf.
New locations, more capacity on our network, automated server deliveries through API, GPU servers, expanding our CDN, Game Hosting Platform including back-end services, and the list goes on…
All to ensure low latency for end-users globally, so they can fully emerge in online worlds. While in parallel, to create one platform for game developers to manage their live games without skipping a heartbeat.
What’s next for us isn’t as important as what is next for you though. Let’s chat at the beginning of next year to see how we can help you reach your goals. While you settle in for the holidays, our team will ensure your users will be able to seamlessly experience your products. Enjoy!