A Safe Bet: More and More Bandwidth

By Rob Fixmer  |  Posted 2002-02-18

Even with detailed directions, Equinixs vast, new operations center is nearly impossible to find. Cleverly hidden in plain sight among warehouses, wholesale outlets and industrial parks in Secaucus, N.J., the building is so devoid of signage that I took its main entrance for a fire exit. But the Internet business exchange inside offers enough capacity and new services to redefine the way large enterprises access networks.

Once through the door, a visitor is accompanied by an armed guard through sealed chambers, and even on a tour led by Jay Adelson, Equinixs founder and chief technology officer, a guard shadowed us at every step. The acres of co-location space are bathed in a dim, purple light so no customer can train a camera on a competitors space.

Why a high-tech Fort Knox? Because Equinix is where major backbone providers—AT&T, Cable and Wireless, Genuity, Level Three, Qwest, Sprint and WorldCom/UUNet—engage in the mating dance known as peering. Its where more than 25 Tier 2 ISPs, including every major telecom and several major cable players, plus at least eight of the largest content providers, are hard-wired into a massive bandwidth bazaar, enabling them to tap into any network or backbone at a moments notice.

Thats not a luxury most IT departments can afford, but Equinix is betting that large corporations will be drawn to a new set of enterprise connectivity services the company announced last week. Those are a managed routing service, an intelligent routing service and a command center application. For my money, its a good bet.

Not every company needs immediate access to more than 75 networks, including 85 percent of all Internet routes and the largest number of top-tier players gathered in any single facility anywhere. But any company might ask, "Why be tethered by a fiber umbilical to one or even two service providers?"

The services are more expensive, but when the clouds of recession finally part in my crystal ball, I expect to see companies becoming increasingly concerned about flexibility, dependability and, most of all, security. Eventually, Im betting, even midsize enterprises will pay whatever it takes to seize control of the connectivity that is rapidly becoming their lifeblood. IT priorities will change and so will the way bandwidth is bought and sold.

What gives you the feeling of band-width security? Tell me at rob_fixmer@ziffdavis.com.

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