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    Live sports and gaming sees new record at Europe’s largest Internet exchange: 17 terabits per second

    Live sports – mainly the UEFA Champions League quarter finals – and a surge in gaming sees the equivalent of 5.7 million HD videos of data being streamed simultaneously in new internet record

    A new data throughput record has been set at Europe’s largest Internet Exchange (IX), DE-CIX Frankfurt. In parallel to the quarter-final second leg of the UEFA Champions League, on April 16 at 9:21 p.m. (CEST), more than 17 terabits per second (Tbit/s) (to be specific, 17.09 Tbit/s) of data flowed over the IX for the first time.

    17 terabits per second corresponds to 5.7 million videos in HD quality being streamed simultaneously. In an analog world, 17 terabits per second is equivalent to around 3.9 billion A4 pages of text –  a stack more than 420 kilometers high, almost 50 times higher than Mount Everest.

    This means that data traffic at one of the world’s largest Internet Exchanges has increased by 20 percent overall since the beginning of 2023 and by almost 60 percent since the beginning of 2022. Looking at the past five years, data throughput at DE-CIX Frankfurt has almost tripled.

    Live sport as a magnet for fans and streaming records

    “Shortly before the start of the European Championships, Germany, the home of this year’s tournament, seems to be slowly catching soccer fever. We already saw last year that the UEFA Champions League matches are a real streaming magnet. This trend is continuing unbroken in 2024,” says Dr. Thomas King, Head of Technology at DE-CIX. “After all, watching live sport over the Internet has several advantages over linear television. Fans can watch the highlights of the game again at any time, and they can view games flexibly via the device of their choice. Whether on the couch or on the go with a smartphone – online streaming has a great future.”

    DE-CIX is the world’s leading Internet Exchange operator and has been playing a decisive role in shaping the guiding principles of the Internet of the present and the future in various global bodies since 1995. As an operator of critical IT infrastructure, DE-CIX bears great responsibility for the smooth, fast, and secure exchange of data between people, enterprises, and organizations. At its more than 50 locations in Europe, Africa, North America, the Middle East, and Asia, DE-CIX offers its customers peering, cloud connectivity, and other interconnection services. The DE-CIX interconnection ecosystem is accessible from data centers in over 600 cities worldwide and connects thousands of network operators (carriers), Internet service providers (ISPs), content providers, and corporate networks from more than 100 countries. With a data volume of almost 40 exabytes per year (as of 2023) and almost 1100 connected networks, DE-CIX in Frankfurt, Germany, is one of the largest Internet Exchanges in the world.

    What is a terabit per second and what does a data throughput of 17 terabits per second look like?

    • A terabit per second, Tbit/s or Tbps, is a dimension for the transmission speed of data.
    • The next lower data rates are specified in gigabits per second (Gbit/s) and megabits per second (Mbit/s).
    • 1 terabit per second is 10³ Gbit/s, 106 Mbit/s, 109 kbit/s or 10 12bit/s, i.e. 1,000,000,000,000 bits per second.
    • 17 terabits per second is equivalent to over 5.7 million videos in HD quality being streamed simultaneously. In an analogue world, 17 terabits per second corresponds to around 3.9 billion A4 pages of text, a stack more than 420 kilometers high – almost 50 times higher than Mount Everest.
    • If one bit were equivalent to one milliliter of water, 17 terabits would fill 3.7 million bathtubs.
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