Unrelenting global digital demand
“Our customers are hungry for bandwidth,” says Sandro Di Giacomo, senior product manager for IP transit at Sparkle. “As one of the largest Tier 1 transit providers, we wanted to introduce 400G to meet the strong demand from our service provider customers.”
Sparkle, owned by the TIM Group, manages Seabone, the 600,000-kilometer fiber network that spans from Europe to Africa, the Americas and Asia. Sparkle also provides IP transit services to Telecom Italia.
After carrying 77 Tbps of data in 2021, Sparkle wanted to make sure its backbone network was ready for future growth, especially for cloud applications, content, and streaming media.
“The aim was to be prepared for our customers who ask for an interconnection at 400G,” says Maurizio Pagnottelli, senior product engineer at Sparkle.
Di Giacomo and Pagnottelli have been engineering the company’s IP transit network for more than two decades.
400G increases economies of scale
400G is a more efficient way for Sparkle to deliver high-performance international IP connectivity.
Designed for high-scale 100G and 400G, Juniper PTX Series Packet Transport Routers allow Sparkle to lower the cost per bit by delivering the same amount of bandwidth in a smaller footprint. The 400G-capable network is easier to manage, with fewer overall ports and lower power consumption.
Ultra-compact and ultra-high-density, PTX routers address space and power limitations in some of Sparkle’s locations without sacrificing reliability or features. Sparkle uses modular PTX10004 and PTX10008 routers in its own points of presence and compact PTX10003 routers in colocation facilities.
The PTX routers run Junos Evolved, a cloud-optimized network OS with a microservices architecture that delivers resiliency, feature velocity, and programmability. Junos Evolved brings simplicity and operational consistency, preserving Sparkle’s deep engineering and operations experience with Junos OS.
Global backbone celebrates silver jubilee with 400G
The shift to 400G allows Sparkle to meet growing capacity needs with better economies of scale. Over 25 years, Sparkle’s backbone has grown nearly tenfold from 45 Mbps to 400 Gbps.
“400G streamlines the network and eliminates the need to use multiple 100-Gbps links”, says Pagnottelli.
Sparkle’s Sicily hub, which serves the Mediterranean region, and its Milan hub, which serves continental Europe, are the first to move to 400G, together with Marseille, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Miami, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires, the largest and most important European, US and South American IP hubs. Other major points of presence will follow to meet demand from content providers, streaming media, peering partners, and other IP transit customers.
“Greater CapEx efficiency was a driver to go with the Juniper PTX platform. The market is very competitive, and it’s critical for us to be able to lower the per-unit cost of bandwidth and increase competitiveness.”
Maurizio Pagnottelli Senior Product Engineer, Sparkle