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Nuclear bomb-proof reliability – the world’s #1 backbone pulls through even in the most demanding circumstances

5 min

Part of the Telia Group, Arelion (formerly Telia Carrier) owns a backbone network that transmits data without interruption. Long distances or even unexpected fibre optic cable cuts do not prevent data from reaching the end user. How has Arelion managed to achieve bomb-proof service reliability?

A ship’s anchor scrapes the bottom of the sea and pulls a backbone cable with it. The transfer of data in the fibre cable slows down until it is finally cut off. The streaming of your favourite TV series doesn’t stop, however, and you happily continue rustling your bag of sweets on the sofa. This is because the data switches-over to another cable in the Arelion backbone. 

The backbone is the core of the data network – the main route that joins the node points of the communications network to each other. Social media service providers and gaming companies, for example, utilize the fibre optic networks criss-crossing the globe – networks that, in effect, form an Internet and data highway. The uninterrupted transfer of data from companies to end users is guaranteed with the use of multiple cables and access points. Arelion has around 1900 customers who use its backbone network in more than a hundred different countries. 

"Arelion's task is to ensure that data is carried without interruption between companies, data centres, cloud computing services and end users. From Helsinki, for instance, we have five cables going out, which means that data always reaches its destination, even if one of the cables is temporarily damaged, for example, by a ship," says Chief Evangelist Mattias Fridström from Arelion. 

65,000 kilometres, controlled from a bomb-proof bunker

Telia Finland’s business customers operating or aiming for the international market have a total of 65,000 kilometres of Arelion’s fibre optic network at their disposal. It enables them to build connections between their various branches located all over the world and to link these to the data centres where their cloud services are located. Arelion's fibre optic network covers the United States and Europe, and in Asia the company leases network connections from other operators. The network is managed from a control center inside nuclear bomb-proof concrete walls, deep below the ground. 

"Telia Finland has a strong foothold in Finnish companies, and our Group – including Arelion – helps customers to reach the international market," says Fridström.

Data traffic transmitted through clean networks also in Finland

On a global scale, Arelion's operations are unique because the company owns its own networks, and outsiders are unable to access the traffic inside them. 

Telia Finland’s networks in Finland are also extremely clean, meaning that they have excellent information security. The flow of information is secured with a strict control and monitoring system. This enables even the slightest deviations in data traffic to be detected early, effectively preventing them from causing customers harm. 

"Any malware traffic detected by the monitoring system is placed in quarantine where it is cleaned or eliminated. In this way, harmful traffic is prevented from entering the network," explains Senior Offering Manager Jari Litmanen from Telia Finland.

Not surprisingly, the company was highlighted in an international report for having the cleanest networks in the world. The cleanliness of the networks guarantees excellent service reliability and better services for end customers, because malware cannot slow down the network. In Finland, Telia Finland's customers can utilize some of the world's cleanest networks and when they need connections outside the country, they can rely on Arelion's extensive backbone.

Game of Thrones caused a 3.5-fold data spike – networks need to be scalable in an instant

Arelion’s global Internet backbone is currently ranked number one worldwide and carries a significant portion of the world’s global Internet traffic. This traffic is continually growing, especially with the increased use of cloud services and as more and more new devices are connected to the network, i.e. with the Internet of Things. 

Network scalability plays a key role when companies want to grow their business globally. The more flexibility a company has in scaling its operations, the better it can meet its customers' needs and survive intense market competition. 

"Our scalable networks are one of our strongest assets,” Fridström explains. “Today, flexibility is the be all and end all in business, because data spikes are very difficult to predict – you never know what the next online sensation will be. Our customers’ network traffic is growing at a huge rate all the time and they need a service provider with flexible solutions."

"Telia Denmark, for example, experienced a 3.5-fold spike in their network traffic from the previous week when the newest episode of the series Game of Thrones came out last spring at three o’clock in the morning. And when the next hit series or game is released online, we’ll be ready.”

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