In the wake of the global challenge to combat COVID-19, data centers have become more critical than ever as network operators around the world witnessed a sharp increase in internet traffic due to the mass shift to remote working as a means of social distancing to combat the outbreak. Meeting these high demands have become a challenge for operators around the world, and Mexico is no exception.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Mexican government officially announced it was now stepping into phase 2 of its COVID-19 strategy. This phase makes official the temporary suspension of work activities that involve the mobilization of people to and from their homes and workplaces.
In response, telecommunications companies in Mexico began to offer free calls, opened their Wi-Fi networks, and even began providing unlimited data to support people who have to remain in isolation and work remotely. Some networks are even assisting the government by redirecting traffic to control the use of data from the official sites with information about the coronavirus. These carriers have made a general plea to ask users to make rational use of internet services to avoid network congestion.
Increases in contracted and colocation capacities are recorded daily in data centers around the world, shifting the task on colocation providers to facilitate the sudden growing demand. These traffic spikes caused by COVID-19 in Mexico have also been documented at the MEX-IX, where we have registered a 40% increase in traffic compared to the previous two weeks.
The MEX-IX, an Internet exchange point designed for Mexico, is located in McAllen, TX, one of the border cities where today Mexican operators find neutral interconnection opportunities with Tier-1 networks, content providers, and more recently an Internet exchange point. Other border cities with a high density of Mexican carriers include Laredo and El Paso, also in Texas.
Mexico and its border interconnection fabric
Traditionally, Mexican carriers have designed their fiber infrastructure to connect to the United States, where they obtain IP transit services and can interconnect with content providers. This need for interconnection created important markets along the border and have become as fundamental as other hubs such as Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Today these border cities – McAllen, Laredo, El Paso – are major and redundant hubs for the vast majority of Mexican carriers, used either for redundancy or to balance capacities. Having a presence in these edge markets is like being locally connected to a node in Mexico.
For Mexican carriers, the high density of networks along the border has helped offload northern markets, like Dallas and Los Angeles, by reducing the need to travel all the way to these cities for interconnection.
MDC Data Centers proudly connects the highest concentration of Mexican operators at our data centers located in McAllen, Laredo, and El Paso. We witness the Internet’s response to COVID-19 in Mexico as our engineers continue to work to ensure that this traffic growth is well supported by network operators in our ecosystem. MDC is doing its part by managing our customers’ requirements and working to bring more content to MEX-IX as soon as possible.
These are challenging times for an industry that today has become essential for the world economy. Fortunately, our industry counts with the commitment of great companies that can make all this happen.