Exploring the Exa Network

Connecting the Country

As an ISP, there’s a vast amount of technical work that goes on behind the scenes at Exa Networks. We’re committed to giving our customers an unmatched level of reliability across the board, with our network designed to provide truly fantastic performance at all times, whether they’re using leased lines, FTTC or world-class DarkLight connectivity.

Our network is fundamentally central to everything that we do, powering all the connections we offer. Spanning a huge section of the UK, we’ve designed it for excellent performance and reliable performance. However, it’s often hard for customers to notice the vast amount of work that goes into developing our network - after all, when something’s working reliably, there’s a tendency to not notice that it’s working at all.

As such, we’ve put together this blog to take a look at one part of our country-wide network, exploring some of the key work we’ve done to create a future-proof, fundamentally reliable network for our customers.

What Makes our Network Special?

While a lot of the specific details about our network are strictly a trade secret, we’ve put together a diagram explaining some key elements about the Bradford section of our network:

A quick illustration of our Bradford network, including our core network, data centre, and dedicated services.

World-Class Connections: We’ve built our network using some of the best services available - last year, we upgraded our core network, starting to use incredibly powerful 100 Gb connections, which are designed to support the ultrafast speed levels we supply via DarkLight and leased lines. This network upgrade represented such a huge step up that we were able to offer practically all current and future DarkLight customers a 200 Mbps (at minimum) jump in speeds, at absolutely no extra cost.

ExaBGP-Backed Resilience: We operate a full-on software development team at the Exa offices. Along with a number of other programmes, they’ve worked to build ExaBGP, an open-source utility with a vast number of networking-focused features. One of the key abilities provided by ExaBGP is automatic failover across a network - if one connection fails, another will automatically take its place, completely cutting out any disruption in any scenario.

Local Data Centres: We operate a number of effective data centres around the UK, regularly expanding our network as we set out to support more customers. Along with our Bradford centre, we host data centres in Leeds, Halifax, and far more.

Dedicated Service: We’re able to provide customers with services that are completely uncontended from our network. This combines with the vast core network capacity we use, ensuring that our customers always receive the speeds they’re paying for, completely removing issues of unreliable service.