Valve is upgrading its network infrastructure with 100Gbps Internet ports to keep pace with big traffic growth. The news came in an announcement yesterday from Valve's network operator, Level 3 Communications. The press release exists mainly to promote Level 3's network, but it provides some details about Valve's massive bandwidth needs.
Steam's traffic levels are growing about 75 percent year-over-year, currently totaling 450 to 500 petabytes per month or four to five exabytes a year, the announcement said. Standard game downloads are 10 to 40 gigabytes, and the Steam platform "has over 100 million users, averaging more than 10 million concurrent players and over two billion minutes played logged per day."
Steam recently set a new record with more than 12.3 million concurrent users.
Level 3 operates a global IP backbone with capacity of 42Tbps, including 100Gbps Internet ports in 26 markets in North America and Europe. The announcement didn't say how many of those ports Valve will be using or what size ports Valve was using before the upgrade. We've asked both companies for additional details but haven't received an answer.
Level 3 is "one of the few providers that offers 100Gbps Internet ports, which are now a critical component of our network infrastructure," Valve executive Mike Dunkle said in the press release.
Valve hosts many online games, with the biggest by far being Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Dota 2 alone had more than 871,000 concurrent players today, while Counter-Strike had over 565,000.
Netflix, as we've written, built its own content delivery network that connects directly to consumer Internet service providers like Comcast, allowing it to reduce the amount of bandwidth it buys from middle-mile providers like Level 3 and Cogent. Of course, Netflix had to pay Comcast and others for interconnection.