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Valve deploys 100Gbps ports to support Steam gaming growth

Gaming firm Valve upgrades its network infrastructure with Level 3 to support the growth of its social entertainment and gaming platform Steam

Online gaming company Valve has embarked on a network infrastructure upgrade, deploying 100Gbps internet service ports in response to growing demand for its social entertainment and gaming platform Steam.

Steam sits behind a number of gaming franchises including Call of Duty, Final Fantasy, Portal and Resident Evil, and needs increasing bandwidth as its audience expands.

Valve turned to Level 3’s network of 100Gbps ports – available in 26 countries in America and Europe – and its global IP backbone, which can handle more than 42 Terabits per second (Tbps).

Valve’s manager of business development, internet infrastructure, Mike Dunkle, said the company was committed to providing 100 million users, logging 10 million concurrent players and 2 billion minutes played per day, with the best experience possible.

“Level 3 has been instrumental in helping us scale our network to easily and efficiently manage the accelerated growth we've seen over the last several years. They're one of the few providers that offers 100Gbps internet ports, which are now a critical component of our network infrastructure,” he said.

Valve claimed the traffic levels on Steam’s servers are growing by 75% a year, and the system is averaging 450-500 petabytes (PB) of data worldwide per month – which works out at four to five exabytes (EB) a year. A standard game release on Steam can use 10-40GB of data per user download.

“While online gaming has been around for decades, developers and distributors are encountering new challenges as online games have become more popular and bandwidth-hungry,” said Level 3 chief marketing officer Anthony Christie.

“Level 3's network of 100Gbps internet ports enables companies like Valve to securely handle massive amounts of traffic and bandwidth-heavy downloads, while still providing millions of customers with the seamless gaming experience that has made Steam a leading platform.” 

Level 3 said its 100Gbps service met a number of wider enterprise needs, not only in terms of meeting user expectations around data usage, but also around converging legacy networks and applications onto a single IP backbone to reduce operational costs and guaranteeing faster, more reliable connectivity for datacentres.

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