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The NAP of the Northwest

Flexential Portland - Hillsboro 2 data center is U.S. landing station for critical APAC subsea cables

07 / 5 / 2023
3 minute read
Nap Northwest

Emerging technologies in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) are driving global data traffic toward an estimated mind-boggling 4.8 zettabytes (ZB) per year. And Asia appears to be driving the market. With an estimated 26% of companies in Asia working on IoT-based projects, compared to 23% in North America, U.S. access to burgeoning Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets has never been more critical for American companies, many of whom are flocking to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of the U.S. for transpacific interconnectivity.

Washington and Oregon have long shared status as a hub for critical APAC interconnectivity via the region’s unrivaled ecosystem of subsea cables. However, ongoing concerns in Washington state about the environmental impact of submarine cables on the state’s marine life – and the risk of cable damage by local fishers – are helping to make greater Portland data centers a more attractive option.

Leading the way among Portland data centers is the Flexential Portland - Hillsboro 2 Tier 3 data center, the U.S. cable landing station for two of the newest and most robust subsea cables connecting Asia and the U.S:

  1. The Portland - Hillsboro 2 data center houses the U.S. cable landing station for the New Cross Pacific (NCP) subsea cable, which provides the largest and fastest connectivity to mainland China. The NCP delivers up to 80 terabits per second (Tbps) of capacity to significantly reduce latency between the U.S. and the high-growth Asian markets of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China.
  2. The Hawaiki submarine cable also terminates in the Portland - Hillsboro 2 data center, carrying up to 43 Tbps to deliver the first carrier-neutral, low-latency connection between the continental U.S. and Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand.

These two subsea cable systems are supported by a fiber ring in Hillsboro that connects to most data centers in the metro area. Flexential has terminated many of the fiber pairs in the local data centers to build a robust ecosystem of connectivity that’s currently only available in Ashburn, Virginia. And with the terrestrial fiber that leads into Seattle and down to San Jose where several new builds are underway, interconnectivity is growing exponentially.

Flexential Portland - Hillsboro 2 Data Center: The NAP of the Northwest Reminiscent of the trajectory that led Miami to become the “NAP (Network Access Point) of the Americas,” i.e., the pathway for data traffic from the Caribbean and South and Central America to more than 148 countries, the robust transpacific pipeline that terminates in the Flexential Portland - Hillsboro 2 Tier 3 data center is leading industry insiders to deem it the “NAP of the Northwest.”

“The NCP and Hawaiki subsea cables, both of which went live in 2018, have been a major catalyst for the internet infrastructure and economic development in Hillsboro by directly connecting Hillsboro with low-latency, high-capacity connectivity to seven countries on the continents of Australia and Asia,“ said Vinay Nagpal of Interglobix LLC, whose focus is on the convergence of data centers, terrestrial fiber, and sub-sea fiber. “This direct connectivity enables the content hosted in Hillsboro data centers to reach Asian and Australian users in the most direct and fastest way.”

As carriers, service providers, peering exchanges, and customers flock to the PNW for transpacific connectivity, the Flexential Portland - Hillsboro 2 Tier 3 data center is poised to become the “NAP of the Northwest,” a status that will only grow as more subsea cables seek a quality data center host site with excellent connectivity to flourishing APAC markets.

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