Atomic Access, a Cape-based ISP, has announced a significant achievement in its open networking strategy by delivering content with remarkably low latency. The company now consistently routes content from the NAPAfrica and CINX internet exchange points to fibre networks in as little as 300 nanoseconds, thanks to their use of fully open-source software.
Joe Botha, co-founder and CTO of Atomic, expressed his satisfaction with the results, stating, “We see 50% less latency for packets crossing the Cape Town peering points with 80% less jitter. I think we’ve proven that it is indeed possible to route at 100 Gbps speeds with just Linux.”
With its foundation in 2018, Atomic has always been committed to an open networking strategy, emphasizing the importance of open source, open standards, and open peering. The company has become a leading ISP in the trend towards open networking.
Joe elaborated on the technical aspects of their operations, explaining, “We compile our own Linux kernels for NVIDIA Spectrum routers, running Debian 12 and 100% open-source routing software. Add a fully dual-stack network and IPv6 services on all our fibre networks, and you’ve got a top-rated ISP delivering what it promises to gamers and techies who demand more.”
Atomic highlights the advantages of its hardware routing approach, which employs ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) for faster performance compared to software routing using general CPUs. ASIC routing not only offers significantly lower latency but also provides more consistent performance.
Joe reflected on the progress made in high-speed networking, stating, “Not so long ago, you could not dream of running 100Gbps routers with fully open-source software, but we now have an open network that can scale to billions of packets per second.”
By embracing open networking, Atomic Access enables hardware speed routing with a familiar management interface while avoiding vendor lock-in and reducing costs. The company’s business and home customers now benefit from ASIC speeds, consistently low latency, and ample capacity.
Joe emphasized the importance of maintaining efficient network structures, stating, “Modern ISP networks need to provide a very thin and efficient layer between the content networks and the customer. This involves very high-speed routing, and ideally, packets should only pass through a single router on the ISP network.”
Through Linux-based open networking, Atomic achieves peering and customer termination using the same hardware, minimizing barriers between clients and their content. In contrast, customers relying on multi-layered networks with software routing often experience higher and more variable latencies.
Joe highlighted the advantages of their independent network, explaining, “Our non-outsourced network provides stability, less downtime, and no surprises for both ISP and customer. It also means Atomic has ownership of all parts and the improved visibility that comes from being able to see under the hood, so to speak, while also not being at the mercy of a single vendor.” The company strives for a techie-run ISP with 99.999% uptime, making vendor lock-in unacceptable.
Joe expressed his satisfaction with achieving content delivery within a mere 300 nanoseconds, attributing it to their dedication to building a truly open network that caters to the needs of demanding customers such as gamers and tech enthusiasts. He concluded, “Achieving content delivery within 300ns is the reward after building a truly open network with an astonishing level of attention to detail that only gamers, uber nerds, and the most technically demanding customers can appreciate while we all reap the high-speed and low latency benefits.”
Atomic Access is an independent, highly regarded, medium-sized ISP that operates a fibre-only, founder-run, and 100% open network, catering to the needs of technology enthusiasts.