The rapidly growing virtual world Second Life has beefed up its bandwidth, selecting Level 3 to provide a high-speed 10 Gigabit per second connection between Second Life's data centers in San Francisco and Dallas. The two 10-Gig Ethernet ports will allow for faster transfer of game data and may help smooth periodic performance problems for the rapidly growing 3D world from Linden Labs.
"During the past 15 months, Second Life's population has expanded from 100,000 to more than five million registered users worldwide," said Joe Miller, vice president, Platform and Technology Development for Linden Lab. "Level 3's tier 1 infrastructure and 10 gigabit capacity will help us to enable Second Life's 'Residents' to experience fast, reliable access, and allow us to increase bandwidth as our needs and user growth dictate."
Second Life's deal with Level 3 is the latest indicator of how the surge in online video and 3-D gaming is boosting demand for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, high-capacity pipes that enable providers to move enormous volumes of traffic.
Second Life has quickly become one of the best-known virtual worlds, trailing only World of Warcraft in public awareness beyond the MMORPG user community. But the service has had scalability challenges due to attacks by in-game griefers. Second Life "residents create and build the world, which includes homes, vehicles, nightclubs, stores, landscapes, clothing, games and sometimes malware. But its primary challenge has been the growth of its user base.
"Second Life is an innovative concept that continues to gain significant acceptance by consumers around the globe," said Brady Rafuse, president of Level 3's Content Markets Group. "We are looking forward to supporting Second Life and its 'Residents' with our highly scalable network, designed specifically for bandwidth-intensive applications."
Level 3 has one of the world's largest IP backbones, with Internet connectivity in 175 markets in addition to a comprehensive suite of network services. Last year Level 3 helped YouTube expand its connectivity with 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.