One of the Most Important Internet Hubs in the World Is in Manhattan

Getting data that's generating these words from Gizmodo's servers to your computer, requires a vast global array of networks. And, at one point along its journey, the data will likely pass through the Ethernet switches at 60 Hudson Street, one of the most densly-packed network hubs on the Internet.

60 Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan provides colocation services and low-latency interconnectivity to over 100 carriers—companies that own the physical equipment that makes up the Internet—including financial exchange and application providers, content and cloud providers, and multiple private enterprises. Interconnectivity is the act of physically linking network equipment with those owned by another company or a customer—be it AT&T linking to Verizon or a Pac Bell customer attaching an answering machine to his landline.

On a side note, you can thank Hush-A-Phone vs. United States for legalizing interconnectivity, one of the fundamental conceptual building blocks of the Internet as we know it.

Back on the 9th floor of 60 Hudson, a 15,000 square foot facility known as the Meet-Me-Room is the convergence point of multiple layers of local, national and global fiber optic cables. This is where each carrier's server, storage, and networking equipment resides as well as arrays of optical, coaxial or copper terminations which allows the carrier's "colocation units" to connect to other networks through a series of connection panels. This physical hub of the Internet, essentially a gigantic Ethernet switch, is powered by a 10,000 Amp DC power plant.

It is not the only such hub in existence, mind you. Within most every densely-populated, industrialized city center around the world you'll find similar installations. 60 Hudson has long been a major communications hub. Upon its completion in 1930, the building became the headquarters of Western Union, and remained so until 1976. And during that time, the building's facilities grew and adapted with the the pace of technology—first with pneumatic tubes, the telegraph cable (at one point housing 70 million feet of copper wire), then telephone, and now fiber optic.

Ben Mendelsohn explores this subject in Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors:

[PRN Newswire - Carrier Hotels - Business Wire - ZColo - Wikipedia - Brain Pickings - The Atlantic - Image: asharkyu / ShutterStock]

Monster Machines is all about the most exceptional machines in the world, from massive gadgets of destruction to tiny machines of precision, and everything in between.


You can keep up with Andrew Tarantola, the author of this post, on Twitter or Google+.