Coronavirus: which measures have been taken by Belnet?

Davina Luyten

Communications Officer @ Belnet
Fri, 03/13/2020 - 15:16

Belnet has implemented a plan in response to the outbreak of the corona virus in our country. In this way we wish to guarantee the continuity of our service and protect our employees.

Business continuity management (BCM) is among the key tasks in our ITSM unit. Our BCM plans ensure that Belnet can continue its operations in the event of crisis situations. Due the outbreak of the corona virus, we have made specific analyses and taken appropriate measures.

Adapted incident management for critical customers

A number of the organisations connected to Belnet are playing a crucial role in monitoring and combatting the corona virus. The consequences of a disruption or failure in their connectivity could be significant. Belnet has therefore taken specific measures with regard to incident management for these critical customers.

This concerns FPS Public Health, Sciensano, Smals, FPS Internal Affairs, FPS Chancellery of the Prime Minister and 20 hospitals.

Specifically, this means that the incident manager at Belnet is to be informed immediately should an incident be reported at one of these organisations. Furthermore, we are increasing the priority of the incident standard by one level, so that extra resources will be deployed immediately.

Change freeze

We are currently also putting all changes planned to the entire Belnet network on hold. Only extremely essential and urgent changes to the network shall be carried out. The “freeze” will remain in force for as long as Belnet considers appropriate.

Sufficient stock of network equipment

We have also analysed the potential impact on the delivery of our network equipment given that most of the components are produced in China.

At the moment Belnet has no critical orders outstanding. We have our own stock of network equipment and can also call on our suppliers (in Belgium) to cover a longer period. They are keeping us regularly informed of the evolution of their stock and the availability of their employees.

We are also considering with our suppliers how to get material to Belnet in the event of a complete lockdown causing their site to end up in a “red zone”.

Capacity of the Belnet network and the BNIX platform

Even before the strict measures of the government came into effect, Belnet has prepared for the massive switch from our affiliated institutions to home work and digital education.

Since the measures came into effect, Belnet has seen a strong influence on the data traffic over the Belnet network (decrease) and the Belgian Internet Exchange BNIX (strong increase). Our network architects have seen a large change in the direction of the data flows.

For example, digital lessons generate more streaming from the universities and colleges of higher education to the Belgian commercial internet providers, who provide the students with internet at home.

Due to the increase in traffic between employees who work from home and the connected institutions, Belnet also sees more traffic between Belnet and the Belgian commercial ISPs. This traffic passes through the BNIX platform, the Belgian Internet Exchange which is also managed by Belnet. BNIX has already seen record peaks up to 400 Gbit/s in recent days.

Belnet has verified the capacity on the BNIX platform in advance and after analysis it appears that the platform can handle a large increase in traffic without difficulty.

Belnet offices are closed, our colleagues work from home

Belnet has developed an adapted HR plan in order to guarantee the health and safety of its employees. We ask them to respect the government’s guidelines (washing hands regularly, staying at home if you are ill, etc.).

Our colleagues are all working from home. Meetings are held by conference / videocall if possible. These measures have no impact on our services.

We remain alert and are closely monitoring government reports and guidelines.

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