How Does internet Exchange Work
It can be argued that without the affordability of access to an internet exchange and its resultant interconnection, businesses cannot hope to make the most of digital transformation. While we’ve briefly discussed how an Internet exchange point (IXP) works in past blogs, let’s take it a step further and get deeper into how it works as it applies to serving your business in the digital age.
In the bigger picture, internet exchange point locations are where Internet infrastructure companies such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and CDNs connect with each other. These network edge locations enable providers to share transit outside their own network. Individual companies that join an IXP benefit by having a shorter path to their internet destinations in the form of other networks, which reduces latency, round-trip travel time and overall costs. That explains what they do, but how do they work?
Closer inspection shows that internet exchange points are made up of large Layer 2 LANs built with ethernet switches interconnected across one or more data centers. Member companies share the cost of physical infrastructure maintenance and benefit by being able to connect with each other and avoid the costs of sending traffic across third-party networks that charge for the transport.
While an internet exchange point can have peak traffic exchanges from 10 Gbps into the Terabits per second range, their size is not as important as their stated goal of ensuring that their network routers are able to connect efficiently and seamlessly. Independent of size, their primary goal is to make sure that many networks’ routers are connected together cleanly and efficiently. The main purpose of this connection is to avoid the prohibitive costs associated with connecting to all of the different ISPs across the country or the globe.
The shared transit between members can occur in a number of ways with some IXPs offering cost free data transfers between member companies. This is known as settlement-free peering. In some peering exchanges, large networks may charge transit costs to smaller network members, but the ideal method is that all members pay the same and share the cost.
Public Peering can include large numbers of members and enable connection across numerous networks. Private peering is between two networks with routers in the same carrier-neutral data center. Partial or regional peering limits network traffic exchange in a single are of the globe. At Telehouse, we’ve founded two internet exchange locations that are settlement-free (peering) where neither party pays the other for the exchange of traffic. Both NYIIX and LAIIX were established to provide infrastructure that is carrier neutral while providing scalability for its members that delivers reliable and stable network interconnectivity.
According to the PeeringDB database, there are currently more than 400 internet exchange points around the globe.. That number will continue to grow as bandwidth needs and data transfers increase exponentially in the age of digital transformation.
This will be vital to meeting the needs associated with providing advanced networking capabilities and resilient network interconnections. As internet exchange and peering continues to evolve, they will become even better at providing the scalability, performance, speed, control and cost savings that are vital to doing digital business in the digital age.