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Why do Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) play a crucial role in the infrastructure of the Internet?

Aug 7th, 2019 By Savvas Bout

Why do Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) play a crucial role in the infrastructure of the Internet?

Over the years, the Internet has become much sophisticated in its shape and functionalities. Internet works through sharing of interconnected network resources. The most common methods for the process are IP transit and Peering. IP Transit is usually used to connect smaller networks to the public Internet by providing paid global network access. Peering uses dedicated communication channels for sharing the data between peer networks and is often available for free, or at lower cost.

What makes peering a popular choice over IP transit?

A direct answer would be the cost advantage.
Since IP transit relies on an upstream provider to reach the destination, they need to pay an amount to them based on the volume of data. Peering happens between equal-sized partners with almost identical data transfer requirements. As it is a mutually beneficial deal, the data exchange between peers can be free. Most peering based solutions only use a per port flat-fee model, rather than a volume of data based model.
It’s not just cost, but other factors such as speed, better control and optimized routes are other elements that make peering a preferred solution for most network admins.

IXPs and its role in building a cost-effective network solution

The two common types of peering are: Private peering and Public Peering. Private peering is achieved through establishing a direct one to one connection between two peers within a colocation facility or data center. Private peering isn’t always a good fit for network operators as it requires a dedicated connection between two networks, usually installed at a single site.
Even though Private Peering is a great option for heavy data transfer, the costs of cabling, overhead in port density and location dependencies act as a deterrent for small companies to adopt it as a viable peering option.
Public Peering uses Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) to make establish direct peering sessions between networks. Usually provided by one or multiple access switches inside a data centers, and sometimes aggregated over multiple locations. Public peering is gaining more traction than IP transit and private peering due to its operational efficiency and cost advantages. Some of the benefits of public peering include:
Continuous Availability:
Internet Exchange Points are located in data centers and are usually at prestige geographic locations where high concentrations of Internet traffic originate from. Larger Internet Exchange Points carry best-in-class hardware for their platform, use redundant connections and often offer access to use of multiple route servers for increased redundancy.
It is highly dynamic:
A private peer is a direct connection between two specific networks. Getting access to multiple networks forces you to use multiple physical connections. Depending on what network you are trying to reach, this sometimes involves connecting at multiple locations. A failure on any of those lines could potentially have great impact if proper redundancy isn’t available. On the other hand, an IXP that offers public peering gives you the ability to peer with multiple parties over one or multiple connections. There is increased redundancy provided by the IXP and you directly reach multiple different networks over the same LAN.
Better Resource Optimization:
An IXP allows you to maximize your resource optimization by eliminating the need for high port density, presences at multiple locations and high interconnect charges.
Port Redundancy:
Redundancy becomes very important as an IXP presents a centralized platform to exchange routes with many networks. Getting additional ports on a different part of the local infrastructure, or even at a different location, helps a network operator implement redundancy in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Better Control and Authority:
Establishing direct sessions with the different networks gives you more control over the way data is sent outside of your network. When working with IP transit you are limited to what the provider is offering you, which in most cases only offers limited options to improve or change things on. Public Peering offers freedom to distribute traffic directly to the closest path towards its destination, and potentially use IP transit as a backup.
Scalability:
An IXP can provide multiple ports of varying capacities. It enables the user to scale capacity if and when needed.
Cost-Efficient:
Typically, public peering charges per port rather than the volume of data transferred. These port fees are often considerably cheaper than traditional IP transit services and it helps the user to keep the expenses under control.
Great user Experience:
A proper IXP will give you great freedom, a lot of flexibility and sometimes useful utilities to help optimize your network’s user experience on the platform. Detailed consumption data, member info and flexible contracts often take part in that.

LSIX advantages

LSIX privileges customers from all walks of industry to enjoy the fruits of public peering through tailor-made and cost-effective public peering solutions. Yes, we are just another peering platform, but our concept is by network operators, for network operators. We provide our members access to prestige peers and routes that are often not available in the major metropolitan areas. We provide access to our platform where other Internet Exchange Points won’t go, with currently points of presences spread all over The Netherlands. Our infrastructure is top-notch and 100G ready. Are you ready to try us out? Get your free 10G port today https://lsix.net/join-lsix

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