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What Is IX Peering, and How Can It Help Your Business?

IX Peering is a cost-effective solution for internet service providers to exchange data seamlessly. It forms a crucial foundation for the way data is overseen, transferred, and processed among internet service providers. In this blog post, we offer an introduction to IX peering, outline its primary advantages, and differentiate between its two primary forms: public and private peering.

IX peering is leveraged by ISPs, carriers, content providers, enterprises, and other internet infrastructure companies to enhance their network performance and efficiency. ISPs, carriers, content providers, enterprises, and various other entities within the internet infrastructure sector harness IX peering to amplify the performance and effectiveness of their networks. Over the last twenty years, there has been a major expansion in network interconnections, which includes new data centre facilities being developed to manage demand. Some of which have attracted massive numbers of networks, in no small part due to the thriving Internet exchange points that operate within them.

What is IX peering?
  • Internet Exchange (IX) Peering is the method through which two internet networks establish a connection, enabling users to directly exchange data. This process removes the need to enlist a third party to route their traffic over the Internet, resulting in a direct user-to-user connection. This distinguishes peering from the more common practice of transit, where an end user or network operator pays another operator to carry their traffic.
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other network operators form peering relationships to reduce their reliance on costly transit providers and enhance service quality for their customers. Through peering agreements with other networks, they can directly swap traffic with their peers, diminishing latency and enhancing network performance.
  • Peering can take place in various forms, such as physical peering, where two networks connect their routers at a common location (e.g. in a colocation facility via a cross connect), or virtual peering, where two networks connect their routers over the internet. IX Peering typically takes place at Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), where multiple networks interconnect to exchange traffic.
There are two main types of peering – public and private:
  • Public peering involves linking up via a communal network known as an Internet Exchange Point (IX or IXP). By connecting through an Internet Exchange (such as INEX, the Vienna Internet eXchange, or LINX), you can establish connections with numerous other peers using one or more physical links, thereby optimising the cost per peer when transmitting data to a variety of networks. Internet Exchanges often impose port and/or membership fees to sustain their infrastructure.
  • Private peering, on the other hand, occurs within a colocation facility where two entities interconnect via a cross connect, as opposed to utilising an exchange point switch. This approach becomes valuable when networks need to exchange a substantial volume of data that cannot be accommodated on a shared connection at an exchange point. The Digital Realty Internet Exchange, for instance, serves as a neutral, privately-owned facility for such purposes.
What are the benefits of IX peering?

IXs provide a rich ecosystem of platforms and services. Facilitating mutual peering to enrich IP architectures and provide lower latencies for eyeball traffic.

By peering, organisations aim to generate more revenue from whatever service they are providing. This can generate more revenue due to the following benefits:

  • Improved network performance
  • Greater reach
  • Scalability
  • Operational simplicity
  • Leveraging a community
  • Reduced costs
How does an internet exchange point work?

Internet exchange points facilitate the exchange of internet traffic between different networks and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). These physical locations act as central hubs where internet infrastructure companies such as CDNs and ISPs interconnect their networks, enabling efficient and cost-effective data exchange. In simple terms, instead of routing traffic through multiple internet service providers or international links, IXPs allow ISPs to exchange traffic directly, reducing latency and improving network performance. By connecting to an IXP, ISPs gain access to a diverse range of networks, promoting optimal routing and enhancing the overall internet experience for end-users. Additionally, IXPs play a crucial role in fostering network resilience, enhancing local and regional internet connectivity, and enabling the growth of digital ecosystems by facilitating the exchange of large volumes of data at high-speeds.

To hear more about how IX Peering can improve your network performance, why not contact us or download the Data Exchange solution brief.

IX Peering FAQ

What does an Internet Exchange do?
An Internet Exchange, often abbreviated as "IX," serves as a crucial infrastructure component in the functioning of the internet.

When organizations, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, and other large networks, connect to an Internet Exchange, they can establish peering agreements with one another. IX Peering allows them to exchange data packets and internet traffic more efficiently and at lower costs, as they don't have to pay transit fees to their upstream providers for delivering traffic to each other's networks.

What is Internet Exchange vs peering?
An Internet Exchange and peering are closely related concepts, but they represent different aspects of internet infrastructure.

Internet Exchange (IX): The primary function of an Internet Exchange is to facilitate the exchange of data packets between participating networks without the need for going through third-party network providers or paying transit fees. The goal is to enhance the efficiency of internet traffic exchange and improve the overall performance of the internet.

Peering: Peering is the act of interconnecting two or more networks at a mutual point to exchange internet traffic directly. Peering agreements are usually established between Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, and other large networks.

What is the largest Internet Exchange in the world?
As of September 2021, the largest Internet Exchange in the world is the DE-CIX (German Commercial Internet Exchange) in Frankfurt, Germany. DE-CIX is a major internet hub that facilitates the exchange of internet traffic between a vast number of networks, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, cloud service providers, and other organizations.

What is a peering IX?
A peering Internet Exchange (IX) is a specific type of Internet Exchange Point that focuses primarily on facilitating peering agreements between networks. Peering IXPs serve as dedicated platforms for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, and other networks to connect and directly exchange internet traffic with one another through peering arrangements.

What is IXP in networking?
In networking, IXP stands for "Internet Exchange Point." An Internet Exchange Point is a physical location where multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, and other networks can interconnect their networks to exchange internet traffic directly.

What is the function of the IXPs?
The primary function of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) is to facilitate the direct exchange of internet traffic between different networks, also known as Autonomous Systems (AS). Key functions of IXPs include:

  • Traffic Exchange
  • Peering Agreements
  • Redundancy and Resilience
  • Regional Connectivity
  • Internet Performance Optimization
  • Internet Growth and Scalability