What is an Internet exchange point?
An Internet exchange point (IXP) is a physical location through which Internet infrastructure companies such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and CDNs, Contents service providers, cloud and SaaS providers connect to exchange Internet traffic.
What services do internet exchange points offer?
By exchanging the traffic information and route information directly makes low latency and highly stable communication among the customers in IX network. it is easier and faster for public peering by using Route Server in IX network.
Multi-lateral peering is peering negotiated and established between potentially many parties via a shared route server.
How does an internet exchange point work?
IXPs are large Layer 2 LANs that are built with one or many Ethernet switches interconnected together across one or more physical buildings. An IXP is no different in basic concept to a home network, with the only real difference being scale. IXPs can range from 100s of Megabits/second to many Terabits/second of exchanged traffic. Independent of size, their primary goal is to make sure that many networks’ routers are connected together cleanly and efficiently. In comparison, at home someone would normally only have one router and many computers or mobile devices.
Nowdays, there has been a major expansion in network interconnections, running parallel to the enormous expansion of the global Internet. This expansion includes new data center facilities being developed to house network equipment. Some of those data centers have attracted massive numbers of networks, in no small part due to the thriving Internet exchange points that operate within them.
Peering is a relationship between Internet service providers (ISPs,CDNs etc.) in which they share a direct network instead of routing traffic through the Internet. Peering is either done directly between the ISPs or through a centralized peering exchange/Route Feed service . Peering allows for very fast traffic at low cost because the ISPs connect directly to each other, which means that network service providers (NSPs) do not need to be paid for providing access to the Internet backbone. This technique is commonly used by small and medium-sized ISPs across the globe.
Transit is a service that is only provided by high layer providers, it uses a pay-as-you-go model. It is difficult to exchange all routes by peering alone, so by using Transit, it makes us able to reach all entire routes on Internet.
Who uses internet exchange points?
- An internet exchange point (IXP) is in demand by companies which have their own network (Autonomous System: AS) and want to interconnect other networks with efficiency.
- Such a company is generally one of the following: ISP (including mobile operators), CDN, CSP, CATV
- An IXP is beneficial to both the content provider and the content receiver. The content provider, such as CDN, can efficiently interconnect many ISPs to send the content to end-users. The content receiver, such as ISP, can receive traffic within a shorter distances and peer with other networks.
What problems do internet exchange providers solve?
It solves many problems like follows:
- Time and effort of negotiation for peering or transit with many companies.
- Costs for dedicated network
- Transit costs
- Network latency (lag)
Time and effort
To do peering or transit, you need to negotiate with the other company.
If the company you want to connect to is connected to the same IXP, it's much smoother than negotiating separately. IX provider provides their own peering event in order to communicate each other among end users.
Costs for dedicated network
When peering with many companies, each peering requires a dedicated line or equipment. With IXP, it acts as a hub, requiring only the connection to IXP. Both CPAEX and OPEX can be suppressed.
Also, when there are physical restrictions, for example, when the other party is far away, peering is possible via IXP.
Typically, ISPs communicate by connecting to larger (higher-level) ISPs with more routing information to allow them to communicate with networks around the world. This is called transit and is paid. Also, it is usually charged on a pay-as-you-go basis according to the bandwidth used. For this reason, when there is a lot of communication with a specific company, it is cheaper to connect with that company by free peering rather than via transit every time. IXP makes this possible.
What type of companies need an IXP?
- Companies that handle large amounts of traffic and want to connect with many networks (AS) need IX.
- Companies that want to operate globally also need IXP to effectively reach overseas customers.
- Such a company is generally one of the following: ISP (including mobile operators), CDN, CSP, CATV, Cloud providers
- At its core, a CDN is a network of servers linked together with the goal of delivering content as quickly, cheaply, reliably, and securely as possible. In order to improve speed and connectivity, a CDN will place servers at the exchange points between different networks.
- IXP enables CDNs to deliver content through optimized routes and improving end-user experience. They will be able to provide the contents to overseas end-users with low latency.
- A cloud service provider, or CSP, is a company that offers components of cloud computing - typically, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS).
- IXP enables cloud service providers to deliver services through optimized routes and improve the customer experience. They will be able to provide comfortable service with less delay to overseas customers.
Differences between public and private peering
- There are two types of peering. ‘Public peering’ is used to connect via IXP. ‘Private peering’ is a direct, one-to-one connection, mainly via leased lines, but can also be provided on IXP using VLANs.
- IXP is basically a public peering service, but it also provides private peering virtually by using VLANs. In this case, it is not necessary to connect directly to the company you want to peer with.
- Public peering is provided by interconnecting via IXP switches. If an agreement is reached between the companies, peering can be started quickly without any preparation such as drawing a dedicated line.
- The more peers you have, the more effort and cost to connect. These include dedicated lines, the purchase of expensive routers, and their operation, maintenance, and management. Public peering is more efficient because you can peer as soon as you connect to the IX if the other party agrees.
- Private peering is a direct, one-to-one connection, such as via a dedicated line.
- It is necessary to prepare a line and equipment for each company to be connected, but it is reasonable when there is a lot of traffic with a specific company.
- IXP is primarily a public peering service, but it also provides private peering virtually, using VLANs. In this case, it is not necessary to connect directly to the company you ant to peer with, just connect to IXP.