Internet Fundamentals

Fundamental Terms Underpinning the Internet

04 What is an IX (Internet Exchange), and How Does It Achieve Low Latency and High-Speed Connectivity?
A Detailed Explanation of Its Role and Benefits

An IX (Internet Exchange) is a crucial infrastructure that can be likened to the internet's crossroads. By efficiently connecting networks, an IX optimizes data transfer routes and reduces communication delays. This allows end-users to enjoy a comfortable and stress-free online experience and communication providers to reduce operational costs by avoiding transit expenses.

This article aims to explain how an IX functions and supports our digital life in a way that's easy for beginners to understand.

We will start with the basic mechanism of an IX and then delve into its main benefits, such as low latency, high-quality communication, and cost and operational efficiency.

What is an IX (Internet Exchange)?

The internet is a collection of countless networks interconnected with each other. To connect these networks, businesses, ISPs (Internet Service Providers)*1, and content providers must prepare equipment and lines for interconnection.
An IX, functioning as a hub for these interconnections, enables efficient connections with multiple parties at once, enhancing communication speed and stability.
Moreover, as the interconnection at an IX is primarily based on peering, which typically involves no connection fees, it offers the potential for reducing communication costs (transit fees).

*1 ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that provides internet connections.

Potential for Low Latency and High-Quality Communication

Using an IX can enable low-latency, high-quality communication compared to connections via transit. This is because organizations connected to an IX directly exchange traffic, shortening the communication routes and reducing delays. Low-latency communication is crucial for services requiring real-time responsiveness, such as online gaming and streaming services. High-quality communication allows companies to provide stable services to more customers, improving customer satisfaction. Enhanced security is another benefit due to the lack of unnecessary routing.

Cost Reduction and Efficient Operation

An IX enables different networks to interconnect and exchange traffic efficiently. Connections at an IX mainly use peering, which involves direct traffic exchange between ASes *2 on the internet. Since peering is usually free, organizations operating ASes can reduce line and transit costs.

Moreover, traffic exchange through an IX allows for efficient operation. As the IX serves as a hub, peering can be conducted efficiently. Direct peering without using an IX incurs costs and efforts for individual negotiations and establishing secure connections, but these are unnecessary when using an IX.

*2 AS (Autonomous System): A network managed by a single organization. The internet consists of numerous ASes interconnecting with each other.


IXes have evolved along with the development of the internet and have been supporting business growth by enabling efficient traffic exchange. JPNAP is one of Japan's leading IXes, known for its high quality and stability. We promise to continue actively incorporating new technologies while improving our service quality and stability.