The needs and potential uses of the internet continue to shift among businesses in Minnesota and around the country. In response, the internet itself is changing, with more opportunities for connection, agility and security. At Vaultas, we’re always working to stay at the forefront of trends, determining whether they’re just that – trends – or whether they represent ongoing and long-term changes in how Minnesota companies are doing business online. Internet exchange points and peering are two such developments.
So what are internet exchange points, or IXPs? Here’s a brief definition, courtesy of Techopedia:
“An internet exchange point (IXP) is a physical network access point through which major network providers connect their networks and exchange traffic. The primary focus of an exchange point is to facilitate network interconnection through an exchange access point instead of third-party networks.”
While IXPs allow network operators to exchange traffic, they are not internet service providers and cannot, on their own, connect a user to the internet. Instead, they function as a sort of “building block” of the internet. In more relative terms, an IXP is usually an Ethernet switch to which networks connect one or more routers, thereby sending traffic across the switch to other networks.
So who connects to IXPs? Generally, internet service providers (ISPs) connect in order to allow their customers to communicate. In addition, content providers or advertisers may connect to IXPs in order to spread their content to customers of other ISPs.
Peering is an essential aspect of IXPs. But what is peering? DrPeering defines it as:
“Internet Peering is a local routing optimization, a way to exchange some of your traffic with neither party incurring Internet Transit fees.”
So while IXPs are the point at which ISPs connect and share information, peering is the process by which that sharing occurs. Peering allows networks to connect and exchange traffic without having to pay a third party to move the traffic across the internet. Peering is often less expensive than similar information sharing processes, and it gives network operators greater control over traffic flows.
Vaultas offers a wide variety of network connection options, and because we’re carrier– and vendor-neutral, we’ll work to find the best hybrid IT solution for you and your business. To learn more or get started, contact us today.