Peering into the future
There are more than 400 Internet Exchanges (IXPs) around the world and, thanks to peering, interconnections between networks couldn’t be easier. Peering has typically had a cost benefit for many networks, but this isn’t the only reason network operators have a desire to peer.
When implemented appropriately, peering can greatly reduce latency, improve traffic optimisation and end user experience, as well as increasing scalability and redundancy. It can especially help smaller networks expand both domestically and internationally, and propel them onto the global market.
Famous for its ‘on a handshake’ agreements, peering encapsulates the sense of community that the Internet has been built on. However, those relationships can quickly break down when peering ratios and bandwidth share are scrutinised, and an imbalance is recognised. Networks currently peering, or considering it, should be prepared for a few disruptions on the way to the ‘perfect community’.
…Tier 1 networks will typically only peer with other Tier 1s…
In an attempt to balance the traffic being exchanged, and preserve their Transit business, Tier 1 networks will typically only peer with other Tier 1s, sometimes peering with smaller Tiers for strategic advantages. If they perceive there to be an imbalance, then, as history has shown, they often apply pressure on smaller networks, insist on some paid peering to redress the balance, and when communications breakdown, de-peering can occur. This can potentially lead to significant financial losses for networks and disruption to end-users.
To avoid such scenarios, it is highly advisable not to rely fully on one Transit provider and to plan for both technical and non-technical issues related with peering. Include a mixture of both private and public peerings, peer directly with important ASNs, overbuild peering to allow for failover. Multi-home to avoid a single point of failure, be prepared to pay for your important traffic, and use agreements with monopoly providers that include flexibility on traffic levels.
…Peering can have great benefits for a network…
Planned carefully, peering can have great benefits for a network and aid commercial growth. A recent example is the successful expansion of Redder, an Italian ISP who remotely connected from Milan to multiple globally located IXPs, via IX Reach’s high-speed and robust infrastructure. Among others, the network connected to three DE-CIX locations: DE-CIX Frankfurt, DE-CIX NYC, and UAE-IX in Dubai – becoming DE-CIX’s first customer to peer remotely at all three of their major global Internet Exchanges.
The addition of these Exchanges has allowed Redder to increase its direct and low-latency data transport with European, US and Arab peer networks within local marketplaces, enabling their customers to enjoy a faster and more reliable service.
Ruth Plater, Head of Sales and Marketing at IX Reach, commented, “We’re thrilled to have been able to assist Redder grow their network and their peering from a single location. Remote peering is an excellent solution for networks such as Redder requiring quick expansion – it enables near-instant network growth at one or more IXPs, without the hassle of deploying extra infrastructure.”
Peering continues to rapidly grow and as more IXPs emerge in new markets, and networks become smarter in how they integrate peering into their network mix, many smaller networks are now using peering as a stepping stone to their own rapid growth and finally finding their feet in global markets.
Head of Sales & Marketing
IX Reach Ltd