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Re: Internet Exchange Questions

  • From: Lane Patterson
  • Date: Wed Mar 20 01:06:27 2002

On Tue, Mar 19, 2002 at 08:53:23AM -0800, Jon Bennett <[email protected]> wrote:

> Is there a need for additional IXs or are there too
> many today and some should be consolidated or shut
> down altogether? If there is a need for new IXs, where
> do you put them? Who decides where to build a new IX
> and how do you get service providers to show up there
> once it is built?
> Thanks.

There are many types of IXes built around many different needs, 
just as there are with ISPs.  

Large IXes:  

Tend to have a number of Tier1/2/3 ISPs participating
in a wide range of peering capacity (from 10meg to GigE/OC48), 
via either switch fabric (like LINX), or via mix of switch-aggregated 
and private peering.  Where are these located?  Generally in areas 
of high traffic pass-through due to continental or inter-continental 
fiber routing or teledensity:  

Silicon Valley, Washington DC, Chicago, NYC Metro, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo

Drivers for these large IXes tend to follow the need of Tier1/2 networks
to have multiple locations to peer so traffic engineering can be
regionalized with robust alternate paths.

For U.S. continental footprint, I would say the following
list is important for good regional granularity:  Silicon Valley,
Wash D.C. Metro, NYC Metro, Dallas, Chicago, LA, and secondary:
Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Denver.

For Europe, I believe you are seeing similar emergence of additional 
large IXes in other key cities, reducing the dependence on London 
and Amsterdam.

Historical IXes:

Peering locations that had high historical value, but are no longer
as significant as requirements and technology changed.

Local IXes:

Many of these are so local-to-local entities can peer without going
across more expensive regional or out-of-country links.  Common
participants may be local dial providers, local small web hosters,
universities, local business and govt institutions.  For many of
these players, a T1 or E1 or 10-meg port may be considered a large
investment, especially if hauled half way across a country with
low teledensity.  These exchanges may be critical to the Internet
economics of these locations.

Transit IXes:

These are often local IXes, where a larger ISP has also setup shop
to offer transit for non-local traffic.


Lane Patterson
Research Engineer
Equinix, Inc.

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