Internet Exchange - AMS-IX, NL-ix,...
An Internet Exchange (IX) is a physical infrastructure that enables entities (autonomous systems) to exchange Internet traffic between their networks by means of mutual peering agreements, which generally allow traffic to be exchanged without cost.
Peering on an Internet Exchange can improve network performance (shorter paths), improve reliability (multiple paths to destinations) and reduce cost.
An Internet Exchange connection starts at 100 Euro per month for 100 Mbit/s on the NL-ix Internet Exchange and goes up to 1.500 Euro per month for 10 Gbit/s on the AMS-IX Internet Exchange. Open Peering is reseller of both, and can provide IX ports as part of a turn-key solution.
Nowadays an Internet Exchange is generally based on ethernet technology, and provides each member with a switch port into a shared ethernet VLAN. All IX members connect their BGP4 router on that port and have direct zero-hop ethernet connectivity to all other members, which enables them to set up peering sessions and exchange traffic.
No traffic exchange without peering agreement
Once connected, members can technically reach each other. But before actual BGP peering sessions can be configured and mutual traffic can be exchanged, parties will first have to negotiate a peering agreement on a bilateral (one-on-one) basis which each party they want to peer with.
Public versus private peering
Peering with an other party can be done over a dedicated point-to-point network cable between between the BGP4 routers of each party. This is called private peering (sometimes also called private interconnect in analogy to peering of telephone networks). Alternatively it can be done over the public infrastructure of an Internet Exchange. Then it is called Public peering.
Why is private peering with many parties not efficient?
Doing private peering with a substantial amount of other parties soon runs into a scalability problem: for peering with 'n' parties, each party would need 'n' cables to connect to each other party, giving in total 'n*n' cables.
With for example 150 parties this would mean 150*150=22.500 cables. This would drive the total interconnect infrastructure costs up very high. Especially if the parties are not all located in the same datacenter, but spread over multiple datacenters, long distance network cable costs become very high.
Private peering can still be efficient, if a substantially large part of your traffic is exchanged with a small amount of parties. If the absolute traffic level to a specific party is high enough and interconnect costs are low (for example when you are in the same datacenter), then private peering can still be very useful.
Why is public peering on an Internet Exchange efficient?
On an Internet Exchange, each party basically needs only one port (to the Internet Exchange), giving in total 'n' local (in-datacenter) cables for all parties. The Internet Exchange takes care of carrying traffic between parties on different datacenters and does this much more efficiently because of scale advantages. This renders the actual physical location of each member and the distance between them practically irrelevant.
With the concentration of many peers on on single port, this model has considerably less scalability issues and member interconnect infrastructure costs. And even if individual peers represent only a (very) small amount of your traffic, public peering is still useful if at least the total traffic volume handled over the Internet Exchange via peering is substantial enough.
Advantages of peering on an Internet Exchange
Peering on an Internet Exchange has several obvious advantages:
Limitations of peering on an Internet Exchange
Despite the advantages of peering on an Internet Exchange, realistically there are also some limitations on peering that need to be taken into account to prevent disappointments:
Which main Internet Exchanges exist in Holland?
Which Internet Exchange to connect to?
Basically the worth of an Internet Exchange connection is determined by these basic factors:
So you would normally select a large Internet Exchange in terms of membercount, traffic volume and amount of routes, while taking into account that you are mainly looking for peers that represent a substantial volume of your traffic (region), and with whom you can realistically expect to reach a peering agreement.
Is connecting to multiple Internet Exchanges useful?
Connecting to multiple Internet Exchange is useful for redundancy reasons, and because different exchanges have a memberlist that does not 100% overlap, giving you better coverage.
Top-10 Internet Exchanges in the world by #members
* This data is per 2011
Largest Exchanges in the world by traffic volume
Al list of the top-41 largest Internet Exchanges in the world by traffic volume (only IX's larger than 1 Gbit/s of traffic) can be found on the Wikipedia page.
Documentation on Internet Exchanges
For more details about Internet Exchanges, please have a look at Wikipedia.
Exchange access can be delivered by Open Peering
Open Peering is both NL-ix and AMS-IX reseller and can provide connections to both exchanges, with full IX membership.
NL-ix can provide ports on these datacenters.
Pricing for 10 Gbit/s NL-ix peering ports is based on delivery on the euNetworks, GlobalSwitch, Nikhef, SARA, Telecity1, Telecity2, Telecity3 (Redbus) datacenters. On other datacenters custom pricing for 10 Gbit/s applies.
AMS-IX can provide ports on the GlobalSwitch, Nikhef, SARA and Telecity2 datacenters in Amsterdam.
Open Peering can extend AMS-IX connections to all of these datacenters. The costs for extention are datacenter-specific.
Does not include patchcable
The demarcation point of the service is the port on the NL-ix or AMS-IX switch on the datacenter. After an order is placed with Open Peering, in the order confirmation a NL-ix port or AMS-IX ID will be assigned. With that port ID the customer can order the patchcable from its equipment to the NL-ix or AMS-IX port with the datacenter directly.