DuPont Fabros Technology
February 08, 2017

This week, the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) - a professional association for
Internet engineering, architecture and operations professionals – will be descending on Washington, D.C. for NANOG 69. This event will bring individuals from some of the top IT and wireless communication companies together in the nation’s capital to discuss the latest advances in network technologies and the Internet.

NANOG 69 is sponsored by the London Internet Exchange (LINX), a global Internet Exchange Point (IXP) provider. The company’s Northern Virginia IXP, LINX Northern Virginia (NoVA), will also be holding its annual member meeting immediately following the conference.

Vinay Nagpal, DFT’s vice president of product management, will be providing an update at the LINX NoVA meeting on the DFT-LINX relationship. Nagpal will be discussing the intersection of wholesale data centers and internet exchanges. DFT has data centers in Virginia and data centers in Illinois which host IXPs, including the LINX NoVA IXP in the Ashburn data center.

With NANOG and the LINX NoVA meeting happening this week, let’s take a closer look at IXPs, their benefits and what attendees can expect at this year’s events.

What is an IXP?

An Internet exchange point (or IXP) is the physical infrastructure in which multiple networks are connected and exchange information. These intersections can be between Internet service providers (ISPs), content delivery networks (CDNs), content providers, eye-ball networks or any other networks, and they function to facilitate the free flow of data from network to network.

There is an informational video describing the role and purpose of IXPs, which you can watch here:

Traditionally, traffic between networks in the United States has passed through IXPs that were owned and operated either by data center companies or by telecommunications providers such as Verizon. These for-profit companies would have a cost model that would include fees structure for data to travel through their IXPs, including port fees and cross connect fees.

But, a different model developed and grew in Europe, where not-for-profit, data center-agnostic organizations began implementing internet exchanges. These IXPs were spread across multiple data centers in a particular metro region and didn’t necessarily have the same fees structure for data traveling across them. This model picked up steam and began to migrate from Europe to the U.S. and to other parts of the world.

IXPs are only as good as the quality and quantity of the networks and organizations that are members of them. This means that an IXP can take time to establish and build momentum as the exchange adds members and connections. However, with time, multiple not-for-profit IXPs – including LINX NoVA – have become established in this country. In fact, LINX now boasts 740 members connecting from over 71 different countries worldwide.

What are the benefits of having an IXP in my data center?

The proliferation and expansion of not-for-profit IXPs meant the establishment of IXPs in third-party data centers across the country. Some of these data centers are owned by wholesale data center providers – such as the DFT data centers that house IXPs.

Benefits of having an IXP in your data center:

  • Improved network performance
  • Decreased network latency
  • Eliminates the need to bring traffic outside of the data center to connect to an internet exchange

Data centers without in-house IXPs require their network data be backhauled over dark fiber to an exchange located in a separate facility. That can be a time consuming, costly, and can have a degraded impact on the network performance.

For additional information and to register for NANOG 69, click HERE. For additional information about LINX NoVA and membership, click HERE.