The IXP is a physical infrastructure which allows users to exchange local Internet traffic through mutual agreements known as "peering". The IXP users can improve the quality of their bandwidth and avoid data transfer additional costs. Therefore, an IXP is a major factor for the local Internet development: the users located in the same city can exchange traffic locally, rather than having to go through remote infrastructure, such as Paris, London, Amsterdam or even New York.
In the beginning, there was Internet !
The Internet is what we call the “network of networks”. But first of all, what is a network ?
A network is a group of at least two computers that are connected to each other. In most cases, these computers are connected through a switch, or hub, which transmits information to the right computer or computers.In larger networks, several switches/hubs are linked together.
The Internet is a set of networks that are connected to each other and correspond to IP operator networks, that we call Autonomous Systems (AS). They can be Internet Service Providers, as well as hosting facilities, datacenters, CDNs, large IP networks (public or private) and all other optical fiber operators.
But how does it work when you send an information (actually IP packets) to a machine that is located in a different AS?
There are two possibilities :
- The two Autonomous Systems may exchange their IP packets on a IXP (if possible, a local one).
- Or, the two Autonomous Systems are not linked to each other directly. In this case, traffic flows through larger operators - known as transit providers - who exchange the traffic between them. This often takes place in exchange points, or they go on a higher level until they reach an exchange point.
Therefore, it is easy to understand the advantage of a local exchange point that limits the number of necessary intermediaries for transporting information from the source to its destination (a local one).
The Internet Revealed
And is your IP operator connected on your IXP ?
Internet and IXP global context
There are 153 IXP in Europe, located in 40 different countries? At least 93 of them are operated by Euro-IX members.
In Europe, all capital cities have their internet eXchange. (You can also check out this website: http://www.internetexchangemap.com)