The importance of regional internet exchanges

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Reducing latency, improving resilience, introducing efficiencies and fostering local collaboration and innovation for the good of the internet

– regional internet exchanges, sometimes known as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), play a fundamental role for good in the global internet infrastructure.

Let’s explore how regional internet exchanges can help local tech communities and, as a result, benefit the broader business and user groups they serve.

1. Reduced latency

One of the key goals of a regional peering exchange is to get traffic from point to point in as efficient a manner as possible. Network operators with access to local peering can interconnect their networks at a single location within a region or city. The distance that data needs to travel to reach its destination is reduced, resulting in lower latency and faster response times for online services.

We’ve seen this first-hand at our MCR1 facility in Manchester, which is home to a LINX Manchester Point of Presence (PoP). Established as part of a drive by LINX to keep traffic local and decentralise the UK’s internet infrastructure, this particular IXP gave ISPs easy access to a peering point that saves their traffic from having to loop around London.

2. Lower costs

ISPs can reduce their operational costs by peering at local exchanges because they can offload some of their internet connectivity at their doorstep – avoiding expensive long-haul IP transit fees for example.

3. Increased resilience

By establishing multiple points of presence and connecting through local peering exchanges, networks become more resilient. If one network connection or link goes down, traffic can be rerouted through alternative paths, reducing the risk of widespread internet outages.

4. Efficient use of bandwidth

Peering exchanges facilitate efficient use of bandwidth by allowing networks to exchange traffic directly rather than sending it through upstream transit providers. This optimises the use of available capacity and can help prevent network congestion during peak usage times.

5. Enhanced content delivery

Content providers like CDNs and streaming services benefit from local peering exchanges by establishing points of presence within or near these exchange points. This enables them to cache and distribute content more effectively to users in a specific region, ensuring faster content delivery. Indeed, the presence of IX Manchester at our MCR1 facility was a key selling point for PixelMax, where low latency was critical to the delivery of their Metaverse applications.

6. Promotes local internet development

Local peering exchanges can be transformative for a region – an aspect of community and (in the case of LINX for example) a membership-owned basis encourages interworking between local organisations and the fostering of a healthy tech scene. Although providers will be expected to compete with one another, cooperation, collaboration and investment for the good of the internet in a city lends itself to wider ranging benefits such as economic development and job creation in the area.

7. Improved network quality

With more direct connections and shorter routing paths, network quality and reliability are enhanced. This is especially important for IoT and real-time applications like VoIP, online gaming, and video conferencing, where low latency and stable connections are essential.

8. Security and privacy

Local peering exchanges can offer better control over data traffic, reducing reliance on distant and potentially less secure international links. This can enhance the privacy and security of local internet communications.

More information

For more information about LINX Manchester and the benefits of peering with a regional internet exchange at a Datum facility, get in touch with our team.