The Internet is a large collection of separate networks. In order to establish end-to-end connectivity from one network to the other, they somehow need to be interconnected, be it directly or indirectly. An Internet exchange point (IXP) is a component of Internet infrastructure. IX was set up for peering of ISPs among themselves for the purpose of routing the domestic traffic within the country, instead of taking it all the way to abroad, thereby resulting in better quality of service (reduced latency) and reduced bandwidth charges for ISPs by saving on International Bandwidth.
An Internet Exchange (IX) can play a supporting role by offering a
shared infrastructure where multiple networks can meet at a central
location in order to exchange IP traffic with one another.
The Internet and all its applications have almost become part
of our senses these days. Many of us feel the need to be online 24 hours
a day, to be interconnected with friends, family, colleagues and
customers, or with the world at large. This interconnectivity of people
is fed by the interconnectivity of the networks they are using, which is
the main purpose of
Internet traffic exchange between two participants on an IXP is
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
routing configurations between them. IXPs provide a common
place for ISPs to exchange their Internet traffic between autonomous
network systems. They choose to announce routes via
the peering relationship either routes to their own
routes to addresses of other ISPs that they connect to,
In many cases, an ISP will have both a direct link to another ISP and accept a route (normally ignored) to the other ISP through the IXP; if the direct link fails, traffic will then start flowing over the IXP. In this way, the IXP acts as a backup link.
In many developing countries, poor connectivity between ISPs often results in the routing of local traffic over expensive international links simply to reach destinations within the country of origin. IXPs can also improve the quality of Internet services in a country by reducing the delays. IXPs also can be a convenient hub for hosting critical infrastructure within countries.
The advantages of Internet exchange points include:
- Allowing high speed data transfer
- Reducing latency
- Providing fault tolerance
- Improving routing efficiency
- Improving bandwidth
The physical infrastructure includes one or more high-speed network
Ethernet switches. The traffic exchange in an IXP is enabled by the
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). The traffic exchange is managed through a
mutual peering agreement conformed to by all ISPs. The ISPs normally
specify the routes through the peering relationship. They may choose to
route the traffic through their own addresses or addresses of other
providers in the network. In some scenarios, the IXP serves as a backup
link to allow traffic to pass through in case of a direct link failure.