What are Peering Exchanges?

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The Internet is a network of networks that spans the globe. In essence ECN’s network connects to other telecommunication’s carriers networks which connects to other networks and so forth.

Somehow in all mesh of connections, Internet connected devices across the planet are all able to speak.

Within the Industry the term “Peering” or “Peering Exchanges” is common speak, however customers may never have heard of the terms or heard of them but not understood exactly what they are and how they work.

A Peering Exchange is a type of meeting place that companies like ECN, other Internet providers and content providers including Facebook and Google join their networks or “meet”.

Participants at a peering exchange use smart technology to tell other participants what Internet resources (usually what IP addresses) we have and then swap data with each other (“peer”).

ECN connects to Australia’s 2 major peering exchanges, Megaport and IX Australia (WAIX) and these exchanges provide around  30% of our total Internet traffic.   

As a customer, you may ask why Peering Exchanges are so important to Internet companies and content providers?

Let’s use an example where there is no peering exchange:

An ECN Customer using a small business broadband solution wishes to watch a YouTube video. Without a peering exchange that video request to youtube.com is sent by ECN to another provider that sends it to another provider and so forth until eventually youtube.com gets the request and provides back through the same process the video information to display on the user’s screen.

What this means is that the video is transmitted from youtube servers on the other side of the world and the data passes through potentially dozens of networks before being played, this can cause unnecessary delays and ultimately in the case of a YouTube video, playback performance issues.

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How about with Peering?

Because ECN peers with major content providers through peering exchanges, when requesting the YouTube video ECN sends the request through the peering exchange directly to YouTube’s servers.

By connecting to a peering exchange ECN have bypassed potentially dozens of networks, avoided delays and slow speeds and delivered the video as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

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Who connects to Peering exchange?

Companies including Amazon (AWS), NetFlix, ABC IView, Google, Youtube, Facebook and more all connect to Peering Exchanges that ECN directly participate in.