Cardiff Internet Exchange: The benefits of keeping it local
Internet Exchanges (IX) are key elements of the internet infrastructure that enable networks to exchange traffic with each other. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can connect at a single IX, creating the potential for a range of technical and economic benefits for the local internet community. By keeping local traffic local and avoiding excessive links (basically everyone in the UK having to go all the way to London…because that makes sense), local operators and users can reap the benefits, financially, provide substantial local bandwidth, and significantly improve local Internet performance.
Reduced transit purchase costs via peering
There can be significant cost advantages in connecting to the Cardiff Internet Exchange. When connecting to the Internet, Internet Service Providers (ISP) transit charges have to be paid to these companies for data routed through the Internet. Businesses connecting to Cardiff IX can negotiate to exchange a proportion of their traffic with other members via peering.
As consumers demand a more responsive online experience the latency (or delay) on their IP service provider’s routing connections is an important factor. By connecting the customer directly to the the Cardiff Xxchange, the number of hops between the customer and customers of other IP service providers, or the servers of content providers that they need to communicate with, is reduced, leading to higher-speed, shorter round-trip access. This benefit is becoming increasingly important as bandwidth sensitive applications become more prevalent (e.g. tele/video/audio conferencing, VoIP, online games, video on demand, software distribution; peer to peer file sharing, etc.)
Lower cost per Mbps of connection capacity
Cardiff Internet Exchange is based upon local area network (LAN) technology and can offer much higher capacity and more scalable bandwidth connections to the Internet than WAN based telecom carrier connections offered by ISPs. Higher capacity connections enable faster data transfer and enable large volumes of traffic (e.g. multimedia data) to be shipped to a larger number of customers more quickly.
As the Cardiff Internet Exchange grows its membership it becomes increasingly attractive for members to aggregate their traffic into this central hub rather than having to implement, and maintain, multiple links to carriers or content providers. As an example, a company that has three 100Mb connections to three separate carriers may be able to aggregate the same traffic over a single 100Mb connection, providing the carriers are also connected there.
ISPs, content providers and others delivering services over IP who exchange traffic within a given region by peering with each other reduce round-trip delays and enhance value to the all users local to that region. Typically, a provider sourcing content can benefit by peering with those providers servicing a material proportion of their customer community.
Organisations connecting to the Internet via a single upstream ISP are at risk from that ISP, and the connection to it, being a single point of failure. By connecting to Cardiff Internet Exchange, while the member will still need to buy connectivity from one or more ISPs in order to reach those parts of the Internet not reachable via peering, they will also gain connectivity to the many other members at the exchange, and can therefore spread the risk of any single provider’s failure.
More flexible choice of connectivity providers
Although, as mentioned above, it will still be necessary for a member to buy connectivity to those parts of the Internet they cannot reach via peering, the presence of many connectivity providers at the exchange creates a large and competitive marketplace where this capacity can be purchased. This competition means that suppliers can be evaluated against each other, leading to lower prices and better levels of service.
Additionally, because the members’s wide-area connectivity is to the Cardiff Internet Exchange rather than to one single provider, it becomes much easier to switch suppliers simply by reconfiguring routing across the exchange rather than having to move or install wide-area circuits with attendant delays in carrier service provision. The ability to scale bandwidth for either peering or transit is also greatly simplified.