Internet Exchange Points

An Internet Exchange Point is:

An Internet exchange point (IX or IXP) is a physical infrastructure that allows different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to exchange Internet traffic between their networks (autonomous systems) by means of mutual peering agreements, which allow traffic to be exchanged without cost.

IXPs reduce the portion of an ISP's traffic which must be delivered via their upstream transit providers, thereby reducing the Average Per-Bit Delivery Cost of their service. Furthermore, the increased number of paths learned through the IXP improves routing efficiency and fault-tolerance.

The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more 3rd party networks. The advantages of the direct interconnection are numerous, but the primary reasons are cost, latency, and bandwidth. Traffic passing through an exchange is typically not billed by any party, whereas traffic to an ISP's upstream provider is.

These are important pieces of infrastructure that make the internet both cheaper and faster for everyone.

For a list of major Internet Exchange Points by region, a list provided by the Border Gateway Protocol can be found here. Just for fun, an example of how much information is traveling through the IXP in Los Angeles over the course of a month:


Back to more topics on advanced internet history
Want to more? Here are resources to help you find it yourself

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License