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1. Introduction – What is an IXP?

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Structure section 1:

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  2. Introduction
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    2. The Internet Governance Forum and Best Practice Forums
    3. What is the function and role of an Internet exchange point?
      1. 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0
      2. Definition and function of an IXP
      3. What are the benefits of having an IXP?
      4. The IXP: participants and stakeholders

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1. Introduction            

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The Best Practice Forum (BPF) Contributing to the Success and Continued Development of Internet exchange points (IXPs) collects the best of current practices that have proven to contribute to building strong and successful IXPs. This is not a normative document but a sharing of community experiences.

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6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 The 2016 BPF on IXPs builds on the knowledge collected by the BPF on Enabling Environments to Establish Successful IXPs,[1] which was part of the IGF Community Intersessional work program in 2015. While the 2015 BPF mainly focussed on creating and establishing new IXPs, this year’s BPF is about growing and further developing an IXP.

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8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 IXPs play a critical role in improving the affordability, performance, and reliability of the Internet; thus, they can play an important role in enabling inclusive and sustainable growth in their communities.

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10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 The BPF output will document and acknowledge the benefits of an IXP, and identify factors that can contribute to the development and success of IXPs as well as the broader Internet ecosystem via case studies and input from individuals from multiple stakeholder groups. The outcome of the BPF is considered to be a “living” and flexible resource intending to inform all kinds of policy debates on IXP-related issues in a neutral way.

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1.1. The Internet Governance Forum and Best Practice Forums

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 One of the key outcomes of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) was the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF is a global forum where governments, the technical community, civil society, academia, the private sector, and independent experts discuss Internet governance and policy issues.[2] The annual IGF meeting is organized by a Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) under the auspices of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). The 11th annual IGF meeting will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 6-9 December 2016.

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14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 The IGF Best Practices Forums (BPFs) bring experts and stakeholders together to develop a tangible and useful best practice output through a collaborative, bottom-up process. The BPFs are an answer to the call for intersessional work and more tangible outputs of the IGF.

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16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 The BPF on IXPs finds inspiration in paragraph 50 of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society[3] on international Internet connectivity, for the development of strategies to increase affordable global connectivity, and from chapters 4 and 6 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action lines[4] that address capacity building and an enabling environment and the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .

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1.2. What is the the function and role of an Internet exchange point (IXP)?

1.2.1. Definition and function of an IXP

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 The Internet is a network of networks which collectively constitute a global communication system. Internet exchange points (IXPs) are physical locations where three or more Internet networks can connect at a common point to exchange data traffic. All Internet networks can interoperate because they speak a language known as the Internet Protocol (IP). Within the Internet Autonomous System (AS) is the term used for an IP network or set of networks, managed and supervised by a single entity.

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Definition of an Internet Exchange point

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23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 1 An Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is a network facility that enables the interconnection of more than two independent[5] Autonomous Systems[6], primarily for the purpose of facilitating the exchange of Internet traffic.

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25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 An IXP provides interconnection only for Autonomous Systems.

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27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 An IXP does not require the internet traffic passing between any pair of participating Autonomous Systems to pass through any third Autonomous System, nor does it alter or otherwise interfere with such traffic.

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29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 IX-F, the Internet eXchange Federation, http://www.ix-f.net/ixp-definition.html

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31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 The practice of exchanging data between networks at an IXP is called peering. Peering at IXPs is typically based on settlement-free agreements made between networks for mutual benefit. By interconnecting and exchanging traffic at a common point, Internet service providers (ISPs) save costs and enable a more competitive market environment while also improving their network performance.

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33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 IXPs typically support multilateral and/or bilateral peering. The former enables interconnection between multiple networks while the latter enables interconnection between two specific networks. IXPs can, as a matter of policy, either require all networks to exchange traffic with each others, or allow each network to establish bilateral peering with others as they choose.

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35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 The IXP model of network interconnection and traffic exchange is a widely-adopted industry practice with around 500 known active IXPs in more than 100 countries. The location and distribution of IXPs in the world can be explained by looking at factors such as country demographics, market conditions, and global economics.

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37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Table 1: The number of active IXPs by region 2016

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Region Number of IXPs Number of countries Number of cities
Africa 34 28 31
Asia 98 19 53
Europe and the Middle East 204 49 150
Latin America and the Caribbean 56 16 53
North America 104 2 58

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 Source: IX-F Database, October 2016

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1.2.2. What are the benefits of having an IXP?

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  • Reduction of a network’s operational costs: Using cost-neutral transactions for the exchange of traffic between networks at an IXP reduces the network’s operational cost. This means that it becomes cheaper for the network to be part of the Internet and to provide services to its clients.

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  • Keeping local traffic local and decreasing latency: The direct interconnection of networks at an IXP allows the networks to keep local traffic local and to deliver the traffic destined for each other with the lowest possible latency.[7]

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  • Better control and more autonomy of the network: Using IXPs gives networks more autonomy and control over the network’s own resources, including routing and traffic management, because it decreases a network’s dependency on third-party networks.

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  • Increased stability, resilience, and robustness for the local Internet: Increasing the number of direct paths and routes between networks increases the stability, resilience, and robustness of the Internet in the case of network outages, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and other related circumstances.[8]

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  • Enabling competition by facilitating new market entries: Evidence suggests that IXPs can enable competition by facilitating the entry of new service providers and content delivery networks (CDNs) in a cost-effective way. For instance, new entrants do not have to build out their networks to all the other networks that are exchanging traffic at the IXP. Additionally, an IXP generally provides a neutral traffic exchange point whereas bilateral interconnection can be expensive and include other barriers to entry.
1.2.3. The IXP participants and stakeholders

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52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 The participants or members[9] of an IXP are operating an independent Autonomous System (a network). They can operate any kind of network such as an ISP network, a government network (e.g., for e-government services), a university or national research and education network (NREN), a private enterprise network (e.g., a bank or financial institution), a content provider or CDN, hosting providers, and providers of other services.

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54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 IXPs are embedded in their local ecosystems. Apart from the IXP members, several other stakeholders can directly or indirectly be involved in the exchange. Among them are the IXP operator, a country’s regulator, government and government bodies and agencies, the operator of the facility that hosts the IXP’s infrastructure (e.g., a webhotel, a university data center, etc.), and/or local and community facilitators (e.g., the local technical community, network operator groups (NOGs),[10] university project teams, Internet associations, business associations, civil society organisations, etc.).

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56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 The 2015 BPF on IXPs further elaborated on the different participants and stakeholders of an IXP and their respective roles. See section 3 of the 2015 BPF outcome document.[11]

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 [1] Available at: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/best-practice-forums/creating-an-enabling-environment-for-the-development-of-local-content/582-igf-2015-bpf-ixps/file.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 [2] IGF website: http://www.intgovforum.org.

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 [3] Tunis Agenda for the Information Society: https://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/tunis/off/6rev1.pdf.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [4] WSIS Plan of Action: http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs/geneva/official/poa.html.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 [5] “Independent” means Autonomous Systems that are operated by organisational entities with a separate legal personality.

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 [6] “Autonomous Systems” has the meaning given in BCP6/RFC4271 , “A Border Gateway Protocol BGP4”

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 [7] Latency is the time elapsed between the transmission of IP packets from the originator and reception of those IP packets at the receiver. It is one of the four parameters that define the QoS of an Internet connection, the others three being packet loss, jitter, and out-of-order delivery.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 [8] E.g., https://blog.cloudflare.com/think-global-peer-local-peer-with-cloudflare-at-100-internet-exchange-points/

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 [9] Note that “members” could refer to a particular legal structure – e.g. a membership organization – while IXPs exist in different institutional and juridical forms.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 [10] A list of active NOGs is available here: http://www.senki.org/network-operations-groups-meeting/.

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 [11] Available at: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/documents/best-practice-forums/creating-an-enabling-environment-for-the-development-of-local-content/582-igf-2015-bpf-ixps/file.

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Source: https://www.intgovforum.org/review/2016-igf-best-practice-forums-bpfs-draft-outputs-as-of-2-november/2016-igf-bpf-on-ixps-contributing-to-the-success-and-continued-development-of-internet-exchange-points-ixps/introduction-what-is-an-ixp/