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April 15, 2011

Colocation Company Dissects the Complicated World of Public Peering

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor


So what exactly is public IP peering? And, who can really benefit from peering?

This week Telehouse America, an operator of two SAS (News - Alert) 70 Type II data centers and colocation facilities, sat down with TMCnet to dissect peering and to debunk misconceptions that commonly surround this often-confusing world.

Simply put, public IP peering is “the settlement free exchange of Internet traffic,” Telehouse director of Sales and Marketing for Fred Cannone (News - Alert) said.

Public peering exchanges are located all over the world and Telehouse is just one company looking to help companies see the value in turning to peering.  In New York City, Telehouse customers can benefit from the colocation company’s robust and popular public peering exchange, New York International Internet Exchange (NYIIX). This is the only exchange in the greater New York City area that has interconnection capacity to a variety of popular local colocation facilities, including 25 Broadway, 85 10th Ave., 111 8th Ave., 60 Hudson St., 7 Teleport Dr., with more to follow.

Public peering offers many benefits, according to Cannone – most notably improved connectivity, cheaper bandwidth costs and a plethora of routing options.

With regards to connectivity, public peering allows traffic to be routed over a Layer 2 switch which is about the best connection you can have besides direct connection, according to Telehouse officials.

“Traffic is not traveling over some nebulous cloud infrastructure,” Cannone said “It literally is traveling from your equipment over this connection to another person’s equipment. In a sense you can’t really get better than a Layer 2 connection other than a direct connection; that’s the only way it could get better.”

Public peering also allows for the averaging down of bandwidth costs. Just as individuals have to pay for Internet from the comfort of their homes, companies have fork over money for their connection. By turning to public peering, a company can instead exchange traffic directly with another party without having to technically travel over paid bandwidth since they are relying on the Layer 2 public IP peering exchange.

Accordingly, companies can enjoy greater options when figuring out how to route traffic – the third major benefit of public peering.

“Notwithstanding the money savings, the beauty of this is you now have the ability to route your traffic independently of paid bandwidth,” Cannone said.

Despite there being obvious advantages to public peering, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the world of peering. One of the main questions is who can benefit most from peering.

The answer, according to Telehouse, is any business that has significant amounts of traffic, about 100 megabits or more. Yet there still exists this belief that peering is reserved for only ISP and telecommunications companies.

“There’s been this sort of club type mentality that peering is only for the ISPs and that only ISPs have enjoyed this benefit of a low cost, rather quick and obviously effective exchange of traffic,” Cannone said.

“Peering needs to become a better known capability that already exists to complement paid bandwidth,” he added.

There is also confusion when it comes to public versus private peering. Like other companies, Telehouse offers both public and private peering although most of its customers opt to use the public exchange. Customers wanting to take advantage of private peering can request to route traffic over a separate VLan.

Historically, private peering refers to companies that simply connect to each other without relying on a Layer 2 switch. Sometimes private peering leads to settlement issues, however, as companies will be forced to pay a certain amount of money to peer over someone else’s network.

These sources of confusion will be highlighted when Telehouse hosts a webinar entitled “Peering 101” that will take place Friday, April 29, from 11 to 11:45 a.m. EST. The colocation company will toss technical jargon to the side when it attempts to make sense of the peering world. Cannone will be joined by Akio Sugeno, vice president of Internet Engineering and Operators for Telehouse. The two will discuss the benefits of peering and who should be taking advantage of peering. To register, click here.

This is the first time that the colocation company is offering a webinar about peering.

“Our desire is to inform the public and especially those folks beyond the historical telecommunications companies and ISPs that have really enjoyed it,” Cannone said. “We need to reach those who we believe would be enormous beneficiaries of this capability, those small to medium sized companies that are moving large volumes of data and that need an enhanced capability to move their traffic.”

This article is the first in a series of articles dissecting the complex world of peering. Visit the colocation channel next week to hear about route servers, SFLOW and next generation equipment upgrades.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee




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