In little more than two decades since they first appeared, Internet Exchanges (IXs) have changed beyond all recognition. From their origins inside academia in the early 1990s to today’s community led status quo, IXs have transformed not only themselves but the entire Internet, playing a vital role in the birth of our modern digital world.

The IBR-LAN is a far cry from the ubiquitous global connectivity members can now expect from the 778 internet exchange points (IXPs) worldwide. Yet, because they emerged from an environment of research and education, European IXs have a long heritage of focusing on cooperation, rather than competition.

By allowing members to sidestep the effort and expense of agreeing a myriad of private network connections amongst themselves, IXs have been instrumental in driving down peering costs, increasing network resilience and improving the end-user experience. Without IXs, IP traffic would be forced to travel via slower, more expensive and congested routes to its ultimate destination via upstream transit networks – undermining the seamless access to online content and services companies and consumers now demand.

While public peering is a young industry, it’s moving fast and reinvention is already on the horizon. Today, several factors are converging that leave traditional, member-led IXs in the midst of a perfect storm. Pricing is perhaps the most obvious wave on the horizon. The cost of IP transit continues to plummet, falling by around 80% since 2010 alone. That makes transit an increasingly appealing option for many organisations, promising greater control over the end-user experience and clear SLAs, with a relatively small uplift in cost compared to public peering.

Meanwhile, skyrocketing IP traffic also means choppy waters ahead for IXs. Global networks will need to support more than 1000 exabytes this year, but even that’s set to triple by 2020. Peering platforms must be upgraded and overhauled to keep pace with today’s data deluge, a process that demands significant infrastructure investment from all market participants, whether IXs or transit networks.

Amidst all this, IXs also need to keep pace with commercial competitors and constantly evolving technologies. New innovations may redefine what members expect from peering services and cause a tidal wave of market disruption.

In the face of this tough competition and accelerating change, many IXs are experimenting with new strategies and seeking ways to adapt. Interxion’s whitepaper ‘The Future of Peering’ speaks to organisations from different facets of this debate – networks, content providers, commercial peering companies and IXs themselves – to examine the forces driving change and how the peering market is reacting. Visit to find out what the future holds.


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