Public peering has been the primary method of exchanging traffic in Europe for over 20 years. Used by both large and small networks to aggregate groups of peers on to an efficient and cost-effective service. This is done by using a shared switching fabric based on layer 2 Ethernet technology.
Networks are able to connect using a single physical port or use multiple ports together to create a large single virtual port. Once connected to a public peering exchange networks can setup or remove interconnections to other networks without needing to physically re-provision any circuits. Members can host their hardware within the same data centre that hosts our shared switching fabric or they can connect from many miles away and peer remotely via a layer 2 carrier network. LINX has two remote peering solutions one called LINX from Anywhere and the other is called ConneXions.
Launched in 2012, the Manchester Exchange (IXManchester) is located at 3 sites in Manchester. Two sites are based at Equinix Williams House MA1 and Joule House MA3 and the third is based at the M247 data centre in Manchester. Members are also able to organise connectivity from the adjacent Equinix Kilburn/Williams House MA1 to gain access.
The Exchange has over 70 member connected ports, 18 of which are 10GE. There is a good mix of content providers and access networks present at the exchange including Akamai, BBC, Janet and Virgin Media, as well as local companies such as GammaTelecom and Metronet.
Bilateral & Multilateral Peering
To generate traffic in Manchester you will need to set-up sessions with the other participating networks. Traditionally this was done via bilateral peering agreements. Networks would either meet face to face or request to peer via email. The administration of dealing with hundreds of peers lead to the development of multilateral peering (MLP). Instead of negotiating with each network present, networks can use a single agreement / BGP session to access tens of thousands of route prefixes. A network can arrange instant peering with a large group of peers. MLP is recommended for new members who want traffic flowing from day one.
Public Peering Consultations
The LINX mission has always been to keep traffic local. Over the years the Internet has evolved and access speeds have increased. The definition of what local means has also needed to be redefined. Responding to this challenge LINX has consulted with network operators all round the UK about enabling networks to publicly peer outside of London. We have called this the local peering initiative.