By Sarah Rocap
Last week we welcomed a lively group of attendees to our May Meet @ Markley for a discussion on peering on the internet, lead by our very own CTO, Patrick Gilmore. Patrick is one of the world’s foremost authorities on peering, having been responsible for peering at the largest CDN in the world, and sitting on the board for multiple Internet Exchanges.
To start, Patrick reviewed the two types of connectivity on the Internet: transit and peering. Transit connectivity means that a user has access to and from the entire internet. It is metered and typically charged via a flat rate (think your home internet connection). Peering, on the other hand, is different. Internet peering is when a user has connectivity between their network and another network, which allows that user to send packages to the other network and its customers (and vice versa), not the entire internet.
Patrick shared the advantages of pubic and private peering, which he listed as cost, performance and security. For cost, it’s important to understand that while there will likely be some minimal costs in the set up of the connection such as routers and lines, peering is typically free or very low cost. Performance is similar, in that peering reduces the amount of network hops it takes to deliver a package (compared to transit), which is a key contributor to performance reduction. Peering also offers increased security – since you operate and connect on a dedicated internet line, the chances of a third party maliciously intercepting the items you’re sending are decreased. With that said, Patrick was clear to explain that despite the heightened security, companies or individuals who are peering should still implement proper security protocol, such as encryption and firewalls.
To close the presentation, Patrick shared why public peering, which happens on internet exchanges like Markley Group’s Boston Internet Exchange (BOSIX), can be a great solution for companies and individuals looking to connect with one another. BOSIX currently has dozens of participants and other internet exchanges, like the London Exchange, have upwards for 500 participants. By utilizing a public internet exchange, participants can easily connect (only a router and a link are required) and start benefiting from the advantages listed above.
If you missed this Meet @ Markley event and all of the valuable information Patrick shared with attendees, please feel free to get in touch. A Markley team member would be happy to discuss internet peering in more detail and review the benefits gained from joining BOSIX. To be added to our mailing list for future Meet @ Markley sessions, please email Erin McGinnis at firstname.lastname@example.org.