4 Important Tips in Choosing IX Provider
For modern service providers and digital players, joining an Internet Exchange (IX) is certainly one of the most important and reasonable decisions which will benefit their business operations. However, it doesn’t mean a consideration stage isn’t needed and can be neglected. There are a number of things potential members should know before joining an IX to make sure they make the right decision and choose the right provider, and in this article, that’s what we will discuss.
We have prepared some important tips for you in choosing the right IX provider. Let’s take a closer look.
Preliminary Assessment and Setup
Before joining an IX, it is important for prospective members to carry out a needs assessment to ensure a proper planning and determine what is needed in the future. First, prospective members need to evaluate the number of providers and other IX members that will support and use the IX — generally, to be considered as an IX, a facility should have at least three network providers connected to it. They also need to evaluate the amount of traffic that will be exchanged and the possible cost of setting up the IX. Assessing these items will help providers determine the details of what the prospective members need to prepare, plan, design, and build at the setup stage.
It’s important to note that meetings and cooperations between network operators and technical advisers are necessary even at this stage because a successful IX is, as people often say, “80% human and 20% technical”.
Location and Construction
Location is vital for an IX facility, as it is an important consideration before deciding to join an IX ecosystem. This includes how close the site is to the networks of the potential members, how secure it is, how easy it is to access, how much space is available for necessary infrastructure, and how reliable the available telecommunication links are. Prospective members can also ensure that the IX provider will periodically check whether power supply (including backup supply or generator), air conditioning, and necessary equipment and services (such as a layer 2 shared switch fabric for peering networks to interconnect) are highly available.
Many IXs today are hosted in an existing data center or other carrier facilities to significantly reduce start-up and operating expenses. In some cases, such as neuCentrIX, colocation data center providers use their capacity to offer an IX as one of their value-added services.
Ownership and Management
An IX should have neutral ownership and management. Although an IX is specifically designed and built to benefit its members, it can’t be owned by any of its members. This also means that an IX should not compete or side with certain members or customers in any activities. After all, regardless of its purpose — for commercial or non-profit reasons, the neutrality of an IX should always be maintained.
To ensure a positive IX environment, IX providers may also make efforts to build community trust among their IX members. For example, they may hold forums and meetings to develop social networking and personal relationships between its members despite their different backgrounds and objectives. They may also assign a person in charge to ensure that traffic is properly analyzed to identify needs and opportunities, develop appropriate policies, and negotiate the best terms among members.
Operations and Maintenance
An IX should regularly provide up-to-date information about its operations which can be accessed by its members and or potential members. The information may include members’ background and contact information, statistical information on the traffic exchanged, membership terms and conditions, as well as peering and technical policies. Some IXs also keep a traffic expansion history to track growth. Meanwhile, some others provide a ticketing system for recording queries and implement advanced network monitoring tools.
These best practices are implemented by IX providers to ensure efficient and reliable services for their members. Therefore, it is important for any business that is planning to join an IX to check if their preferred provider implements them.