Internet transit is data being carried from one network or provider to another. This can be seen as Internet traffic moving from one Internet exchange to anorther, or from one Internet service provider (ISP) to another.
Transit is the basis for how Internet traffic moves across the globe. It is important to understand the significance of this concept, as it is the foundation for a discussion with regards to traffic routes, Internet pricing, as well as peering.
We are going to dive into the concept of transit a bit further.
Internet Transit Complexities
Internet traffic is routed globally from user to user, which a user could be a large corporation or individual person. Traffic is “transited” across the globe either directly or indirectly. Most of which is routed indirectly.
A direct transfer of data would be one which two parties exchange data over a private peering agreement. An indirect transfer of data is one which data passes through multiple carriers. This is a more likely situation, which is the basis for understanding the concept of transit.
An example of this is as follows:
Content origination in United States à transit through AT&T à transit through Cogent à transit through Deutsche Telekom à end user in Germany
Although transit is just moving internet data across the globe, there are a number of complexities in the concept, which have its foundation in the construction of the Internet.
The Cost of the Internet
Transit is how the cost of the Internet is determined. Each provider, whether it is a backbone Internet provider or an Internet Service Provider (ISP), utilizes transit as its basis for pricing. The cost of the Internet is determined by transit and how much data is being sent. This translates to Dollars or Euros (or your countries currency) per Mbps.
The amount of data one needs will determine the price. For instance, the Amazon Web Services pricing model is to charge its customers per 1 GB of data in transit. This is a standard for ISP’s as well.
The cost of transit has been plummeting rapidly since 1998, as more and more networks are being developed, as well as competition and the inability of ISP’s to differentiate becomes more difficult.
Transit is none the less the basis for determining the cost of the Internet.
Internet Transit vs. Peering
Peering and transit can be important in determining how one would like their traffic to flow through the Internet. Peering can have its benefits when traffic is being sent only to certain locations, but as the need to move more traffic globally, transit becomes necessary.
Transit allows for data to be transmitted through multiple networks and across multiple carriers globally. This is how the world connects to the Internet. Peering does not have the ability to do this, as one carrier does not have access and connection to every last mile provider globally.
Transit and peering both have their place in the transit discussion, as well as in the pricing model. Depending on where traffic is being routed, there are cost and serviceability advantages to each.
Transit is important to understand as this will affect the cost of your Internet, as well as affect your network performance. There are no one size fits all approaches, and traffic can be optimized for utilization of the best transit options.