What is peering? Better yet, what is peering in networking?
Peering is the exchange of Internet traffic. It occurs between two Internet networks who have agreed on a connection to exchange traffic. The purpose is to transfer customer requests without the use of a third party. This reduces Internet transit costs.
It comes down to the desire of two large Internet users needing to exchange traffic. Without paying exorbitant fees to do so.
In discussing this concept, we will explore who is using peering and why. Also, we will look at private and multi-lateral peering.
Who is using it
Peering in networking is used by many parties for many reasons. If you have enough Internet traffic, you will fall into one of the following categories of who is using it.
Large Companies: Large companies create peering agreements if there is a large volume of Internet traffic between them. This helps to reduce Internet transit costs.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Internet Service Providers may set up peering between other ISP’s or large companies. The agreements are everything from an iron-clad contract to a verbal or handshake agreement. It usually has to do with cost and how to provide mutual benefits.
Back Bone Service Providers: Back bone service providers, such as those running Internet cables through the Atlantic Ocean, will set up peering agreements. This will be with each other, as well as with ISP’s and companies. This again has to do with what benefit they are trying to accomplish.
Why Use it
There are many reasons why two parties may begin to use these agreements. Here are a few examples:
Generally, if you have enough Internet traffic, or are frequently sending large amounts of data, these are your networking concerns.
What is Private Peering?
It is a direct connection between two networks. This is a physical connection consisting of one or more 10 GE fiber cables. The connection is only a one to one connection between networks. The cost is to the owner of the infrastructure. For example, this can be between a large enterprise and a datacenter.
It is common between datacenters. Also, in situations where two parties are constantly moving large files between each other. This helps both parties lower their costs, as well as optimize bandwidth and latency.
What is Multi-Lateral Peering?
It is the opposite situation of private peering. This is where multiple parties have an agreement. This situation is most common with backbone providers and multiple ISP’s.
An example would be if Verizon, AT&T, and Cogent all had a peering agreement. In this situation, a back bone service provider has a peering agreement with two regional providers. At the same time, the two regional providers have an agreement.
The nature of peering agreements varies, but the reasons for doing so are common between parties. It makes the structure of the Internet a more complicated environment. It effects latency, bandwidth, and the cost of traffic.
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