Peering enables a direct connection from one network to another over an Internet Exchange Point (IXP). It’s a common strategy among service providers to gain a competitive advantage. By directly connecting to other networks, SPs can improve quality of service with faster throughput and lower latency.
Aside from an increased QoS, peering has a number of other advantages that service providers can utilise. It offers cost and routing control during network coverage expansion, increases performance, elevates network reliability, and improves bandwidth and capacity. As a result, peering is a favoured strategy among service providers to expand their footprint and grow their business.
However, connecting from a network to an IXP requires significant planning, which can take up time, effort and funds. So how can SPs approach peering, without significant budget but still address their customers’ pain points?
There are several approaches to peering that SPs can take, depending on their requirements and budget. Some solutions offer cost advantages, while others offer remote management or easy administration, and the cherry on the top will offer both.
Standard peering offers SPs full control over traffic between the SP and its peers. With only one network ‘hop’ between them, content is brought closer to the SP, improving overall service quality and ensuring content is served quickly and with minimum latency. However, standard peering comes with its own set of challenges. The most prominent among these is the need for hardware, such as routers, to be physically installed at the IXP data centre for every IXP connected. This incurs significant additional costs for the service provider. Extensive administrative time is also needed to manage these connections, as the two connected SPs will need a bilateral peering agreement in place and there also needs to be an MSA signed between the SP and the IXP.
Another approach is remote peering, which addresses many of the common downsides to its more standard alternative. Our remote peering solution allows service providers to quickly connect to major internet exchanges across the globe via the private BICS network; a high-performance, robust, extremely secure service for mission-critical traffic. Service providers can connect from anywhere in the world thanks to our extensive network to internet exchange partners and in more than 74 points of presence.
Remote peering offers infrastructure setup while administration is minimised and outsourced to BICS. BICS then sets up the required infrastructure at the SP and IXP ends, establishing connections between the two points and transporting data over its own dedicated network. The lowest latency path is always chosen, ensuring customers stay connected with their content with minimum delay. This approach reduces the man hours needed for set up and admin, while optimising costs. There is also no need for hardware to be installed at the IXP’s premises, thanks to pre-existing connections that the remote peering partner would typically have with all major global IXPs. Remote peering with a reputable partner often yields more flexibility in growing the footprint. With a partner like BICS, SPs can choose to connect to 35 major IXPs around the world.
However remote peering is not entirely free of administrative requirements. Although the remote peering partner will manage the connections and technical aspects once they are established, it is still the service provider’s responsibility to establish and manage all the other commercial aspects of their peering connections, by deciding where and who to peer with. These include the establishment of bilateral peering agreements, for example. Another pain point of remote peering, especially for smaller service providers, is the difficulty of establishing peering relationships with many major global service providers because they lack the necessary traffic levels.
BICS Instant peering
BICS is currently the only provider of Instant Peering, one of the most sophisticated peering solutions being offered in the capacity market today. Under this model, the SP utilises both the physical and commercial agreements already created by BICS. BICS then assumes responsibility for designing the peering footprint of the SP, as well as the establishment of the most suitable peering relationships to enable this. Integration of new Points of Presence and activating new traffic relationships within the network is convenient and can be done so by the SP’s team or peering manager by means of a user-friendly graphical user interface. In turn, this helps SPs grow their own network coverage by peering with more and more peers. BICS instant peering solution will even suggest the best IXPs to connect to, based on a given list of destinations from the SP based on latency measurements.
BICS’ has a range of solutions that provide SPs with the choice of how to approach peering, depending on their own requirements. IP Transit allows SPs to transport any type of data traffic reliably via the BICS network of transit provider partners, in a cost-effective way. Alternatively, Carrier Ethernet enables them to expand the network footprint into any geography via a private dedicated or shared connection, allowing for flexible scaling depending on bandwidth needs. By using the BICS instant peering solution, SPs can optimise costs, reduce admin, peer with major IXPs and expand coverage, improving the overall customer experience.
Have you read our recent blog, discussing why QoS should be a main priority for SPs? Read it here.