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Press Release -- April 8th, 2013
Source: Verizon

What is Peering and Why It Matters

This week, Verizon Terremark is co-hosting the 8th annual Global Peering Forum (GPF) in San Diego, CA. The invitation only event gathers peering coordinators from 200 of the largest Internet companies to help facilitate discussions about interconnection strategies, peering policies, the economics of peering, etc.

Peering is a settlement-free method for companies to exchange Internet traffic. The vast majority of traffic on the Internet today is delivered via peering.

Peering may be best compared with airport transit. Many of the largest airlines that operate in North America purchase gates at Chicago O’Hare International Airport – creating a hub with a number of flights coming into and out of the same airport. If a traveler needs to continue his or her journey on a different airline than the one that they arrived on, they just need to walk to an adjacent gate instead of having to drive to another airport across town, or worse, in another state.

Internet interconnection is similar, but instead of transporting passengers, data traffic is transported from one location to the next. And a data center is like the airport. Airports serve as hubs for passengers as data centers serve as hubs or “peering points” for data traffic. An airport with multiple airline carriers is more successful than an airport with just one, as it provides its passengers the choice to find the best carrier to serve them—it’s the same with data centers. Allowing different carriers to connect their infrastructure attracts companies to use this data center location as their peering point.

Most businesses have Internet traffic that traverses either an Internet Exchange or at least one of the largest carrier-neutral datacenters in the world. Peering controls how most Internet traffic routes from someone’s home or office to its destination. The more choices a company has on how to reach a particular destination, the better off it will be if one or more options goes away due to outages, maintenances, or natural disasters.

In order for companies to interconnect with each other, everything boils down to running cables between networking devices such as routers. An economical way to do this is for companies to colocate equipment in data centers and order cabling over short lengths to connect to each other, as opposed to the long and expensive process of trenching fiber between buildings. Just like the airport example. As is true in most cases, the more the merrier, and that is what makes carrier-neutral datacenters so appealing.

With the massive amount of data traveling from and to different parts of the world, peering has increasingly played an essential role for network and data center operators. Peering interconnection agreements allow for the provision of a cost-effective alternative to conventional data transport. At the same time, operators and their customers can greatly benefit from better performance and reduced latency. As one of the core members of the peering community, Verizon Terremark offers highly secure and reliable means to the exchange of data from a carrier-neutral environment. Learn more about Verizon Terremark Peering Services here.

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