What is an Internet Exchange Point (IXP)?
An Internet exchange point (IXP) is a physical access point through which Internet infrastructure companies such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can connect with each other. The main aim of an IXP is to route traffic between different network members faster and more cost-effectively.
Companies that are connected to an Internet exchange point can shorten their path to the transit coming from other participating networks and as a result, reduce latency and optimize round-trip time.
The ISPs specify the routes through the peering relationship. They may choose to route the traffic through their own addresses or addresses of other providers in the network. In certain scenarios, the IXP is used as a backup link to allow traffic passing through in case of a direct connection failure.
The traffic exchange between networks is facilitated by an exterior gateway protocol called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP performs routing decisions based on network rules, hop counts, and other characteristics configured by network administrators. Because BGP has no built-in security measures and is highly vulnerable to a number of malicious attacks, there exist other protocols that secure the traffic. One such combination is the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) protocol and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec).
The operational costs of an IXP are usually shared among all the participating ISPs. Each participant is charged a monthly or annual fee based on the port type and traffic volume he uses.
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