The Internet is a network of networks.
When you send an email or upload a file to Dropbox, your data gets started on its long path to its destination. To reach its final destination, your data must navigate a series of networks, or peers. Along the way, your network information may be exchanged dozens of times until the journey is finally complete.
Despite what many Internet users think, the path from one network to another is not always clear-cut. Just as you can’t enter a highway without navigating through an onramp, sending data from one place to another is not as simple as hopping on one length of fiber and taking it all the way to the destination. And yet, all the networks your data must navigate need to be connected somehow.
Though network operators sometimes choose to connect directly to each other using private connections, such connections are complicated and expensive. It's just not cost-efficient or practical for every network in the world to be directly connected to each other individual network.
The alternative to private, individual connections is something called an Internet Exchange. An Internet Exchange lets networks and/or customers quickly exchange IP traffic with other exchange members. Internet Exchanges—like the Telx Internet Exchange, or TIE—connect ISPs, enterprises, content providers, and gaming providers through one Internet Exchange Point, or IXP.
Compared to purchasing transit and paying another company to carry your traffic, peering offers increased efficiency, network resilience, cost-effectiveness, and speed, as well as better monitoring. This opens you up to more connections without dramatically raising costs.
Without Internet Exchanges, the Internet would likely be a very different place. Or at least, its infrastructure would be much more complicated. The TIE and other Internet Exchanges help your email reach its destination more quickly and efficiently—and what’s not to like about that?
You’ve read our quick explanation here, so why not check out our video explanation of peering and Internet Exchanges, embedded above? This new video explains how data is transferred over the Internet and how the Telx Internet Exchange works—all in just 90 seconds. Take a look!