What Is An Internet Exchange Point (IXP)?

Here’s the definition from Wikipedia: “An Internet exchange point (IX or IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks (autonomous systems).”

“The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more third-party networks. The advantages of the direct interconnection are numerous, but the primary reasons are cost, latency, and bandwidth.”

At the most basic, an IXP operates switches to which multiple networks connect their routers for the purpose of exchanging traffic.

Structure

Our Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in St Louis is operated in partnership with MidWest-IX. There is one IXP in St Louis, composed of two interconnected switching fabrics:

  • One side of our IXP is commercially-oriented and it’s operated by MidWest-IX, focused on traditional IXP participants such as ISPs, CDNs, and other content providers.
  • The other side is the Smart City Internet Exchange (SCIX), operated by the not-for-profit STL-RIX organization, focused on not-for-profit organizations, community networks, educational, research, public institutions, and also organizations which have not traditionally connected directly to IXPs.

Any participant is able to peer with any other participant, regardless to which side of the IXP each participant connects.

Locations / Facilities

Participants can connect to STL-RIX in two facilities:

Our switching equipment in both locations is interconnected so any participant in either location can peer with any other participant.

During our initial market survey, the vast majority of potential participants expressed a preference for our IXP to be located in either 210 N Tucker or 900 Walnut. If you wish to connect to our IXP, but your equipment is located in a different facility, please contact info@stl-rix.net and let us know.

How To Participate

Do you want to #keeptrafficlocal and peer in St Louis? Excellent! Read on…

If your organization is an ISP, CDN, or other traditional IXP participant then we want you to connect to the MidWest-IX’s switching fabric. The first step to getting hooked up is to contact MidWest-IX here.

If your organization is a university, public institution, research organization, non-profit, community network, etc, we suggest you connect to the SCIX side of the IXP.

If your organization doesn’t currently participate in Internet peering (e.g. your organization does not have its own ASN, and you do not have someone on staff who knows BGP) but you wish to benefit from connecting your network to the IXP, contact SCIX to discuss options: we can get you connected!

History

The founders of STL-RIX identified that the lack of an IXP in St Louis has been detrimental to the St Louis region in a variety of ways, and that an IXP is a prerequisite to attract investment in certain types of technology, IT and networking. Additionally, a thriving IXP has the potential to improve Internet performance and reliability for all people in the region.

During 2016 the founders of STL-RIX learned that MidWest-IX was also interested in expanding into the St Louis market. After getting to know the people at MidWest-IX, we are happy to be in partnership with them: they have experience operating IXPs in multiple cities and bring skills and resources to our effort that accelerate our efforts to develop a thriving IXP in St Louis. Together our organizations collaborated to design the innovate structure of our IXP in St Louis, and negotiated with Netrality Properties, the operator of the facilities at 210 N Tucker and 900 Walnut, to establish our IXP.

STL-RIX started moving equipment into 210 N Tucker and 900 Walnut in January 2017 and we began operations in February 2017.

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