(also internet peering)
Peering is the voluntary connection between autonomous systems (the separate and distinct networks that make up the internet) for the purpose of exchanging traffic without third-party involvement. Parties in peering arrangements don’t usually pay each other for the traffic exchange, making their relationship distinct from transit connections (where one party pays another for internet access.)
Types of peering connections
- Public peering: Public peering is carried out through internet exchanges (IXP) — physical internet access points where multiple networks are connected to each other. IXPs have all the necessary infrastructure for peering, but the parties still need to negotiate peering agreements between themselves.
- Private peering: Private peering involves two parties directly connecting their networks together. Private peering offers much more traffic capacity than public peering, but requires establishing dedicated infrastructure between the networks. Despite this limitation, the majority of internet traffic uses private peering between major networks.
Benefits of peering over transit
- Cost. In peering, the parties do not pay each other for the traffic exchange, saving on fees for internet transit services.
- Redundancy. Public peering connects many networks at multiple locations, making the parties less vulnerable to transit service provider failure.
- Performance. Private peering offers a direct connection between two networks with much greater traffic capacity than transit services.