Civic News
Data / Internet

A major internet exchange point just expanded to Philly

The partnership between Netrality Data Centers at 401 N. Broad and New York City-based NYIIX is meant to keep content sharing, streaming and general web use more local.

Plugged in. (Photo via Pexels, used via a Creative Commons license)

Internet exchange points (IXP) are like airports, Netrality Data Centers’ Edward Grundhauser says. If you can imagine passengers zipping from location to location between gates, you can understand how content moves around the internet.

If you call up some content on your phone or computer — a Netflix show, for example — your service provider has to pull the content to you. For someone sitting in a Fishtown apartment, for instance, their episode could first travel to Cherry Hill or New York City before streaming on their device.

But IXPs cut down on those travels. They like to keep traffic local. This process is called peering, and it allows networks to connect and exchange traffic between themselves instead of having a third-party service carry it.

And through a recent partnership with Netrality at 401 N. Broad St., NYIIX, one of the largest neutral IXPs in the world, has expanded its fabric deployment of networks to Philadelphia, Grundhauser said.

Broadening NYC-based NYIIX’s IXP services to the Philadelphia region will help users in the area from hospitals to universities to small businesses — really, anyone who uses a lot of internet — get their content faster, and while this partnership doesn’t create the first IXP in Philadelphia, its size is significant, according to Grundhauser.

“Basically, it makes the user experience more pleasant,” he said. The new location is called NYIIX Philadelphia.

New York City, North Jersey and Northern Virginia are big hubs for internet, and a lot of that traffic has been passing through Philadelphia. NYIIX installed the infrastructure needed to make the exchange point in Netrality’s location on North Broad Street at the end of April. (Netrality also operates data centers in Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago.)

As the general public better understands how content is sent through the internet, more interest in IXPs has bubbled up.

Network engineer Devin Weaver recently identified Baltimore’s lack of local connectivity and installed his own data hub inside a Baltimore data center called AiNET. Weaver wanted the traffic and money involved in sharing content to remain local and called these IXPs “the intersections of the internet.”

Michael Fox, AiNET’s regional VP of business development, told Baltimore that he sees the benefit Weaver’s IXP brings to the city.

“If we’re able to push massive amounts of data in the digital economy, it will transform the city,” Fox said. “It will help the city in ways that you really can’t count.”

Companies: Netrality Data Centers

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