Our friends over at DE-CIX have recently published a white paper examining the benefits of using peering links, like those available via their Internet Exchange. In particular, the white paper highlights results from a study done by Adnan Ahmed and Zubair Shafiq at the University of Iowa along with our research team here at Edgecast. The original study appeared in the 2017 proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Networking Protocols (ICNP) 1.
Fig 1. Distribution of path lengths in terms of IP hops and AS hops.
The study examined the performance of connections using peering and transit interconnects. Overall, the peering links performed well: offering lower propagation delays in 95% of studied Autonomous Systems (ASes) and smaller queuing delays in 50% of ASes. Overall, these results are perhaps not too surprising: the peering links were generally shorter, both in terms of the number of hops and number of ASes traversed.
Beyond the immediate performance gains described in the study, it also emphasizes the important viewpoint available from infrastructure. As a CDN, and similarly for Internet Exchanges, we interact with a large number of content providers (and their networks), as well as a large number of Transit and eyeball-network ISPs. Combined with our global footprint, that leaves us with a tremendous view of how entities on the Internet interact, both directly with us, and with our customers.
Fig 2. An approximate visualization of our interconnects: red nodes are our PoPs, gray nodes are other networks.
We hope to explore some of these interactions in a coming post: specifically exploring the view of the world we see of traffic arriving at the CDN. For now, check out the white paper and the corresponding paper from ICNP!