What is Peering?

By: Mike Hollands

The Internet is a network of networks. For an end user like you and me to load a page on the internet, a request is sent by your device which is then routed from network provider to network provider until eventually reaching the correct receiver; that receiver then needs to process the request and send the correct information back to our device.

Now, all this (thankfully) takes just fractions of a second even though sometimes the data travels quite a journey between networks before reaching the correct destination.  For the internet to function properly, it’s crucial that these networks interact with each other for the direct exchange of IP traffic, aka peering. 

Peering begins with two or more networks agreeing to exchange traffic with each other, for mutual benefit. This can occur privately, from one network to another, or, publically, through an Internet exchange, where up to 600 networks converge in a single location for efficient peering.  The benefits of public peering include improved network performance, enhanced resilience, and latency reduction for the end user.

The architecture of telecom networks has come a long way in the past 10 years. Remember when you could make a sandwich in the time it took for certain web pages to load? Nowadays, the network providers work together to provide the optimum experience for end users, and for that, we say thank you.