NL-ix Transit

Transit with the quality of Peering

News article, xx Jan 2023


For an increasing number of organisations, the Internet is the lifeline that ties everything together. Good quality Internet has become a primary requirement to make the organisation run, and yet, this dependency on the Internet has also proven to be fragile. An organisation is likely connected to one or perhaps two Internet Service Providers or perhaps even uses Transit upstreams. However, organisations with typically less then 10Gbps traffic tend to be stuck in the middle in terms of further improving the quality of their Internet: adding direct network connections (also known as Peering) into the mix would greatly increase stability and control but the investment in knowledge and capex just doesn’t pay off as it is too much of a leap.

Specifically for these type of organisations, NL-ix designed a service that massively increases the quality of connectivity, whilst also providing full insight into all your Internet traffic.

IX Transit from NL-ix is a truly unique service: it provides direct connections to any of the ~2.400 networks that are connected by the NL-ix low latency network, whilst also provide connectivity to the entire Internet (also called full Internet Routing table). This typically covers 80% of your traffic with the fastest routes possible.

As Peering are direct connections, this means that, for instance, your Microsoft traffic reaches its destination with the shortest path possible , without any other network in between that can ‘disturb’ the traffic in the broadest sense.

The real kicker of IX Transit however is the accompanying web-based portal that comes along with the product: it shows the traffic streams from your network to all destination networks (peers), the latency, traffic volumes, historical data, bandwidths. You’d not be the first to be completely surprised about the actual traffic flows. Gaining insight allows to find hick-ups and make well-founded decisions on software and the impact on traffic routes.

In case by now you are already interested in IP Transit please contact NL-ix for further information but if you are interested in finding out a bit more about the technical details of IP Transit then please keep on reading.

One Port, one VLAN

IX Transit is a product that combines Peering, Open Peering and full Transit on a single VLAN on just one single port. IP Transit is available in all datacenters NL-ix is present in and the organisation’s network is required to be connected to the NL-ix network via the customer router(s). With over 65 datacenters in The Netherlands and 100+ datacenters in Western-Europe chances are that we are already in the same datacenter as you are. As NL-ix operates a full-meshed network topology, your traffic will not be hair-pinned to other datacenters, therefore reducing latency and reducing the amount of SPOFs.

Upstream routes

In order to be able to send data, IX Transit customers need to receive prefixes. As IX Transit joins the routes of multiple services together into one routing table for the customer, NL-ix gathers and combines these routes from the NL-ix service routers and Route Servers before sending them to the customer.

Route selection for IX Transit follows the logic that it first prioritises Peering routes (direct routes), followed by Open Peering routes (single hop routes) before Transit routes into a single routing table for the customer. With this information, the customer is able to send traffic.

As NL-ix uses a combination of multiple Transit upstreams (Joint Transit), even for Transit the best route is selected, where “best route” in this case means the shortest AS-path.

Downstream routes

Next to sending traffic towards their destinations, it is equally important for the outside world to be able to efficiently reach IX Transit customers. In order for that to work, NL-ix gathers the customer routes in a separate routing table and from there they are forwarded to the required NL-ix domains.

Customer prefixes are advertised with a lower MED to local routers and a higher MED to remote routers, to help attract traffic locally and offload international links.

Build in resilience

IX Transit selects the best routes towards each prefix across multiple services. In practice this implies that the order of the preference is: NL-ix peers >Open Peering >Joint Transit, based on AS-Paths. This method of route selection also has built-in resilience: If an NL-ix peer goes down making their prefixes unavailable, the customer will still receive the prefix, but this time with a next-hop via Open Peering or else via one of the multiple Transit upstreams of NL-ix.

Are you just as excited about this service as we are? We are happy to tell you all about it and show a demo!