A gigantic digital hub
In fact, Frankfurt is the world’s largest Internet exchange node with more than 3.2 terabits per second peak traffic; the leading Internet exchange for Central and Eastern Europe; has the world’s largest and most advanced Ethernet-based platform, DE-CIX Apollon – delivering high-availability peering with full 100G Ethernet capabilities, about 600 participants at the peering platform and more than 10 terabits of connected customer capacity (Public Peering) …
You are not an IT expert and all of this is absolutely Greek to you? Well, welcome to the club!
Interconnecting the world: What is an IX?
Comprehending the general pattern of the Internet is a prerequisite to understand the concept and the benefits of an Internet Exchange (IX or IXP – Internet Exchange Point). ‘The network of networks’ is constituted of every active carrier, ISP and network operator offering Internet access. In Frankfurt, the most prominent carriers worldwide exchange their data.
So: It is not a single organisation that forms the unique and ultimate source of the Internet.
Euro-IX, an association of Internet Exchange Points, has produced the video “Internet Revealed” that explains how IXPs function:
In order for the Internet to work in the trusted manner, those individual carriers, ISPs and network operators will exchange data, or, as is expected, grant others access into their network – either by levying a fee for transit/upstream or on a cost-neutral basis known as peering.
Internet Exchanges offer a neutral local network for these stakeholders to connect and exchange traffic. This enables peering to function efficiently. The IX uses switching equipment to build the local network by placing facilities in existing carrier neutral data centers – sometimes in more than one location for redundancy purposes. Dark fibre is used to interconnect those locations.
The Frankfurt IXP is operated by DE-CIX, founded in 1995 and entirely owned by eco – Association of the German Internet Industry, Europe’s largest. It is committed to serving the Internet community by (quote) providing world-class Internet exchange services and professional, friendly and courteous service at all times (unquote). Customer base includes leading players such as 1&1, Akamai, China Telecom, Facebook, Google and Telefonica.
DE-CIX’s international growth was triggered in 2012 with the takeover of the operations of UAE-IX in Dubai. Additionally, the company’s portfolio holds IXPs in Hamburg, Munich and New York.
Header image: ©Alex Claude
Other images and video: courtesy ©Euro-IX