A survey on the current internet interconnection practices

Pedro Marcos, Marco Chiesa, Christoph Dietzel, Marco Canini, Marinho Barcellos


The Internet topology has significantly changed in the past years. Today, it is richly connected and flattened. Such a change has been driven mostly by the fast growth of peering infrastructures and the expansion of Content Delivery Networks as alternatives to reduce interconnection costs and improve traffic delivery performance. While the topology evolution is perceptible, it is unclear whether or not the interconnection process has evolved or if it continues to be an ad-hoc and lengthy process. To shed light on the current practices of the Internet interconnection ecosystem and how these could impact the Internet, we surveyed more than 100 network operators and peering coordinators. We divide our results into two parts: (i) the current interconnection practices, including the steps of the process and the reasons to establish new interconnection agreements or to renegotiate existing ones, and the parameters discussed by network operators. In part (ii), we report the existing limitations and how the interconnection ecosystem can evolve in the future. We show that despite the changes in the topology, interconnecting continues to be a cumbersome process that usu- ally takes days, weeks, or even months to complete, which is in stark contrast with the desire of most operators in reducing the interconnection setup time. We also identify that even being primary candidates to evolve the interconnection process, emerging on-demand connectivity companies are only fulfilling part of the existing gap between the current interconnection practices and the network operators’ desires.

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