An interesting question posed during the Board Election Hustings at LINX69 today was “is LINX getting too big?”
For the uninitiated the London Internet Exchange is a membership owned Internet Exchange where network operators peer with other network operators. This means that they pass traffic between each other free of charge. There is a cost for this – running the “exchange” involves buying and maintaining expensive bits of kit that all members connect to.
This cost however is far lower than the alternative of buying access to internet sites around the world from a commercial supplier – something known as internet transit. LINX membership in theory gives you access to around 70% of all internet routes.
LINX is growing rapidly. The organisation has 357 members with 22 new applications in 2010 to date. Network operators want to join because as LINX grows the benefits also grow.
The question at the hustings is valid though. The problem is that the internet was designed as a robust network able to withstand problems at any given single point. If those networks comprising the internet increasingly connect at a single place then this obviously counter intuitive to the way the internet is meant to work.
Now LINX does operate a very robust network – effectively two networks based on two different vendor equipments. It is becoming an increasingly attractive place to peer.
I can’t tell you what the right answer is. ISPs just need to make sure they have alternatives.