Peering Exchange

If a service provider or enterprise orders collocation at an Equinix Global
Internet Exchange Point, and orders a port on the exchange from Equinix,
then what happens? How does a provider actually peer with the peers on the

Lets assume the SP or enterprise already has an ANS, transit from multiple
providers, and a BGP router that can accept and hold full routes.

You can see the members of the exchange on Many of the
members say their policy is Open with little to no traffic requirements. So
does just ordering a port to the exchange automatically connect you with
all of these open providers, or do you have to contact each on individually?

Hi Colton,

There are three ways to peer with another entity on any exchange.

1) peer via the exchange provided route-servers.

2) peer directly with other members the exchange's provided IP address.

3) peer via a private vlan service provided by the exchange.

To setup # 1, you have to ask the peering exchange provider to setup the bgp session with you for your asn.
You will get all the routes from those who have chosen to peer via the route server.

To setup # 2, just ask the appropriate person/entity listed in the peeringdb for that entity, the desire/willingness to establish a direct bpg peering session.

Most common is to do # 1 and/or # 2.


Faisal Imtiaz
Snappy Internet & Telecom
7266 SW 48 Street
Miami, FL 33155
Tel: 305 663 5518 x 232

Help-desk: (305)663-5518 Option 2 or Email:


We are a member on the Equinix IX. Maybe best for you to speak to an Equinix SE on the topic, but there are two main connection methods. In laymen's terms you can be a member on the switch and then build peering relationships within any other network that will have you. Meaning, you reach out to them or they reach out to you via their contacts in PeeringDB and setup a typical BGP session but usually only exchanging private routes. Therefore you are are not providing transit to the other.

The other option Equinix offers is their MLPE (Multi-Lateral Peering Exchange). Essentially from what we understand you peer once to Equinix's router and all other participants and you are able to exchange traffic. It's not an all or none, you can use filtering to exclude specific ASNs. We are not a member of this service today.

Nick Ellermann – CTO & VP Cloud Services

P: 703-297-4639
F: 703-996-4443

THIS COMMUNICATION MAY CONTAIN CONFIDENTIAL AND/OR OTHERWISE PROPRIETARY MATERIAL and is thus for use only by the intended recipient. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail and its attachments from all computers.

It's reasonably common to do both, since not everyone on the IX will peer with or advertise all their peering routes to the route-servers. Peering with the route servers (what Equinix calls MPLE) is a good way to "jump start" your use of the IX by immediately getting at least a degree of peering with multiple networks established without the coordination and config needed to peer with each network individually.

Sorry, hit send before I was done! You mentioned an enterprise, if that was the case you may want to look at Equinix's Cloud Exchange. The Equinix IX is really meant for like-minded Network operators and Content providers to exchange routes on an exchange so that we don't require multiple dedicated cross-connects to each network at Equinix which can be cost prohibitive in some cases. Each network operator has different peering criteria, and it's not likely that for example a Google or Facebook is going to peer with you on the Equinix IX if that was your end goal. The Cloud Exchange is meant for those Equinix customers wanting to connect to one or more cloud service providers. The larger Cloud providers now also have 'Direct Connect' services at Equinix as well as another option.

Nick Ellermann – CTO & VP Cloud Services

P: 703-297-4639
F: 703-996-4443

THIS COMMUNICATION MAY CONTAIN CONFIDENTIAL AND/OR OTHERWISE PROPRIETARY MATERIAL and is thus for use only by the intended recipient. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail and its attachments from all computers.

Google or Facebook are exactly who you would want to connect with and I'm fairly sure they're on the route servers.

Other than driving additional revenue by needing to buy ports to both or possible regulatory concerns, I'm not sure why these companies spin up an exchange for every new fad that comes along. They all just boil down to an Ethernet fabric.

They are targeting a different market with cloud exchanges. Usually the direct connect services are for hooking up your MPLS to the cloud provider. Many cloud providers connect to their customers with RFC1918 addresses as well.

...and have open peering policies with pretty low requirements.


Google (in NA and EU) asks for >100 mbps peak for bilateral peering, but are on route servers where present and are happy to dish out & pick up routes that way for anyone not pushing enough bits for direct sessions.

Facebook wants >50 mbps peak for bilateral peering, though I don't see them on route servers at e.g. the SIX.

Is there a way to browse a route server at certain exchanges, and see who
is and is not on the route server?

Publicly? No.

Best way is to peer with one and see what routes it’s giving you.

Some exchanges (like Equinix) do publish information about who is on their route servers, but they only make that information available to other customers.


You could also peruse the information people individually publish in PeeringDB. It won’t give you a comprehensive list but it will give you a sense of who is where.

Some exchanges run an open looking glass with BGP summary access, e.g. DE-CIX Frankfurt route servers:

Else you could also take a look in the common route registry databases.


Is there a way to browse a route server at
certain exchanges, and see who is and is not on the route server?

Quite many ixp´s do so ... so you can verify yourself what is going on...
Typical offer of a looking glass:
You can see the sessions, you can see the amount of prefixes,
You can see the prefix list and you can see the communities & more
on these prefixes

E.g.: ... and others ...

not sure why this should be hidden ... but yes: there are some
ixp out there who does not show this information or just with a
login ...

(yes ... I do work for de-cix)

You have a couple of things to consider. Most exchanges have route servers. Some folks peer with those and pretty much anyone can gain access to these route servers. Not everyone peers with these however. In the large IXes it’s typically the small to medium folks who are on the route servers. The “big folks” typically want you to peer with them directly.

In the case of Equinix you will probably get some requests sent to you as soon you are in the database for that location. We typically see one of the fastest folks. Sometimes within an hour. Many folks can lookup and see how much traffic would be exchanged with your ASN and decide if it’s worth it. Also, the Content folks are more likely to peer with you on a public exchange instead of directly.

Not everyone is listed on peeringdb. It would be great if they were. Equinix has a list of who is on their exchanges. This is typically where information is scraped from.

Justin Wilson

Check out nl nog's the ring (they have a looking glass), routeviews or
ripe's RIS project (bgplay) being an interface to the data). You should
be able to find someone sending up bgp data to these projects that include
the route servers on different IX points.

Bryan Socha
Network Engineer

Someone actually sent me a list from Equinix. If it says MLPE next to the
IP address of the provider then I assume they are using the MLPE route
server, and if not I assume you have to reach out to peer with them. Does
that sound accurate?

Some companies present at some IX with no MLPE simply don't like to be listed at all, and they prefer to be filtered out from LG servers. It's simply their police and some big companies do not have a policy which is the same for everyone peering, say, content provider X will peer with you if you reach >80Mbps, could not always be true. I have lived a situation where someone demanded to peer to a DC I happened to manage at that time because his competitor was peering as well and sharing the same IX, but my company had no real reason to peer from the NOC perspective and using another port would just be a waste of time and money with no real advantage other than a barely better latency. Manager said no thanks, as asked for our peering policy to become private. Sometimes things just don't have a better explanation and some people just don't want to accept a different policy to different players.
We also had problems where transit customers said don't want to be exported to a certain IX point of presence while he wanted to be exported at a different location. Who ever told him he could pick where we export who? Nobody. In the end if you are seriously interested to join the IX you will bet the full list for MLPEs, etc. Otherwise it's just the policy for the club.

Some exchange points provide that information publicly as well.
Different strokes.


Google (AS15169) should be present on route servers at all exchanges they're present at that have them. Generally as missing cases are noticed they're fixed.

(Making this true was a project of mine a few years back now)

Peering with someone via an IX shouldn't be consuming any additional ports.

Emotional rather than technical concerns are typically why someone won't peer.