Potential IXP Participants


It is arguable that this may be your most important target audience. Most IXPs are looking to increase the overall value of their IXP by gaining additional and valuable participants. By clearing communicating with this group of visitors you will be able to assist them in making a swift decision as to whether or not your IXP is right for them. Remember that this group will be mix of virgin IXP users as well as seasoned IXP participants that are present at possibly more than 20 other IXPs around the world. 
The main aim of an entity joining an IXP is to exchange traffic with other participants, thus the first thing a potential participant will want to know about an IXP is who is connected, an idea of the amount of traffic that they exchange over the public IX infrastructure and their peering policy. This is generally most easily communicated via an easy to navigate to 'participants list'. Your participants list would ideally contain at least the following information:
  • The name of the participant
  • The website where more information could be found about the participant's product
  • The participant's ASN
  • The participant's peering policy
  • Is the participant using route-servers or not


If your potential new IXP participant is not yet in your area/city it is very valuable information which Carriers or Resellers are present at your sites. To get to your sites there are two typical ways for the implementation. Either take a dedicated remote Layer 2 transparent connection or use a reseller to get to the IXP. Resellers (like the name says) resell connections to IXPs and deliver them bundled on an interface to the IXP participant. In both cases a list of partners helps to get further quickly.
In order to give potential participants an idea of the amount of traffic that is being exchanged over the public IX infrastructure it can be of tremendous benefit to provide a publicly viewable graph of the IXPs aggregated traffic statistics. The industry standard seems to base around providing a daily graph that displays five minute averages of the aggregated public IXP traffic. A history of this traffic is also of interest to most potential participants as it shows an IXP's recent and past growth trends.
Some IXPs also publicly display the amount of traffic that individual participants exchange over the IXP while other IXPs prefer to keep this information either behind password protected pages for all current participants or not to share this information at all, this decision will need to be made by either IXP management and/or its participants.
In order to give potential participants a clearer picture of what your IXP looks like; the network topology and switches in use; where you are located; what rules may apply in connecting to your IXP and what traffic may or may not be exchanged over the peering infrastructure, one needs to have a detailed technical set-up area on the website. Here is a list of headings that you may want to consider:
  • Topology and switching platform
    A diagram and description of the network topology in use at the IXP and what brand and model of switches are in use within the set-up.
  • Where your IXP is located?
    A clear list of all the housing locations that your IXP is either located at or accessible from. Be sure to give contact details of these locations and any special requirement that may be associated with connecting to your switch(es) at these locations.
  • Do you allow remote peering via pseudowire or reseller connects?
    Some parties may want to connect to your IXP via remote connections. No matter what your policy is on this, it should be made clear to those looking to connect.
  • Are you running route-servers and if how are they implemented?
  • Other rules  
  • Archive of network uptimes



Naturally, one important piece of information that all potential IXP participants will want to know, is how much costs to peer at your IXP. Does your IXP have a one time connection fee or membership fee? If so how much is it? Are there annual membership fees associated with your IXP? How much do you charge for the various speed ports on your switches? Do you charge these fees monthly, quarterly or annually? Are the participants expected to pay in advance or in arrears? What exactly do your fees include? In some cases IXPs offer free rack space for participants. A clear breakdown of all costs involved is extremely beneficial to any potential participant.
Those looking to connect to your IXP will also find it extremely helpful to know of other costs that they might expect to incur in connecting to your switch. Rack space, cabling costs etc., while you may not be able to give a breakdown of these costs, one could at least make participants aware of these potential costs and where they could find out more information on the exact amount of the costs involved.


So now that the potential participant has viewed the information about your IXP, is interested by the list of ASNs that are connected and knows how much it is going to cost to connect to your IXP, he will now want to know how he can go about it.
Your IXP may have particular joining requirements such as having an ASN, being a legal entity amongst other requirements and this should be made clear and easy to find. Any terms and conditions and possibly your Association's (if applicable) Articles of Association should also be easy to find so that the potential participant is fully aware of his contractual obligations to the IXP, the other IXP participants and possibly the colocation providers.
The next step would be to provide an online application form encompassing all of the questions and requests for information that your IXP requires to get the applicant connected. Finally let the applicant know what the rest of the joining process is like, how long it will take to get his application approved, when he connect to the switch, when and how he can start peering and take part at the IXP as a participant.


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