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Internet Society Study: IXPs Can Improve Quality of Service for Local Users

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A new Internet Society study shows local Internet exchange points (IXPs) play a pivotal role in ensuring quality of access to local content and in improving the quality of experience for users in the Asia-Pacific region. The study, which measures the impact of local Internet exchanges across the Asia-Pacific region on local content hosting and distribution, collected and analyzed data from Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

IXPs Improve the Quality of Access for Local Users

The study finds that country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) that connect to local IXPs can reduce their latency. Low latency means limited delay and better quality of access for users and vice versa. In Nepal, for example, ccTLDs with very good latency metrics peer at the Nepal Internet Exchange (NP-IX). The study further explains that IXPs can improve local users’ quality of access since they provide direct network connections for local content producers and consumers.

What is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD)?

A ccTLD is a top-level domain name used to define the domain reserved for use by individuals, organizations, or companies registered and/or residing in a particular country, sovereign state, or a dependent territory. Country domains are generally two letters long. For example, .au is for Australia, .us is for the United States, .eu is for Europe, and .fr is for France.

Local Hosting Means a Better Experience

According to the study, Indonesia, Japan, and  Malaysia have more than 80 percent of their country code top-level domain content hosted locally. Consequently, users can easily access their content, since it is closest to them. This reduces lag time and improves the quality of experience and reduces costs.

Transit and Abroad vs. Local Hosting

Another important finding is that hosting content abroad or serving via transit increases latency and reduces the quality of service. Bangladesh, for example, hosts 489 domains abroad and 195 via transit in the country with an average latency of 189.13 milliseconds (ms) and 64.89 (ms) respectively. Because of this, users using domains hosted abroad and via transit wait 7.05 to 131.29 milliseconds more for website content to load than when accessing website content hosted locally.

IXPs Are Part of an Ecosystem

While IXPs enable a low latency traffic route between users of the Internet and providers of content, the study cautions they are only a part of a larger environment supporting local content delivery and Internet infrastructure. This ecosystem made up of local and international operators attached to local Internet exchange points and a vibrant technical community is important to best serve local content through ccTLD domains.

Read the report: Measuring the Impact of Local IXPs

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