The (New) de facto Philippine Peering Point

Discussion in 'DSL & Info Tech News' started by dslmaster, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. dslmaster

    dslmaster Administrator Staff Member

    The (New) de facto Philippine Peering Point

    OVER the past few months, Internet users in the country have no doubt experienced faster traffic from one local ISP to another. The reason? Peering Points.

    What is a peering point? In ISP circles, it's the 'hang-out' place where all 'in' ISP crowds 'meet' to exchange Internet traffic. Why is a peering point important? A peering point allows ISPs to exchange Internet route information and allows one ISP to take the 'shortcut' and talk to another ISP directly. This all happens without the ISPs using up the more expensive international circuit bandwidth. The shorter the distance traveled, the faster the response time.

    In the early days of the Philippine Internet, I remember seeing its traffic bound for other local ISPs go out the country, and then come back in to the other ISPs. This roundabout route is not very efficient. Internet communication among local ISPs was slow and very unresponsive. Thus arose the need to create peering points in the Philippines.

    This is why PLDT created PHIX. PHIX stands for Philippine Internet Exchange. The crème de la crème of ISPs were there, mozcom, pacific, tridel, pldt to name a few. This meant that traffic from mozcom to say, tridel, did not have to go out of the country, but could now take the direct route. Mozcom subscribers could do video conferencing and voice chats with subscribers of other ISPs like pacific. Peering shortened the path and improved the communication.

    However, PHIX came at a heavy price. PHIX links were consistently operated with underpowered equipment. The age of the routers and the switches started emerging when traffic increased. Troubleshooting failed links took almost forever. PHIX also started separating the content providers from the ISPs. Ragnarok, the most popular game from Levelup, was suddenly relocated to ePLDT's Vitro Data Center. Peering ISPs suddenly had to scramble to get extra links into Vitro data center to provide their subscribers with a smoother gaming experience.

    As though that was not enough, Vitro policy prohibits ISPs from peering with other ISPs. The ISPs were only allowed to peer with the game content providers. Vitro also demanded that each ISP pay for the privilege of being 'peered'--notwithstanding the fact that the game developers
    had already paid Vitro for hosting them. In a word, doing peering at Vitro did not seem cost effective. I explained this to the key decision makers, but they just failed to listen. Sometimes policies aimed at 'maximizing' revenues turn up to be counter-productive and offer the competition a way
    in – which Bayantel took.

    Out of nowhere, Bayantel suddenly revived the NIGX (National Internet and Gaming Exchange). Their offer was simple. No port charge, free peering for BOTH content providers and ISP! Popular game content providers like
    Tantra, Khan, and even Ragnarok were there. A lot of the ISPs grabbed the opportunity!

    Pictured below are the graphs of both PHIX and NIGX from Bitstop network. In only a short period of about 2-3 weeks, Bitstop saw its traffic from PHIX gradually going down (see picture below)

    as that of NIGX went up (see picture below).

    This means that the bulk of Philippine Internet traffic was now relocating to NIGX. Bayantel's NIGX was a stroke of genius! It capitalized on providing an alternative to the growing resentment of both the game content providers, and the ISPs that peered with PHIX. NIGX has become the de facto Philippine peering point of choice! No one thought
    NIGX could ever rival PHIX. But it now has. The rest is going to be history and one for marketing gurus like Dr Ned Roberto to study.

    Posted 03:38am (Mla time) Feb 04, 2005
    By Wilson Chua

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