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Definition - What does Peering mean?

Peering is a relationship between Internet service providers (ISP) in which they share a direct network instead of routing traffic through the Internet. Peering is either done directly between the ISPs or through a centralized peering exchange. Peering allows for very fast traffic at low cost because the ISPs connect directly to each other, which means that network service providers (NSPs) do not need to be paid for providing access to the Internet backbone. This technique is commonly used by small and medium-sized ISPs across the globe.

Techopedia explains Peering

Internet service providers (ISPs) strive to plan more efficient ways of providing high-speed services. They developed peering, which allows ISPs to provide users with required data or services while using fewer network hops. Peering means ISPs can provide better performance using fewer resources. The routing protocol that allows peering between ISPs is Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which is free and benefits all ISPs.

There are two type of applied peering:

  • Private Peering: This is a peering technique in which only two ISPs are physically connected to share traffic and mutually benefit from the transaction. Private peering requires more resources and has limited performance. This type of peering was used in the early days of the Internet and it is now uncommon.
  • Public Peering: This is a peering technique that uses centralized peering exchanges known as exchange points or Internet exchanges. Public peering allows hundreds of ISPs to connect with each other while providing exceptional performance at low cost. It has become a commonly used peering technique.
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