In the world of hosting, the internet is a vital piece to ensure a flawless hosting experience. It is an interconnected community of computers, servers, and networks that work together to bring you the content you request. These interconnected computers, servers, and networks are only functional through various peering and transit relationships.
Many people refer to peering and transit as interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. However, this is not the case. From your home network to your ISP and your ISP to the public network, data eventually ends up at a data center and is connected to your hosting environment. Peering and transit are very important, and both involved in the same process — but they are not interchangeable terms. Let’s investigate…
What is peering?
The term peering refers to settlement-free internet trafficking where neither party in the peering relationship pays the other party for the exchange of traffic. However, settlement-free does not necessarily mean completely ‘free’. There are always inherited costs involved in order to set up the peering relationship. These costs include facility space, power, network equipment, capacity, cross-connects, and anything necessary for managing the peering relationship. However, each side of the relationship incurs these costs, and neither party can charge the other for these inherited costs.
Due to the costs mentioned above, some providers may choose not to engage in a peering relationship with another party. Typically, the main driving force for companies when deciding who and where they will enter a peering relationship relies heavily on the demand of their customers to access certain networks. However, even if Company A has customers demanding for peering with Company B, the request to peer from Company A to Company B may be rejected. This would happen if Company B is not interested in the dynamics of Company A’s existing network or if the peering relationship was not deemed mutually beneficial.
We could dive deeper into peering but is not necessary for this solution. The main takeaway concerning peering and how it pertains to your hosting experience is this: the more peering relationships that are established between your hosting provider and other networks, the better your experience will be.
What is transit?
The term transit is vastly different from peering. Internet transit is a paid service allowing traffic from another network to pass through, or transit, the provider’s network. This process is typically what ISPs use to connect their smaller networks to the rest of the public internet. In this scenario, ISPs or hosting providers simply connect their networks to a transit provider, pay the transit provider for allotted network capacity, and the transit provider does the rest.
Traditionally, transit is a simpler way to deliver network services versus utilizing peering. Put simply, transit is popular because all that the ISP or hosting providers need to do is establish the cross-connects to the transit provider and pay for the network service. Transit providers will handle the rest. Transit also offers peace of mind when it comes to troubleshooting and issues. In a transit relationship, there is a single number to call for support, one SLA established per paid service, and ISPs or hosting providers are free to create relationship terms as they choose.
It is important to discuss cost when considering network transit. As a paid service, transit is simple to set up within the terms of the service. However, any ISP or hosting provider will be charged for transit usage above the guidelines of their relationship with the transit provider.
Simply put, you pay for what you use. It is this reason alone that forces ISPs and hosting providers to incorporate bandwidth as a major factor when determining service price.
THG Hosting’s network fully utilizes peering and transit to provide industry-leading network speed and reliability.
The THG Hosting network is set up primarily across the US and Europe, with facilities in Salt Lake City, Manhattan, London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. These main facilities have varying amounts of network capacity, with New York and London holding the largest capacities. When we talk about network capacity, we are referring to actual IP transit capacity, or how much transit your ISP or hosting provider has purchased from the transit provider.
We utilize a redundant transit approach in all facilities. The primary transit providers consist of Level3 (CenturyLink), GTT, Telia, and Cogent. The levels of capacity per location vary depending on the relationship with the transit providers. Typically, the connection from your server with THG Hosting to your end-user is determined by the end user’s ISP. Out of the transit providers listed whichever has the best relationship with the end user’s ISP will determine the route traffic will take to and from our network.
In order to enhance our ability to provide the most reliable and lowest latency network possible, we also have several peering relationships established to complement the transit described above. Currently, we are part of the following main peering exchanges globally.
Hopefully, this article has answered some basic networking terms and helped you understand THG Hosting’s network and how we have established ourselves as a main hosting provider with a large global network footprint. If you have more questions about THG Hosting’s transit or peering, please contact our expert sales team. They are happy to answer any questions you may have.