Need proof that people want to know why Internet connections can be slow, or how the Internet works? Look no further than Gizmodo’s recent article on America’s slow Internet, which garnered almost 350,000 views in a mere 48 hours.
The article opens with a brilliant quote:
The Internet is a tangible thing, a network of infrastructure pulsing with light, winding its way into and beneath buildings. It’s also a marketplace. There is the physical location where the fiber-optic cables full of data cross, and then there are the financial deals that direct the traffic down each specific set of wires.
While I recommend giving the full article a read, its basic summary is this: the future of the Internet relies on competition. Made up of Tier 1 networks (the backbone), Tier 2 networks (the middle man), and the ‘last mile’ (where data reaches its final destination), there are many companies and financial transactions at play in building out infrastructure to keep the Internet fast.
Right now, most of the latency that users experience happens during the last mile—the final stretch of physical cable your data travels to reach your home or office. Unlike Tier 1 and 2 networks, a good bit of last mile infrastructure is copper, rather than fiber. Without much competition between ISPs for last mile traffic, there isn’t much incentive to boost infrastructure.
They may not be the primary source of latency now, but Tier 2 networks are still essential to maintaining the integrity of the Internet as we know it. Telx doesn’t have control over the last mile; that’s predominantly the job of ISPs. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t still investing in the future of the Internet! Our meet-me-rooms enable our carriers to increase their bandwidth capacity by cross connecting with each other—and that’s just the start.
The Telx Internet Exchange, for example, with locations in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, and Arizona, allows ISPs, content providers, gaming providers, and enterprises to quickly and easily exchange IP traffic. Telx customers are only one connection away from hundreds of major telecom and data networks. The same is true with Telx-run meet me rooms at many of our data centers, which as we just mentioned facilitate easy connections across the board. What’s more, the carrier-neutral environment at our data centers encourages competition at the Tier 2 level, and the Telx Internet Exchange enables ISPs and other content providers to work out mutually beneficial peering agreements.
Pair that with our full support for IPv6, partnerships in the Telx Marketplace which allow ecosystem members to provider better service to end users, and our work with the Packet Clearing House to establish additional DNS root and TLD servers in our facilities, and you can see that we’re continuing to invest in the future of the Internet—even if it isn’t at the last mile level.
Is speeding up America’s Internet an easy problem to overcome? Certainly not. That will take continued investment in last mile infrastructure by ISPs, ongoing deals at the Tier 2 level, and of course, a healthy bit of competition along the way. To the extent that we can, however, here at Telx, we’re doing our part to enable a faster Internet for all users.