The Basics of Internet Access

Each service provider, in any industry, has its own unique Internet Connectivity requirements. However, there’s a distinct difference between having a website with great content and the effective control of how Internet traffic is received at its ultimate destination.

The Volume of Internet Users

In 2020, the number of Internet users worldwide stood at 4.66 billion, which means that more than half of the global population is currently connected to the Internet. (Statista)

  • The global Internet penetration rate is 59 % 

Asia has the largest percentage of Internet users by continent/region. Of all people using the Internet, Asia has the largest number of Internet users:

    50.3% are in Asia

    15.9% are in Europe

    11.5% are in Africa

    10.1% are in Latin America and the Caribbean

    7.6% are in North America

    3.9% are in the Middle East

    0.6% are in Oceania and Australia

    (Internet World Stats)

Every day that the Internet grows, the more the volume of Internet traffic increases.

What is the Impact of Increasing Internet Traffic?

Even before the phenomenon of Covid-19 promptly leading to a soaring unprecedented increase in Internet traffic by as much as 60% according to some operators, compared to before the crisis network operators and content providers were witnessing an increasing surge of Internet traffic within their respective regions.

From social media to live streaming to OTT services, e-commerce, and search engines, the Internet is ‘the tool’ we use to connect society quickly.

Via any given website, we use the Internet to find information, communicate with people around the world, manage finances, shop online, listen to music, and much, much more.

Through all this Internet content activity, even if you think your website is up to the recommended optimized page speeds, as little as a 1-second delay in your webpage loading time will shrink your conversion rate by 7%.

  • This typically means that if an e-commerce website drives $100,000 per day in sales, you could potentially lose $2.5 million per year in sales.

The profound impact of slow website loading times doesn’t just apply to online retail giants who have reported that even seemingly minor decreases in their page loading times has a big impact on the state of their retail performance.

For a small business with a website:

The fact that more than half of all overall web traffic comes from mobile devices, the Internet demand from traffic Vs the Internets ability to handle ongoing exhaustive user consumption means that its robustness and ability to with cope rapidly shifting demands don’t equally benefit many populations around the world.

Closing the Digital Divide

Similar to a local farmer that sells organic produce to a supermarket chain, most local consumers buy local products through the middleman.

Internet access operates in much the same way. Traditionally, Content Delivery Providers and Internet Service Providers who steadfastly maintain your flow of Internet traffic, purchase Internet transit services from larger provisioning networks.

Internet connectivity is much the same. Internet Service Providers charge customers for both incoming and outgoing Internet traffic. 

However, there’s an Internet Traffic Exchange Model, industry termed “Peering” which intentionally allows ‘settlement-free’ Internet traffic exchange on a direct level, across the globe.

Why is Internet Peering important to Service Providers across any Industry?

Internet Peering enables the sender of Internet traffic to mutually exchange Internet traffic via a direct Internet connection and without any third party being involved.

For example, in some regions of the globe, Internet traffic has to travel across multiple Internet Service providers before it reaches an Internet Exchange Point in the destination country that the Internet traffic is intended for.

On the journey from the Internet Exchange Point, the Internet Traffic then needs to be routed to another primary Internet Service Provider that can forward the traffic (your website content) to the user sitting and waiting at their computer.

As you can naturally imagine, in real-time, this takes valuable seconds, though as we know, every second counts when your a service provider competing in an online digital paradigm.

If however, the region of origin and the destination region had a more direct route for the content to pass, not only would the cost to send traffic to be reduced, but the time and latency would also be positively impacted.

Types of Internet Peering

There are two distinct types of Peering: Private Peering and Public Peering.

Private Peering can be actioned to handle Internet traffic that needs to be long-distance distributed locally through other Peering Partners in the same geo-location, such as the same town or city that you are located in.

Private Peering is extremely effective for large volumes of Internet traffic because each peer works by creating a direct physical connection between one chosen network to another, for which each party decides the terms of the agreement, known as a service level agreement. 

Public Peering, which is increasingly becoming exponential, is efficiently performed across a shared network of thousands of Autonomous system numbers (ASN’s) that connect to an Internet Exchange Point, also known as an IX or IXP. 

What is an Autonomous System Number?

An Autonomous System Number is a unique identifier, that is globally available and that allows you to enter the Peering exchange network with other ASNs.

Autonomous System Numbers can be public or private. 

Public ASNs are required for systems to exchange information over the Internet through a shared means of “transferring Internet traffic.”This means that distributing Internet traffic is shared with other ASNs until it reaches its intended destination.

A Private ASN can be used if a system is communicating solely with a single provider via Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), particularly impactful for high volume Internet traffic.

The Benefits of Internet Peering 

When it comes to the benefits of Internet Peering, because Autonomous System Numbers are directly linked to Internet Exchange Points, Internet Peering becomes the ubiquitous way to communicate directly with other ASNs.

Not only for the termed ‘Network operator’, but for any website across the world, an ‘Autonomous System Number’ allows the user (your network) to control Internet Traffic routing by partnering with other ASN networks.