Problem Statement and Notes on the Toolset necessary for IXP Documentation BCP Compliance Background

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs or IXes) are the central nodes of the Internet, where Internet Service Providers' networks interconnect with each other. The roughly three hundred IXPs form the core of the Internet and are the source of the value of the Internet, which ISPs transport to customers' locations where it can be utilized.

In both economic and public-policy terms, the amount of traffic routed through IXPs is an excellent measure of their effectiveness in both producing prosperity and furthering social goals like access to information, education, and freedom of speech and the press. Economists, policy-makers, development-aid workers, and many other people thus have a critical need to know how large IXPs are, and how quickly they're growing relative to each other and the Internet as a whole. This information provides crucial feedback in development and policy decision-making.

Internet Service Providers have their own business decisions to make, as well. The size and relative growth rates of Internet Exchange Points define their cost-of-goods and thus the prices which consumers pay for Internet access. In countries like Korea and the Netherlands, which have large, fast-growing IXPs, the cost of Internet access is very low, and performance is excellent. In countries with small, slow-growing IXPs, like Uganda and Thailand, the cost of Internet access is higher, and performance is not as good, though far better than in places with no IXP at all. This is the essence of the “digital divide.”

In order to make it possible to collect and aggregate this crucial information, the IXP operations community has defined a set of best practices (Version 1.4) for the publication of Internet Exchange Point statistics in a common format.

These notes are intended as an aid to students who wish to address this challenge as a graduate-level academic project.