The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the organization that manages the .CA Internet domain, is embarking on a new initiative to help create a more robust and economical domestic Internet for all Canadians by facilitating the development of more Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) across the country.
Many Canadians probably don’t realize that much of Canada’s domestic Internet traffic flows outside of the country before eventually reaching its destination. This is in part because Canada needs more IXPs, large data switches that allow Internet users in the same area, usually a large city, to connect directly with each other. An IXP allows local network traffic to take shorter, faster paths between member networks, improving traffic flow on major Internet backbones, improving performance and helping to reduce network costs.
There are about 350 IXPs around the world and they have proven to be integral to the Internet infrastructure of many nations. The U.S. has about 85. In Canada, there are only two, notably OTTIX in Ottawa and TORIX in Toronto.
“Canada is not keeping pace with other OECD countries,” said Byron Holland, president and CEO of CIRA. “For a country such as Canada that was once a leader in the global digital economy, this is not acceptable.”
From CIRA’s perspective, stakeholders in Canada’s digital economy, including network operators, Internet service providers (ISPs) and others from the public and private sectors, should work together to create a national IXP fabric and make the necessary infrastructure investments.
As a not-for-profit and neutral player in Canada’s Internet ecosystem, CIRA is committed to helping make this vision a reality. CIRA’s objective is to be a catalyst that facilitates the development of a national IXP fabric. In order to engage with interested community members, CIRA has initiated dialogue in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Halifax to help them establish or support the expansion of six key nodes for an IXP infrastructure. These discussions will continue in the months to come.
“We have much to gain from an improved Internet in Canada and a stronger digital economy,” Holland added. “This is about improving security, speed and network resilience, while maximizing the amount of traffic that stays within Canada for the benefit of all Canadians.”