IEEE Communications Magazine

Inter-domain networking innovation on steroids: Empowering IXPs with SDN capabilities

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While innovation in inter-domain routing has remained stagnant for over a decade, Internet exchange points (IXPs) are consolidating their role as economically advantageous interconnection points for reducing path latencies and exchanging ever increasing amounts of traffic. As such, IXPs appear as a natural place to foster network innovation and assess the benefits of SDN, a recent technological trend that has already boosted innovation within data center networks. In this article, we give a comprehensive overview of use cases for SDN at IXPs, which leverage the superior vantage point of an IXP to introduce advanced features like load balancing and DDoS mitigation. We discuss the benefits of SDN solutions by analyzing real-world data from one of the largest IXPs. We also leverage insights into IXP operations to shape benefits not only for members but also for operators.