Vancouver IXP - VanTX - BCNet

William F. Maton Sotomayor wmaton at
Wed Aug 21 11:28:27 UTC 2013

On Tue, 20 Aug 2013, Jonathan Stewart wrote:

> You named 2 IXPs, and only got one right. A year ago, there were two
> active: TORIX in Toronto, and OTTIX in Ottawa.  Ottawa is too close to
> Toronto to have an impact, so OTTIX has remained small.  Having only 2 open

That's not entirely accurate.

The fact is the Ottawa market - as well as the Eastern Ontario market, had 
a large number of very small ISPs in the area a decade ago.  So OttIX had 
many ISPs be litle traffic.  After a major market conolidation (buyouts,m 
mergers, etc) the number of peers declined quite a bit - but the traffic 

In the meantime, within the province of Ontario, LANX costs became 
effectively the same (to us) to go from one end of the city to the 
other as the cost to go between cities.  Even at the $dayjob, we took 
advantage of this and simply dragged another LANX over to TorIX.
Heck, even OttIX had a POP at 151 Fron in Toronto which saw enormous 

So in that sense, OttIX achieved one of its primary objectives and that 
was to drive transit costs down in what is effectively a one-company town.

> IXPs, 400 km apart in a country 5000 km wide is not good enough.

5000km in length by 100Km in width as most of the population lives within 
100Km of the Canada-US border, but yes, it's a big country.

> Since then, QIX in Montreal has opened up from a research-only IXP, to a
> neutral peering facility.  MBIX in Winnipeg has started, and YYCIX in
> Calgary is up and running as well.  Vancouver is still lacking.

BCNet would beg to differ. :-)

There's also VicTX in Victoria run by BCNet.  (Granted, some might simply 
say those are nothing more than BCNet aggregation hubs - but judge 
for yourselves please.)

> Currently, the aforementioned established big players are not at all
> interested in our exchange, they don't talk to us.  Only exception is
> Hurricane Electric, who recently joined, dropping wholesale bandwidth costs
> in Winnipeg *dramatically*.

IXPs in Canada have been particularly effective in doing this, especially 
in Ottawa where in 2003 it was something like $550 per megabit/month.  One 
of the OttIX members (IGS) offered $200 and well, a number of OttIX peers 
went to town with that.  The rate grudgingly dropped to $333 by 2006 until 
$MGMT allowed me to break out in other places to leverage even lower 
pricing.  As of 2011 the best price I could get here was $90 but we 
already got out of Dodge by then.

All to say the effects of an IXP in a certain locale were positive for the 
end-consumers (ISPs mainly) of transit.

> BTW, in Winnipeg we still have the problem of cross-continent traffic paths
> to send data across the street.  Worst case is something like this:
> Winnipeg--Chicago--Toronto--Vancouver--Calgary--Winnipeg. That's a 15,000
> km round trip.  MBIX can help with that.

For a good view of the Canadian perspective on those and more, see:

We've contributed a lot of traceroutes, ditto via $dayjob given the 
diverse footprint of the network (national research backbone - not 
CANARIE's though) just to see how our traffic runs about the country as 
well as outside.  Some surprises there.  (I think CIRA funded that one as 


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