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Scotland Planning to Build its Own Internet Exchange for ISPs

Monday, Feb 25th, 2013 (9:09 am) - Score 1,029

It’s more than a mere question of independence. The London Internet Exchange (LINX), which is a central hub for much of the internet traffic that comes into and goes out of the United Kingdom, is exploring the possibility of building a new regional peering hub (IXP) in Scotland.

The move, which will be discussed on Wednesday 27th March 2013 in the Edinburgh Conference Centre at Herriot Watt University, could have many benefits for both Scotland and the United Kingdom. It would boost network capacity, improve latency times (especially critical for financial trades and online video games) and could add some much needed resilience against terrorist attacks or natural disasters. All of this would also make Scotland more attractive to businesses.

Certainly LINX appears to favour the idea of a more decentralised system, which is one of the reasons why they recently launched the United Kingdom’s first regional peering point in Manchester. LINX are also planning to establish more IXPs in “a number of other regions where there is significant Internet traffic“.

John Souter, CEO of LINX, said (Scotsman):

The biggest difference users will see is in terms of what is called “latency” – the time lapse which can cause gaps – like a pause in conversation. The less distance information has to travel the less problem there is with latency.

This is very important to games players, where low 
latency is critical, as well as Skype and other voice services and anything where there are transactions such as banking services.”

But we would caution broadband users in Scotland to beware of comments which suggest that a new IXP would “definitely help cut the time it takes to download videos and other information,” as this could be misinterpreted. Certainly having a local internet exchange does have its benefits, especially in terms of helping to bolster regional network capacity, yet at the same time it won’t magically overcome the physical limits of your existing connectivity (though you should get better latency but that’s not much help for downloading).

A distance dependant ADSL2+ line that does 12Mbps is still going to do 12Mbps after a local IXP arrives, unless you upgrade the line to a fibre optic solution or FTTC etc.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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