Remote Peering: More Peering without Internet Flattening
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The trend toward more peering between networks is com- monly conflated with the trend of Internet flattening, i.e., reduction in the number of intermediary organizations on Internet paths. Indeed, direct peering interconnections by- pass layer-3 transit providers and make the Internet flat- ter. This paper studies an emerging phenomenon that sepa- rates the two trends: we present the first systematic study of remote peering, an interconnection where remote networks peer via a layer-2 provider. ur measurements reveal sig- nificant presence of remote peering at IXPs (Internet eX- change Points) worldwide. Based on ground truth traffic, we also show that remote peering has a substantial potential to offload transit traffic. Generalizing the empirical results,we analytically derive conditions for economic viability of remote peering versus transit and direct peering. Because remote-peering services are provided on layer 2, our results challenge the traditional reliance on layer-3 topologies in modeling the Internet economic structure. We also discuss broader implications of remote peering for reliability, security, accountability, and other aspects of Internet research.