Who should I send to Internet Peering Events?

Dear DrPeering -

I was just hired to, among other things, offload as much traffic as possible across free peering sessions. How can I get peering without coming off like a needy or lame newbie ISP?

Serge Itovic


Thanks for that question, Serge; this is well travelled territory. Everyone starts somewhere, and the DrPeering clinic has assisted many ISPs through this process.

There are definitely some dos and do nots.

  1. DO send your lead techies - these would be your network architects, planners, and engineers familiar with the network backbone and traffic, current and planned. They will interact with the engineers from the other companies, and we have found that the quickest way to gain rapport is for people doing the same job at different companies to talk shop.
  2. DO NOT send your sales guys. If you do, keep in mind that Peering Coordinators travel a great distance to meet other Peering Coordinators. They will potentially be wasting their time and the company resources speaking with you, not achieving their peering goal, so be very cognizant of their time and interests, or you will be flagged and not allowed to attend again.
  3. DO have a target peer list. It is helpful to show up knowing who you want to speak with, how much traffic you have to exchange today and future, and where you and the target peer are currently and soon to be colocated along with the name of person attending the forum.
  4. DO research the target peers public peering policy. It is acceptable to ask about exceptions to a policy clause, but not acceptable to not know the publicly posted policy before asking. (See the ask.DrPeering article about Peering Policy Clauses.)
  5. DO start with the low hanging fruit. All DrPeering consultants start clients out working with the Tier 2 ISPs that are easy to speak with, ones with whom peering is most likely to succeed. After five or so assisted peering introductions, the peering coordinators generally get the hang of it and go off on their own to obtain further peering relationships.
  6. DO bring lots of business cards. There is no excuse for running out of cards at an event where travel a great distance with the sole purpose of establishing relationships.
  7. DO NOT expect signed peering agreements as a result attending peering fora. A reasonable expectation is that your peering team, being exposed to the peering community, is partially inculcated into the peering community. With a handful of business cards, with the initial personal relationships established, peering discussions will be much easier. The Peering Forum will grease the skids towards any possible peering relationship.
  8. DO SEND THE SAME PEOPLE. A common problem we see is that companies apply the fairness criteria to business trips, and send different members of the team. The problem here is that no one person is seen in the community as a peering person for peering with the company. It takes three or so attendances to be seen as in the Peering Community, with relationships with and access to the leaders in the Peering Community. By sending different people each time, you pretty much guarantee your company will always be seen as merely an attendee, rather than a leader or an active member of the Peering Community.
  9. DO bring all the resources into informal discussion. You are pitching your case for peering, and the resources you have at your disposal include current network maps, traffic patterns, growth over the years. More importantly, and more persuasively, you have projections and plans. Project the success of your network with realistic timelines and growth trajectories so folks will want to and will plan to peer your traffic at a point in the future.
  10. DO leverage Peering Professionals that are already in the community. These people include IX liaisons whose job includes introducing new customers to other peering prospects. There are consultants available to assist in the planning and execution of peering activities as well. Finally, you will find that peering folks are social by virtue of their job, and generally will help each other out; find a person that seems to know everyone in the peering community and ask for some guidance.

Other resources that might be helpful:

Read about the Peering Coordinator Job

Read what the Peering Coordinators talk about on line and at peering fora

Sign up for the Global Peering Forum

Read more about the Global Peering Community

-- DrPeering

DrPeering [at] ask [dot] DrPeering [dot] net


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