Joel Pacheco Gonçalves
As an international network operator, it is natural to think that to do peering with Mexican networks you should go straight into Mexico City or Querétaro and establish a presence there. However, there is more than meets the eye to fulfill the needs of Mexico networks and benefit from peering arrangements.
Let’s dive into some characteristics of the Mexico market which makes it particular compared to others that are more familiar with peering.
The lack of neutrality impacts carrier density inside Mexico
Neutrality is a significant driver of carrier-dense facilities anywhere in the world. In Mexico, networks do not even concentrate on one multi-tenant facility, so finding a carrier-dense data center is an impossible task within the country.
Not having the majority of Mexican networks in one facility makes opening this emerging market more expensive for international network operators. It would take many deployments inside the country to reach all of them which results in a capital-intensive move.
Most of Mexico’s traffic is routed through the US
When you look at how Mexican networks distribute their traffic inside the country, you notice that you could theoretically split the nation in two: North Mexico and South Mexico.
South Mexico is served from Mexico City, Querétaro, and surrounding markets, whereas North Mexico is served entirely from the US.
North Mexico has many of the most populous cities in the country and better access to the Internet. All this traffic ends up being routed through the US.
Mexican networks are built vertically across several crossing points on the border in and out of the US for traffic balancing, redundancy, and security purposes.
Local IXPs are still a work-in-progress
For a number of reasons, the presence of a local IXP is particularly critical for the growth of the Internet ecosystem in emerging countries.
In Mexico, domestic IXPs have not been successful so far due to the lack of access to local and international content, lack of neutrality, and the refusal of the preponderant network to do peering in these ecosystems.
An association of six members named Consortium for Internet Traffic Exchange runs one of the IXPs in Mexico, hosted by KIO Networks.
Here’s the smart way to start peering with Mexico
A solution to this particular market would be to find a carrier-neutral data center that concentrates the majority of Mexican networks and provides a functional Internet Exchange Point.
Oddly enough, this place is not inside of Mexico but in the city of McAllen, Texas, 10 miles from the US border with Mexico. McAllen is halfway between Dallas and Mexico City and has been one of the key crossing points where Mexican carriers gather to interconnect to Tier-1 networks and, more recently, to Content Providers.
Read on: Cloudflare’s blog post about peering in McAllen
MDC, previously MDC Data Centers, is the carrier-neutral facility where they concentrate and is the northernmost point where they own and operate their network.
We recently partnered with Asteroid and built a peering platform thought for this emerging market. The MEX-IX is today the only IXP focused on Mexico inside the US, and the only one hosted within an ecosystem with the world’s largest concentration of Mexico networks.
Visit: The MEX-IX is the only IXP focused on Mexico in the US
The smart way to start peering with Mexico is – no doubt – to begin exchanging traffic in McAllen, where it would be not only more efficient but also cost-effective, before diving into the country. You would get the benefit of neutrality, carrier-density, exchange platform, and the possibility to deliver your service to Mexico without the regulatory hassle. All while inside the US.
To make this clear, it’s not an either-or matter; your next logical step would be to put a presence in Mexico City or Querétaro – not the other way around – and we as subject-matter experts would always be open to help you achieve that goal.