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Bilateral Peering and Multilateral Peering

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Bilateral Peering is when two networks negotiate with each other and establish a direct BGP peering session. In one of the previous posts, Settlement Free Peering was explained, in this post, both Bilateral and Multilateral Peering will be explained and both are deployment modes of Settlement Free Peering. 

This is generally done when there is a large amount of traffic between two networks. Tier 1 Operators just do Bilateral Peering as they don’t want to peer with anyone, other than other Tier 1 Operators. The rest of the companies are their potential customers, not their peers.

Multilateral Peering

As mentioned above, Bilateral Peering offers the most control, but some networks with very open peering policies may wish to simplify the process, and simply “connect with everyone”. To help facilitate this, many Exchange Points offer “multilateral peering exchanges”, or an “MLPE”.

  • An MLPE is typically an exchange point that offers a “route-server”, allowing a member to establish a single BGP session and receive routes from every other member connected to the MLPE.
  • Effectively, connecting to the MLPE is the same as agreeing to automatically peer with everyone else connected to the MLPE, without requiring the configuration of a BGP session for every peer.

Public Peering and MLPE are almost the same thing and are used mostly interchangeably.

Objectives for an interconnection agreement to consider are:

  • Provides for cost savings and performance improvements
  • Ensure the exchange of traffic is secure, stable, and resilient
  • Establish timely cooperation for security and network incidents
  • Usually includes a non-disclosure agreement

Business terms are needed as part of the objective. Business terms are negotiated by the network owner. Normally, the team of engineers and others are responsible for the health and welfare of the network.

They negotiate utilization, capacity, and management parameters.

Legal terms are negotiated by lawyers. While plain language is always best, legal language is what makes it an enforceable agreement. Networks should cover all the necessary business, technical and legal points in the scope, such as term, jurisdiction, and venue.

Include all necessary parties in the conversation. Including a wide audience in the conversation helps to set realistic business goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bilateral Peering and Multilateral Peering

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