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The Data Center Network and Carrier Neutrality

Posted by QuoteColo on September 07, 2013 - Updated on February 20, 2023

the data center network and carrier neutrality


When it comes to hosting you already understand the importance of performance and downtime, which is driven to a large extent by the quality, speed, resilience and uptime track record delivered by the underlying network. However understanding the concept of carrier-neutrality is key to the end users experience.

Every provider’s network is different, simply stated. A basic differentiator is the number, size, quality and price of carriers that run into a hosting data center and power a provider’s network. Many managed hosting providers offer services that are carrier-neutral. This simply means that the hoster’s data center connects to the Internet over multiple carriers and is typically operated by a third party that has little or no part in providing Internet service to the end-user customer. A carrier-neutral data center and hosting provider is entirely independent of any carrier and because it has no affiliation can attract a wide number of connectivity providers into its facility.

The carrier-neutral provider is very different from a carrier-specific service. In a carrier-specific data center the provider won’t have a choice with respect to the carrier that provides the Internet connection. That choice has already been made by the carrier, which runs the network underlying its infrastructure services, and then doubles as the hosting and cloud provider. While carrier networks often come with some level of redundancy, there is generally quite limited flexibility. The customer is for all intents and purposes locked into the carrier’s network.

Carrier-neutrality is often preferred and the main advantages are:

1. Using multiple carriers leads to competition, which translates into better potential pricing.

2. Multiple carriers defend against network outages and weak performance. If one network goes down the hoster fails over to the other network.

3.  Carrier-neutrality facilitates interconnection and peering between carriers and between tenants in the data center.

Another advantage of carrier-neutrality is the choice and flexibility it creates. Customers can move from one carrier to another without much disruption. Customers might be looking for the best performance to price ratio or want to build in various levels of redundancy. The bottom is line that the more choices there are the better it is for the customer and carrier-neutrality affords that.

For customers, the network also matters when it comes to performance and reach. The more network nodes and the further the geographic reach, the fewer hops each user has to make to reach the hosted infrastructure. Distance and speed are intertwined and directly impact performance.

Each carrier’s network has its own unique footprint and geographic coverage. This leads to strengths and weaknesses that can show a great deal of variation from provider to provider. Depending on what the customer wants, connectivity and network performance can be a key determinant when it comes to choosing between providers. Carrier-neutral options are a popular choice because they increase the odds of meeting a typical customer’s various requirements.


This guest blog post was written by Jeanine Sicinski from INetU.  
INetU, Inc., a leading managed hosting and cloud provider, delivers secure, high performance and reliable hosting for businesses worldwide. INetU expertly provides compliant solutions for e-Commerce, Healthcare, Financial Services, SaaS and more. With domestic and international datacenters, INetU has the global reach to support even the most complex hosting environments. INetU is PCI, SSAE 16/SOC 1, SOC 2/3, ISAE 3402 and Safe Harbor compliant and provides HIPAA guidance and assurances.

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