After seeing many headlines promising the next-generation of digital living through AI, XR, 5G, the Metaverse, and more, everyone wants to jump straight to the end game. We all want to reap the benefits of limitless enablement across our devices and environments, and we’re all eager to capitalize on the use cases these technologies across business, education, healthcare, and more offer. 

This excitement makes the truth that we’re not quite ready to fully capitalize on these technologies a hard pill to swallow. Of course, nobody can overlook the advancements the world has made in adapting AI technology to a smart home environment, using IoT to create  autonomous vehicles, or employing Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities for training in healthcare environments. Still, when we think about what the ultimate digital world looks like, we have a long way to go before we have the idyllic, fully technology-enabled future we imagine. It’s important to remember the bridge that must be built between now and the future: A rich foundation of connectivity. 


Calling All Connections

We’ve all heard it time and time again: New applications and technologies thrive on low latencies and high levels of speed. This is what enables streams of information and data points (crucial for the seamless operation of the technologies and applications) to be processed and stored in real-time as demanded.

Networks are still developing to keep pace with new technologies like 5G, IoT, AI, and the Metaverse. In fact, it might seem like we’re just waiting for new technologies to roll out so we can access them. Instead, we’re actually waiting on the symbiotic co-creation of both network connectivity and the technology that traverses it. Technology seems to be outpacing the networks in some cases. 

Networking connections and hubs must proliferate to speedily deliver information everywhere it’s needed for autonomous vehicles, wearables and other tech. This is what the journey to the edge has helped us with (keeping data processing closer to the user means faster results and better experiences for applications), but building a truly robust network topology is still ongoing. 

The next step in building out the foundations of connectivity, besides expanding our networks and data centers to the edge (you can learn more about edge data center benefits here), is now about shifting how the data traverses that network. This means getting more control over how it reaches its destinations and ensuring that everyone who utilizes the network can have the ability to leverage the most efficient avenues. The world must make as many network opportunities available to as many network users as possible to optimize the data flows from new applications. That means gathering network users together and sharing resources. 


The Beauty of an IXP

Network users are gathering at Interconnection Points, or IXPs, and changing how they utilize the network through peering. In this world of peering, connectivity is unfettered because it happens by directly connecting two networks, not sending data through a third-party transit provider. This makes the process more efficient by opening up avenues for data that might not have been available otherwise. Now, data residing in one hub that must go to another can get there with fewer stops in between, offering the lowest possible latency and the most streamlined, effective experience for application users. That’s excellent news for the future of high-speed tech. 

Of course, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the cost benefits and heightened levels of reliability through peering’s added redundancy and lack of associated costs from paid third parties. When we look at what must happen in order for the world to truly unlock the future of IT, it’s clear that connectivity must come first — and that means evangelizing the value of IXPs. The more use we make of these hubs, the richer the connectivity at these locations will become, and the more optimized overall networking can be. As we reinforce this robust ecosystem, next-gen capabilities will undoubtedly flourish. 

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