Original Blog post by Vanessa Eixman, Director Business Development for Jaymie Scotto & Associates. The blog was posted on January 11, 2010 on Up to the Minute Tech, Vanessa’s blog:
What should you consider when choosing a quality Internet Provider? High speed is key, but Grant Kirkwood, CTO of Mzima Networks suggests a few more important factors to consider – the provider’s access to content and the quickest route. How close is your internet provider to the content you want to download? Kirkwood in a recent article examines the differences between Tier 1 and Tier 2 Internet backbone providers to explain how an IP provider’s proximity to content and applications makes a huge difference in the overall user experience.
Essentially the more ‘hops’ there are between two points along a network, the higher the latency which affects overall performance. In his article Kirkwood reviews the factors that come into play for providers when routing Internet traffic. There are distinct differences in routing choices and flexibility for a Tier 1 provider versus a Tier 2 provider.
The provider that makes routing choices based on a variety of factors such as performance, flexibility, quality, and redundancy helps to ensure that IP traffic will be routed across the path with the fewest hops (most direct and closest path), which in turn makes for a better user experience.
So how do you know how a Tier 1 provider makes routing choices? Or which Tier 2 network providers route only on price versus quality? You must consider a variety of factors when choosing a provider including quantity and quality of the provider’s global peering relationships; the provider’s ability to provide quality end-to-end solutions; the companies the provider partners with; and you can’t forget the quality of its technical and customer service.
“Mzima Networks,” as stated by Kirkwood, “has focused its business model on creating more efficient peering connections among other Tier 2 providers in order to deliver content and streaming media more efficiently for and between its customers. The company’s goal is to connect to as many networks as it can, in as many locations as possible, in order to bypass the Tier 1 ‘inner circle’ as often as possible. This doesn’t mean that Tier 1 providers are not necessary, because indeed they are – but more often than not, Tier 1s are not the shortest or more efficient route to a destination from a cost and quality stand-point.”