The Internet is comprised of many independent networks of many sizes. Traffic may originate on any of these networks, and be destined for any other. Such traffic passes from one network to another at pre-arranged exchange points.
There are a relatively small number of exchange points on the Internet today in the United States, and each is heavily burdened, yet critical to the Internet's efficient operation. In order to exchange traffic at these points, both the sending and receiving networks are responsible for carrying data to and from the appropriate exchange point, or for paying another network to do so.
The geographical placement of these exchange points cannot be ideal for all possible cases. In fact, almost all Internet traffic passing from one Pittsburgh network to another Pittsburgh network has to be sent through Washington, D.C., Chicago, or New York City, or under certain conditions, even further. The sending and receiving networks pay an unnecessary cost for this inefficient handling of data that should remain local. This inefficiency also leads to poor performance for delay-sensitive applications such as streaming media, videoconferencing, or multiplayer gaming.
The solution to this problem for Pittsburgh networks is the establishment of an open exchange point at which all local organizations can exchange traffic on an equal basis. Participants in this exchange point reduce their costs and improve performance and reliability for their local Internet traffic. The existence of such an exchange point establishes Pittsburgh as a region that is serious about the Internet.
The Pittsburgh Internet Exchange, known as PitX, has been established by pair Networks, Inc, a Web hosting provider headquartered in Pittsburgh. The physical implementation of PitX resides in pair Networks' datacenters in the Southside, where the exchange will be operated by pair Networks on a cost-recovery basis. As an experienced, accomplished, and access-neutral Internet services company, pair Networks is uniquely qualified to operate such a service. Moreover, with hundreds of thousands of Web sites hosted on its own network, including many Pittsburgh-oriented sites, there is already significant local traffic from Pittsburgh Web surfers accessing pair's Web sites.
The exchange is open to all organizations that have some form of dedicated full-time Internet connectivity. Already fully operational, the exchange is growing rapidly.