Interconnection, Part 1 – What is a Carrier Hotel?
You can’t check in.
You can’t order room service.
When is a hotel not a hotel?
When it’s a Carrier Hotel, of course!
In this three-part blog series, we cover the story of interconnection—it’s inner workings, and why it matters. In this installment, the Carrier Hotel, where the story of interconnection begins.
Interconnection is a word thrown around the data center industry a lot. However, what it boils down to is choice. The choice of allowing your business to connect to any network or cloud provider. Allowing your business to scale while reducing time, CAPEX, and mitigating risk. The first step to build your interconnection strategy is the Carrier Hotel.
A Carrier Hotel is a strategic building based in a downtown location that houses networks and cloud services. An enterprise can colocate (or connect to) to these providers and cloud services from this building. Think of the Carrier Hotel as grand central station. You can switch from one provider to the next with ease.
You may wonder, “Why do all these providers choose to be in one place?” The historical reason was due to the divestiture of AT&T in 1982. The divestiture stated that any long-distance traffic had to be carried by a different provider (IXC’s) than the 7 regional Bell operating companies (RBOC’s). This gave rise to the Carrier Hotel in cities where the RBOC’s would pass traffic to the new long-distance companies or IXC’s. Carrier Hotels have evolved over time as the number of long-distance network carriers has increased and the transition of voice traffic to data has evolved. These facilities are now considered “edge” facilities and allow network providers to connect to each other’s backbone without having to duplicate long-haul infrastructures, bringing services closer to where people need them. Consumers benefit from a cost-effective, single point of entry to an array of network providers.
The cost benefit is the major differentiator in a Carrier Hotel. Instead of a organization having to build out fiber connectivity to every provider they want to connect to, they can now just collocate equipment and cross connect their infrastructure into any provider within the Carrier Hotel, allowing flexibility to scale network providers and capacity up and down, arbitrage carrier costs, increase network performance (lower latency), increase network consistency and directly connect to internet exchanges, and cloud platforms.
The Carrier Hotel is the foundation of what interconnection is. It helps providers find a common meeting place to extend their reach while helping consumers quickly and easily connect to them. In our next blog, we will discuss Meet-Me-Rooms and why they are important to your interconnection strategy.