Why PeeringDB is Useful
PeeringDB is an online database filled with information about Internet networks. This includes networks, physical locations where networks connect to one another and also Internet exchanges where networks peer with one another. To understand what PeeringDB is and why is it useful you must first understand what Internet peering is.
Basically, the Internet is a huge collection of multiple smaller networks. These networks all connect to one another in some form to create one huge network. This single huge network is called the Internet. Peering is one way in which individual networks connect to one another to create the Internet.
PeeringDB is an amazing tool because it allows networks to find and connect to each other. It also allows network architects to plan where to expand their network. Network architects and network administrators use the information from PeeringDB on a daily basis.
Finding New Peers
As stated earlier, the Internet is a collection of smaller networks. Each of these networks connects to other networks to form the Internet. Choosing who to connect to can be a difficult process. If you are in charge of a certain network you must decide who you should but IP transit from, and also who you should attempt settlement-free peering with.
PeeringDB provides a single website where to can find all the networks which are located in the same facility as your routers. This will present you with a full list of networks you can connect to. You can then click on the networks which are located in the same facilities as your routers and find out which best suits your IP transit and peering needs.
Expanding To New Locations
Successful networks grow. If you are looking to grow your network you must find new locations to expand to. PeeringDB provides a list of common networking facilities and a list of peering exchange points. You can search through the site by state or country to find all the locations and exchange points which you can expand into.
One you have a list of potential facilities and exchanges, the next step is to look at all the networks that currently exist in those locations. Specifically, you are usually looking for new networks to peer with, or new networks to buy IP transit from. It doesn't make sense to physically expand your network to a location that does not have any new connections.
Not only does PeeringDB list the networks at each location, it often provides the peering policy of those networks. You can see if those potential peers have an open or closed peering policy. Expanding into a new location where all the networks have a closed peering policy will not lead to many new connections.
Judging Other Networks
There are a number of ways to judge how large a network is. The number of public and private peering exchange points that the network connects to is one such way. The more exchange points a network is located in, the higher its connectivity will be. PeeringDB provides a list of both public and private peering locations for networks.
It also provides traffic levels, IPv4 and IPv6 prefix numbers, the geographic scope, etc.
Basically, PeeringDB is the place to go to find out information about other networks. This can be useful not only for potential peers, but also to judge how your competition is doing. You may be interested in seeing where your competition has connections. Are they in a location where you are not?
If you interact with other networks or need information about other networks or networking locations, PeeringDB is a great place to start.