10 Feb 2015

Colocation Near Chicago. Fast Content Delivery

The Data Center

Fist and foremost, it is important where is the physical location of the IT Hosting infrastructure and the web server used for content delivery. As far as the Colocation data center is from any given region (in our case this is Chicago area), as longer it takes for the content hosted in this Colocation site to be delivered to the The Internet users in this specific region. There might be exceptions and it is possible certain locations to be operated by faster and shorter Internet routes. For example a Midwest U.S. Colocation data center could have a round trip time (RTT) of 20 ms - 40 ms to the Internet users in the State of New York, depending upon the Internet connectivity routing policies of the telecommunication carriers and Internet Service Providers.

The Internet Connectivity

The second factor which is even of a greater importance for delivering fast content to the local Internet users, is the way any Colocation or IT Hosting provider builds and operates its Internet network. The more Internet routes go to the web hosting provider's infrastructure, the more options Internet users have to transmit data (download and upload content) to this particular network. An Internet network is considered redundant if it has two independent, physically separate, Internet connectivity routes (also called "Upstreams" or "Uplinks to Internet"). For example, ten years ago, when Host Color has started building its own Colocation data center and Internet network, we have got two physical upstreams to two global Internet Service Providers - Level 3 and Cogent. They have ensured that we have had redundancy of the Internet connectivity and worked good for us on a global scale for more than 10 years.

The more uplinks to Internet any data center or IT hosting provider operates, the better redundancy it has. However, it is even more important for a web hosting company to connect to ISPs and networks, in a way that each and every connection link improves the overall data transfer quality and lowers latency (RTT) to different locations and geographical areas. Here it comes the third important factor, that I believe makes Host Color's data center and our network AS46873 one of the best options for quality IT Hosting and fast content delivery to Midwestern U.S. and Chicago area in particular.

Low Latency Network

The third and I believe the most important thing, that contributes to the operational level of any web hosting provider's network and results in a fast content delivery, is the number and the quality of its Peering routes. As the purpose of this article is to explain how Host Color's network (AS46873) allows us to deliver Internet content very fast and with highest possible quality to Chicago area and all over the Midwest U.S., I'll use AS46873 as an example to explain how fast content delivery works.

Websites or data hosted in a data center located in any metropolitan area (in our case this is Chicago) often load slow (or are accessed with a high round trip delay) for Internet users based in the same state (province) or even in the same area. Due to the way Internet connectivity works and because of ISP's routing policies, the delay for content delivery to local Internet users could be significantly higher, than expected. Midwestern U.S. Internet Users often experience long round trip delays, when they want to access any local host or website hosted with any local data center in their own state. The reason is that the wholesale Internet bandwidth carriers in the region operate certain physical routes and apply certain routing policies, which increase round trip delays for many destinations. It is very common that the route for a home or office Internet user to a certain data center in the Midwestern U.S. to be indirect, something that delays the Internet content delivery.

Most web hosting providers either operate behind their data centers and infrastructure services providers (which makes impossible for them to apply own network policies) or build their networks by connecting to certain wholesale ISPs. The bigger the ISP is, the better global Internet connectivity it would provide. However, the larger the telecommunication carrier is, the more complicated routing and networking policy it would apply. Those web hosting providers which rely entirely on large upstream providers, enjoy stable Internet connectivity. But if any web host is connected only to large, international ISPs, it is very likely that Internet users, who's physical location is close to the company's data center to experience higher latency, when they try to access data hosted on the provider's infrastructure. This happens in many Internet content delivery scenarios.

In comparison, companies like Host Color, that operate direct peering agreements and exchange traffic with the local ISPs, deliver Internet content much faster and with higher quality. To be fair to anyone who has been reading this article, I want to say that there are a number of data centers and networks that operate multiple peering agreements. What makes us unique is that Host Color Network is build with the purpose to avoid traffic congestions for Midwest U.S. Internet users and to ensure shortest possible routes between their homes or offices and our data center.

Host Color's Midwest U.S. Peering

We lower the rout trip time to Host Color data center and our network AS46873 for Midwest U.S. Internet users and those in Chicago area by:

  • a) Operating bilateral Internet traffic exchange agreements with local Internet Service Providers
  • b) Participating to various Internet Exchanges
  • c) Using fewer hops to get to certain physical location
  • d) Transmitting Internet data using redundant fiber routes

If you have read this article and got to this point, please go Accounts.HostColor.com and ask more about our Peering Partners. Alternatively you can give us a "Like" on Facebook.com/HostColor/ and review some of the peering announcements we have published within the last year.

The only thing left to say at the end of this article is to ask you to test your own Internet connectivity to Host Color's network. This would be a test for your Internet service provider in the first place. Use Host Color SpeedTest, to check the download and upload speed rates of your Internet connection.

Another useful tool for you would be Host Color Looking Glass, which would allow you to see BGP, trace route and to ping any IP address from our network.