👻Demystifying Internet Traffic by Understanding the Real Distance between Nodes & how Major Vendors have a Fundamental Flaw in their SD-WAN🚇

👻Demystifying Internet Traffic by Understanding the Real Distance between Nodes & how Major Vendors have a Fundamental Flaw in their SD-WAN🚇

🚇 How Virtual Routes Mislead Like London's Tube Map in Internet Traffic


2 min read

Many SD-WAN vendors have their solution reliant on a mesh topology. This crucial design and technical architecture decision is based on a fundamental misconception. The result is their SD-WAN products are less than optimal!

The way we envision the Internet's topology often mirrors our misunderstanding of physical distance. Consider the London Tube map—a logical representation rather than a precise depiction of actual distances between stations. Similarly, assumptions about Internet connectivity based on geographical proximity can be misleading, especially in terms of latency.

In reality, Internet traffic navigates through critical points known as Internet peering exchanges, much like pivotal stations on the Tube map. These exchanges, akin to hubs, facilitate the movement of traffic between different networks, essentially acting as interconnection points.

While two endpoints might be physically close in a city, they can be on separate Internet Service Provider (ISP) networks, necessitating the traffic to traverse through peering exchanges situated elsewhere. For instance, in South Africa, peering exchanges exist predominantly in cities like Joburg, Cape Town, and Durban. This means that despite nodes being in the same city, traffic between them might route through a distant peering exchange location.

Moreover, major cloud service providers often have their primary presence in specific peering exchange locations. For example, some providers might solely transit through the Johannesburg peering exchange, creating a situation where traffic between nodes located in the same city must first transit through this specific exchange.

These dynamics render mesh configurations in SD-WAN setups somewhat redundant for optimizing Internet traffic flow. Instead, adopting hub-and-spoke configurations, with hubs stationed at key peering exchanges, ensures more efficient routing. By directing traffic through these central hubs, businesses can minimize latency and maximize network efficiency.

Understanding the Internet's topology requires acknowledging that geographical proximity doesn't necessarily translate to optimal connectivity. Peering exchanges serve as crucial points where traffic converges, affecting how data travels between nodes. Thus, when configuring network architectures, businesses can benefit significantly from aligning their setups with the strategic locations of these internet hubs.

Catering for an SD-WAN deployment that is inherently itself a mesh topology is also itself not optional. As explained by Nicky Kearns:

In essence, the Internet's intricacies often echo the Tube map's logic—a representation that might not reflect the actual distance between points. Acknowledging the role of peering exchanges as hubs in Internet connectivity can help businesses make more informed decisions about network configurations for efficient data transmission.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa. 👉 Contact Fusion