Open-IX is a self-regulated community that’s formed to foster the development of critical Data Center and IXP technical and operating standards in a framework that works for everyone. Open-IX:

  • Promotes uniform specifications for data transfer and physical connectivity
  • Creates resiliency to improve reliability
  • Certifies Internet Exchanges and Data Centers that meet the community developed standards


Version 1.1, February 3, 2015
Questions: [email protected].org

The following outlines the technical requirements for an IXP to be certified by Open-IX. The requirements define minimum functionality, such that IXPs can adhere to the Open-IX standard serving different communities with different requirements. Varying from small single datacenter IXPs serving a limited local community to large scale many datacenter metro environments, but leave room for modifications that meet the need of the local community. The purpose of the requirements is to provide publicly available information on what the participants of the IXP can expect, and not to describe in detail how the IXP is designed, built or operated.

The keywords used throughout the document are as defined in RFC 2119.

Download IXP Technical Standards PDF

Download IXP Certification Application PDF


Definition of an IXP

A physical network infrastructure operated by a single entity with the purpose to facilitate the exchange of Internet traffic between Autonomous Systems. The intention is to connect more than 2 Autonomous Systems, and there MUST be a clear and open policy for others to join.


Minimal Service Offering

The IXP MUST provide the services described below. This in no way inhibits the operator from providing additional services, or methods of interconnection, as long as they are described on the publicly available website of the IXP.

Public Exchange VLAN (IX)

A switch platform which allows anytoany interconnection. Customer interfaces with Ethernet frames tagged for the public exchange VLAN MUST be forwarded in accordance with the traffic rules indicated in this document.

Private VLAN (PVLAN)

A private switch platform, whereby any two or more parties may consent to interconnect through either the same physical port that delivers their access to the Public Exchange VLAN or alternatively dedicated physical port(s). In case there are exactly two parties in the private VLAN the connection MUST be delivered guaranteed congestion free. In case of more than two parties the service MAY be best effort.

Physical Interface

The IXP MUST be able to offer IEEE 802.3 Ethernet connectivity on a common switch infrastructure. Service offerings MUST be available at least at the following IEEE defined rates:

802.3z 1GE

802.3ae 10GE

Service offerings MAY be available at any other IEEE defined rate, including 802.3ad link aggregation of any of these rates.

The complete service offering MUST be described on a publicly available website. The information provided MUST contain: link rate and physical media (copper, fiber and fiber type).

Traffic Forwarding

The IXP MUST forward frames with the following Ethertypes:

0x0800 IPv4

0x86dd IPv6

Valid frames with Ethertype 0x86dd may be suppressed on the Public Exchange VLAN due to MLD snooping, or alternate methods used to implement IPv6 neighbor discovery.

If there is no provision to handle ARP in any other way, the IXP MUST forward frames with the following Ethertype:

0x0806 ARP

If the IXP has reason to limit certain traffic, the IXP MUST publish on a publicly available website what traffic is not allowed and or not forwarded on the exchange platform.

If the IXP applies a MAC address locking mechanism on a participants port, then the IXP MUST make known to customers the process to update MAC addresses.

Customer Interface

The IXP MUST provide a clear demarcation point between the IXP services and the customer. This can be either directly on the exchange or via a common demarcation point available to the participants.


Switching Platform

The IXP switching platform MUST have backplane capacity to sufficiently handle the aggregate traffic of all customerfacing ports, without oversubscription. If individual switching elements contain multiple switch fabric modules, the same conditions MUST apply during single component failures.

The IXP MUST run any inter-switch links congestion free.

The IXP MUST have redundant power feeds fed from discrete sources (A and B) for all exchange infrastructure.

If the IXP does not have full path diversity between two discrete switching elements in different physical locations, this MUST be described on the IXPs publicly available website.

The IXP MUST describe on a publicly available website the infrastructure and the redundancy measures implemented to overcome single component failures.

IP Space

In order to be independent of any of the connected parties, the IP space used on the “Public Exchange VLAN” MUST be PI space or other IP space directly assigned by a RIR. This applies to both IPv4 and IPv6. The IXP operator will be responsible for obtaining address space from the respective RIR, as well as providing all material for justification, documentation, and applicable fees as required by the RIR.

Route Server

If a route server service is offered then it MUST support both IPv4 and IPv6 and 4byte ASNs. The AS number used for the route server implementation MUST be a unique AS number assigned by one of the RIRs.

The IXP MUST publish the route server setup on a publicly available website.



The IXP MUST publish a telephone number, email address or any other means that provides immediate access to technical support, on a website available to its participants, on how to contact operational staff that is capable of managing the IXP infrastructure. The access method MUST be available 24x7.

The IXP MUST provide and publish a procedure to announce service affecting maintenance to its participants.


The IXP MUST monitor the exchange platform for performance degradation and service affecting events.

The IXP MUST provide a procedure to inform its participants on performance degradation and service affecting events.


The IXP MUST publish on a publicly available website the participants on the peering platform and the relevant AS numbers.

The IXP MUST publish on a publicly available website the total sum of all incoming and outgoing traffic in bps from all connected networks on the public peering VLAN. The traffic sum MUST include the traffic on customer facing ports only and MUST be made up of 5 min average traffic measurements. A distinction MUST be made between the traffic on the public peering VLAN and any other interconnection service.


The IXP MUST have available and maintain a publicly available website where at least the subjects mentioned in this document MUST be addressed.



The IXP MUST have and maintain an accurate entry in a peering contact and configuration directory.