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When talking about your home or business internet connection and its connection with the local "exchange". What is an "exchange"? Role does it play in the connection between your home and your ISP?

My assumptions are that is regional location for data lines from your house to connect to some sort of routing server which matches a port from the server to your routers IP address. TCP/IP would apply one unifed IP address to the data packets that are then pushed out to the ISP's main routing server?

Sorry if this sounds a little confusing. If so then ignore what I wrote an just clarify what the exchange is.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 19 '10 at 2:36

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This has nothing to do with sysadmining, as it's outside the realm of anyone who doesn't work for a telco. Also the way exchanges work and are owned and provisioned differs greatly based on your country. E.G. in Australia every single exchange in the country is owned by a single monopoly (Telstra) who then lease their space out to other providers - unless you're on a RIM system, or in a thousand other scenarios. This is different from the US where there's a hodgepodge of different technologies and owners of the exchanges all over the country. –  Mark Henderson Nov 19 '10 at 2:42
    

2 Answers 2

Usually it refers to a telephone exchange; the building/enclosure housing the telephony switching equipment. It really shouldn't affect your view of the network at all.

Some of what you said doesn't make sense (grammatically).

The data packets from your home (or whatever) do go through to one of your ISP's servers, but often the network layer handled by the exchange is lower than TCP/IP (i.e. the exchange doesn't do TCP/IP routing). You really shouldn't need to worry about it. It's just part of the wiring between you and your ISP.

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Your local exchange carrier is who you're directly connected to. For example if you has Verizon service, you'd be connected to a Verizon local exchange office by the wiring going to your house. Your ISP is not necessarily the same as your local exchange and they could just act as a middle man to move your data.

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