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What are the differences between the network peer levels? I've seen peer1 2 and 3 tossed around the web and wondered what the differences were.


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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think you mean tier 1, 2, and 3 instead of peer. Peer1 is a company that sells transit service. Tiers are rough "levels" of internet providers that are largely self-determined by how close the company feels they are to the "core" default-free internet. Sprint, Global Crossing, Level3, and some others are the traditional Tier 1 providers. Anyone that buys service from those providers is a Tier 2, and so on and so forth.

You can look at for a "contentious" view of what exactly constitutes a Tier 1 network, since a lot of this information is not publicly viewable. For example, a compny may buy a lot of transit leased line capacity (undersea fiber, for instance) and in exchange for that get free peering with that provider's internet network. In this case, they are not "paying for transit" specifically, so under some people's definitions, this might be a Tier 1.

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Is there a pricing difference, our should there be a pricing difference for tier 1 vs tier 3 or 4? – dab Dec 28 '11 at 23:16
Since it is mostly marketing-speak, it doesn't make a difference. Your traffic patterns may show that you send a lot of traffic to Brazil, so you should look for someone who has good connectivity to Brazil. What tier they are is unimportant. – Aaron Dec 28 '11 at 23:18
I know this isn't QUITE the purpose of the site but could you explain what my host meant by this: "if you would like to be moved to our premium network (direct Peer1) which is 100% SLA". – dab Dec 28 '11 at 23:58
Marketing speak. 100% uptime is impossible to deliver. Your host has made the determination (most likely based on the fact that they pay Peer1 more money) that they can charge more for the bits you transfer via Peer1. So, you pay more money... for what? Again, it depends on your particular traffic mix. If you're trying to go to Brazil, and Peer1 has great connectivity to Asia, North America, and Europe.... it doesn't matter. – Aaron Dec 29 '11 at 0:27
Thank you sir, have a good holiday :) – dab Dec 29 '11 at 7:09

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