CERN is one of the largest sources of scientific data in the world. To distribute this data to hundreds of collaborating institutes worldwide, CERN requires excellent network connectivity.
CIXP optimises CERN's internet connectivity, and has been a driving force behind internet evolution in nearby France and Switzerland since 1996.
CIXP is open to all Internet Service Providers (ISP). While natural partners are those ISPs with a Point of Presence in Switzerland or France, CIXP membership is open to all organisations that can benefit from peering their IP traffic.
CIXP is a founding member of Euro-IX, the European Internet Exchange Point Association. It has been part of the organisation since the very first meeting in October, 2001.
The service is provided jointly by CERN and Equinix's data-centres in Geneva and Zurich.
CIXP is located at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
The CIXP was formally established on January 1st, 1996 using standard Ethernet switching technology. In 1989 the first pan-European internet backbone was established through CERN, and in 1990 the first T1 connection to NSFnet in the USA was made. At the time, trans-Atlantic speeds were at a record 1.5Mb/s, about 10% of today's ADSL for home-use.
Following the de-regulation of the European Telecom industry in 1996, the CIXP became one of the first "carrier neutral" Internet Exchange Points (IXP) in the world.
The CIXP was subsequently extended through dark fibers to another neutral location in Geneva (Telehouse Switzerland SA now owned by Equinix). The CIXP was one of the very first IXPs to incorporate an "all optical" photonic switch from Glimmerglass as part of its infrastructure in order to gain additional operational flexibility - but also to gain experience with new modes of operations like "on-demand optical wavelengths", i.e. "lambdas".
In November 2012, Equinix inaugurated a second datacentre in Geneva and the CIXP was extended to include it. The three sites (CERN, Equinix GV1 and Equinix GV2) are connected with a redundant optical ring, greatly increasing the peering possibilities of the distributed exchange.