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How to Select the Right IP Transit Provider

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry has been around for a long time. Therefore, it is easy to make assumptions when choosing IP Transit Providers. However, sophisticated IP network buyers understand that technical nuances can significantly affect the return on investment from interconnection spending. Whether you are an expert or not, we have compiled seven smart IP Transit buyer tips and a bonus tip to help you make the best choices. 

Seven Smart IP Transit Buyer Tips 

1. Understand the Difference between Tier 1 ISPs and Tier 2 ISPs

 It is common for new buyers of IP Transit Services to have a misperception that Tier 1 ISPs are better than Tier 2 ISPs. This is because of the numerical ranking in ISP Tiers (Tier 1 through Tier 3), but the truth is more complex.  

 At a summary level, Tier 1 networks offer a greater breadth of global Internet Transit routes, which makes them a one-stop shop for global network connectivity. However, Tier 1s limit how they build their settlement-free peering relationships to preserve brand equity. This can result in congestion that surprises Transit customers.  

 Tier 2 ISPs are generally less global in comparison to Tier 1s. They compete by providing a greater depth of interconnections and bandwidth with more direct routes. As a result, Tier 2s can offer better performance and high-quality of service to end-users within their network scope, which is typically regional (think Europe or Asia). For a more in-depth and educational coverage of this topic, you can check out this article: “The Difference Between Tier 1 and Tier 2 ISPs.” 

2. Shape Your Interconnection Strategy Around Your Performance Needs

Your user experience goals should influence your strategy and your upstream provider selection.  

 If your application is not latency sensitive or won’t be affected by occasional peak time packet loss, and you’re mainly trying to gain reach to the rest of the Internet, a Tier 1 will offer a one-stop solution for you. 

If your application, commerce, content, or gaming users are sensitive to latency or packet loss conditions, don’t settle for convenience and breadth; go deeper with Tier 2 providers that can offer higher service levels. 

 3. Use Ranking Metrics as a Scope and Credibility Check.  

 When technical buyers evaluate internet connectivity providers, they usually visit websites like that rank autonomous system numbers (ASNs).  

 AS ranking is a metric that shows the relative scope of a network's routing reach across the Internet. This is a general measure of network credibility and maturity. The Tier 1 providers are at the top of these rankings because their routes offer global reach to the entire Internet. However, any Transit provider that ranks above #100 is credible. It's important to note that some large, national carrier ISPs rank below #100, such as British Telecom, ranked #146 on 

Other related metrics include Peer Rank, which measures the number of IPv4 and IPv6 Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) peers the ASN has, and Cone Rank, which measures the total number of ASNs that are downstream of the network.  

 It's important to remember that these metrics don't necessarily guarantee service quality or high performance. Some large Tier 1 ISPs are well-known for low prices and spotty quality, and some lower Tier ISPs provide world-class quality. 

4. Prioritize Service Quality Factors

 While the credibility of a provider’s Internet routing is the primary consideration in how well they can deliver your Internet traffic, service quality factors should be a very close second. It would be best if you looked for the following: 

  1. Will the provider be responsive to your performance goals? Will they strive to understand your goals and build peerings that deliver low-latency routes where it matters? 
  2. Does the provider peer in Internet Exchange Points beyond the major Internet hubs like Frankfurt, London, and Amsterdam? If your provider doesn't invest in more distributed IXP peerings, they are unlikely to have the most optimal routes to all the eyeball networks you want to reach.
  3. Do they offer transparent pricing plus self-service ordering and connectivity management? This contrasts with traditional, telecom-style bureaucratic hurdles and delays during quoting and provisioning. IP Transit, like many B2B services has entered the cloud era.  
  4. Is the provider open in how they communicate and support customers? Do they offer direct access via methods like Slack channals? Or do they force you to climb an outsourced escalation ladder before getting to helpful resources? 
  5. Is the provider open to developing new features to meet your IP Transit requirements? 

5. Integrated DDoS protection.

If you’re concerned (as you should be) about volumetric infrastructure attacks on your network, an integrated approach to DDoS protection is a significant plus for your Transit provider. DDoS services should be delivered within the provider’s own network infrastructure, not outsourced to a partner via performance-limiting GRE tunnels. 


6. Location, location, location.

This is such an essential requirement that it’s almost not worth mentioning, but your provider needs to have presence in your data center.  

7. Checklist the Basics.

There are a lot of commoditized features across ISPs based on the way that IP Transit works. They all offer high-speed, dedicated Internet access (DIA) and Internet Transit with BGP routing from their Points of Presence (PoPs). All of them will support Bring Your Own AS (BYOA), provide IP address prefixes, and offer SLAs. In addition, make sure they have: 

a. RPKI security support in their routing policies 
b. BGP FlowSpec support 
c. BGP communities support 


Bonus Tip! 

8. Multi-Service Ports.

Arguably, we could have added an eighth point. But to be fair, it isn’t strictly related to IP Transit. Nonetheless, suppose you are cross-connecting from your router to a port in a data center. In that case, the ability to get both IP Transit as well as private DC-DC Ethernet connectivity can reduce your network complexity. So it’s worth considering as well! 


Whether you’re a content provider, hosting provider, or Tier 3 ISP, smart buying of IP Transit ensures the best service quality to your users. As a Pan-European Tier 2 IP Transit provider running a highly ranked network (AS 5405), we have a point of view, and we believe our services are a winner for all the reasons we stated above. 

Learn more about our highly ranked network, IP Transit, and IP Access services, as well as integrated DDoS protection and multi-service support for Flex Ethernet connectivity. You can check out our transparent pricing and order/provision via our self-service portal.