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Windsor-Essex gets an Internet exchange of its own

The team at Connecting Windsor-Essex (CW—E) completed work setting up the Windsor Internet Exchange Point (WEDIX). This project was supported by CIRA’s Community Investment Program.

CIRA has long been a supporter of creating Internet exchanges across Canada. Since 2013, exchanges have been added in communities across the country – from Halifax, to Montreal, to Winnipeg, to Vancouver. This spring, the team at Connecting Windsor-Essex (CW—E) completed work setting up the Windsor Internet Exchange Point (WEDIX). This project was supported by CIRA’s Community Investment Program.

A disclaimer for our readers – if you’re not sure what an Internet exchange is or what it does, don’t worry. You are not alone. We’ve created this helpful webpage to get you up to speed: www.cira.ca/ixp.

The team at WEDIX recently held their town hall, which is a launch event for the Internet exchange that brings together Internet leaders, companies, and other stakeholders to commit to the Internet exchange and discuss how they can work together.

This is an important moment for Windsor’s Internet community and I caught up with Dan Circelli, the lead on this project to find out what this means for them.

Ryan: Thanks for taking some time to chat on this Dan and congrats on the launch of WEDIX. Can you start by talking a bit about the opportunity you see for the Windsor-Essex region here?

Dan: I see some great opportunities that WEDIX will bring to the Windsor-Essex region. The first being the technical advantages that Internet Service Providers can bring to users in our region. There is also a secondary benefit in that the exchange will encourage the technical community to come together in discussion. There are those who will peer, but also others who will see those peers as partners or channels or possible collaborators.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, we see building the WEDIX community as a very important opportunity. The group working through WEDIX will evolve and we can offer our technical leaders a chance to participate and contribute to something bigger than just themselves and their own organizations. We are truly trying to bring together a local team to help make the Internet better in our region, which in turn, makes the Internet better for all Canadians.

Ryan: What is driving this project now?

Dan: The main driver here is to help create better Internet performance for local residents and businesses. We know that an Internet exchange can help our local ISPs deliver better service. There have been some great examples where exchanges have had a positive impact across the country and it’s important that Windsor-Essex do everything we can to compete in a digital market.

It's important that Windsor-Essex do everything we can to compete in a digital market

- Dan Circelli, project lead for WEDIX

Ryan: This was the first time you’ve met together as a group. Was there anything that surprised you?

Dan: What surprised me the most what just how well everything went.  I was very nervous about how a room full of competitors were going to get along.  I was concerned there would be little dialogue, and that people would be guarded in their conversations.  I had no idea as to how or who would speak up and foster collaboration.  Of the local ISP's, I was able to get all but one to attend.  I was exceptionally surprised with the result.  I had to stop the conversations in order to move onto other planned and scheduled events.

It was great to see how willing everyone was, the deep level of interest and understanding of the benefit of the IXP.  CW—E is proud to take the initiating lead to bring together key members of the tech community to address a common goal.

Ryan: What’s next for WEDIX? What do you see as the important next steps coming out of this event?

Next steps include helping ISP’s peer, and reaching out to people at Akamai, Google, Microsoft, and other large content providers. Content providers are a critical voice in this conversation and we know that their participation will add value to the exchange. We’re going to start planning “town hall 2” to help us reach this group.


For more information on Internet exchanges and how you can find the exchange closest to you, see CIRA’s webpage on the topic at www.cira.ca/ixp.

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