Settlement-Free Interconnection Policy

1. Introduction

This document explains the America Online Inc. (AOL), policy for settlement-free interconnection ("SFI Policy") with other Internet Networks also commonly referred to as "peering". The AOL backbone network is called the AOL Transit Data Network (ATDN). This global network is represented by a single AS number: 1668.

This SFI policy establishes separate requirements for three continents: North America, Europe and Asia. This SFI policy was effective on November 01, 2002 and applies to all requests for settlement-free interconnection with AS 1668.

2. Operational and Backbone Requirements

Applicants must meet each of the following pre-qualifications before pursuing formal settlement-free interconnection (SFI) with ATDN:

2.1 Applicant must operate a fully redundant network capable of handling a single-node outage in each network without significantly affecting the traffic being exchanged.

2.2 Applicant must operate the network as a single Autonomous Number (ASN) for its global backbone network. If the Applicants Internet Network uses multiple ASNs, then as solely determined by AOL, both networks will exchange routes equivalent to the Internet Network's footprint in those regions.

2.3 Applicant must operate a Network Operations Center (NOC) which is staffed 24 x 7 x 365.

3. Routing Requirements

3.1 Each Internet Network will announce consistent customer routes at all interconnection points, unless both Internet Networks mutually agree otherwise based on special circumstances.

3.2 Each Internet Network will implement "hot potato" or "closest-exit routing".

3.3 Routes should be aggregated as much as possible. ATDN will not accept any announcement smaller than /24.

3.4 Routes must be registered with a recognised route registry: ARIN, RIPE or APNIC.

3.5 No route of last resort will be (default route) directed at ATDN.

4. Interconnection Requirements

4.1 North America (United States and Canada):

  1. Backbone capacity : OC-192/10 Gbps or greater active bandwidth between eight (8) or more geographically dispersed cities. Only one (1) city in each state can be counted to qualify for the eight city requirement.

  2. Peering capability: Applicant must peer with ATDN in at least four different locations in the US. Applicant must be able to interconnect with ATDN in:
    • DC area (Northern Virginia),
    • Middle of the country (Dallas or Chicago),
    • Bay area (San Jose/San Francisco),
    • New York or Atlanta.
    Minimum interconnection speed is 1GE (1000 Mbps). All interconnections should be uniform speed.

  3. Traffic requirements: The AVERAGE traffic volume exchanged between ATDN and Applicant must be 810 Mbps or higher in each direction (inbound and outbound). The traffic ratio should be reasonably balanced and no more than 2:1.

4.2 Europe:

  1. Backbone capacity: 10GE or greater in three or more countries. The three countries must be the UK, Netherlands and Germany.
  2. Peering capability: Minimum three interconnects; one each in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
  3. Traffic & Ratio: 200 Mbps AVERAGE in each direction (inbound and outbound). Traffic Ratio should be no more than 3:1

5. Global Peering:

Applicants interested in Global SFI with ATDN must preferably operate Internet Networks with a single AS number in North America and Europe. To receive global routes, the Applicant must meet all SFI requirements for both US and Europe. Transatlantic operational capacity must be 2 x OC-48 circuits.

6. General Policy and Legal Requirements

6.1 The applicant must execute an AOL Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

6.2 The applicant must provide AOL with a readable hard or soft copy network map. This map must show network topology details and active IP capacity between backbone nodes. The cost of setting up temporary connections for traffic evaluation will be borne by the applicant.

6.3 To ensure continued compliance with the SFI policy, status of all settlement-free peers will be reviewed once every six months. Peers who do not comply with published SFI policy will be given 30 days written notice to remedy the situation.

6.4 AOL conducts periodic review of this SFI Policy to ensure that the criteria and eligibility requirements are consistent with ATDN growth and expansion. This may result in the SFI Policy being modified or replaced at any time, without prior notice.

6.5 An applicant may submit a request for interconnection once every six months. If the applicant has participated in a traffic evaluation trial, the six month window starts after the end of the trial.

6.6 The SFI Policy is only a guideline. Meeting all of the requirements stated in the SFI Policy does not guarantee AOL will enter a SFI relationship with applicant. AOL reserves the right to not grant settlement-free peering to an applicant based on business reasons.

6.7 United States Government and Defense networks may be given special consideration. Any exceptions to this SFI Policy will be granted at the sole discretion of AOL.

6.8 Please send all questions/inquiries about peering to

Revised: September 7, 2012

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