Skip to main content
  • State of the Internet

Saskatoon IXP connects its first peers

I'm proud to say that just last week YXEIX connected its first two peers, Innovation Place and Virtual Data Corp.
By Jacques Latour
Chief technology officer

I’m proud to say that just last week YXEIX connected its first two peers, Innovation Place and Virtual Data Corp.

It’s been a busy few months pulling together the launch of YXEIX – an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Saskatoon.

YXEIX held its first board meeting in January, with Rock Chantigny from CIRA on its board. Rock and I are excited about this new venture and adding another dot to the Canadian IXP map. I’m proud to say that just last week YXEIX connected its first two peers, Innovation Place and Virtual Data Corp.

Fittingly, the IXP is located at Innovation Place, a technology park that encourages innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship. If you’re familiar with Saskatoon you’re familiar with Innovation Place.

Innovation Place was interested in peering with YXEIX to support some of its tenants who wanted an Internet exchange in Saskatoon. The technology opportunities this IXP offers align nicely with Innovation Place’s mandate of “helping grow Saskatchewan’s tech sector”. They noted that peering with an Internet exchange will improve the efficiency and performance of the Internet locally. Data destined for another network down the hall, across the street or in the next town is often routed through another province or country, slowing it down. Now, local Internet traffic can stay local and we’ll see the benefits of that soon.

For Virtual Data Corp., peering was important to allow their customers to benefit from efficient local communications. “There is no reason why traffic destined for another local provider needs to make a 5000 KM round trip and we see the IX alleviating this problem,” says Cole Thompson, president & CTO. “In addition, this allows us to provide more cost effective and faster internet speeds but also provides a local communications network for emergency situations which could impact our city.”

YXEIX Network operators (from left to right): Robin Seaborn, Salman Haidry and Ian Perry. Absent from the photo is Brock Richards.

Bringing together a community focused on improving the Internet in Saskatoon

It has taken a lot of work behind the scenes to get to this point. But you might be wondering what we have been busy doing in order to get the IXP up and running.

Rock and I have been attending board meetings, helping YXEIX become incorporated as a not-for-profit, holding a town hall meeting with the tech sector and governance folks in Saskatchewan, coordinating the donation and installation of the hardware and working with the location committee to choose the best place to host the IXP in the city. We’ve focused on bringing together a community of individuals interested in building a better Internet in Saskatchewan and leveraging the benefit of having a local IXP.

Over the last five years, we’ve participated in the start-up of at least five new IXPs in Canada – and every time we are involved in a project like this we learn new things. This time around we learned that an innovation centre is a good place to find an engaged community willing to donate time and resources toward a successful IXP and that a light CIRA-branded jacket may not be enough to handle a Saskatoon winter (we learned that one the hard way).

The end result is that we brought a better Internet to Saskatoon and it’s now part of a larger movement in getting more Canadians organizations to peer in local IXPs, changing the Internet landscape to better serve Canadians.

CIRA is a proud supporter of Saskatoon’s IXP as part of our commitment to building a better online Canada. If you’d like to peer with YXEIX please visit their website.

About the author
Jacques Latour

As an expert in developing innovative, leading-edge IT solutions, Jacques has established CIRA as a global leader among ccTLD registries. He has 25+ years of experience in the private and not-for-profit sectors and as CIRA’s CTO,is currently leading CIRA Labs, CIRA’s innovation hub and providing leadership and direction for the management and security of the .CA registry and its underlying DNS.

A visionary in the Internet community, Jacques led the development of CIRA’s Internet Performance Test, is an outspoken advocate for the adoption of IPv6 and represents the .CA registry internationally as a member of a variety of working groups and advisory groups. He is committed to the development of a new Canadian Internet architecture. He has served as the catalyst for the creation of a national Canadian IXP association, CA-IX, and is a member of the Manitoba Internet Exchange’s (MBIX) and the DNS-OARC Board of Directors.  Jacques is also a member of ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

Jacques holds an Electronics Engineering Technologist diploma from Algonquin College, is ITIL v3 Foundation certified and is a certified Agile ScrumMaster.