-- The Melbourne NAPette --

Media Coverage
26th Sep 2000 - Article in ISPWatch




NOTE: The Melbourne NAPette no longer exists; the content is archived for historical purposes.

The NAPette is a collection of Internet Service Providers located in Melbourne Australia, who dial into a central point to exchange Internet data. It began as an idea in June 1997, and was finally put into practice in April 1999. The NAPette has moved a couple of times since then, but we now consider it stable enough to aggressively promote and encourage new members to join.

Basics of peering

Internet peering is the exchange of IP level data between two or more ISPs. Although two ISPs connected with a private link can be considered peering, we use the model of a central hub with multiple autonomous systems (in this case, ISPs) connected to it. Traffic between direct participants passes through the NAPette, instead of going through transit links and external providers such as Telstra or Optus. There are two main advantages to this type of setup: Cost - if there is a sufficient amount of traffic passing over the NAPette instead of more expensive charged transit links, the cost of participating in the NAPette becomes a saving. Diversity - if your transit link works hard, shifting some of the traffic via the NAPette can improve performance. There are also potential backup transit paths through other participants in the event of your main transit link failing.

Current participants

List of current participants. Where a participant has a significant network (eg another ISP) or content provider under them, these are also listed.

sensation.net.au - 10Mbit ethernet (NAPette host)
- includes bgsn.net, marrtech.com.au
esec.com.au - 2 x 56k multilink

lavalink.com.au - 33.6k modem
- includes surfnetcity.com.au
chessnet.com.au - 33.6k modem
techno.net.au - 33.6k modem
yourdomainnamehere.com.au - could you be our next member?


Squid siblings - participants dynamically share the contents of their web cache via the NAPette. Result: popular pages/objects are only fetched once via transit, then shared over the NAPette.
NNTP sharing - 2 news servers fetch news via their respective transit links, and share articles between themselves via the NAPette. Result: significant traffic savings since each article is only carried in once via transit, instead of twice.
FTP mirrors - participants who run FTP sites make these available to other participants via the NAPette. Result: traffic savings for receiving participants since the traffic travels via the NAPette rather than charged transit.
Temporary backup transit - if a participant's transit link fails, traffic can be re-routed via the NAPette. Result: Internet connectivity is maintained.
Transit sharing - this is a more complicated setup which requires some knowledge of multi-homing and global BGP issues. Participants readvertise some NAPette routes via their transit links, and resell transit traffic to NAPette members. Result: Potentially better balance of inbound transit, and better automatic redundancy in the event of a link failure somewhere.


There are other benefits besides IP level exchange of data. We also do human networking, to share our knowledge with others - the NAPette is like a minature community of fellow peers (no pun intended). There is often a steep learning curve for those using dynamic routing for the first time; why not cut your teeth on a small scale setup by becoming a NAPette participant? If you have sufficient network "mass" then you'll also save money by shifting portions of your traffic via the NAPette.


The NAPette currently supports both 33.6k analogue and 64k ISDN indials, plus 33.6k or 56k outdials if that is more suited to your setup. Port aggregation (2 x 33.6k or 2 x 56k) is possible using multilink PPP. There are currently 10 serial ports total.


If you would like to chat about becoming a participant, or would like more information on the benefits of peering, please contact Rowan Crowe, and I'll be happy to chat with you about it.