NA Server Roadmap Update: PoPs, Peering, and the North Bridge

**TL;DR:** *We’re actively partnering with ISPs across North America to build a dedicated highway for League traffic. So far we’ve built what we call the “north bridge”, which services connections in the northern US and Canada. Work is ongoing, and the goal is to create a unique network dedicated to transporting League traffic across the shortest, most stable route possible.* ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi everyone, Riot Ahab here again with a mini-update on what’s happening with the new dedicated League network we’re building in NA. In case you missed the original announcement and Q&A we posted earlier in January, you can [check it out here](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/help-support/AMupzBHw-na-server-roadmap-update-optimizing-the-internet-for-league-and-you). These updates will serve as a peek behind the curtain as we continue to build out this network across NA. We can’t share all the nitty-gritty details due to contractual complexities and security concerns, but we can provide a picture of what we’re doing as we go! For this first update, let’s explore an overview of what we’ve already built up to this point: the first half of the network, which we’re calling the “north bridge.” Currently, this bridge is pathing League traffic for the northern US and Canada and is built out of a series of strategically-placed PoPs (points of presence) with direct connections between them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **What’s the “north bridge”, and what the hell is a PoP?** Think of it this way: if this direct network is a dedicated highway for League traffic between you and the servers, think of the PoPs as “on-ramps”; they get your data on the highway to the servers in the most direct route as physically possible. These PoPs consist of two elements: 1. **Physical hardware**: servers and switches placed in key cities 2. **Peering agreements**: contractual agreements set up with ISPs to funnel traffic directly to the closest PoP The first part (physical hardware) is pretty straightforward: buy some server space and make sure the on-ramp allows League traffic to hurry along onto the highway. The bigger challenge, as is true with real highways, is making sure local traffic finds its way to the on-ramp--otherwise the highway does little good! This is where peering agreements come in: these partnership agreements mean ISPs now redirect League traffic off of their networks and toward the nearest PoP. Once we’ve made a peering agreement with a local ISP (which for big ISPs, like any contractual arrangement with a big company typically takes a fair amount of lawyering back and forth), there’s often a decent amount of necessary fine-tuning with that ISP. This is important because different ISP algorithms can send traffic bouncing around before it loops into one of our PoPs, much like poorly laid-out street signs could send you driving several towns over and back again before finally finding a PoP on-ramp. Which means on our end we have to track down inefficient pathing routes and work with the ISP to redirect that traffic to make sure it’s taking the most direct route to the closest PoP. **It takes a little work, so bringing a PoP online and securing peering agreements doesn’t always mean that everything is working as it should from the get-go.** Plus, ISPs change-- things break, they merge with other ISPs, split up, new ones may come, and old ones may go, which makes peering and fine-tuning a constant, ongoing process. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **With that in mind, here’s a look at the direct network as it exists today:** http://i.imgur.com/E0u3CZR.jpg Red dots represent live PoPs we’ve set up so far. In those areas, we’ve installed hardware and are actively working through agreements with local ISPs. Grey dots indicate PoPs that are still in-progress. We’ll post additional updates as those grey dots come online. This map doesn't show the direct paths connecting the PoPs, but if you connect the red dots you can see that the north bridge is largely complete. We still have plenty of peering contracts to negotiate with ISPs in these markets so we can make sure local traffic is taking the best possible path to its local PoP, but we’re off to a good start. Typically, we first target the biggest ISPs in any given market because many major ISPs often provide traffic peering routes to smaller local ones (and you’ll find a list of ISPs that we’re currently partnering with at the bottom of this post). So if you’re on a smaller ISP, your connection could likely peer through the larger ISP companies we have agreements with and already be on this new network! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **So what does all of this mean?** Connections running through this network should experience a more stable, consistent experience while playing League, since it’s taking the most direct route possible to the game servers. When Phase 3 of the [NA Server Roadmap](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/help-support/WH8doH76-na-servers-and-the-future) deploys, this network will provide as many players as possible a comparable ping when connecting to the more centralized server location. But we'll speak more on that in the future! Live nearby a red dot on the map above? Experienced any drastic fluctuations to your connection in the past few months? Let us know in the comments below. Knowing your local postal code as well as ISP helps us figure out how your data is being routed, but keep in mind if your ISP isn’t yet on the list of current partners below, there’s a chance your data might not be pathing through our network yet. We’ll post our next [NA Server Roadmap](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/help-support/WH8doH76-na-servers-and-the-future) update with what we’re actively doing to deliver a consistent quality League connection as well as let you guys know once we’ve started bringing the southern bridge online. Until then, thanks for reading! ~~We’ll stick around for the next 4 hours to answer whatever questions we can~~ **EDIT:** *Thanks so much for all of your questions! I am passing along connection information shared and will likely check back in on this thread later. Until then, take care and have an excellent evening!* Cheers, -Riot Ahab ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- **US & Canadian ISPs we’re currently partnering with and still tuning how things work:** *(note: this list is constantly growing as conversations and contracts develop, but at the time we can only list those we’ve completed peering agreements with!)* Atlas Networks Corporation Charter Communications Clear Wireless Cogent Communications Comcast Cable Communications Eltopia Hurricane Electric Interconnected Associates LS Networks NetRiver NTT America Pocketinet Communications Rogers Cable Communications Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) Shaw Communications Syringa Networks TekSavvy Solutions TELUS Communications TeraGo Networks Threshold Communications Vision Net WiscNet Worldlink _Thanks everyone for your questions! This thread's comments are being disabled and archived - please jump back [here](http://boards.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/help-support/WH8doH76-na-servers-and-the-future) to the main post and scroll to the bottom to find the most recent NA Server Roadmap update if you have any questions you'd like addressed!_
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