The Super Bowl of Internet Hubs: What Modern Networking Has in Common With the NFL

Colocation Internet Network

By Jayne MillerJan 30, 2018


We’ve posed the question "where is the internet" to our experts before. And we’ve gotten a good answer: internet hubs exist where internet operators exchange traffic.

More often than not, this happens on a lateral band around the world along the core transoceanic transport routes.

U.S. football fans might notice that when it comes to North America, there’s a huge overlap in major networking hubs and the location of teams in the NFL.

U.S. football fans might notice that when it comes to North America, there’s a huge overlap in major networking hubs and the location of teams in the NFL.

Coincidence? Not really. According to our recent interview with Director of Colocation Research Jon Hjembo, there’s definitely some logic in seeing NFL markets as major hubs.

When we think about the reasons internet hubs are located where they are, we can see why these locations could also be ideal for major sports franchises.

Beyond the population factor, the ideal hub location is relatively close to other networks. And as Erik Kreifeldt pointed out in our interview about traffic exchanges, "You want that real estate to be actually secure. Secure from natural disasters and from malicious threats. There’s a lot of equipment in there. You want, in addition to being secure, to power all that up. To keep it cool. And you’d like to have cost-effective power. You always want favorable regulatory conditions, and I guess just favorable economic [conditions]."

New York, Philadelphia, DC, Boston, and Chicago mark major hubs on the Eastern seaboard, while San Francisco and LA serve as the big players on the West Coast. Perhaps the Green Bay Packers aside, most NFL teams are located near such an exchange point.

As for which hub will prove superior on Sunday—Philadelphia or the greater Boston area—we’ll have to wait and see.


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Jon Hjembo

Jon Hjembo

Jonathan Hjembo heads TeleGeography's data center research, focusing on both capacity development and pricing for key markets. He also specializes in research on international transport and internet capacity development, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe. He maintains the dataset for and has increasingly worked with key members of the IX community in exploring the intersection of network, colocation, and peering.

Connect with Jon  

Erik Kreifeldt

Erik Kreifeldt

Erik is a Principal Analyst within TeleGeography's pricing team. As part of the team that tracks the global market for enterprise and wholesale network services, Erik manages TeleGeography's bandwidth pricing research, specializing in European and Middle Eastern markets.

Connect with Erik