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.


Data Center Research Service

Jon Hjembo

Jon Hjembo

Senior Manager Jonathan Hjembo joined TeleGeography in 2009 and heads the company’s data center research, tracking capacity development and pricing trends in key global markets. He also specializes in research on international transport and internet infrastructure development, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe, and he maintains the dataset for TeleGeography’s website, Jon is a regular speaker on the international conference circuit, chairing panel discussions and offering analyst presentations on network and data center market developments.

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Erik Kreifeldt

Erik Kreifeldt

Principal Analyst Erik Kreifeldt tracks the global market for enterprise and wholesale network services and co-chairs the WAN Summit conference series on corporate wide-area network management. Before joining TeleGeography in 2006, Erik was an optical networking industry analyst with RHK, following editorial roles at industry publications including the Optical Society of America, where he covered the first commercial DWDM systems.

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