Meet-me rooms are an integral part of a modern data center. They provide a reliable low-latency connection with reduced network costs essential to organizations.
What is a Meet-me Room?
A meet-me room (MMR) is a secure place where customers can connect to one or more carriers. This area enables cable companies, ISPs, and other providers to cross-connect with tenants in the data center. An MMR contains cabinets and racks with carriers’ hardware that allows quick and reliable data transfer. MMRs physically connect hundreds of different companies and ISPs located in the same facility. This peering process is what makes the internet exchange possible.
The meet-me room eliminates the round trip traffic has to take and keep the data inside the facility. Packets do not have to travel to the ISP’s main network and back. By eliminating local loops, data exchange is more secure while also lower costs.
Data Exchange and How it Works
Sending data out to the Internet requires a connection to an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
When two organizations are geographically far apart, the data exchange occurs through a global ISP. Hence, if one system wants to communicate with the other, it first needs to exchange the information with the ISP. Then, the ISP routes the packets to the target system. This process is necessary when two systems are located in different countries or continents. In these cases, a global ISP is crucial for the uninterrupted flow of traffic between the parties.
However, when two organizations are geographically close to each other, they can physically connect. A meet-me room in a data center or carrier hotel enables the two systems to exchange information directly.
Benefits of a Meet-me Room
All colocation data centers house an MMR. Most data centers are carrier neutral. Being carrier neutral means there is a wide selection of network providers for tenants to choose from. When there are more carriers, the chances are higher for customers to contract with that data center. The main reason is that by having multiple choices for providers, customers can improve flexibility, redundancy, and optimize their connection.
The benefits of meet-me rooms include:
- Reduced latency: High-bandwidth, direct connection decreases the number of network hops to a minimum. By eliminating network hops, latency is reduced substantially.
- Reduced cost: By connecting directly through a meet-me room, carriers bypass local loop charges. With many carriers in one place, customers may find more competitive rates.
- Quick expansion: MMRs are an excellent method to provide more fiber connection options for tenants. Carrier neutral data centers can bring more carriers and expand their offering.
Security and Restricted Access
Meet-me rooms are monitored and secure areas within a data center typically encased in fire-rated walls. These areas have restricted access, and unescorted visits are impossible. Multi-factor authentication prevents unauthorized personnel from entering the MMR space.
Cameras record every activity in the room. With a 24/7 surveillance system and biometric scans, security breaches are extremely rare.
Meet-me Room Design
The design and size of meet-me rooms can vary significantly in different colocation and data centers. For example, phoenixNAP’s MMR is a 3000 square foot room with a dedicated cross-connect room. Generally, MMRs should provide sufficient expansion space for new carriers. Potential clients avoid leasing space within a data center that cannot accommodate new ISPs.
One of the things MMRs should offer is 45U cabinets for carriers and network providers’ equipment. MMRs do not always have both AC and DC power options. If the facility only provides one type of power, the design should offer more space for additional carrier equipment.
Cooling is an essential part of every MMR. Data centers and colocation providers take into consideration what type of equipment carriers will install in the meet-me room. High-performance cooling units make sure the MMR temperature always stays within acceptable ranges.
Entrance for Carriers
Network carriers enter a data center’s meet-me room by running a fiber cable from the street to the cross-connect room. One of the possible ways is to use meet-me vaults, sometimes referred to as meet-me boxes. These infrastructure points are essential for secure carrier access to the facility. When appropriately designed, each plays a significant role in bringing a high number of providers to the data center.
A meet-me vault is a concrete box for carriers’ fiber optic entry into the facility. Achieving maximum redundancy requires more than one vault in large data centers or carrier hotels.
Meet-me vaults are dug under the surface located at the perimeter of a data center. The closer the meet-me vaults are to the providers’ cable network, the lower the costs are to connect to the facility’s infrastructure. Multiple points of entry and well-positioned meet-me vaults attract more providers. In turn, colocation pricing models are also lower for potential customers of the data center.
The design itself allows dozens of providers to bring high bandwidth connection without sharing the ducts. From meet-me vaults, cables go into the cross-connect room through reinforced trenches.
A cross-connect room (CCR) is a highly secure location within a data center where carriers connect to customers. In these cases, the fiber may go from the CCR to the carrier’s equipment in the meet-me room or other places in the data center. The primary purpose is to establish cross-connects between tenants and different service providers.
Access to cross-connect rooms is minimal. With carriers’ hardware located in the meet-me rooms, CCRs are a strong fiber entry point.
The Most Critical Room in a Data Center
Meet-me rooms are a critical point for uninterrupted Internet exchange and ensure smooth transmission of data between tenants and carriers Enterprise benefit by establishing a direct connection with their partners and service providers.