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Meet-Me Room

Noun
|
Sounds like: "meet me room"

A meet-me room (MMR) is a physical location within a data center where multiple telecommunications and network service providers interconnect their equipment to facilitate the exchange of data and traffic between their networks.

How Does a Meet-Me Room Work?

Colocation data center providers that manage multiple data center locations will sometimes put one customer’s servers in two separate data centers. These servers often need to exchange data to function properly.

On a basic level, any time the facility sends data anywhere outside their building they must follow a few simple steps.

  1. A cable is connected to the server sending out the data, typically through a patch panel in the server cabinet.
  2. The other end of the cable connects to a data panel (like a router for the data center)
  3. The data panel connects to the network switch.
  4. From there a cable runs to the ISP’s router (normally in an office a few miles away) so it can make its way to its next destination.

This step-by-step process is similar to sending mail. The data is like a package that must be routed from one building’s “mailbox” (or switch) to the local “post office” (in this case the local ISP’s point of presence or POP). From there it must follow a path to a regional “post office,” where it can be directed to its destination. The nearest path that runs between a data center and an ISP’s point of presence is known as the local loop.

If data must be shared between colocation centers, the data will be sent up the local loop of cable to a POP for the ISP. The POP is the space that contains the ISP’s router and any other networking hardware that the ISP might use. Here, the router once again picks out the best, most efficient path for the data to follow and sends it down that path to its destination. This is a straightforward journey, but it isn’t as efficient as it could be.

Plenty of colocation customers want to exchange data with other, neighboring organizations and businesses. For colocation customers with infrastructure spread across multiple data centers or other server owners that might wish to exchange information locally, efficiency is key. Meet-me rooms offer a way for these customers to exchange data directly through a point of physical contact, maximizing the efficiency of data distribution. In a colocation facility with meet-me rooms, data follows a different path to reach the nearest ISP router. It follows these steps:

  1. A cable is connected to the server sending out the data, typically through a patch panel in the server cabinet.
  2. The other end of the cable connects to another patch panel
  3. From there a cable runs to the meet-me room inside the data center

Meet-me rooms contain the sort of ISP hardware typically found at that ISP’s POP. In essence, it’s bringing the routing and networking office to the data center directly. The ISP’s hardware is placed inside the data center and connected to customer servers elsewhere in the building via a cross connect. This system is frequently used alongside meet-me rooms to maximize the modularity and security of this networking system. A cross connect is a configuration of patch panels and cabling that incorporates an extra panel or set of panels. This extra panel is one more stop in the path that data follows from the meet-me room’s routers to customer server destinations. This setup makes expansion of the meet-me rooms or customer servers simple. With cross connects, growing a data center network is as simple as plugging a new ISP’s hardware into the cross-connect panel or connecting a newly installed server with the right cable.

Meet-me rooms, in combination with cross connects, can also provide VPNs for data center customers, routing data traffic into and out of the VPN server before it re-enters the general flow of information, thus concealing the source of the data. This layer of protection and encryption increases the security of the data.

What Are the Benefits of Meet-Me Rooms?

Every colocation data center includes a meet-me room. The majority of data centers adhere to a carrier-neutral approach, which translates to a variety of ISPs at tenants’ disposal. A higher number of carriers increases the likelihood of attracting customers as having multiple provider options increases flexibility and redundancy.

The key benefits of meet-me rooms are:

  • Lower latency. Utilizing a high-bandwidth, direct connection significantly reduces the number of network hops, resulting in substantial latency reduction.
  • Cost efficiency. Direct connections via meet-me rooms allow carriers to bypass local loop charges, and the concentration of multiple carriers in one location can lead to more competitive pricing options for customers.
  • Rapid scalability. Meet-me rooms serve as a valuable avenue for offering tenants increased fiber connection choices. In carrier-neutral data centers, the presence of additional carriers can be expanded, broadening their service portfolio.

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Tier 4 Data Center
A Tier 4 data center is the highest certification in the Uptime Institute’s system of classifying data center performance into 4 tiers.
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