An internet exchange point (IXP) refers to the physical infrastructure through which internet service providers exchange internet traffic between their individual networks. An IXP allows networks to interconnect directly at an exchange rather than having to go through on or more third party networks which would result in increased cost, latency and a loss of bandwidth.
This is because internet traffic passing through an IXP is not charged for by any party in the exchange while traffic directed through upstream providers is. These exchanges, usually located at a central point such as in a major city, serve all networks and avoid the need for data to travel to other locations (potentially in other contents) to create a connection between networks thus improving network speed and latency. Typical IXP infrastructure consists of one or more network switches to which participating ISPs connect.