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Thank you for joining NWAX!

NWAX ports are all set to auto-negotiation since all port speeds NWAX offers (1g+) are full-duplex only. If you are connecting with multiple ports, we will have bonded them together into a LACP channel.

Please note that NWAX leverages dynamic MAC address filtering on member ports and only allows a single MAC address per member port. If your port sends frames towards the fabric from more than one MAC address, the NWAX switch will auto-disable your port. The NWAX switches are set to auto-reenable the port after five minutes. If you are seeing your port flap up and down once every five minutes, this is one of two likely causes.

NWAX also utilizes spanning-tree as a loop prevention mechanism. The NWAX core switches send BPDUs toward member ports, but if they receive *any* BPDUs from a member port they will auto-disable the port. After five minutes the port will be auto-reenabled. If you are seeing your port bouncing on five minute intervals, it is likely either due to BPDU’s or MAC address violations.

Route Servers

NWAX operates a pair of Route Servers for redundancy; this facility allows all members who connect to the Route Servers to see all routing prefixes sent to the Route Servers by other members.

NWAX recommends peering with the Route Servers in order to facilitate as fully-meshed connectivity between members as possible.

Please note that you can still maintain bilateral peering sessions as desired across the fabric and peering with the Route Servers is not mandatory.

If you wish to use the NWAX route server system, please email or you can enable the sessions yourself via the IXP Manager.

Optic Types

NWAX does not charge a setup fee or re quire you to provide an optic unless you want something other than a standard 1310nm 10km “grey” wavelength optic, 1000Base-T, or a 1 gig multi-mode SX optic. If you do want to use a more “exotic” optic (i.e. 1550nm for longer distances, CWDM colored, DWDM colored, or BiDi optics) NWAX is happy to try to accommodate this (within reason). We just require that members stock their own spares (including for the NWAX end), or provide them to NWAX to stock on your behalf (or just be willing to be down for days while awaiting a replacement). We ask that the optics you provide be of good quality, and we require that they support Digital Optical Monitoring (DOM). We do not want to burn volunteer resource time messing with poor quality optics. Any optics you provide must be properly coded to work in the NWAX hardware (currently Juniper EX series), and you understand that if NWAX changes hardware you are responsible for re-coding the optics or providing new compatible optics.

Mailing List

It is crucially important that NWAX members are well represented on the member mailing list (i.e. a minimum of one person/group subscribed that is reading mail that comes through). This mailing list is used for mission critical announcements from NWAX staff, and is also open for members to send NWAX pertinent announcements to.

To join the member mailing list please send an email to:

NWAX Contact Info

NWAX is 100% operated by volunteer board members, officers, and engineers.

Please make sure to use the following mailing lists to reach out such that more than one person can see all requests that come in and we can facilitate individuals being unavailable.

For all technical questions please email

For all other business related questions, email

For billing related questions please email

If NWAX is experiencing a fabric down emergency, please send an email to, and also call 503.914.0700 to directly call the cell phone of a volunteer engineer (the menu system allows you to reach each of the volunteers).


NWAX does not mandate any member to peer with any other member. It is up to each member to determine their peering strategy (though we are hoping to facilitate as many connections as possible).

You will find a full list of members on the IXP Manager portal web site, along with the correct email addresses to use for peering requests.

When emailing other NWAX members about peering requests, please include all technical details relevant to the peering session, including your IP address, your AS number, and an estimate of the number of prefixes you intend to announce to that candidate peer.

The My Peering Manager tool in the IXP Manager will compose mails with the above details for you automatically.

Router Configuration

If you are new to internet exchanges, we would ask you to note that all members are expected to adhere to the NWAX technical requirements.

For Cisco IOS based routers, we recommend the following interface configuration commands:

If you intend to use IPv6 with a Cisco IOS based router, please also consider the following interface commands:

Connecting Switches to NWAX

Many members choose to connect their NWAX port to a layer 2 switch and then forward their peering traffic to a router virtual interface hosted elsewhere on their network. While connecting layer 2 switches to the NWAX peering LAN is permitted, incorrect configuration can cause serious and unexpected connectivity problems.

The primary concern is to ensure that only traffic from the router subinterface is presented to the NWAX port. NWAX implements per port mac address counting: if more than 1 mac address is seen on any member switch port at any time, that port will automatically be disabled for a five minute cooling off period, and your connectivity to NWAX will temporarily be lost.

This policy prevents two potential problems: firstly, it ensures that layer 2 traffic loops are prevented and secondly, it ensures that no other traffic escapes to the NWAX peering LAN which shouldn't be seen there.

If you choose to connect your NWAX port or ports to a switch, it is critically important to assign one unique vlan for each NWAX connection. If you share an NWAX facing VLAN between multiple NWAX ports or share a NWAX-facing VLAN with any other network, your connection will automatically be shut down due to the security mechanisms implemented by NWAX.

Please also note that by default, several switch models send link-local traffic to all ports. On Cisco switches, this can be disabled using the following interface commands:

interface GigabitEthernetx/x
   spanning-tree bpdufilter enable
   no keepalive
   no cdp enable
   udld port disable


By default, NWAX actively monitors all ports on its peering LANs using ICMP PING for both connectivity and host latency. This monitoring causes about 25 PING packets to be sent to each IP address on the peering LAN every 5 minutes. If you do not wish for your router to be actively monitored, please mail and we can disable this feature.


PeeringDB ( ) facilitates the exchange of information related to peering. Specifically, what networks are peering, where they are peering, and if they are likely to peer with you.

More and more organizations are using PeeringDB to make decisions on where they should open POPs, provision new links, etc.

NWAX requires all members to create PeeringDB records and keep them up to date. This is very important as it provides NWAX with global visibility to other networks looking to peer.

Welcome to NWAX!

NWAX Operations
Northwest Access Exchange, Inc.

Technical Support Summary

24h Fabric Down Emergency: 503.914.0700