The Internet eXchange Federation has defined an IXP as;
A network facility that enables the interconnection of more than two independent Autonomous Systems, primarily for the purpose of facilitating the exchange of Internet traffic.
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An IXP provides interconnection only for Autonomous Systems. An IXP does not require the Internet traffic passing between any pair of participating Autonomous Systems to pass through any third Autonomous System, nor does it alter or otherwise interfere with such traffic.