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Networking Capabilities Overview

Gain a high-level perspective on the world of networking at Equinix Metal, the architectures available, and the components that can assist you.

Networking Capabilities Overview

Networking Capabilities Overview at Equinix Metal

Equinix Metal offers a wide range of networking options to help you build the architecture you need. This article provides an overview of the networking options and capabilities at Equinix Metal. These are the building blocks that you can use to create the architecture you need.

This article is a peer to the Networking Use Cases on Equinix Metal series. This article provides an overview of all of the components and offerings that make up that networking capability at Equinix Metal, giving you the big picture view of networking at Equinix Metal. On the other hand, The "Use Cases" series points you to different architectures based on your desired capabilities and features - private layer 2 vs shared layer 3; connectivity to the Internet vs internal only; connectivity to colocation ports vs cloud providers.


The networking capabilities at Equinix Metal can be divided into several categories:

  • Internal Connectivity: connections between your servers, and with other services or components inside Equinix Metal.
  • External Connectivity: connections between your servers and the outside world, including the Internet, other Equinix Metal metros, Equinix colocation environments, and other external services.
  • Routing: how traffic is directed between different locations, including your servers, VLANs, and others.

Internal Connectivity

Internal connectivity covers how you can connect your servers to each other, and to other services inside of Equinix Metal.

  • Servers
  • VLAN
  • Networking Modes
  • Load Balancers


Servers are the base computing unit at Equinix Metal. These are the bare-metal devices you can launch, on-demand or reserved, to run your compute loads.

Read more about bare-metal servers here.

Servers are priced per hour or per month.


By default, Equinix Metal servers are connected entirely on Layer 3, with IP addresses, both private and public, assigned by Equinix Metal.

Optionally, you can connect multiple servers in a single project and in single metro on their own private layer 2 network, using VLANs. VLANs are unconnected to anything except servers or other devices to which you connect them. You have extensive IP address control on VLANs, including the ability to bring your own IP addresses.

Read more about VLANs here.

VLANs are a free service.

Networking Modes

Each server in Equinix Metal can have one of multiple networking modes. These modes include:

  • bonded vs unbonded: bonded interfaces link two network interfaces connected together for higher bandwidth and redundancy, appearing as a single interface for IP addressing and traffic, while unbonded interfaces separate the underlying network interfaces, enabling you to manage each one independently.
  • layer 2 vs layer 3: layer 2 interfaces are connected to a VLAN, while layer 3 interfaces are connected to the standard Equinix Metal network.
  • hybrid: hybrid interfaces are connected both to a VLAN and to the standard Equinix Metal network.

Read more about networking modes here.

Networking modes are a free service.

Load Balancers

Equinix Metal managed Load Balancers, or Load Balancers as a Service (LBaaS) receive inbound traffic, from the Internet or other sources, and distribute them to multiple servers behind the Load Balancer.

Read more about Load Balancers here.

Load Balancers are charged per hour running, as well as by traffic flow.

External Connectivity

External connectivity covers how you can connect your servers to the outside world. This includes the Internet, other Equinix Metal VLANs, other Equinix Metal metros, Equinix Metal colocation ports, and cloud providers.

  • Interconnections
  • Backend Transfer
  • Metal Gateway
  • Internet connectivity


Interconnections enable you to connect your Equinix Metal servers to other locations. These are primarily over Equinix Fabric, which is a global network of interconnected data centers, including both Equinix and non-Equinix data centers.

Read more about Interconnections here.

Interconnections are charged per port, where relevant, as well as a virtual connection fee, based on the capacity of the connection.

Backend Transfer

Backend Transfer provides private transfer connection between Equinix Metal metros. Servers in one metro can communicate with servers in another metro, without going over the public Internet, using private IP addresses. With Metal Gateway, you can also connect VLANs in different metros.

Read more about Backend Transfer here.

Backend Transfer is charged per traffic flow.

Metal Gateway

Metal Gateway is a managed service that enables you to connect your Equinix Metal VLANs to other locations. These locations can be other metros inside Equinix Metal, other VLANs, the Internet, colocation ports, or cloud providers. Metal Gateway is a router between your private VLANs and other networks.

Read more about Metal Gateway here.

Metal Gateways are a free service.

Internet connectivity

Internet connectivity provides connections between your servers and the Internet. You do not need to set it up. Any server that has a public IP address provided by Equinix Metal has Internet connectivity.

Read more about general networking, including Internet connectivity, here.

Internet connectivity is charged per traffic flow.


Routing covers how traffic is directed between different locations. While internal and external connectivity cover the basic mechanics of connecting servers and networks, routing covers how traffic is directed between them.

  • Elastic IPs
  • BGP
  • VRF

Elastic IPs

Elastic IPs are public IP addresses that you can assign to your servers. Every server, unless solely on a VLAN, receives private and public IP addresses from Equinix Metal. These addresses are tied directly to the server, and go away when the server does. Elastic IPs are IPs that you reserve, but which are not tied to any one server. You can assign them to one server, unassign them and move them to another server, or have them route traffic to multiple servers. You can reserve private or public Elastic IPs, they can be dedicated to just one metro or global, and you can have anycast IP addresses.

Read more about Elastic IPs here.

Elastic IPs are charged per hour reserved.


Border Gateway Protocol, or BGP, is a standard Internet protocol for a network to announce to other networks which IP addresses it can handle. You can use BGP to announce your own IP addresses, including Elastic IPs, to the Internet, or to other networks. You also can use BGP to route traffic entirely internally within your own Equinix Metal deployed networks.

Read more about BGP here.

BGP is a free service.


Virtual Routing and Forwarding, or VRF, is a way to create routing connections between a Metal Gateway, connected to one of your VLANs, and other external services. These services can be other Metal Gateways, the Internet, or colocation ports or cloud providers connected via Equinix Fabric.

Read more about VRF here.

VRF is a free service.

Last updated

06 June, 2024



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