Types of China IP transit
There are three major IP transit carriers in China: China Telecom (CT, which has the most market share by far), China Unicom (CU), and China Mobile International (CMI). They serve Chinese residential customers, enterprise customers, as well as mobile clients.
Each one of these companies offers several tiers of IP transit ranging from inexpensive to very expensive. Each tier serves a specific purpose and comes with its own set of issues.
On top of that, peering arrangements between these 3 networks are not straightforward. For example, for China–to–USA direction, China Telecom stopped peering with CU and CMI back in 2019, which resulted in added complexity for network design.
In addition to the above, there is a number of other IP transit related issues a provider has to face when working with China-based carriers.
CN2 GIA Network
China Telecom's CN2 GIA network solves a very specific problem: quality of service on routes to/from China.
If your target audience is China, you probably already know that serving web content to Chinese visitors can be challenging. For example, regular IP transit channels are congested (overloaded) during peak hours, with packet loss rates reaching 30% or more.
With this amount of packet loss, it is nearly impossible to reliably serve web content to Chinese audiences, have a web conference, host online games, or connect to your office or branch in Mainland China. In other words, packet loss can have a severe impact on your business.
Without going too much into the details, China Telecom provides 3 options for IP transit.
Option 1. AS4134 (ChinaNet/163 Net).
ChinaNet is the most common way to transfer data to/from China which most cloud operators use. This network has two advantages: it is very cheap, and its capacity allows to tank pretty large DDoS attacks, which could make it a better choice if you need constant DDoS protection.
The downside is, it is congested, especially during peak hours.
Option 2. AS4809 CN2 GT (Global Transit)
Originally this network was introduced to address congestion issues. It is much more expensive than AS4134/Chinanet, but it was supposed to guarantee a decent level of service.
Unfortunately, since 2019, it has become pretty much as congested as AS4134, even despite its much higher cost.
To be fair, in 2021 we have seen significant improvements to both, ChinaNet and CN2 GT networks.
Option 3. AS4809 CN2 GIA (Global Internet Access)
CN2 GIA is the most expensive way to transfer data to/from China. Although, over the years, we have observed the least amount of problems with this network; it is very stable.
This is the network you want to use for a web conference, VOIP, serving web content, online gaming, etc, as it will provide the best stability.
There are two significant downsides to this network.
The first downside, as we mentioned, is its very high cost. IP transit prices for CN2 GIA can go as high as $120 per megabit. So in practical terms, you can expect to get an approximately $100,000 bill for one month for a 1 Gbps connection on this network in some markets.
The second downside: very limited capacity. It is very, very hard to get, even at an exorbitant cost. As a consequence of limited capacity, the CN2 GIA network is not tolerant to DDoS attacks.
Bandwagon Host's CN2 GIA Network
In Los Angeles, we operate 8 x 10 Gbe CN2 GIA links across two datacenters. Combined with our direct peering to Google and other local carriers in Los Angeles, we can offer a rock-solid solution for your business. You can pick which datacenter you prefer, as well as migrate an existing service between datacenters at any time, without any data loss.
Datacenter USCA_6 offers the best overall network capacity and stability. All China-bound traffic is sent to the CN2 GIA network (this includes China Unicom and China Mobile routes). There is no direct peering with China Mobile on the inbound; therefore China Mobile latency is increased.
Datacenter USCA_9 offers direct China Mobile connectivity on the ingress. However, the outbound routing is different: there is no direct local peering in LAX; instead, all outbound traffic is sent directly to China Telecom. This results in better routing for some China destinations.
We also offer CN2 GIA in Hong Kong and Japan, though costs are much higher in those markets.
Due to limited capacity, we do not openly advertise CN2 GIA services on our home page. Instead, please use the complete list of available services to pick a CN2 GIA plan. Use in-page search to look for 'GIA' on the page.
Note that Hong Kong and Japan based CN2 GIA plans are going to cost much more; therefore if latency is not an issue, consider using Los Angeles (eCommerce plans).