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Why Midco's Point-of-Presence in Chicago Matters


Read time: 5 min. 

For those relying on cloud-based applications, Chicago is the metaphorical center of the universe. While most of the big players are headquartered in close-to-the-coast cities like San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York City, they nevertheless rely heavily on Chicago as a data hub – arguably more than any other location – because of its prime location. 

While Chicago is important to cloud-based providers like streaming services, they also rely on network providers like Midco to deliver their services to end users. After all, we operate the superhighways on which their content travels: fiber. 

Why the middle matters.

Consider this: Content that originates on the West Coast has a long stretch of miles to travel to reach customers on the East Coast – and miles matter. It takes data 1 millisecond to travel 100 miles, so a 3,000-mile journey takes about 30 milliseconds. And that’s only one way! A videoconference between offices in NYC and Los Angeles requires a 6,000-mile journey along that fiber highway. It’s just too much. 

Welcome to the party, Chicago. Unlike starting points on either coast, content originating from Chicago – smackdab in the middle of our continent – cuts travel time and distance in half. So, no matter where the big-name providers are headquartered, they want to deliver their content from a starting point in Chicago instead. And if the content providers are initiating their product from the metaphorical center of the universe, it stands to reason the network providers need to be there as well. 

Why points-of-presence matter.

The widely accepted industry definition of a point-of-presence (PoP) is that of a physical location serving as a demarcation point or access point at which different networks share a connection. At Midco, we like to think of our PoPs as firmly established beachheads from which we can operate most efficiently, effectively and redundantly.

Conceptually, a PoP is analogous to a hub in the airline industry. An airline simply can’t offer direct flights to and from every city – it would be neither feasible nor cost-effective. But it can get you to Chicago, and then from Chicago to any other city in the country.

In a similar way, Midco can’t cost-effectively provide an underground superhighway from Sioux Falls to, say, Pittsburgh, so to travel that route directly means navigating a one-lane road fraught with jitter and latency. But travelling from Sioux Falls through our PoP in Chicago and then on to Pittsburgh means a smooth and lightning-fast ride on our superhighway. Unless you intend to do some sightseeing along the way – and let’s face it, you’re a business not a tourist – it’s no contest. 

We mentioned redundancy, which is the benefit our customers hope they never need. See, your data flows seamlessly through our PoPs as needed based on traffic flow – until it doesn’t. Huh? If, for whatever reason – such as severe weather, construction mishap or even just scheduled maintenance – one of our PoP locations is temporarily out of commission, we reroute your data through another access point. Our redundant superhighway to the rescue!

Sticking with the airline analogy, when Minneapolis gets a foot of snow, the planes in the sky still need to land even if it can’t be at MSP. Inevitably, you get rerouted to, say, O’Hare. Midco reroutes your data in the very same way. The only difference is while the rerouted plane adds several hours to your travel time, it takes maybe an extra millisecond or two for your data to get where it’s going – and while Midco cares deeply about milliseconds, you won’t notice a thing.

Midco Expands Fiber Network to Chicago

“This connection will increase our capabilities to deliver a more resilient network, providing our business and wholesale clients with more network paths as well as our best-in-class customer experience. The Windy City is definitely a key point of interest for Midco and the communities we serve,” said VP of Network Engineering Pao Lo. 

Read the full release

Why our Chicago PoP matters.

Midco operates several other PoPs, including Minneapolis, Denver, Omaha and Kansas City, and our Chicago PoP isn’t new – we established that beachhead several years ago. So, why the fuss about Chicago… and why now? 

The answer to the first part of the question is easy – as discussed above, Chicago is the center of the universe. The second part – why now? In early 2024, we upgraded this connection to our own fiber lines, meaning it's more dependable than ever as it’s 100% owned and managed by Midco. This investment shows our commitment to advancing technology, telecommunications and networking for 2024 and beyond. 

You already count on our best-in-class reliability, speed and service, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking Midco is the ‘little guy’ – the regional network provider based in humble South Dakota. While we’re proud of our South Dakota heritage, we are at the same time big enough and expansive enough to share Chicago with all the big guys – providers of content and networks alike. 

So, whether you’re running a business in Fargo or a corporate enterprise in Colorado, or anything in between (geographically or in terms of size), Midco has you covered with the best coverage, service, speed and reliability, with an expansive footprint that includes all the key routes around the Midwest, including, of course, the center of the universe.

Coverage across the Midwest.

This is no fly-by-night network. We’ve taken the time and invested in thousands of on-net fiber locations, carrier hotels and PoPs, with carrier Ethernet over fiber and internet over fiber.

Whichever route across the Midwest you want to take, we’ve got connection points to take you where you need to go.

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