ExpressRoute overview

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute lets you extend your on-premises networks into the Microsoft cloud over a private connection facilitated by a connectivity provider. With ExpressRoute, you can establish connections to Microsoft cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365.

Connectivity can be from an any-to-any (IP VPN) network, a point-to-point Ethernet network, or a virtual cross-connection through a connectivity provider at a co-location facility. ExpressRoute connections do not go over the public Internet. This allows ExpressRoute connections to offer more reliability, faster speeds, lower latencies, and higher security than typical connections over the Internet. For information on how to connect your network to Microsoft using ExpressRoute, see ExpressRoute connectivity models.

Key benefits

  • Layer 3 connectivity between your on-premises network and the Microsoft Cloud through a connectivity provider. Connectivity can be from an any-to-any (IPVPN) network, a point-to-point Ethernet connection, or through a virtual cross-connection via an Ethernet exchange.
  • Connectivity to Microsoft cloud services across all regions in the geopolitical region.
  • Global connectivity to Microsoft services across all regions with the ExpressRoute premium add-on.
  • Dynamic routing between your network and Microsoft via BGP.
  • Built-in redundancy in every peering location for higher reliability.
  • Connection uptime SLA.
  • QoS support for Skype for Business.

For more information, see the ExpressRoute FAQ.

Features

Layer 3 connectivity

Microsoft uses BGP, an industry standard dynamic routing protocol, to exchange routes between your on-premises network, your instances in Azure, and Microsoft public addresses. We establish multiple BGP sessions with your network for different traffic profiles. More details can be found in the ExpressRoute circuit and routing domains article.

Redundancy

Each ExpressRoute circuit consists of two connections to two Microsoft Enterprise edge routers (MSEEs) from the connectivity provider/your network edge. Microsoft requires dual BGP connection from the connectivity provider/your network edge – one to each MSEE. You may choose not to deploy redundant devices/Ethernet circuits at your end. However, connectivity providers use redundant devices to ensure that your connections are handed off to Microsoft in a redundant manner. A redundant Layer 3 connectivity configuration is a requirement for our SLA to be valid.

Connectivity to Microsoft cloud services

ExpressRoute connections enable access to the following services:

  • Microsoft Azure services
  • Microsoft Office 365 services
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365

Note

Office 365 was created to be accessed securely and reliably via the Internet. Because of this, we recommend ExpressRoute for specific scenarios. For information about using ExpressRoute to access Office 365, visit Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.

For a detailed list of services supported over ExpressRoute, visit the ExpressRoute FAQ page.

Connectivity to all regions within a geopolitical region

You can connect to Microsoft in one of our peering locations and access regions within the geopolitical region.

For example, if you connect to Microsoft in Amsterdam through ExpressRoute, you'll have access to all Microsoft cloud services hosted in Northern and Western Europe. For an overview of the geopolitical regions, the associated Microsoft cloud regions, and corresponding ExpressRoute peering locations, see the ExpressRoute partners and peering locations article.

Global connectivity with ExpressRoute premium add-on

You can enable the ExpressRoute premium add-on feature to extend connectivity across geopolitical boundaries. For example, if you connect to Microsoft in Amsterdam through ExpressRoute, you will have access to all Microsoft cloud services hosted in all regions across the world (national clouds are excluded). You can access services deployed in South America or Australia the same way you access North and West Europe regions.

Across on-premises connectivity with ExpressRoute Global Reach

You can enable ExpressRoute Global Reach to exchange data across your on-premises sites by connecting your ExpressRoute circuits. For example, if you have a private data center in California connected to ExpressRoute in Silicon Valley, and another private data center in Texas connected to ExpressRoute in Dallas, with ExpressRoute Global Reach, you can connect your private data centers together through two ExpressRoute circuits. Your cross-data-center traffic will traverse through Microsoft's network.

For more information, see ExpressRoute Global Reach.

Rich connectivity partner ecosystem

ExpressRoute has a constantly growing ecosystem of connectivity providers and systems integrator partners. For the latest information, refer to ExpressRoute partners and peering locations.

Connectivity to national clouds

Microsoft operates isolated cloud environments for special geopolitical regions and customer segments. Refer to the ExpressRoute partners and peering locations page for a list of national clouds and providers.

ExpressRoute Direct

ExpressRoute Direct provides customers the opportunity to connect directly into Microsoft’s global network at peering locations strategically distributed across the world. ExpressRoute Direct provides dual 100Gbps connectivity, which supports Active/Active connectivity at scale.

Key features that ExpressRoute Direct provides include, but are not limited to:

  • Massive Data Ingestion into services like Storage and Cosmos DB
  • Physical isolation for industries that are regulated and require dedicated and isolated connectivity, such as: Banking, Government, and Retail
  • Granular control of circuit distribution based on business unit

For more information, see About ExpressRoute Direct.

Bandwidth options

You can purchase ExpressRoute circuits for a wide range of bandwidths. The supported bandwidths are listed below. Be sure to check with your connectivity provider to determine the bandwidths they support.

  • 50 Mbps
  • 100 Mbps
  • 200 Mbps
  • 500 Mbps
  • 1 Gbps
  • 2 Gbps
  • 5 Gbps
  • 10 Gbps

Dynamic scaling of bandwidth

You can increase the ExpressRoute circuit bandwidth (on a best effort basis) without having to tear down your connections. For more information see Modifying an ExpressRoute circuit.

Flexible billing models

You can pick a billing model that works best for you. Choose between the billing models listed below. For more information, see ExpressRoute FAQ.

  • Unlimited data. Billing is based on a monthly fee; all inbound and outbound data transfer is included free of charge.
  • Metered data. Billing is based on a monthly fee; all inbound data transfer is free of charge. Outbound data transfer is charged per GB of data transfer. Data transfer rates vary by region.
  • ExpressRoute premium add-on. ExpressRoute premium is an add-on to the ExpressRoute circuit. The ExpressRoute premium add-on provides the following capabilities:
    • Increased route limits for Azure public and Azure private peering from 4,000 routes to 10,000 routes.
    • Global connectivity for services. An ExpressRoute circuit created in any region (excluding national clouds) will have access to resources across any other region in the world. For example, a virtual network created in West Europe can be accessed through an ExpressRoute circuit provisioned in Silicon Valley.
    • Increased number of VNet links per ExpressRoute circuit from 10 to a larger limit, depending on the bandwidth of the circuit.

FAQ

For frequently asked questions about ExpressRoute, see ExpressRoute FAQ.

Next steps