Tag Archives: AFIX

Internet Society and African IXP Association Partner with South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association for AfPIF at iWeek

Johannesburg, South Africa -5 March 2018 – The Internet Society and African IXP Association (AFIX) have announced that they will hold the 9th annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) in Cape Town, South Africa hosted by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA). The conference will be held from 21-23 of August 2018 in conjunction with iWeek, South Africa’s leading Internet industry conference, which will run from 20-24 August 2018.

AfPIF is an annual event that serves as a platform to expand and develop the African Internet. It connects infrastructure, service, and content providers with policymakers in order to identify and discuss ways to improve network interconnection, lower the cost of connectivity, and increase the number of users in the region. Over 200 participants attended last year’s AfPIF in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire including providers of international, regional, and sub-regional transport, transit, and content as well as more than 20 IXPs from Africa and beyond.

This year’s event will be hosted in South Africa; home to the oldest Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Africa, the highest density of IXP’s per city in Africa, and the largest carrier neutral data center in Africa. As a thriving terrestrial infrastructure market and the continent’s most mature peering ecosystem, South Africa will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to learn from its remarkable experiences and explore a growing number of opportunities in the region.

“The African IXP Association has been absolutely amazed by South Africa’s rapid development and is proud to host this year’s AfPIF in Cape Town. We all benefit from their innovation and continued success, and hope that our collective presence will provide additional momentum” said Kyle Spencer, Co-Coordinator of the African IXP Association.

“We are delighted to be hosting AfPIF at iWeek for the very first time. This is a fantastic example of the kind of pan-African ICT cooperation envisioned by the Abuja and OR Tambo declarations of the 1990s,” said ISPA Chair, Graham Beneke.

“The first AfPIF was held in 2010 by the Internet Society from the realization that most of African Internet traffic is exchanged outside the continent, and the region could save costs by exchanging the Internet traffic locally. The target is to have at least 80% of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20% sourced outside the continent by the year 2020. We are getting closer to that target every year thanks to AfPIF and many activities that promote interconnection and hosting in Africa”, says Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at Internet Society.

Internet Peering is a business relationship whereby two network operators agree to provide access to each other’s network at no cost. Internet users throughout Africa benefit from Peering as it enables faster, more affordable, and more reliable access to content.

About the Internet Society
Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocates for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For more information visit www.internetsociety.org.

About AF-IX
The African IXP Association (AFIX) is a group of Internet exchange point operators from across Africa, brought together by a shared need to coordinate and exchange knowledge. It aims to foster an enabling environment for IXP operators, improve connectivity within the continent, and increase the Internet’s value for all. AFIX was established in 2012, joined the Internet eXchange Federation (IX-F) in 2014, and now organizes the annual African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF).

About ISPA
ISPA NPC is a non-profit company, and a recognized industry body which has represented the interests of ISPs since 1996. ISPA has co-hosted the annual iWeek industry conference since 2001, bringing together business, government, civil society and members of the public to debate technical, policy and business matters relating to the Internet sector in South Africa. ISPA works with many different partners to ensure that iWeek includes fresh and relevant content each year and is thrilled to be hosting AfPIF during iWeek this year. For more on the association visit www.ispa.org.za

Media contacts:
Betel Hailu
Internet Society

Elaine Zinn

Spotlight: The African IXP Association (AF-IX)

At the AIS’16 in June 2016, the African IXP Association (AF-IX) organised a Meeting. We met with Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa  Internet Society and CTO of the Kenya Internet Exchange Point, who talked to us about how the meeting went and the key objectives and challenges of the AF-IX.

AF-IX is a platform for IXPs to share their experiences, find means to grow their membership and traffic and to address some of the challenges they are facing. One of the key objectives of AF-IX is to support the community in growing their exchange points, especially in countries that have already established IXPs. According to Michuki, the biggest challenge that arises is how  IXPs achieve membership growth.

ISOC supports AF-IX by providing fellowships to members to attend relevant meetings and by facilitating meeting space. The AF-IX met just prior to the start of the AIS’16 Conference week.

Right now AF-IX participants are facing a number of challenges with putting CDN caches at their exchange points,” explained Michuki. “There are varying views about having a large CDN cache like Google, Akamai or Cloudflare and how the economics work with having these. Since you need a link connecting that cache back to the headquarters for a cache fill (to provide the cache with fresh content), how do you sustain that link from a financial point of view. So they are looking at coming up with a sustainable model or model that doesn’t favour one particularly operator. The IXP members want the cache, but the members can’t agree on how they are going to pay to populate the cache and what percentage of the link will be used.

Michuki highlighted several key issues around attracting non-traditional members to IXPs:

  • Should they allow customers of ISPs to connect directly to their IXP?
  • Should governments and research and education networks, who are buying transit via ISPs, connect directly?
  • Should other small wireless companies, providing small services, come and connect?

According to Michuki, this was a steep learning curve for startup IXPs who specifically benefited from this sharing of experience.

For other IXPs, it’s a matter of them already exhausting all potential members in their region and looking to expand into other regions and attract ISPs from other regions to remote peer with their IXP. The discussion focused on what needs to be done in this instance? For example, do IXPs need to consider a marketing and sales person? Does an IXP need to employ full time staff and develop a business? If so how can they afford this? If we have to move from a fixed fee to a charged service, what are the best practices?

Most of the AF-IX members are new IXPs, so there were many questions on how to grow traffic and members. Bringing these newer IXPs together at the AIS and the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) events, allows them to meet with more established IXP operators outside of Africa so they can discuss these issues with them too.

AF-IX Meetings

So far seven (7) AF-IX meetings have been organised, four alongside AIS and three preceded AfPIF. “AF-IX is open to any IXP in Africa and we have 27 countries with at least one IXP in the region,” continued Michuki. “The AF-IX Meeting is mostly about learning from each other as well as ongoing discussions of challenges with feedback. Because it is a closed meeting, participants are a lot more open to sharing their challenges knowing that it all stays in the room. And I have to say, the quality of the discussions at each of our meetings has been getting better and better. The growth of discussion and enthusiasm is encouraging because it shows that Africa’s IXPs are committed to growing their membership and traffic and are looking for advice and solutions”.

This article was originally published on AFRINIC Blog page.