Impact Report 2019 > Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Over the decades since this work began, the Internet Society has supported the development of more than 40 IXPs worldwide.

Since the early 1990s, the Internet Society has worked with our partners to ensure a strong and trustworthy Internet. A key part of this work has been supporting the creation of IXPs, physical locations where network operators, Internet service providers, and content delivery networks connect and exchange traffic with each other. Over the decades since this work began, the Internet Society has supported the development of more than 40 IXPs worldwide.

IXPs provide many benefits to end users, including lower costs for data transit (as that data can be exchanged locally, instead of having to travel long distances), improved Internet service quality, better network resiliency, increased local content development and hosting, and development of technical expertise to grow and sustain the local infrastructure. However, many regions around the world lack an IXP, or they have IXPs that need to be upgraded to meet the increasing needs of the region.

In 2019, the Internet Society helped train hundreds of local experts and supported the development of 12 new IXPs with equipment donations and technical expertise. An additional 10 IXPs in Africa were able to scale up their operations with our help.

We also hosted or supported local peering forums to bring IXP operators together for skills development, networking, and community building. More than 400 individuals received training through our online Network Operations courses. We delivered additional training for IXP operators on routing security and peering best practices with our on-the-ground partners in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Myanmar, Jordan, Montenegro, and Pakistan, as well as Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States, reaching hundreds more.

This work has improved the Internet experience for tens of thousands of people.

The strength of the Internet Society’s work on IXPs really comes from a community that has been developing over many years. Like community networks, IXP development is dependent on training local technical experts, building communities of interest, and working with policymakers and regulators to support their development. Over the years, we have worked with local and regional technical fora, like Network Operators Groups and Internet Exchange Point associations, to increase community participation and embrace technical capacity building.

Internet Exchange Points in Africa

  • Great work has been done to build out the 45 active IXPs in Africa, located in 33 countries; however, most intra-continental Internet traffic continues to be exchanged in Europe or North America, something the Internet Society and our partners want to change.
  • The African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) is a shining example of the power of this work. For 10 years, the Internet Society has helped organize this important annual event, which has been central to nurturing a continent-wide community of experts who play an integral role in the development of the Internet in Africa.
  • Since the first AfPIF, Africa has seen many new networks deployed, and the amount of Internet traffic exchanged locally has grown by an astounding 456,860 per cent. Data from Nigeria and Kenya show that at least 70 per cent of local traffic was exchanged locally at the end of 2019, reducing the cost of transit for Internet users in that region.
  • In 2019, AfPIF celebrated its 10th anniversary with more than 300 participants and an impressive number of sponsors, demonstrating the high value the African and global Internet communities place on this event.

Internet Exchange Points in Pakistan

  • Until 2016, there was no local IXP in Pakistan, resulting in most local Internet traffic being exchanged in Singapore.
  • This meant that network operators had to pay more to carry customers’ data, and those customers experienced high latency and poor-quality service.
  • With support from the Internet Society in 2016, a workshop was held in partnership with Pakistan’s national telecommunications regulator and the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) to provide technical training focused on developing an IXP in the country. The first Pakistani IXP was launched soon after that workshop in Islamabad.
  • With training and technical support provided by the Internet Society, a second IXP was launched in 2019, resulting in more local traffic being exchanged locally, thereby enhancing the Internet experience for many people in Pakistan.
  • Collaboration was central to the success of these two IXPs. The national regulator, network operators, the Higher Education Commission, NSRC, and the local Internet community worked together to improve the local Internet traffic environment in Pakistan.

To keep up to date on the Internet Society’s work on IXPs, follow #IXPs on Twitter!

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Image copyrights:
Leading image: © Nyani Quarmyne, Introduction: © Internet Society, Internet Exchange Points in Africa: © Nyani Quarmyne/ Panos Pictures, Internet Exchange Points in Pakistan: © Internet Society