KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city this week flipped the switch on the brand-new Durban Internet Exchange (DINX), complementing the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX) and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX), currently the largest two Internet exchange points in Africa.
Managed by the Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA), the three Internet Exchanges (INXs) together enable South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to interconnect their networks and exchange local Internet traffic. This saves costs and provides for greater reliability through enhanced redundancy.
According to Graham Beneke, Chair of ISPA’s INX Working Group, which is the team driving the policy and technical operations of the Internet Exchange Points: “While Durban has traditionally been a smaller Internet market than Johannesburg or Cape Town, it is also fast become a key telecommunications distribution hub with three major underseas cables now landing a short distance up the North Coast at Mtunzini. This increased telecommunication capacity has catapulted Internet traffic in the region. ISPA builds INXs where there is current demand and scope for future growth. We have high hopes for the Durban exchange point.”
Mr Beneke explained that ISPA had earlier polled its members. The response was that there was definitely a demand for a peering point located in and around Durban. DINX is physically located at Teraco Data Environment’s new Durban facility (DB1) in Riverhorse Valley. “ISPA carefully evaluated all submissions for hosting the new exchange point and is very pleased with Teraco’s operational and business case,” added Mr Beneke.
“Regionalising Internet traffic contributes directly to improved interconnection costs and resilience which are both critical in building an affordable and stable environment in which digital platforms can thrive. We’re extremely happy to be able to provide this environment in Durban and encourage network operators to start interconnecting,” adds Nishal Goburdhan, ISPA’s newly appointed Exchange Point manager.
Teraco Data Environments is South Africa’s first vendor-neutral data centre. Lex van Wyk, Managing Director at Teraco, says that the launch of the exchange is a major step towards contributing towards improved costing, and the health and growth of the Internet in South Africa.
“The installation of DINX within our Durban facility has been a long time coming and is a big step for the Internet in South Africa. Juniper kindly donated the network switches and Teraco the power and space requirements for the Internet exchange. We’re proud to say it’s already installed and operational,” says van Wyk.
Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWEB ISP, says that he believes that an Internet exchange belongs in a vendor neutral facility. “Teraco, through its continued build of neutral, and open access centres, has already positively contributed to the cost of Internet access in South Africa, and I have no doubt their hosting of DINX works towards the same goal of improving the overall Internet economy in our country.”
CINX and JINX both already process significant volumes of Internet traffic, with more than 50 IP networks peering at JINX, and 25 peering at CINX. It is anticipated that DINX will offer the same significant performance and cost savings for Durban-based businesses that the existing exchange points bring to their respective participants.