Data centre company Teraco’s neutral Internet exchange point (IXP) peering subsidiary, NAPAfrica, has grown to 170 Gb/s with 386 members since 2012, and is ranked as the third-largest IXP in the southern hemisphere, says Teraco CEO Lex van Wyk.
The NAPAfrica IXPs are collocated in all Teraco data centres, resulting in NAPAfrica becoming a de facto regional Internet traffic hub for sub-Saharan Africa, with peering members such as marine fibre-optic multinational Angola Cables, and content and service providers, including information technology companies Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Akamai, Cloudflare, Netflix and Showmax.
“We support neutral IXPs. They have grown immensely since launch and have built an impressive community of like-minded businesses that understand the benefits of peering and interconnectivity,” says Van Wyk.
IXPs are widely considered as helpful in developing markets by lowering the cost of transit and are critical for bringing content closer to the consumer, he explains. IXPs, like NAPAfrica, help to manage network challenges that arise from the introduction of many new Internet applications and services.
IXPs play a critical role in a data centre by enriching the quality of the Internet, states Van Wyk. The rationalisation of costs is the result of balancing traffic with direct and local relationships with participants. In addition, traffic delivery management is improved because data flows remain as close as possible to the destination, resulting in better performance and quality for end-users.
The main benefits include lower costs, reduced latency and good bandwidth as data routing through upstream Internet Providers is avoided.
“NAPAfrica’s Johannesburg IXP is one of the top 20 largest global IXPs by membership. In the five years since it was launched, NAPAfrica’s peering community has become a critical component of Africa’s Internet ecosystem, and we expect the growth to continue as a result of the community’s investment in Africa’s Internet infrastructure,” Van Wyk says.
Teraco raised R1.2-billion in a medium-term funding facility from Absa in March, which it will invest in the Teraco Campus, in Ekurhuleni, which has 20 MW of capacity that needs to be brought on line.