The four biggest mobile phone companies in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Glo Mobile and Etisalat; Google, the Internet search giant; MainOne, the undersea cable company and the University of Lagos, one of the top tertiary institutions are part of 40 members that have plugged into an exchange set up by government to keep local Internet traffic within the cyber borders of Nigeria.[blockquote right=”pull-right”]According to government, the creation of IXPN will also stave off cyber attacks as the Exchange establishes a neutral forum of peering professionals that enhances the growth of Internet in Nigeria, “which will in turn facilitate the creation of data infrastructure for the country thus preventing threats in the form of cyber attacks.” [/blockquote]
The Internet Exchange point of Nigeria (IXPN) was set up 2006 by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to ensure local Internet traffic is routed within the country to save millions of dollars in international bandwidth and also improve user experience for the local Internet community.
So far, 40 organisations counting the top guns in the Nigerian telecoms industry are swelling the ranks of connected services on the Exchange that include Content Providers, Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), Internet Services Providers (ISPs), Telecoms Companies (Telcos); Traditional Carriers and Web Hosting Service Providers, according to data obtained by Technology Times from IXPN.
IXPN says its exchange port connections are linked up to switches at its co-locations point at the facility of Medallion based in Victoria Island, Lagos and another co-location site at NET House in Lagos Island to ensure seamless routing of local Internet traffic among its connected member organisations.
According to its rule, “the IXPN offers connections at its currently operating locations at 100M and 1000M (1G) port speeds. The IXPN operates a Mandatory MLPA (Multi-Lateral Peering Agreement), which means it is mandatory for every member to peer with the IXPN route servers. IXPN also offers a private interconnect service to allow members to have bilateral connections in a cost-effective way. You must be a IXPN member before you can sign up for a private interconnect service.”
According to government, the creation of IXPN will also stave off cyber attacks as the Exchange establishes a neutral forum of peering professionals that enhances the growth of Internet in Nigeria, “which will in turn facilitate the creation of data infrastructure for the country thus preventing threats in the form of cyber attacks.”
Apart from the GSM Big Four, four traditional carriers also routing traffic on IXPN include Suburban Telecom, Layer 3 Telecoms, Broadbased Communications and Phase 3 Telecoms.
There are also two Content Providers that include the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), the multi-stakeholder group that manages the nation’s Internet domain name, the DotNG and Google, the Internet search engine giant.
ISPs, who are early birds in forging an alliance to route local traffic among themselves have now grown on IXPN with 17 local and foreign players operating within the Nigerian market including Coolink, Vodacom, Netcom Africa, ICNL, Swift Networks, 21st Century technologies Limited and Cybersapce Network Limited.
Other ISPSs include KkonTech, VDT Communications, IPNX, SimbaNet, Internet Solutions owned by South Africa’s Dimension Data, Cobranet and Tara Systems.
Other companies routing traffic on the IXPN within the Web Hosting business segment include Google, Internet Solutions, Broadbased Communications and Medallion Communications.
Organisations routing traffic on the Exchange have also been expanded beyond communications companies as Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) and related academic initiatives across the country are also on the platform including the Pan-Atlantic University and University of Lagos (UNILAG). Others are Google University Access Programme (GUAP), Nigeria Regional Exchange Network (NgREN) and Eko Konnect.
In the long run, managers of IXPN expect that it will create employment opportunities, create revenue opportunities through local content and services and foster provision of National Research and Educational Networks (NRENs).
IXPN will also promote Internet growth and address the problems associated with local traffic routing and lower costs for Internet users in Nigeria including the government inclusive, according to the company.