Remember the Internet Exchange Point (IXP) discussion from about a year ago? Well, looks like we may be making some headway now. We’re at a regulator (POTRAZ) organised event in Harare today where the implementation of the Exchange is being discussion.
If you wondering what an Internet Exchange is, it’s a physical place (usually a room with machines and cable connections coming into it) that all internet providers would connect to in order to exchange internet traffic, essentially to ensure that the movement of internet traffic is as efficient as possible through their networks.
For example, it ensures that when you access a locally hosted website, your request for that website travels the shortest distance possible to that website and content sent to you also travels the shortest distance possible, giving you a faster internet experience.
Zimbabwe already has an IXP which is managed by an association of ISPs called ZISPA (Zimbabwe Internet Services Providers Association). We’re not sure how well things are working there. In the past there have been issues of routing that would cause all kinds of problems for ISP customers. I remember customers of some ISP unable to access our website when it was hosted at YoAfrica some years back.
There were also cases apparently when some ISPs would misconfigure routers resulting fellow IXP members having their international bandwidth inadvertently used by the offending ISP.
Whatever the reasons, there has been talk of an additional IXP to complement the ZISPA one. This initiative is being pushed by the regulators, the Internet Society of Zimbabwe and ISPs. Hence the event to discuss the implementation of this new IXP being held today. We will update with infromation about the progress so far later.