Cape Internet Exchange pumps

Paul Vecchiatto
By Paul Vecchiatto, ITWeb Cape Town correspondent
Johannesburg, 08 Dec 2010

After a year in service, the Cape Internet Exchange (CINX) is pumping through 500Mbs of data from 16 peers that connect with each other over the Internet Service Providers Association's (ISPA) managed connection.

ISPA says the actual traffic volumes could be higher as the above measure only accounts for the volumes that are crossing the switching fabric - the network topology where network nodes connect with each other via several network switches.

ISPA's Johannesburg and Cape Town exchanges encourage the local routing of Internet traffic not destined for international locations.

CINX is hosted at Internet Solutions' data centre in Cape Town, and was built using two carrier-class switches donated by Juniper Networks and XON.

The Cape Town exchange was reintroduced in October 2009 to allow members to route Cape Town traffic locally, rather than needing to route it through Johannesburg or through international links. CINX allows all service providers (not just ISPA members) to interconnect networks and exchange traffic in order to save costs.

Rob Hunter, chair of the INX Working Group at ISPA, says the association decided to bring back CINX to meet overwhelming demand from members with operations in Cape Town for a local exchange in the city. Since then, ISPs and Internet users in the city have generated more than enough traffic to justify the need for CINX.

Hunter adds that ISPA's new policies around equivalent line charges are one reason that there has been such interest in peering via CINX in the Cape Town region. Another lies in the fact that Cape Town's Internet usage has shot up dramatically as online media, call centres and other heavy Internet business users have flourished.

CINX adds an extra layer of redundancy to Cape Town's Internet infrastructure and also boosts the performance of local Internet usage in the region, by creating shorter routes between ISPs. It also helps to reduce costs to the benefit of ISPs operating in the Western Cape.

Hunter noted that the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX) has also experienced dramatic growth in the past year, with the amount of traffic that passes through the exchange growing more than 100%, to 2Gbps. JINX currently has 27 ISPs that peer using the exchange.