Teraco Data Environments, which provides vendor-neutral data centres, has become home to an open and public peering facility for network operators in this country, NAPAfrica.

Initiated by a number of major industry players, NAPAfrica provides for a carrier neutral Layer 2 Internet exchange point (IXP) in the Southern African region, providing high-capacity multimegabit links (from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet) between the various global and local network operators.
NAPAfrica will complement JINX and CINX (Johannesburg and Cape Town INternet eXchanges) set up by the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA). Several of the network service providers connecting to NAPAfrica are looking at options to connect NAPAfrica to CINX and JINX, to allow peering between the exchanges.
Carriers and ISPs within the Teraco data centre include Telkom, Neotel, T-Systems, Vodacom Business, Fastnet, Ensync, WebAfrica and BCSgroup – several of which have already indicated intent to peer on the exchange.
In addition, the involvement of MYIX (Malaysian Internet Exchange) in NAPAfrica is of particular significance, as it creates a local point of presence for the MYIX peering point, which gives African network operators direct access to a number of major Asian networks.
NAPAfrica goes live at Teraco’s vendor neutral data centre in Cape Town at the end of October. The Johannesburg public peering point will go live with the opening of Teraco’s Isando based data centre which is due for completion by February 2010.
The NAPAfrica exchange points are located within Teraco data centres as they are the only South African facilities that are vendor neutral. Neutrality is a critical feature of Internet exchange facilities worldwide, such as AMS-IX (Netherlands), LINX (UK) and JPNAP (Japan), as they ensure a fully open market for carriers, content delivery networks, ISPs and Application Service Providers to interconnect without restriction.
“The launch of NAPAfrica is perfectly timed,” says Lex van Wyk, MD of Teraco Data Environments. “With the liberalization of the local industry and connectivity options within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world growing, NSPs want to colocate where they are most likely to find others already connected. South Africa, with its advanced infrastructure and expertise can play a vital role as the regional aggregator and enabler.”
Van Wyk explains there are many benefits to public peering. “Instead of costly multiple direct links between carriers and service providers, a single peering point allows multiple networks to interconnect using a shared gigabit-speed switch fabric. With the exploding growth of traffic in today’s broadband market, NSPs in the region must peer to exchange their traffic to reduce costs, increase redundancy, reduce latency and generally improve performance.”