IXPN: Economic Recession Pushing UpData Traffic in Nigeria

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Emma Okonji

The current economic recession has compelled most telecoms service providers to redirect their data traffic back to Nigeria in order to host their data locally, THISDAY investigations have revealed.

Most Nigerians who hitherto hosted their data traffic outside Nigeria and paid in dollars,have resorted to hosting their local data locally, and to exchange data traffic through the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) owing to scarcity of the greenback.

This isagainst the old practice whereby these telecoms service providers generate data traffic locally and host same in foreign countries for fear of insecurity of their data.

The dollar scarcity it was gathered has made it extremely difficult for these service providers to access dollar, aside paying so much for dollar, if they eventually have access to it.
The Chief Executive Officer of IXPN, Mr. Mohammed Rhuman, who confirmed the development, told THISDAY that the country’s internet exchange point (IXP), is a physical infrastructure that allows several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and network operators to exchange data traffic between their networks at no cost, generally referred to as autonomous systems, by means of mutual peering agreements.

“We are beginning to see operators migrating their data services back to Nigeria, thereby increasing the volume of data traffic in Nigeria, a situation that could position Nigeria as the data hub for West African countries,” Rhudman said.

He added that as more operators redirect their data traffic to Nigeria, the volume of data that pass through the Nigerian Internet Exchange Point is increasing by the day.

He however expressed his displeasure that some operators only registered and identified with IXPN, yet released little volume of data traffic to the exchange point, while some operators have deliberately refused to identify with IXPN.

Going through the online list of companies that are registered with IXPN and are exchanging data traffic through the local exchange, THISDAY discovered that MTN was conspicuously missing from the online list, an indication that MTN still carries and hosts its data traffic outside Nigeria. Glo1, for instance, is registered with IXPN, but decided to release small volume of data for exchange at IXPN. Although Etisalat is also registered with IXPN, it released about 280,978 kbit/second volume of data, while Glo1 released only about 16kbit/second volume of data. Operators like Airtel, MainOne, and Google, had the highest volume of data traffic that pass through IXPN, with Google topping the list with about 3,753,744 kbit/second.

Rhudman however clarified that not all operators are connected to IXPN, and that it was never compulsory for operators to register with IXPN, even though some countries made it mandatory for operators to connect to the country’s local exchange point.

He however said that organisations that connect their networks to an IXP benefits from reduced reliance on expensive international transit for exchanging local traffic between themselves, and improved efficiency of their operations and communications. “Not only will this reduce transport costs and network latency, but will also ensure faster access to local content because local traffic is exchanged locally, rather than through one or more 3rd party networks including international links.

Speaking on the benefits of directing traffic through IXPN, Rhudman said it would lead to immediate drop in connectivity costs as well as cost savings in millions of dollars in offshore internet bandwidth payments; improved security profile of Nigerian internet traffic by ensuring that only international traffic leaves Nigeria; immediate drop in latency from 900 milliseconds to 30 milliseconds for local content; increased e-commerce activities, leading to reduction of cash transactions, among other benefits.