Internet disruption: a look into the role of the Ghana Internet Exchange

Ghana’s recent Internet disruption underscored the critical role of the Ghana Internet Exchange (GIX) in ensuring Internet stability. GIX plays a vital role in enhancing the efficiency, reliability, and performance of the internet, ultimately benefiting both service providers and end-users alike.

Organizations that exchanged traffic to the GIX were left less impacted as compared to those that did not connect at the GIX.
This episode highlighted the GIX’s importance as a robust platform for local internet traffic exchange.
Peering at the GIX offers several advantages:
– Enhanced Redundancy: By peering with the GIX, institutions like MTN, Telecel, AT, and the likes of ISPs can exchange internet traffic locally thereby reducing the risk of any international interconnection.

Improved Efficiency:

Peering facilitates direct traffic exchange within Ghana, bypassing international connections and reducing latency; the time it takes for data to travel.

Cost Savings:

Peering at the GIX can potentially lead to lower international bandwidth costs compared to solely relying on international providers. Members can reduce their reliance on expensive long-distance links and transit providers.

Major Players already on board:

The GIX boasts of partnerships with prominent content delivery networks (CDNs) like Meta (Facebook), Google, and Akamai. Netflix is also expected to go live at the GIX in a couple of weeks. This signifies the exchange’s role as a central hub for internet traffic within Ghana.

A Call to Action for Critical Institutions
Given the GIX’s proven stability and the advantages of peering, critical institutions like financial institutions, ECG, National Identification Authority, Ghana Water Company, and the likes must consider peering with the GIX. This would strengthen Ghana’s Internet infrastructure and ensure continued connectivity for essential services during unforeseen circumstances.
By embracing the GIX, these institutions can:

Safeguard Operational Continuity: Mitigate risks associated with disruptions on international routes, ensuring uninterrupted service delivery.

Enhance Customer Experience:

Offer seamless online services to their customers by maintaining reliable internet connectivity.

Contribute to a More Robust Internet Ecosystem:

Promote a more resilient internet infrastructure within Ghana, benefiting all stakeholders.

Reduced Latency:

By interconnecting different ISPs and Telco networks at a central point, GIX facilitates direct data exchange between them. This direct routing can significantly reduce latency, resulting in faster data transmission and improved overall network performance.

Local Content Delivery: GIX facilitates the exchange of local and regional content among members and content providers. This can result in faster access to locally hosted websites, applications, and services, as traffic doesn’t need to travel to and from any international links to reach its destination.

Promotion of Internet

Ecosystem: By bringing together ISPs and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), content providers, network operators, and other stakeholders, GIX fosters collaboration and innovation within the Internet ecosystem. This can lead to the development of new services, technologies, and business opportunities that benefit the broader Internet community.

The recent Internet disruption, no doubt, served as a stark reminder of the importance of a robust internet infrastructure. By peering with the GIX, critical institutions can safeguard their operations, enhance customer experience, and contribute to a more resilient Internet for Ghana.

Already, GIX has collocation spaces in data centers such as PAIX, NITA, ONIX, and MDXi Appolonia with some others in the offing.

ISPs and critical service providers need to consider localizing some of their content to avoid any other unforeseen disruptions within the Internet ecosystem.

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