Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 21 - Page 17

NEWS Internet Society partners with Facebook to expand African connectivity Ruckus Networks collaborates with VAST to simplify Wi-Fi roaming T he Internet Society, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the Internet, has announced that it is partnering with Facebook to develop Internet Exchange Points (IXP) throughout Africa. An Internet Exchange Point is where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks together to efficiently exchange Internet traffic through an arrangement commonly referred to as Peering. Currently, 42% of countries in Africa lack IXPs, which means that most of their domestic Internet traffic is exchanged through points outside their respective country, usually through satellite or submarine fibre across multiple international hubs to reach their destination. This can result in poor end-user experiences and discourages hosting content locally, which are some of the key factors towards the development of the local Internet ecosystem. Peering at IXPs helps keep domestic Internet traffic local by offloading traffic from relatively expensive international links on to more affordable local links. “The Internet community adopted the goal of having at least 80% of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20% sourced outside the continent by the year 2020,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society. “We are getting closer to that target thanks to the many activities that promote interconnection and hosting in Africa and to partnerships such as the one we are announcing with Facebook.” R uckus Networks, an ARRIS company, has been named a preferred provider for VAST Networks in South Africa, the largest public Wi-Fi provider on the continent, to roll out Hotspot 2.0 technology that simplifies Wi-Fi roaming for customers. “Most people do not even think twice when it comes to roaming on their mobile devices when they travel, but given the pressure of tighter budgets, roaming costs are a growing concern,” said Riaan Graham, Sales Director for Ruckus Networks, Sub-Saharan Africa. “Most wireless users prefer to connect to a hotspot whenever they can as a way of keeping those expenses to a minimum. The challenge is finding and selecting the right network, logging on through a portal, and repeating the process every time a new hotspot is accessed. Ruckus has worked continent-wide providing solutions for virtually any scenario or customer requirement. “The collaboration with VAST combines our extensive experience to offer a truly innovative solution to overcome a challenge with which many mobile operators and consumers struggle.” Khetan Gajjar, Chief Technical Officer at VAST Networks, added that it was imperative to identify a company that shared its passion for connecting people in a digital environment. “With Ruckus Networks, we’re able to continuously explore different methods of authenticating and onboarding users to our network with incremental effort,” he said. n INTELLIGENTCIO 17