An Evaluation of Peering and Traffic Engineering in the Pan-African Research and Education Network: A case for Software Defined Internet Exchange Points
Sibanda, Clifford C.L.
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Despite an increase in the number of Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) in Africa, as well as proliferation of submarine and terrestrial fibre optic cable systems, a large proportion of Internet traffic exchanged among Africa’s Internet users is exchanged through higher tier transit providers at IXPs in other continents. This work attempts to quantify this problem and its impact on intra-Africa Internet performance, especially with regard to end-to-end latency. The recent developments in technology such as the Software Defined Network offer Africa and the developing world a chance to implement optimal traffic engineering solutions for NRENs at lower deployment and maintenance costs. This paper makes a contribution in two ways; first through active topology measurements, it provides an assessment of traffic routing and its impact on latency. Secondly, through simulation, it shows performance benefits of implementing an African Internet exchange, and discusses possible software defined mechanisms that could be used to manage traffic in such a setting.