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NAPAfrica — Africa’s Biggest Internet Exchange Point Registers Daily Traffic Peaks Over 3Tbps

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

NAPAfrica—South Africa’s most extensive Internet Exchange Point (IXP) operator—is seeing consistent daily traffic peaks exceeding 3 Tbps. After passing the 3Tbps mark in February 2023, the operator has demonstrated robust and consistent operations.

Being in operation since 2012, NAPAfrica provides seamless access to more than 300 unique networks spanning over 20 countries within the southern African region. The operation of an IXP includes physical infrastructure like routing and switching equipment allowing for interconnectivity between organizations, network operators, content delivery networks, and cloud service providers.

Maintaining local internet traffic within regional infrastructure is the primary aim of an IXP. As such, NAPAfrica’s service can significantly reduce network costs, latency, and improve bandwidth by circumventing the need for routing data through upstream internet service providers.

With growth to over 550 peering members, NAPAfrica now ranks as the world’s sixth-largest IXP. Since peering at NAPAfrica is free, local organizations can improve their network resilience, lower costs, and reduce the latency faced by customers when navigating online content and applications.

Three South African cities—Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg—host NAPAfrica’s peering points, all located within Teraco data centers.

Over the years, NAPAfrica’s growth has increased substantially. From being launched in 2012, it had six members and a traffic peak of approximately 6Gbps by 2014. Its member count grew to 350 by 2018, with traffic reaching a peak of 600 Gbps. By 2020, membership was at 450 networks with a traffic peak of 1.5Tbps. Fast forward to 2023, and the IXP has more than 500 members, regularly surpassing 3Tbps of traffic.

Although NAPAfrica was not the first to advocate for free peering in South Africa, it is recognized as a pioneer in the industry. The success of its free peering solution transformed broadband affordability in South Africa, with providers like Facebook, Google, Cloudflare, Akamai, Netflix and YouTube contributing substantially to the content accessed by South Africans daily.

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