Pakistan’s First Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is Now Up and Running
Pakistan has established its first Internet Exchange Point (IXP) for all local ISPs that will help reduce latency rates for domestic traffic with-in the country to a greater deal.
Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Contact Delivery Networks (CDNs) exchange internet traffic between their networks.
The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more third-party networks.
Previously Pakistani Internet traffic was routed through foreign internet networks and exchanges, even for local (with-in Pakistan) traffic. This will change now as local peering will be allowed, ultimately resulting into lower pings and response times for domestic requests.
Under the headship of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and in collaboration with Internet Society (ISOC), this IXP has been established in the premises of Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman PTA, while speaking exclusively with ProPakistani confirmed that IXP is up and running for last two weeks as a test.
Dr. Shah said that hardware is being setup and exchange will formally be launched next month. Chairman PTA also said that more local internet exchanges will be set up in Lahore and Karachi soon.
The IXP was one of the integral part of the Telecommunication Policy 2015 that has been implemented now.
Telecommunication Policy 2015 had said:
Internet and other traffic will be exchanged within Pakistan using local peering or exchange points as far as it is possible to do so, recognizing that the use of international peering points in other countries imposes an unnecessary cost burden and a potential security risk.
PTA will take appropriate measures in consultation with stakeholders to encourage establishment of local peering and exchange points of IP traffic on legally established gateways in Pakistan.
Internet Exchange Point is used to exchange local internet traffic internally with-in the country between ISPs instead of looking-up international exchanges and networks.
If a customer is using a local ISP and if a ping is sent for a website/server that is hosted on TransWorld for example, then traffic is routed through international exchanges that reside outside Pakistan. This traffic will now be routed within our local Internet Exchange after its set up.
Such an internet request, which is local — and distance between client and server could be just few kilometers — has to travel the all way to an exchange that’s hosted abroad and then will hit back local server after traveling thousands of kilometers, increasing latency rates and decreasing data transfer rates.
This internet exchange is going to help local hosting companies, data centers, service providers, banks, corporations and everyone who is hosting websites/services locally with-in Pakistan. It will also benefit ISPs greatly by not only enhancing their performance but also by reducing their bandwidth costs.
Ismail Shah said PTA has always encouraged new ideas and supported initiatives for the betterment of telecom sector. Setting up of IXP is one such new initiative that will help in improving internet access, business environment and local content.