VIRTUAL PEERING SERIES - CENTRAL ASIA
VIRTUAL PEERING SERIES/ CENTRAL ASIA #7
About Virtual Peering Series – Central Asia
Central Asia has some of the highest connectivity costs in the world, yet few IXPs exist to enable traffic to be exchanged locally between ISPs and which can attract major content providers to serve their customers. The Internet Society, RIPE NCC, and Euro-IX are organizing a series of online events throughout 2021 to raise awareness of the benefits of peering and encourage the development of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the region.
This series will introduce the benefits of IXPs; bring together network operators, content providers, and DNS operators who are interested in improving the Internet in their countries and localities; and develop plans for establishing and/or operating an IXP. It will also discuss IXP best practices, including technical solutions as well as hosting, financing, and staff resourcing, with the aim of developing suitable approaches for local circumstances.
The dates and times of these events are:
- 11 May 2021 @ 09.00-10.30 UTC
- 13 July 2021 @ 09.00-10.30 UTC
- 14 September 2021 @ 09.00-10.30 UTC
- 7 December 2021 @ 09.00-10.30 UTC
- 5 April 2022 @09:00-10:30 UTC
- 24 May 2022 @ 09:00-10:30 UTC
- 19 July 2022 @ 09.00-10.30 UTC
- 18 October 2022 @ 09.00-10.30 UTC
(Please note, this is 14.00-15.30 in Western Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and 15.00-16.30 in Eastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan)
The language of these events will be Russian, with simultaneous translation provided in English. The Internet Society, RIPE NCC, and Euro-IX would like to thank Flexoptix for their generous support of these events.
Because Central Asian countries are landlocked, they are almost completely reliant on transit through other countries for their wider Internet connectivity. This, combined with limited fiber routes through the region and political difficulties in some neighbouring countries, means that Internet access costs remain amongst the highest in the world – both in actual and relative terms. Furthermore, a lack of interconnectivity between local ISPs means that local traffic often has to be exchanged over expensive long-haul connections, which also introduces unnecessary delays in data transmission.
Although the number of Internet users in Kazakhstan is quite high (at over 75%) and continues to grow in Kyrgyzstan and more recently Uzbekistan, Internet performance (i.e., bandwidth and latency) is still lagging behind other parts of the world, especially outside of the major cities. In particular, this restricts the practicability of applications such streaming media and videoconferencing, and discourages content providers from establishing themselves locally due to the poor returns on investment. This in turn limits economic development, online education, and social interaction, which have become especially important during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
What is an IXP and why are they important?
An IXP is a physical and usually neutral location where different IP networks meet to exchange local traffic via a switch. It allows them to peer with each other for the purposes of exchanging traffic on a settlement free (i.e., no-cost) basis. There are more than 900 IXPs located around the world, and they are critical to the functioning of the Internet.
Setting up an IXP can be both simple and cheap, typically only requiring a Layer-2 switch at the outset. However, the ability to exchange traffic locally reduces the need for long-haul traffic, whilst allowing bandwidth to be increased and latency to be reduced. This brings down costs whilst improving quality-of-service for all operators, as well as improving the resilience of the local Internet.
IXPs can also attract Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and Cloud Providers who benefit from better local connectivity. This also provides added value for ISPs and their customers. In addition, an IXP is an ideal location for Root DNS and NTP servers, which again can improve the quality of the local Internet, encouraging investment in data centers where the IXP is often located.
There are many benefits when operators collaborate to establish and operate an IXP, even where they are normally in competition with each other. Better connectivity and better services will generate customer growth, which will both improve ISP revenues and generate overall benefits for local and national economies.
Who should attend the events and what are the goals?
The Virtual Peering Series is open to all network operators, content providers, government, academic and other public institutions, as well as industry associations primarily in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (although others with an interest in the region are also welcome).
We are looking to bring together operators who might be interested in establishing IXPs and peering with each other, discuss the local technical and regulatory issues, and identify the most effective way to support the establishment and development of new and existing IXPs. This support can include provision of equipment, capacity building, as well as encouraging regulatory best practices.
We are organising the next VPS event, check back regularly for updates.
A nonprofit organization that promotes the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world. This includes providing support and funding to help establish and develop IXPs in under-served countries and regions, through its Infrastructure and Community Development initiative, and the Internet Society Foundation’s Beyond the Net grant program.
ABOUT RIPE NCC
The Regional Internet Registry (RIR) that allocates and registers Internet number resources (IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, and ASNs) for Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It also supports the operation of the DNS K-root server, collects and publishes statistics on Internet development and performance through RIPE Atlas and RIPEstat, and supports technical capacity building through its training program.
The European Association of IXPs that represents, supports, and strengthens the IXP community in Europe and beyond. It is comprised of over 70 IXPs who share technical standards, common procedures, and develop peering relationships with network operators.