Mapping and measuring the West African Internet
20 January 2014
Institute IMDEA Networks has announced the launch of an ambitious project to map and measure the network connectivity and reachability of West African Internet over a three year period. Connectivity in the region traditionally suffers from high latency, high cost and narrow bandwidth.
IMDEA Networks has just been recognized as RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) Atlas Ambassador for Africa. The European IP Networks coordination centre, or RIPE NCC, is building the largest Internet measurement network ever made, with the aim to provide an understanding of the state of the Internet in real time. Most of the current RIPE Atlas network of probes is concentrated in Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Central Asia and North America. IMDEA Networks project thus opens ground in Western Africa that will make available key active data about the Internet transit topology.
The quality of Internet access is considered in many African countries as an obstacle for social development and economic growth and a major contributor to the continent’s digital divide, as it reduces the chances of adoption and use of advanced ICT services in areas such as education, health and governance. IMDEA Networks has joined other organizations that aim at helping African ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and universities to solve this issue. Among these organizations , the African Network Information Center (AFRINIC) stands out. It was created, after a decade-long effort, to provide professional and efficient management of IP addresses and spearhead Internet technology and policy development in the African region. More recently, the Internet SOCiety (ISOC) reported on the advisability of establishing local Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) in order to improve and decrease the cost of Internet connectivity to the end user and generally improve the QoS.
In this direction, the objective of IMDEA Networks is to collaborate with Western African Internet actors in order to create a map of the area. The goal of this project, entitled “MAPPING AND MEASURING WEST AFRICAN INTERNET”, is to provide stakeholders (network operators, researchers, the wide Internet technical community) with the necessary decision-making data for the establishment of IXPs, and peering through IXPs, in the region. This study is conducted by a research team of IMDEA Networks headed by Dr. Pierre François, Research Assistant Professor at the Institute, and it involves network operators from Benin, Togo, Niger, Burkina-Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, Cȏte D’Ivoire, etc. The project will operate from October 2013 to October 2016.
Image source: Wikipedia Commons: West-Africa (orthographic projection).png