South Africa

South Africa

South Africa's largest city hosts the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX), operated by the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), a non-profit Internet industry body. Aside from operating IXPs, ISPA has been actively involved in driving liberalisation and competition in the Internet access market and facilitating dialogue between the different independent ISPs, the South African Government Department of Communications, the national regulator (ICASA), telecommunication operators, and other service providers.

In November 2013, ISPA had 167 members of which about 50 are members of JINX, comprising a wide range of large, medium and small Internet service and access providers. ISPA membership is not a requirement for participating in JINX although non-members pay higher port charges. There are currently about 12 participants at JINX that are not members of ISPA.

Currently, peak traffic at JINX is about 8Gbps. JINX has exceeded capacity in the Rosebank facility and its infrastructure has been extended to the neighbouring Parklands building, approximately 100m away. Both facilities are connected by fibre (up to 40GB capacity) for a single virtual JINX environment.

An exchange is also operated by ISPA in Cape Town (CINX). CINX has about 30 members and 3Gbps peak traffic.

Teraco Data Environments, a vendor-neutral data centre, recently won the bid to host the Durban Internet Exchange (DINX).

Shared services

Aside from a Looking Glass server, a number of DNS services are hosted at JINX. ISPA also provides space to UniForumSA, the operator of the CO.ZA second-level domain, and several international service providers who offer DNS services, including Autonomica, Community DNS, Internet Systems Consortium, Packet Clearing House, and UltraDNS. These include:

  • An anycast instance of the I-Root server together with ~20 ccTLDs and gTLDs (operated by Netnod/Autonomica)
  • An anycast instance of the F-Root server (operated by ISC)
  • Instances of the .BIZ and .CAT gTLDs (operated by PCH)
  • Instances of the .ORG, .INFO, .COOP and .AERO gTLDs (operated by UltraDNS)
  • Instances of about 40 ccTLDs (operated by PCH and UltraDNS)

Graphs of the traffic across the JINX switch fabric are available at: Information on the consolidated traffic at JINX is publicly available while detailed traffic graphs for each individual switch port is available to ISPA members.

Membership, Fee Structure and Interconnection Policies

There are five categories of ISPA membership: Large, Medium, Small, Affiliate, and Honorary. Large, medium and small are all voting membership categories, while affiliate and honorary are special non-voting categories. In order to qualify as a large, medium or small member, a South African Electronic Communications Service (ECS) or Electronic Communications Network Service (ECNS) licence must be held, and/or the member must be in the business of providing Internet access services. These are defined as follows:

  • Internet access providers, including Virtual Internet Access Providers (IAPs), are those where a member of the public contacts the company and obtains a price for Internet access, including Internet access bundled with VoIP.
  • Server hosting companies where a member of the public can obtain a price for the hosting of a physical server (NOT a web site)
  • Internet infrastructure providers that provide equipment and on-going services critical to the operation of the Internet in South Africa

Applicants are free to determine their own membership category. The category of ISPA membership determines what level of access each member gains to ISPA’s Internet exchanges.

There is a minimum membership requirement for access to some ports. For access to 10 Gbps and 1 Gbps ports, ISPs must be ‘Large’ ISPA members. For access to 100 Mbps ports, ISPs must be either Medium or Large ISPA members. Small, Medium and Large ISPA members can all use 10 Mbps ports.

All interconnection at JINX must take place via the JINX switch fabric. This means that there may be no peer-to-peer interconnection within the JINX cage and that all traffic exchanged must be via the switch. The policy does not apply to an ISP paying the 10 Gbps port charge; this gives the ISP the right to interconnect privately. A JINX user can pay the 10 Gbps port charge to gain this benefit, but will use a lower-speed port on the switch.

ISPA does not require JINX users to interconnect with all other JINX users. Each organisation is free to establish its own policy for interconnection. Each user of JINX must negotiate interconnection agreements with the other JINX users. Each JINX user must provide ISPA with a clear policy for interconnection with other JINX users and must notify ISPA of any changes to this policy. Members not publishing a specific interconnection policy of their own agree to exchange traffic with all other participants on a no-charge basis. JINX members may also offer transit services to other members.

Content-server hosting is not available at the exchange. ISPA's policy is not to compete with its own members that provide hosting services. While it may seem appealing to host a server at a central location, ISPA points out that there is a negligible difference in performance if the server is hosted on the network of an ISPA member with a high-speed connection to JINX.

An example of a South African ISP's interconnection policy statement is provided by the Internet access provider Storm which states that it will exchange traffic with all other participants on a no-charge basis, provided that they:

  1. Are in the business of providing Internet access to more than one organisation or group of companies with common shareholding;
  2. Act in good faith and in a cooperative manner on issues relating to the interconnection;
  3. Respect Storm’s acceptable-use policy and the generally accepted Internet etiquette;
  4. Utilise the interconnection in such a manner so as to reduce the costs of exchanging traffic between the parties and improve connectivity between the parties;
  5. Take all reasonable measures to ensure that they do not compromise the integrity or stability of Storm's network; and,
  6. Comply with the technical requirements required to facilitate the interconnection, including ensuring that sufficient bandwidth is always available on interconnection links.


NAPAfrica is a more recent entrant into the South African IXP sector, hosted by the commercial Teraco data-centre facilities, operating since 2010 in the Johannesburg and Cape Town areas as neutral, layer 2 facilities providing IPv4 and IPv6. The service is provided free with no membership or port fees. NAPAfrica promotes multi-lateral peering arrangements in which one agreement provides access to all peers without restriction and ability to provide up to 10 Mbps of fibre last mile capacity to both JINX and CINX.