MWEB ADSL and open peering

In October 2010 MWEB CEO Rudi Jansen surprised the local Internet market when he announced that the days of paying for local transit are over.

“We have made a conscious decision that as from next month [November 2010] we will not pay anybody for transit traffic any more. So if you don’t want to peer with us, that is it! We will not pay you one single cent any more,” Jansen said at the time.

Jansen stuck to his word, and in November 2010 MWEB severed their paid transit links to SAIX, MTN, Vodacom and any other ISP who did not peer with them.

This strategy paid dividends, and by the end of November MWEB was freely sharing traffic with every large ISP in the country, except Telkom/SAIX.

Rudi Jansen
Rudi Jansen

The current situation

MWEB ISP MD Derek Hershaw said that despite the fact that they cannot disclose the names of their peering partners because of confidentiality agreements, he can confirm that they currently peer with 30 networks in South Africa – from the very small to the very large ISPs.

This peering mainly takes place at JINX, CINX and LINX (London), but Hershaw highlighted that they also have private peering in place where it makes sense.

“Internationally we peer directly with 30 large players who include Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and then indirectly with a few hundred others,” said Hershaw.

Telkom/SAIX still the exception

Sadly MWEB still does not peer with Telkom/SAIX, which means that all traffic between MWEB and Telkom still flows via London.

“This international routing affects some latency sensitive services like voice and games for both parties’ subscribers,” said Hershaw.

There has however been some progress on this front. “We don’t peer with SAIX, but the discussions and negotiations are continuing and we are making progress,” said Hershaw.

Derek Hershaw
Derek Hershaw - MWEB ISP MD

Improved network performance

Hershaw said that peering has improved network performance for MWEB’s subscribers as well as their peers’ subscribers.

“Traffic now flows freely and uncongested between our subscribers and our peers’ subscribers.  We’ve seen significant growth in the consumption of content hosted on our network, which can partly be attributed to peering,” said Hershaw.

“Overall we are extremely happy with the progress that’s been made. The end-user experience has improved and we’ve taken an unnecessary layer of cost out of the equation.”

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MWEB ADSL and open peering