Successful Strategies to Build A Resilient Internet Ecosystem
The pandemic has successfully digitalized people’s lifestyle, causing a significant surge in internet use. This sudden increase has led to serious consequences, including a greater burden on internet infrastructure. That is why modern ISPs and other providers are relying on Internet Exchanges (IXs) for better traffic management while maintaining cost efficiency. Moreover, a reliable IX plays an important role in creating a resilient internet ecosystem which can empower local communities with better internet access and encourage them to create more innovations.
Following a plenary session by RWS 5 x Telkom DWS titled Successful Strategies to Build A Resilient Internet Ecosystem, in this article, we’re going to take a look at how a successful IX is created.
Who is involved in an internet ecosystem?
An internet ecosystem consists of various parties with different roles to play. According to Associate Professor Dr. Joko Suryana, the Head of Telecommunication Engineering Master Program at STEI ITB, there are six stakeholders of an internet ecosystem: technical standard bodies in charge of the ecosystem development, organizations in charge of global naming and addressing, government institutions in charge of policy development, organizations in charge of education and capacity building, companies that provide network infrastructure services — this group is where IXs belong, and users — individuals and organizations that use the internet. These groups work together to grow the ecosystem, and making it resilient is a collective task.
What is the biggest challenge of the growth of an internet ecosystem?
The number of internet users, including in Indonesia, keeps constantly and rapidly growing. With this constant and rapid growth, the biggest challenge in developing an internet ecosystem is keeping the ecosystem agile, scalable, and resilient to be able to handle unexpected situations, such as traffic spikes.
What is Internet Exchange, and what benefits does it offer?
According to Bambang Wibowo, the CEO of PT Abhinawa Sumberdaya Asia, an IX is a location where traffic seekers (internet service providers, content providers, etc.) and content seekers (end users) can meet and connect with each other. Without an IX, one party usually connects with another party through direct peering, but too many direct connections can be messy. IXs have become the solution to this mess by providing a more convenient space for these parties to exchange traffic.
IXs don’t only benefit large established companies; they are also beneficial for startups. IXs guarantee a shorter data route with minimum latency which ensures a better customer experience. IXs also offer access to a larger base of end users through connections with other IX members. Both of these benefits are offered with a relatively low price which are essential for startup companies.
What trends will affect the growth of IXs?
As Bambang stated, the growth of IXs can be seen from two points of view: the traffic volume and the number of IXs. The first one refers to the increase in the IX traffic volume due to the growing number of internet users, while the second refers to the increase in the number of available IXs.
There are several trends that may influence the increase in the IX traffic volume. First, the rise of digital lifestyle and content consumption which stimulates not only the growing number of users but also the number of providers. Second, the rise of the cloud which opens new doors. Cloud computing has made it easier and cheaper for companies of various sizes to develop new apps and drive internet traffic. As a result, as the number of users and providers increase, the demand for IXs will also increase, creating a possibility for the number of IXs to rise as well.
What are the factors that make a successful IX?
Muhammad Rifqi, the DC Specialist at Telkom Indonesia’s neuCentrIX, mentioned that the internet today should be something common and highly accessible, and the existence of IXs should support this concept. With this in mind, there are two criteria of a successful IX. First, it should support its members through strong and stable networks and connectivity — large bandwidth, short data route, localized traffic, minimum latency, and zero timeout. Second, its services should be highly affordable to cater to various types and levels of organizations.
What quality attracts potential members to invest in an IX?
Rifqi drew an analogy between an IX and a market. To attract both sellers and buyers, a market needs to have certain qualities, and so does an IX. An IX should be placed in a strategic location. An IX which is located in an area with a large user base will definitely attract more traffic seekers like ISPs and content providers. An IX should also provide convenience to its members — strong connectivity, high availability, and accessibility — at all times to ensure a consistent user experience.
What strategies does Telkom Indonesia implement to establish an effective IX?
Telkom Indonesia has applied a number of strategies to build an effective IX. First, Telkom IXs are close to end users. neuCentrIX data centers — where the IXs are — are carrying the concept of edge data centers. Rather than relying on only one central data center at one specific location, neuCentrIX has 14 data centers which are strategically located in 13 cities across the country, making it easier for businesses to reach local audiences and provide a better user experience for them. Second, Telkom IXs are neutral and inclusive; they don’t only facilitate established brands but also for newer and smaller brands. Moreover, Telkom Indonesia is also willing to facilitate even its competitors.
With the strategies and concepts it implements, Telkom Indonesia’s IXs are playing an important role as a catalyst for the growth of Indonesia’s digital economy. By providing better digital infrastructure and internet access to as many users as possible, Telkom Indonesia also helps create a resilient internet ecosystem which can meet even the most unexpected demands.