1 How the Internet Works Kyle Spencer, June 2014 Director, Uganda Internet exchange Point Technology for Development Specialist, UNICEF
2 Agenda This talk will take approximately one hour to complete: Preface How does the Internet work? Internet economics and market dynamics What s holding Africa back? What s the solution? Conclusions and discussion
3 Preface Purpose of this talk To introduce the Internet ecosystem and to bring everyone up to speed on current Internet development issues The Digital Divide The Internet can have a massive socio-economic impact Improved accessibility is key to UNICEF development goals The Internet ecosystem is complex It needs to be fully understood in order to make appropriate and effective interventions It is not something you can learn in an hour
4 A brief history of the Internet.
5 History: ARPANET The precursor to the modern internet was an academic research project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a branch of the military known for funding ambitious research projects without immediate commercial or military applications.
6 History: ARPANET In 1973, the ARPANET became international, with a satellite link connecting Norway and London to the other nodes in the United States. Hawaii also joined the network by satellite. At this point, the network had around 40 nodes. and FTP is born.
7 History: The Internet is born ARPANET was managed by the military. But network operators realized that a centralized network would eventually become unmanageable if it continued to grow. They decided that the network should be reorganized as a decentralized "network of networks."
8 History: The Internet is born Under this scheme, different networks would be controlled by different organizations, but all would communicate using shared standards, forming a shared "internet." The military asked Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf to develop new networking standards to make this possible.
9 History: NSFNET During the 1980s, the National Science Network funded several supercomputing centers around the United States. In 1986 the agency created a TCP/IP-based network called NSFNET to link those supercomputing centers together for academic research purposes.
10 History: NSFNET However, the NSF decided not to limit NSFNET to that purpose, allowing the network to be used for a variety of purposes. As a result, the NSFNET became the Internet's "backbone," the high-speed, longdistance network that allowed different parts of the Internet to communicate.
11 History: The global Internet In 1993, the internet was still dominated by the United States but it was becoming a truly global network. This is a map of information flow on Usenet, a bulletin board application that allowed users to swap recipes, jokes, programming tips, and more.
12 History: Privatization The Clinton Administration privatized the internet backbone. Commercial firms took over the job of carrying long-distance internet traffic, allowing the government-funded NSFNET to be decommissioned. Officials were careful to ensure that no single company controlled too much of the backbone, helping to create a competitive market that still exists today.
13 Today: Submarine infrastructure Today the fastest way to transmit information over long distances is with fiber optic cables. Since a single fiber core can transmit more than 100Gbps, and a cable can contain hundreds of cores, a single cable can have enough capacity for hundreds of millions of users.
14 Today: Backbone infrastructure
15 Today: Explosive growth The Global Context: Exploding amounts of traffic resulting from growth in broadband Demand for international bandwidth grew at a compounded annual rate of 53% between 2007 and 2012
16 Today: National broadband plans Traffic increases are mainly from developed countries but many developing countries are making efforts to improve broadband access A majority (70%) of governments worldwide have now begun national broadband plans. Some Objectives: Develop access to high-speed internet >1Mbps per user Develop more optical backbones (national and international) Encourage FTTx and high speed wireless networks
17 Tomorrow: Growth projections Growth in Africa s international bandwidth will lead the world Projected to grow more than tenfold at an annual rate of 51% (Faster than Latin America or the Middle East) Will reach 17.2Tbps in 2019 This capacity will still be less than Canada alone! (37million people vs 1.27billion people in Africa in 2019)
18 Behind the scenes Video: EuroIX - The Internet Revealed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2jb1tzxzmw
19 Key concepts Intelligence at the edge, and the Open Internet
20 Key concepts: Intelligent edge The Internet s intelligence is at the edge, not in the core: Intelligence at the core: "Is it worth making the necessary modifications and upgrades to the intelligence at the center of our network and will doing it make us more money?" Intelligence at the edge: If you want to try something new, all you need is two (or more) endpoints with the right software. This is a key part of what makes the Internet a uniquely powerful platform for innovation.
21 Key concepts: The Open Internet The Internet as we know it uses free, publicly available standards that anyone can access and build to. It treats all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way. Once you're connected, you don't have to ask permission or pay additional tolls to reach others on the network. This model makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to easily launch innovative applications and services, revolutionizing the way people communicate, participate, create, and do business. This promotes competition and enables investment and innovation.
22 Internet economics and market dynamics.
23 What is Internet Transit? To get connected, connect to someone who is already connected. Internet Transit is the business relationship whereby an entity provides (usually sells) access to the Internet. An Internet Service Providers (), also called a Transit Provider, is an entity that sells access to the Internet. Typically sold as a metered service (/Mbps)
24 Tier-1 and Tier-2 networks In order to have connectivity to the "global Internet", an must be connected to at least one other which already has a "global Internet" connection. All Internet Service Providers must buy transit, with the exception of a small number of very large s (called "Tier-1" s) who have their own global backbone infrastructure. In this model, all Internet traffic flowing between smaller s (also called "Tier-2" s) has to pass through their transit providers' networks.
25 Peering Some Tier-2 s decide to interconnect directly in order to save transit costs and reduce the number of networks (i.e. 'hops') their traffic must pass through. This practice is called "peering. Peering commonly takes place at Internet exchange points (IXPs) IXPs enable local networks to efficiently exchange information at a common point within a country. IXPs can increase the affordability and quality of the Internet for local communities. Refer to EuroIX video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2jb1tzxzmw
26 Content and eyeball networks In Internet networking, the term content refers to any information or data which users demand. If your network has content that users on other networks demand, your network gains leverage over those networks. If your network has a large number of customers (i.e. eyeballs) that content providers need access to, your network also gains leverage over those networks. These growth strategies are not mutually exclusive.
27 Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) Distributed delivery platform for content One copy sent to a cache can serve millions of users Frees up backbone capacity Savings on network Opex and Capex Reduced transit costs for Content sits closer to end-users Improved performance CDN s are commonly shared at an IXP Examples: Akamai and Limelight distribute content for third parties Google and Microsoft distribute their own content Content Network Transit Provider Eyeball Network CDN USE RS USE RS
28 Old style economics The Internet was mainly a two-sided market... Money flowed towards the middle to the international carriers with the biggest investment in infrastructure.
29 New style economics The Internet is still a two-sided market, but large content providers and local Tier-2 s usually have no financial relationship... Peering Why is peering free? It s a mutually beneficial relationship... Content Providers need Eyeball Networks Eyeball Networks need Content Providers
30 CDN impact on IXPs More data traffic flowing through the exchange More networks join the exchange Networks upgrade their connections to the exchange Helps develop the local Internet ecosystem Creates virtuous cycle Impact of Google CDN at UIXP (2013)
31 Content closer to users... Benefits networks: Savings on transit/international bandwidth Savings on Opex and Capex Improved customer perception of service, increasing usage and driving up revenue growth Benefits users: Lower latency Faster downloads Improved reliability Benefits Internet exchange points: Increased traffic on IXP; increased value to member networks/s Availability of content increases attractiveness of IXP, encouraging more networks/s to connect Improves performance for both CDN content and all locally exchanged traffic, benefiting all users in a country.
32 The African Internet What s holding it back?
33 Where is the content now? A very small percentage of international content is hosted within Africa. For example, the view from Tanzania: USA USA USA USA EUROPE USA Google, Facebook, Akamai, Yahoo, Microsoft are >50% of fixed network traffic Google, Facebook, Twitter are >40% of all mobile network traffic Locally oriented content (newspapers, government) is also hosted abroad
34 What do content providers need? Access to national or regional traffic aggregation points Requires well functioning IXPs and carrier neutral data centre facilities with many networks present Multiple, competitive national & cross-border fibre networks Competing or open-access/non-discriminatory submarine cable landing stations Friendly regulation
35 Africa is not the first to suffer... European Internet circa
36 Africa is not the first to suffer... Then European IXPs emerged
37 Africa is not the first to suffer... As the European Internet ecosystem improved, local content developed. Aside from the emergence of IXPs, deregulation in the telecom sector encouraged construction of multiple affordable European fibre networks, removing tromboning problems. US networks and trans-atlantic links became less important. Result: Now over 50% of European Internet traffic is peered at European exchange points (with the rest delivered by European transit providers).
38 Example Uganda Internet exchange Point
39 Uganda Internet exchange Point Founded in 2001 with funding provided by DFID Started with only a few networks Hosted in a government building (UCC) s built links to the facility at their own cost VSAT bandwidth was extremely expensive Initially only small amounts of traffic No local content
40 UGANDA Before the UIXP. Hosting outside made more sense.
41 IXP UIXP established in 2001
42 IXP The first signs of life: local hosting
43 IXP Corporate services emerge
44 IXP Government websites migrate home
45 IXP CDNs join the party
46 IXP e-government services start to appear
47 Uganda Internet exchange Point Today: 13 connected networks 600% traffic growth in 2013 Peak daily traffic exceeding 200Mbps
48 What s the solution? Improved policy and regulation Support existing international efforts
49 Improved policy and regulation Poorly functioning national and regional infrastructure in many (but not all) countries in Africa is the result of a wide variety of policy and regulatory deficiencies. Key focus areas are: 1. The priority given to improving access to broadband in the overall development strategy for the country. 2. ICT sector development and national broadband strategies particularly telecom/ market liberalisation - and ensuring open access to the existing infrastructure of incumbents, utilities, etc. 3. National or regional infrastructure development projects. 4. Policies to promote ICT access and uptake - demand building and/or removal of constraints to uptake such as import taxes, lack of energy, etc. 5. Harmonising policies with neighbouring countries.
50 Support existing efforts The specific challenges and solutions have already been identified (and agreed upon) by international institutions, national governments, industry groups, and others which have been working to address these issues for years: The African Union Regional economic communities (e.g. EAC) National governments Major industry forums and capacity building organizations The African Peering and Interconnection Forum The African Network Operators Group Local and regional network operator groups (NOGs) The specific issues can be discussed in more detail separately.
51 Closing points and discussion The digital divide is a complex issue. The Internet ecosystem needs to be fully understood in order to make appropriate and effective interventions. There is room for both short-term and long term solutions but they should be complementary. We are already involved in digital divide issues. How does our current work align with regional needs and objectives? Should we align our objectives with the wider Internet community? What would we like to do next?
52 How the Internet Works Kyle Spencer, June 2014 Director, Uganda Internet exchange Point Technology for Development Specialist, UNICEF
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