September 3, 2022

RICTA Focuses on Promoting the National Internet eXchange Point

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RICTA CEO Grace M. Ingabire

Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA) has called upon entities and organization in both government and private sector to join the Rwanda Internet eXchange Point (RINEX) as a way of ending unreliable internet connectivity and services disruption for local consumers.

The call was made recently during a one day workshop organised by RICTA and the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC)- a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa. The workshop aimed at sensitizing network engineers, senior managers, Directors and different ICT leaders on the benefits of using the platform.

RINEX is an interconnection point for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), data centers, banks & financial institutions, Government, academia, media houses and any content service providers in Rwanda, whose data is hosted and distributed locally.

In 2014, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) mandated RICTA to manage, administer and operate the RINEX services in Rwanda.

James Chirwa, the AFRINIC Head of Member Services

RURA acting Director General, Eng. Deo Muvunyi showed that the RINEX’s peak traffic doubled within the span of two years from 2020 to 2022 and in addition, the RINEX is increasingly becoming a regional hub for traffic exchange between neighboring countries.

Apparently, only 17 service providers (in various fields of e-services banking and e- learning ) in Rwanda are on the RINEX platform.

Some of the institutions already on the RINEX include the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), Bank of Kigali and the Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), and global ones like- Liquid telecom, FACEBOOK, and NETFLIX among others.

RICTA CEO, Grace M. Ingabire revealed because of ‘fear’ to shift existing infrastructure and security concerns but this is not something to worry about as the RINEX infrastructure is safe, secure and reliable whenever internet service providers encounter shortcomings.

“This means that even in a situation of general internet failure from Internet Upstream service providers any service available at RINEX cannot stop functioning but remain active for local consumers “ Ingabire explained.

Ingabire revealed that RICTA as the RINEX service implementing institution, is currently in talks to bring and on-board more institutions.

The advantages and benefits of using RINEX for available services at RINEX include: stability in data access, quicker response in services, reduced cost incurred, and consumer satisfaction whenever network services fail.

According to RICTA the requirement to join the RINEX are simple and the safety of the services is assured.

These include an organization having Public Internet Protocol Resources (IP & ASN) and port fees at the exchange membership , router with BGP capabilities and Fiber transport link to where the RINEX facility is located ( Telecom House) and service port fees which are paid according to a client’s capacity.

AFRINIC experts say that using the RINEX is important but also there is a need for Rwanda to start shifting from using IPv4 and to the latest version one IPv6 as traffic increases in consumption of internet-based content, incoming and outgoing data in the e-services sector.

James Chirwa, the AFRINIC Head of Member Services said that Rwandans should join the RINEX but also start upgrading the internet protocol (IPv4 to IPv6) to handle the internet boom.

Chirwa says that this is because there is the boom in internet usage and IPv4 is limited unlike the latter (IPv6) which is unlimited on how much traffic it can handle.

The IPv4 can handle not more than 4 billion yet current devices connected on the internet are more than a 4.2billion.

To enable the shift, AFRINIC said that it’s offering both packages for providers who come to purchase the IPv4 and the IPv6 is offered for free.

Ministry of ICT officials say Rwanda needs to collectively think about how they can transit from IPV4 to IPV6 as demand for IP increases brought by various evolvement use cases.

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