Technical internet improvement gets more funds

InternetNZ to examine ways to make internet exhanges more efficient and cost-effective

InternetNZ is examining the system of internet exchanges in New Zealand with a view to some reorganisation to cope with the current pattern of traffic, particularly the delivery into New Zealand of overseas-sourced content.

There is a global trend towards such content residing predominantly in local caches and being served from the edge of the network, says InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar. New Zealand has seven internet exchange points, the two largest being WIX in Wellington and APE in Auckland. However there is no single point to which an overseas provider can deliver all content so that the whole of New Zealand can access it.

Faced with this lack, a number of large-scale providers opt for a central delivery point in Australia, or even the US, adding to the costs of distribution through New Zealand.

This is more than the well-known local peering problem, says Kumar. He points out that an internet exchange is a peering point, but also provides “a point where international bandwidth can accumulate and aggregate.”

Examining the feasibility of a more efficient and cost-effective internet exchange set-up is one facet of an increased attention paid by InternetNZ in the past year to technical policy and architecture.

In July this year InternetNZ convened the Internet Technical Architecture Conference (InTAC), in Auckland, to discuss challenges such as peering, interconnect and content distribution in an age of fast fibre networks.

Increased attention to this technical work at InternetNZ, including the employment of two part-time staff, shows up in the accounts as a substantial increase in “technical leadership” expenditure, from $258,500 in the 2010-11 financial year to $437,664 in 2011-12.

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