Malawi Internet Service Providers' Association - MISPA

Malawi Internet Exchange - (MIX)

MISPA has installed and operates the Malawi Internet Exchange (MIX) located at College of Medicine in Blantyre. With startup equipment assistance from KTH of Sweden under a project with the College of Medicine, the MIX became operational on 4 December 2008.

The Malawi Internet Exchange - MIX - is expected to bring many benefits to both ISPs, Internet users and the nation by keeping local traffic, at a national level, local. This IXP will assist to improve connectivity, efficiency, assist to conserve upstream bandwidth which was still wholly via expensive VSAT links in Malawi and assist to improve on security for national data and national transactions.

At start-up, three participants being Broadband/Burco, the College of Medicine and Malawi SDNP, had placed equipment at the MIX and started peering at the MIX at the end of November 2008. In addition Malawi Net placed equipment at the MIX in readiness. Right from start-up, Internet users already started noticing improvements especially with access to online banking. The above ISPs and others had already signed the MIX memorandum of understanding (MoU) to connect to and peer at the MIX

Skyband joined the MIX in mid-December 2008. Following the approval by MISPA at its meeting of 19 December 2008 to admit the Malawi Telecoms Ltd (MTL) as a member of MISPA, MTL applied for and joined the MIX in June 2009. Globe joined the MIX on 3 September 2009. By this time Malawi Net had still not completed its connection to the MIX.

Dr P. Nyirenda informed the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that was meeting in India in December 2008 that Malawi was at the final stages of building its first Internet Exchange and that the exchange had been activated and peering had started in December 2008.

The news was received with applause by the international participants and offers were made by a number of organizations to assist with the development of the MIX. One of these offers was to install an anycast DNS root server at the MIX so that DNS root level lookups could go much faster and much more efficiently for Internet users in Malawi.

At its meeting of 19 December 2008, MISPA agreed that this should be looked into further. Consideration should be made of the original reluctance of the majority of MISPA members to provide global access to the MIX.

In February 2013 MALSWITCH applied to join the Malawi Internet Exchange and got connected in April 2013.

Telekom Networks - TNM - applied in June 2013 to join MISPA and connect to the MIX.

Access Communications Ltd - applied in April 2015 to join MISPA and has expressed interest to connect to the MIX but is yet to show capability to connect.

Airtel - Malawi - applied in May 2015 to join MISPA, connect to the MIX and is peering at the MIX.

Simbanet - Malawi - applied in October 2015 to join MISPA, with intention to connect and peer at the MIX

Reserve Bank of Malawi - expressed interest in August 2016 to connect to and peer directly at the MIX

AFRIMAX - applied in May 2019 to join MISPA, with intention to connect and peer at the MIX

BengolNet - Malawi - applied in November 2020 to join MISPA, with intention to connect and peer at the MIX

National Bank of Malawi - applied in October 2021 to connect directly to and peer at the MIX

In June 2011 MISPA agreed to run a project to relocate and upgrade the MIX within the College of Medicine. The project was completed by MISPA in December 2013. The project was executed with financial assistance from ISOC on their Community Projects programme.

The upgrade of the MIX included the installation of an instance of the E-ROOT DNS server with the assistance of PCH.

The upgrade also included a change in the architecture on the MIX with the introduction and continuing installation of a route-server to centralize the peering arrangements at the MIX and move away from full mesh only architecture.