The alliance provides two connectivity services. These are:
- Global Transit Delivered in Africa (GTDiA): Internet transit delivered at any of the Alliance’s 12 local Points of Presence.
- Global Transit Delivered in Europe (GTDiE): Internet transit delivered at the Points of Presence in Amsterdam or London.
Core Links and Points of Presence
As of January 2022, the backbone consists of the following links procured under AfricaConnect 1 and AfricaConnect 2 Projects (funded by the EU) and UA’s own funded links. These are:
- A wet backbone along the Eastern Africa Coast comprising a direct path from the Alliance PoP at Mtunzini to the PoP at Nairobi and two links connecting Mtunzini to Nairobi, with drops in Maputo and Dar es salaam.
- A path comprising of two links connecting the Eastern Africa wet backbone to the west coast. This path runs from the Alliance PoP at Mtunzini PoP to the PoP at Cape Town.
- 2 links connect the Alliance Nairobi PoP to the Kampala PoP.
- A single link connects Kampala PoP to Dar es salaam PoP.
- 2x1Gbps links connect Kampala PoP to Kigali PoP.
- A 500Mbps link connects Kigali PoP to Bujumbura PoP.
- The Lusaka PoP has a total of 6 links. They are as follows: 2 links run north to Dar Es Salaam PoP; 2 links to the Cape Town PoP; 1 link goes to Blantyre; and 1 to Harare A total of 4 links connect the regional part of UbuntuNet to the Alliance’s 2 PoPs in Europe.
- 1x10Gbps link connects the Amsterdam PoP to the London PoP
Upgrading the Network
With support from the European Union under the Africa Connect 3 Project, Ubuntu Alliance is in the process of upgrading and expanding its core network, with works expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The upgrades and expansion will cover a total of 40 different route and enable UA to connect additional NREN members to our backbone. These include BotsREN (Botswana), EthERNet (Ethiopia), iRENALA (Madagascar) and the NREN being formed in Mauritius.
The UbuntuNet Alliance backbone currently connects to the NAPAfrica Internet exchange in Johannesburg through a single link from the Mtunzini PoP. The proposed connection of BotsREN to the backbone will include establishing a Point of Presence (PoP) in Johannesburg to provide alternative access to the exchange point. The PoP will act as a drop point for links between Lusaka and Cape Town, which will provide a shorter path for users in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi to the exchange. The resulting reduced latency will improve the user experience in the three NRENs while accessing content hosted at NAPAfrica.
We are also in the process of upgrading the links to Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN), Somali Research and Education Network (SomaliREN), Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU), and the Zambia Research and Education Network (ZAMREN).
Finally, the Alliance also plans to upgrade its “wet backbone” links on the EASSy and SEACOM submarine cable systems to meet the bandwidth demand from existing and newly connected NRENs. The backbone upgrade will include establishing a new PoP in Djibouti to serve EthERNet.