A consortium of 17 Malaysian Internet service providers (ISPs) has launched the Malaysian Internet Exchange (MyIX). The infrastructure has been realised just three months after the idea was put forward by Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik. MyIX is a peering infrastructure that will lower local ISPs’ costs for routing local Internet traffic while improving performance, enhance the broadband experience for Malaysian Internet customers, make it more popular, and save the country some RM2.36bil in foreign exchange outflows over the next five years, Dr Lim said.

It could also attract international content providers to host their content in Malaysia. This would help prevent Malaysia from being “islanded” by other countries’ communications hub initiatives, and making it more attractive as an regional communications and Internet hub, he added.

 MyIX is a natural extension of MIX, an Internet exchange shared by the country’s two largest ISPs, TM Net and Jaring, but not available to other Malaysian ISPs. MyIX representative and AIMS chief executive Afzal Abdul Rahim said routing domestic traffic through multiple international hops, via exchanges in Singapore and Hong Kong, and back to Malaysian users, is a process that costs the other Malaysian ISPs hundreds of millions of ringgit annually. It also results in latencies of 80 to 100 milliseconds.

By comparison, with MyIX in operation, the edge routers of local ISPs are now no more than four milliseconds away from each other, Afzal said. While Internet customers would not see a direct reduction in costs, they would see an improvement in their broadband experience when accessing local websites resulting from the greatly reduced latencies, according to him. The MyIX consortium is a nonprofit body run by a board of representatives from its member companies. 

The MyIX exchange is being implemented in three phases. 

In the first part of Phase One, a proof-ofconcept deployment carried out with RM2.5mil in government seed money, a datacentre has been set up at Applied Information Management Services (AIMS). Fourteen ISPs other than Jaring and TM Net would connect to MyIX via the AIMS centre. 

In the second part of Phase One, two more centres will be set up, at TM Bhd’s Fiberail Network Control Centre and at Jaring’s premises in Technology Park Malaysia. The TM, Jaring and AIMS centres will be conected in a ring network. Phase One is expected to be complete by mid- March next year. 

In Phase Two, to run from mid- March to June, MyIX will be rolled out over Peninsular Malaysia, with additional MyIX centres being set up in Penang, Johor Baru and Kuantan. 

Finally, Phase Three will see the nationwide extension of the MyIX rollout to Sabah and Sarawak. In all, MyIX is expected to cost the Government some RM20mil in capital expenditure provided through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), according to Dr Lim. 

Lim said he wanted to see MCMC and the industry consider setting up regional or distributed exchanges for the exchange of IP traffic. This would alleviate congestion in trunk networks, also helping to achieve faster network speeds.