At 10.44am on 12 November 1991, the first packet of data was sent from Grahamstown across the Atlantic to a house in Oregan, USA. We all know this simple transaction that we all use on a daily basis as the Internet. Grahamstown has just celebrated the 20th anniversary of this event, hosting an evening with the players involved. Grahamstown is still a buzzing centre of technology, with a large varsity population studying towards careers in technology, wireless service providers providing last mile service to farmers and dynamic Internet Service providers providing access and hosting services around South Africa to our Internet community.
The first email sent by Mike Lawrie:
“Well, the line keeps going up and down, and the ‘telcos’ have not completed testing yet. But for the record, it was the first ping from North America to [sub-Saharan] Africa.” Sauce
One not so positive note is that one of South Africa’s peering points, called GINX, was shut down last month. Although not headline news, it kind of gives us a story about lack of communication and sharing of data amongst service providers. Although Ginx was only setup as a model INX by Rhodes University, it was more of a pain to maintain. IT could have provided a legitimate service amongst the local providers that used the service and also paved a way for providers sharing and peering bandwidth, perhaps reducing costs to internet users.
Following prodigious efforts by the SANReN project Team, the SANReN Backbone extensions project has reached Rhodes University. On 9 October 2012, engineers from Rhodes and TENET commissioned the new connection.
What does the Internet look like in picture?
This project was created to make a visual representation of a space that is very much one-dimensional, a metaphysical universe. The data represented and collected here serves a multitude of purposes: Modeling the Internet, analyzing wasted IP space, IP space distribution, detecting the result of natural disasters, weather, war, and esthetics/art. This project is free and represents a lot of donated time, please enjoy. Opte.org