Josiah Chavula

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Josiah Chavula is a PhD student in Computer Science at the HPI Research School in ICT4D, at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on Internet performance and traffic engineering in Africa's National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). He is interested in approaches for achieving flexible collaborative Internet traffic engineering using Software Defined Networking (SDN).  He obtained a Master of Science degree (Networking and Internet Systems) from Lancaster University (UK), and a BSc (Computer Science) from University of Malawi.

Research Interests

Despite an increase in the number of Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) in Africa, as well as proliferation of submarine and terrestrial fibre optic cable systems, the level of peering among Africa’s Internet service providers remains low. As a result, the performance of most of the traffic exchanged in Sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by high latency as the traffic is routed via inter-continental links traversing geographically remote IXPs located in Europe and North-America. The situation is not different in most of Africa’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). This poor performance of the intra-Africa traffic exchange limits the ability of African universities to use the Internet for collaboration or e-resource sharing. The ability of these networks to benefit from the IXPs’ fabric can be enhanced through flexible mechanisms to support dynamic Internet peering and fine grained traffic engineering. This research investigates the latency problem in the African NRENs, and proposes mechanisms for improvement through a more flexible and collaborative peering environment. In particular, this work investigates how Software Defined Networking (SDN) can be used to achieve collaborative large scale end-to-end traffic engineering among Africa's NRENs.