Jad El Cham

Unlocking Digital Growth: The Role of IXPs in the Middle East

Jad El Cham
Contributors: Hisham Ibrahim

4 min read


What does it take for an IXP to be successful? What requirements are these crucial bits of Internet infrastructure meant to fulfil? Do any of these questions have one-size-fits-all answers? A new report from the RIPE NCC explores all of the above and more in the context of Middle East IXPs.

Our latest report examines the current state of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and their role in improving connectivity in the region. We look across a number of factors that help define and better understand whether IXPs in the Middle East are effectively meeting the needs of operators and Internet users in the region.



The report is divided into four main parts. First, we focus on the importance of keeping local traffic local in order to optimise routing and avoid sending traffic out of the region, which can often lead to higher latency. This brings us to the second part, which looks at how to develop better local interconnects and local IXP players in the region. This is often linked to regulations and infrastructure.

The third and fourth parts of the report then focus on the importance of hosting local content, international players and hyperscalers in local IXPs to accelerate content delivery, contribute to growth and help establish local IXPs as hubs for regional traffic.

We conclude with some forward-looking observations on the future of IXPs in the region and a series of recommendations to ensure the success of IXP operations.

Key findings

Key findings include:

  • Laws and regulations are a major factor in the development of IXPs.
  • Limiting the oligopolistic control of international gateways improves competition.
  • IXPs should adopt open and inclusive membership policies to promote competition and innovation.
  • IXPs do not operate in isolation but thrive in an ecosystem.
  • Community building is important to share best practices.
  • Hosting local content in IXPs further accelerates the distribution of content, contributing to the growth of digital content industries.
  • IXPs in the Middle East contribute to the decentralisation of Internet traffic.
  • The diversification of global Internet routes increases the stability and security of the entire digital ecosystem.
  • Improving global connectivity has a positive impact on the region's competitiveness.

This report is part of the series of Internet Country Reports that the RIPE NCC has produced in an ongoing effort to support Internet development throughout our service region by making our data and insights available to local technical communities and decision makers.

We hope this report is used to inform discussion, provide technical insight and facilitate the exchange of information and best practices.

The full report, along with all of the previous Internet country reports, is available on our RIPE NCC Country Reports page, or you can download it directly right here:

Unlocking Digital Growth: The Role of IXPs in the Middle East RIPE_NCC_Middle_East_IXP_Report_2024.pdf – 3.3 MB

Data Sources

We want to highlight the fact that these Internet country reports are largely based on publicly available data. We hope they give you an idea about the kind of data and analysis that's possible using RIPE NCC tools and services as well as other publicly available sources. If this report inspires you to learn more about those tools and maybe even explore what you can do with the data yourself, check out the following:

Let us know if you have any questions about the data contained in the report, the measurements tools we used, our analyses, or anything else.


About the author

Jad El Cham Based in Dubai, UAE

A network engineer and cyber security enthusiast with extensive knowledge in designing, deploying and securing networks. Passionate about driving positive change in the telecommunications sector, Jad is currently serving as a Senior Public Policy Technical Advisor at RIPE NCC, the Regional Internet Registry serving Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. His role involves engaging in strategic policy developments and monitoring emerging technology trends. Jad also focuses on capacity building and community knowledge sharing through dedicated workshops and tailored activities for network operators, universities, law enforcement agencies, banking institutions and government regulators. Before joining the RIPE NCC, Jad was in charge of deploying IP networks for SMEs and service providers in the Middle East and Europe. His experience spans the networking domain, IoT and mobile access technologies.

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