ICT innovations for Africa

Interview with Noam Dor, Director of Sales for Africa and Middle East for RAD

RAD – over 30 years of operation, a significant worldwide presence in over 150 countries, a member of the $1.2 billion RAD Group of companies, a world leader in telecommunications solutions.

Mr. Dor has been employed by RAD, an award-winning global manufacturer of access and backhaul solutions for mobile and fixed line carriers, service providers, enterprises, government agencies, transportation systems, and public utilities, since 1990. He studied at the Université de Liège in Belgium.

What innovative services does your company offer to African countries?

Our Service Assured Access (SAA) solutions. With the linking of Africa’s coastal, urban, and commercial hubs to undersea fiber cables, carriers are taking advantage of all that new bandwidth to roll out advanced Carrier Ethernet networks with which they can increase their revenues by offering their customers SLA-assured Ethernet services. Furthermore, fiber connectivity is now reaching much further into the interior, encouraged by government sponsored initiatives to bring modern communications solutions to larger segments of the population. SAA is an essential solution for the rapidly developing African market. It is a comprehensive offering that features a robust service lifecycle toolkit that goes beyond MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 requirements and supports multiple deployment mode scenarios over various bearer circuits: fiber, copper, and wireless.

What are the benefits for African companies and governments after implementation?

SAA can be adapted to different deployment scenarios. Network build-outs typically take place at a varied pace and service providers can implement SAA to fit their rollout plans, existing infrastructure, migration plans, and OpEx/CapEx objectives. SAA lets them build a complete Carrier Ethernet access network, including smart demarcation and Ethernet service pre-aggregation. They can also use RAD’s SAA to build only a part of the network; for example, to facilitate inter-carrier ENNI handoff or to provide smart demarcation, where the edge or aggregation layer is provided by another vendor. SAA is future-ready, providing powerful demarcation and performance management today, while enabling virtualization to be added in the future to deliver additional service agility and cost reduction. Moreover, because SAA supports differentiated Carrier Ethernet SLA agreements, it enables service providers to tailor services for the specific customer. Given their network of ATM machines, for example, banks can contract for 24-hour SLAs, while enterprises can contract for SLAs only during business hours.

Moreover, SAA provides instant Carrier Ethernet functionality for third-party switches, routers and Ethernet converters using RAD’s unique MiNID® – a miniature NID in an SFP sleeve form factor. Plugging the MiNID into non-Carrier Ethernet equipment is a fast and easy way to normalize an existing network and enable it with Ethernet OAM capabilities and service demarcation, while reusing existing SFP optics and avoiding unnecessary network forklifts.

Can you give an example of successful implementation of your innovation in Africa?

Camtel, OCIT (Orange Ivory Coast Telecom), and Main One in Nigeria.

Camtel employs SAA across its entire 4,000-kilometer long fiber network to reach all of the country’s ten regions. This enables them to transport multi-site customer traffic over high-capacity Carrier Ethernet rings while guaranteeing differentiated QoS, according to each application’s specific requirements. RAD solutions will also be used to backhaul multiple 3G mobile networks with performance monitoring and accurate timing synchronization over packets.

Similarly, SAA was chosen by OCIT to deliver business Carrier Ethernet services, principally in Abidjan.

Main One deployed SAA both to deliver Carrier Ethernet services to business customers and to enable them to offer broadband to other carriers operating in Nigeria.

What are the problems your company faced in African countries?

Africa is a major element in RAD’s global strategy and, therefore, we are constantly increasing our investment in that market. A major challenge, more common to Africa than other continents, is competition from low-end products. However, once we meet with customers and explain the significant long-term benefits that our SAA solution generates by increasing their revenues, reducing their operational costs and increasing their customer satisfaction (not to mention our excellent, committed local support), we win them over.

How can information and production technologies affect African economies and change people’s thinking in 5-10 years, for example?

The next big boost that will inevitably affect African telecommunications is virtualization, and RAD will play a leading role. RAD is the first in the market to integrate a Layer 2/Layer 3 network interface device (NID) with a powerful x86 platform for hosting virtual network functions. It is controlled by the service provider and resides at the customer premises to deliver service agility, as well as other substantial benefits. For example, it allows incremental investment via phased NFV deployment – an effective first step towards full NFV deployment, because it foregoes expensive centralized investments that typically outpace initial revenue. In addition, it ensures the effectiveness of key functions that must remain at the customer edge, such as WAN optimization, encryption, traffic conditioning, end-to-end QoS, QoE monitoring, and more. Such center-less deployment also allows better conformance to enterprise customers’ security and access policies.

Most service providers see NFV as a promising vehicle to reduce costs, quickly launch new services and basically stay relevant as they face stringent customer needs and growing competition. Among the most potentially lucrative opportunities for NFV are virtual CPE (vCPE), security as a service (SaaS), content delivery networks (CDNs), cloud RANs, evolved packet core (EPC) in the mobile network, WAN traffic balancing/shaping, virtual IMS and RCS, virtual broadband remote access server (vBRAS), and network monitoring.

RAD’s SAA enables operators to have the best demarcation and performance mentoring and later upgrade to add virtualization without the need to replace deployed equipment. Its strong management solution comes with a simple visual interface to manage physical devices and add virtual devices tomorrow, totally transparent to end-users.

SAA, with D-NFV technology, reduces the risks and investments that African operators would otherwise have to take on in the future, when they shift to virtualization and programmable networks.

Website: www.rad.com

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