11 Jun Herotel invests in segment routing as part of massive South African network upgrade
Juniper Networks a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, and NEC Corporation are working with Herotel, South Africa’s largest fixed wireless service provider, to enable the country’s first commercial network to deploy segment routing as part of a significant network upgrade initiative.
Herotel’s aim is to provide affordable internet connectivity and access to services and content across South Africa’s 1.22 million Km2, including communities in remote districts. In addition to rapid organic growth of its network, the acquisition of numerous local service providers over a short period of time has further broadened Herotel’s reach. However, this approach has also led to a disparate, cost-inefficient infrastructure in need of simplification and alignment to meet its objectives.
Over the past year, this need has been exacerbated by significantly increased demand for secure, reliable connectivity and bandwidth during work-at-home and extended lock-down periods, with thousands of workers accessing corporate resources from “unknown” home networks. Furthermore, given the large distances between data centres and other points of presence, the ability to store and stream bandwidth-heavy content closer to as many customers as possible has become another imperative for Herotel.
Herotel chose to build its new IP network based on segment routing principles, augmenting traditional MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) techniques, to maximize operational flexibility and agility and to help deliver improved, consistent user experiences at scale and cost-effectively.
Segment routing is a control-plane architecture which simplifies traffic engineering, enabling the path that data packets take across the network to be determined in advance. This means fewer network elements are involved, avoiding slow response to sudden network changes. It also supports the application QoS (Quality of Service), mapping specific applications and end users to preferential network service paths.
“Herotel’s stated mission for South Africa is ‘everyone connected’. In support of this, we have three clear strategic anchors: excellent customer experience, low-cost deployment and strategic availability of our services. The network is the critical element, so we knew we had to be bold and innovative to succeed and keep this promise to our customers. The solution from Juniper, with NEC XON as the integration partner, has delivered the simplicity, operational functionality and agility that other vendors simply could not,” says Eldred Ekermans, chief technical officer, Herotel
“Streamlining deployment at massive scale and across vast distances yet still focusing on the user experience was the challenge that Herotel brought to us. The segment routing solution now in place delivers optimal bandwidth utilization, reduced latency and automated traffic engineering capabilities. This enables Herotel to provide stand-out connectivity and services to its many thousands of business and residential users, despite the geographic challenges of such a dispersed population. It also has the necessary headroom and agility to keep ahead of Herotel’s ambitious ongoing growth plans, again without any compromise to the end-user experience,” says Brendan Gibbs, vice oresident, Automated WAN Solutions, Juniper Networks