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CMC Networks: The Key To African & Middle East Connectivity

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Questions for CMC Networks:

Q. At the start of the year, CMC Networks announced an exclusive agreement with Neutrona Networks. What benefits has this new carrier partnership brought to the Africa, Middle East, and Latin America regions?

CMC and Neutrona have very similar operating models, offering world-class solutions in historically difficult territories. This partnership reinforces CMC’s commitment to provide a one-stop approach servicing our customers’ needs on a global scale, while offering ‘second to none’ solutions that embrace next generation technology.

The partnership will offer the world’s first intercontinental network connection across the Southern Hemisphere with the ability to scale to over 140 Points of Presence in 80 countries. It also brings together the similar philosophies of both companies. The ethos of both CMC and Neutrona is built around customer experience, digital transformation and innovation. Each company is a regional leader in providing SD-WAN and access to Cloud services, so we are in an excellent position to drive collaboration and innovation in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Q. In an ever increasingly software-driven world, how is CMC Networks’ SD-WAN offering – CMC - Rapid Adaptive Network (C-RAN) – evolving to help carrier and enterprise customer networks?

Network operators need efficient ways to deliver new services and innovative methods for the network to learn and connect services to consumers, notably multiple business applications. Networks must be service-oriented to support today’s (and tomorrow’s) networking requirements. CMC’s Rapid Adaptive Network (C-RAN) was designed with this in mind; it connects 51 African countries to regional data centres, key cloud providers and global interconnection locations. CMC partnered with RedVine and 128Technology to deploy Africa’s first “Tunnel Free” software-defined core network over the past 24 months, with Points of Presence throughout Africa and the Middle East. This SDN core network, coupled with a custom-built programmable portal, allows customers to manage their SD-WAN and also deploy Virtual Network Functions using uCPE.

Q. Are there any particular strategic projects CMC Networks is about to complete?

We are working on a number of developments but a particular project of focus is creating Africa’s first artificial intelligence next-generation SDX network. Towards mid 2020, CMC will be enabling Services and Topology Exchange Protocol (STEP) across the core network, marking an industry first in artificial intelligence.

Q. What do you see as the biggest area of opportunity in the digital infrastructure landscape in Africa?

STEP enables the C-RAN network to learn the current real-time status of the entire telemetry of the network. This allows the C-RAN eco-system to autonomously select and keep application traffic on paths that meet the demands of that application’s SLA. Our application aware infrastructure results in superior end-user experience. With native inbuilt analytics and heuristics, STEP provides service and network information in the C-RAN Repository. This can be used to generate heat maps to pinpoint faults and congestion. With network state information being learnt over time, the AI capabilities of STEP can predict congestions and outages ahead of time and make the necessary path selection decisions. This reduces time to maintain and debug the network, notably due to the absence of any static tunnels. Proactive fault prediction enables a self-healing network.
The STEP Protocol enables our award-winning C-RAN platform to dynamically learn connectivity and service information. It is simple, efficient, secure, and reliable. It can be extended to include other relevant information that can enable intelligent decision making within our network. STEP provides a solution that enables true intent-based networking by allowing routers to learn business services and the ability to connect our customers to those business services efficiently. CMC’s C-RAN platform is compliant with PCI, FIPS, GDPR, POPI, HIPAA and other global standards. CMC also recently received MEF certification for SD-WAN over satellite. No other provider can offer a pan African SDN platform, which offers this level of compliance and interoperability.

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Credit: Capacity Magazine - Feb/March 2020 issue

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