Business Focus

With its smart technologies, CMC Networks makes sure that people and their companies remain well-connected, whatever the challenge.

With close to a 30-year track record, CMC Networks is a global telecommunications carrier that operates the largest pan-African network, serving 51 out of 54 countries in Africa as well as an extensive network in the Middle East and Western Asia that extended into other regions via partner programmes. The company is majority-owned by The Carlyle Group, which is one of the world’s largest and most diversified alternative asset management firms with over $200B of assets under management.

The company provides a broad portfolio of network solutions and enables its customers to extend their Ethernet, MPLS or Internet capabilities seamlessly across the region. With its unique ability to provide connectivity and services in frequently complex geographic locations, CMC Networks is showcasing and delivering the highest level of reliability and latency standards.
“CMC Networks is unique,” says CEO Marisa Trisolino. “We are known for our ‘can-do attitude’ and we continuously push the boundaries to stay ahead of the curve in developing innovative ways to support our customer requirements, using a business model that reflects the generally volatile African environment and its challenges. Because CMC Networks understands Africa, we drive a partnership approach with our customers, putting their needs first.”

With its C-RAN™ Rapid Adaptive Networks, the company has secured a unique position in the market. Powered by 128 Technology, C-RAN™ is a solution that not only automates and drives the company’s internal Digital Transformation but provides a platform for its customers to deploy and service chain their SDx capabilities across Africa and beyond.
“Our SDN (Software Defined Networks) technology ensures an application-aware core infrastructure which is compliant with PCI, FIPS, GDPR, POPI, HIPAA and other global standards,” says Ms Trisolino. “No other provider can offer a Pan-African SDN platform which offers this level of compliance.” Where traditional SD-WAN has delivered incremental benefits on legacy infrastructure, C-RAN™ is a disruptive solution. It’s 100% software-based, tunnel free, utilizing Session Smart Technology and Secure Vector Routing and by being service-centric at the core, it delivers the application visibility, control and security needed to bridge the gap between our customer’s business needs and network requirements. CMC strips out the cost and complexity as the software runs on its customer’s choice of computer platforms or white-box CPE and can be virtualised and hosted in private clouds and public clouds including AWS, Azure, or Google.
“C-RAN™ is complemented by our Remote Access, software-defined perimeter (SD-P) solution for customers to migrate large-scale Working From Home (WFH) or Work From Anywhere (WFA) deployments during the unique situation Covid-19 has forced us into. Our mobile connectivity product called C-RAD, CMC’s Rapid Active Deployment, falls under the C-RAN™ umbrella, allowing for rapid mobile connectivity.” Ms Trisolino explains.

Another unique feature of CMC is that the company has mastered the art of navigating the complexity and sheer size of the African continent. With its large geography come very long WAN links, which can impact the performance and reliability of the connectivity especially outside of metro or main cities. CMC has handled the challenge, using a novel approach.
“Together with 128 Technology, we developed a unique solution that does not use any tunnels, resulting in bandwidth saving of 30 – 40% when compared to other SD-WAN products. As a result, we improved the reliability and quality of choppy internet links, resulting in CMC addressing the challenges of the MEA market with lower costs and better quality. The technology we deployed in our network, together with the wide coverage of CMC’s network, is unmatched in terms of quality, price, and speed of deployment.” Affirms the CEO.

She further pointed out that the company is proud of the excellent calibre of its key asset, the human resources. She has had an admirable career with a long list of major achievements. Before coming to CMC in 2018 she had several roles during her 21-year upward trajectory at AT&T, her only employer since her undergraduate degree in Rome. She was selected as part of the 2019 Top Twenty women to watch in Tech, nominated by Capacity Media, and was shortlisted for the Best CEO at Capacity’s Global Carrier awards in October 2019. In May 2020, Ms Trisolino was selected by Capacity Media’s Power 100, as one of the most influential women and men in the Telecoms industry.

“The key point for me personally is to lead by example,” she says, answering the question of how to make the best of the workforce. “Integrity and respect are high on my list of what drives a healthy work environment. At CMC Networks we have an open-door policy, and we move as one team. Customer focus is the common denominator. We invest in our teams to upskill them and ensure they are well-equipped to serve the marketplace. There is no doubt in my mind that CMC has the best workforce – they make it happen every day!”

She acknowledges that the company has done more than well during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will remain agile during the coming months, having developed more new features and solutions during the lockdown.

“We have a lot planned and CMC’s CTO Geoff Dornan keeps our network strongly positioned. The most imminent plan, which is in roll-out phase, is a brand-new feature further enhancing the CMC C-RAN™ solution – called STEP (Service and Topology Exchange Protocol), a game-changer in the SDN world.”

“Utilizing artificial intelligence capabilities STEP will learn the network topology, the services attached to the network and work out the optimal path to connect users, departments or branches to those services, whether it be hyper-scale cloud delivery or providing a low latency route for VoIP traffic, the added benefits for any customer using C-RAN™ enables enterprises to spin new locations for existing services up and down based no loads, to add new services, and to remove or modify existing services. This reduces time to market and helps them to grow elastically. Our dynamic and self-optimizing network will enable customers to get the network to do what their business needs.” Ms Trisolino affirms.

Looking forward, CMC Networks is demonstrating that it is indeed uniquely positioned to embrace the fast-growing data demand in Africa and the Middle East, and is ready to seize the growth opportunities in providing services that fully match customers’ needs.

Source: Business Focus Magazine – Issue 80 – November 2020



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