News Column

Seacom IP/MPLS network upgrade provides low latency routing via African PoPs

June 26, 2014

Allan Santana, senior account executive at pan-African ICT group XON

Seacom's recent upgrade of its IP/MPLS network for global and African IP transit services enables the organisation to provide low latency routes via its African points of presence (PoPs) for customer traffic that both remains within Africa, or exits Africa to the rest of the world.

Seacom has also improved its customers' African Internet experience through a new partnership with Akamai Technologies, Level 3 and CDNetworks. Seacom has deployed Akamai content clusters and caching nodes on its Pan-African IP/MPLS network footprint. The nodes will accelerate and optimise HTTP content, rich media, downloadable files, video, music, software updates and other Web content requested by operators and Internet service providers connected to Seacom's IP network.

"People do not need to wait for a page of content to load by fetching all the data from the servers in the US, for example," says Allan Santana, senior account executive at pan-African ICT group, XON. "Local PoPs with local content caches means the traffic travels a fraction of the distance, allowing content to get delivered a lot faster to the end-user. It also alleviates the amount traffic that gets pushed via the international pipes, which makes it that much more cost effective."

XON supplied the Juniper Networks equipment portion of Seacom's IP/MPLS upgrade and also provided the rack-mounted servers that help Seacom implement its advanced routing policy as well as enable additional on-ramp services for its customers.

The equipment is located at 16 PoPs throughout Africa, the US, Asia and Europe, from Amsterdam to Mumbai, Cape Town to New York, and Marseilles to Djibouti.

"This upgrade also enables new value-added services from Seacom," says Santana. "They can effectively cater for IPv6 across the Ethernet network, which also enables the business to scale its offerings very effectively well into the future."

Ethernet connectivity will allow for speed scaling up to multiple 100Gbps transfers and the ability to rapidly scale that capability as demand evolves.

Underpinning those capabilities are the Juniper Networks edge devices, including all optical connectivity, in the form of the MX480 Ethernet-optimised router and EX4500 Ethernet switches. XON also supplied the remainder of the solution that includes rack-mountable servers, the patch panels, fibre patch panels and CAT 6 patch chords for a completely turnkey solution.

XON has worked with Seacom for the past four years, when Seacom performed its first major network upgrade.

"We've seen Seacom's reliance on Juniper Networks equipment and our services and solutions grow since that initial phase because we focused on partnering with them and ensuring that they get the full gamut of services that they require to bolster their already highly competent technical team," says Santana.

"We have been very delighted to work with the entire XON team, right from our account manager all the way to the technical, logistics and support staff. It has been a real pleasure to deal with XON, and we are encouraged by their level of professionalism, attention to detail and consistent engagement and communication with us. We look forward to a continued successful and rewarding mutual relationship with XON", says Mark Tinka, head of engineering at Seacom.

XON offers 24x7 support through its network operations centre (NOC) based in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a four-hour service level agreement (SLA) and fully outsourced network management. XON holds large volumes of spares at its facilities throughout Africa and Europe and draws from a pool of talent developed over 12 years in the telecoms service provisioning industry. That talent includes numerous Juniper-certified engineers and as a result XON is a Juniper Elite Partner for Enterprise and Service Providers as well as a Juniper Operate Specialist Service Partner. These services and solutions are bolstered by four other divisions for turnkey provisioning, including infrastructure, hardware and software, retail and alternative energy.

XON's African footprint is extensive and includes delivery of projects and maintenance services in 14 countries including Angola, DRC, Egypt, Uganda and more.

As a result of this widespread capability XON delivers services in both Portuguese and French in addition to English.

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Source: ITWeb