Africa is Ready for Advanced Optical Technologies
The first two attendees that I spoke with last week at NGON Africa in Cape Town expressed often held views that leading edge technology does not apply to Africa. The first was a young technologist who came by as we were unpacking equipment for display at the ECI booth. He asked about the hardware and I explained the 100Gbps transponder that we had installed in a 3RU Apollo™ shelf. His reaction was, “I can’t imagine we need anything that fast in Africa.” The second was a critical infrastructure operator who explained that he was not convinced yet that Africa was ready for the move from copper to fiber.
It Takes a Village to Manage Optical Networks
The alchemists of our age, scientists and engineers, have transformed chemical compounds like gallium-arsenide, indium-phosphide, and silicon into miniaturized lasers, light detectors, and thin tubes of glass that combine to communicate information over long distances at unimaginably fast speeds.
Bandwidth demands are growing far more rapidly than network operators can upgrade their capacity and speeds. While 100G was supposed to meet these needs, experts are already discussing the 400G and Terabit revolution. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) trends are permeating networks as operators search for new ways to meet the demands of an evolving Internet-connected landscape.
We've all been told how software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) will help the industry cut costs, streamline operations, speed time to market for new services and utilize network resources more efficiently. If you think Google is the only company that can successfully implement these solutions, think again. At AfricaCom 2015, ECI will present its ELASTIC Network™ solutions, show how service providers can already experience the benefits of SDN, and how NFV-based solutions will ensure a more secure network traffic.
Last week, South Africa’s Energy Utility and the EUTC (European Utility Telecoms Council) organized a conference for utilities in Africa. EUTC Africa was held at the Eskom University, the training campus of the utility Eskom. The campus is close to Midrand, about halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. About 180 experts, mainly from Eskom, gathered for two days to discuss the challenges around smart grids and smart meters.
Last week, I and several of my colleagues from ECI once again visited the East Africa Com event in Nairobi, Kenya. Out of the many presentations, panels and individual meetings in which we participated, we came away with the following key findings:
I recently had the pleasure of attending Frost & Sullivan’s third annual African Excellence Awards Banquet, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the banquet, Frost & Sullivan recognized companies across a variety of industries in both regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in the areas of leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development.
A group of us from ECI, along with Ivan Soldo from NewTelco, traveled to Uganda in East Africa in early December for a telecom workshop. I’ll get to the details on the workshop in a moment, but I must first say that Uganda is an absolutely beautiful country, with a very lush, very green landscape. Renowned for its fish, Uganda is home to Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world. The lake is famous for perch, which is exported worldwide and is at the center of heated debate between authorities and biologists. If you have the chance to visit this wonderful place, I recommend it without reservation.
My colleague Orly Nahum and I participated this past week in the largest telecoms conference and exhibition on the African continent – AfricaCom. Held in Cape Town, South Africa, AfricaCom was a very busy conference that was attended by over 4,000 telcos.