Juniper Networks and NEC Corporation have announced that they have worked 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 operational drivers for this innovation and investment include scalability and reach, agility, cost-effectiveness and the ability to consistently provide a superior user experience that can be tailored to regional requirements.

Herotel chose to build its new IP network based on segment routing principles, augmenting traditional MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) techniques, to maximise 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.

Commening on the development, Eldred Ekermans, chief technical officer, Herotel, said, “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.”

Further, Brendan Gibbs, vice president, Automated WAN Solutions, Juniper Networks, said, “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 utilisation, 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.”

Meanwhile, Mayuko Tatewaki, general manager, service provider solutions division, NEC Corporation, said,  “As a company that envisions social value creation ourselves, Herotel’s mission resonates with us and we are thrilled to contribute to making ‘everyone connected’ a reality in South Africa, one of the key markets for our global business. NEC, providing specialised telecom services with a customer-first approach, is excited to be a strategic partner for Herotel to deliver innovative 5G-ready networking and to pave the way to a brighter, promising future together.”