Juniper Networks and NEC Corporation have worked with Herotel, South Africa’s largest fixed wireless service provider, to deploy segment routing as part of a significant network upgrade initiative.
Herotel’s operational drivers for this innovation and investment in the network include scalability, cost-effectiveness and the ability to consistently provide a superior user experience.
Herotel chose to build its new IP network based on segment routing principles, augmenting traditional MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) techniques, to maximize operational flexibility and agility and to help deliver improved, consistent user experiences 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.
Herotel has consolidated 19 separate networks and operating frameworks into a single architecture, in support of its simplification and cost-control program, having acquired 40 different service providers between 2018 and 2020.
During South Africa’s initial national lock-down period starting in March 2020, Herotel experienced a 30 percent increase in network traffic.
For the remainder of 2021, Herotel aims to bring another 60,000 new customers online, and is currently building new fiber connections for 16 towns, with another 18 planned for towns in the Western Cape district.
Juniper Networks’ MX Series Universal Routing Platform underpins the solution deployed by Herotel. Specifically, Herotel has deployed the MX204 Universal Routing Platform for metro access routing and the MX10008 Universal Routing Platform in the network core.
Herotel also has the Juniper Broadband Network Gateway Solution (BNG) enabled across its distributed architecture to support local peering and as a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This capability is enabled by the MX platforms and Junos OS, the single operating system that powers Juniper’s portfolio.
NEC led the architectural design and implementation of Herotel’ new network as the Network Integrator backed by its transport networking integration and engineering capabilities.
“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,” says Eldred Ekermans, Chief Technical Officer, Herotel.
“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 utilization, reduced latency and automated traffic engineering capabilities,” says Brendan Gibbs, Vice President, Automated WAN Solutions, Juniper Networks.