by Eduard du Plessis, CEO of EOH Network Solutions Division
There was a time when corporate South Africa wanted little more from their telecoms suppliers than a basic telephone service. Today expectations are much higher, of course.
In the post-Internet age we expect to transfer data between remote offices in an instant, and smoothly transact with our customers via videoconferencing.
Even for the humble telephone call, expectations are changing, as a growing number of businesses turn to Next Generation Networks (NGNs) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions as a means to control costs and increase flexibility.
What makes an NGN?
NGNs are based on a genuinely innovative set of technologies that are transforming the way businesses communicate today – and will ultimately revolutionise how we all communicate in the future.
The key to this lies in the difference between what existing networks and NGNs have to offer.
The majority of traditional voice and data networks are underpinned by multiple network platforms that employ a variety of different transmission protocols.
Each of these platforms is dedicated to supplying a single type of traffic, such as voice, data or video.
This mix-and-match approach is complex to support and expensive to scale.
In comparison, NGNs take a converged approach to network services.
All types of network traffic are transmitted on a single, coherent platform, based purely on a common protocol.
This simplifies communication infrastructures enormously, reducing not only the number of network devices needed to create the network, but also the cost and resources required to maintain it.
NGNs are the crucial foundation
The rising tides of big data, video, and cloud computing are driving tremendous demand for faster and more efficient networks.
A general trend is for IP to be adopted as the common protocol of choice for converged networks. This has helped drive the move toward wholesale acceptance of NGNs.
Not only is more bandwidth required to accommodate the richer workloads involved, but lower latency — particularly over wide-area networks — is also needed to keep response times for key cloud-based applications and services down to usable levels.
As ‘cloud-era’ workloads become more complex and more mission-critical, IT managers will need increasingly sophisticated tools to manage network traffic and deliver an acceptable quality of service to the business.
All of these factors are essential to driving a new world of business transformation as unified communications become the cornerstone of how business is done.