Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 65 | Page 37

Snell pointed out that 5G networking technology is intrinsically connected with SDN technology . “ With a high-speed 5G enabled SDN network , the computing environment becomes more flexible and agile , allowing IT to rapidly implement changes that support the business in a very cost-effective manner .
Combining 5G with a mobile edge compute ( MEC ) platform takes SDN technology to the next level ,” he said . “ MEC combines an ultrawideband network with cloud services to allow enterprises to develop largescale , latency- sensitive applications at the Edge . It also puts compute power closer to the end-user and allows applications to respond much more quickly , often in near-real time .”
He added that in a mature SDN environment where automation is deployed , SDN technology running on 5G and MEC can help CIOs make decisions quickly .
Van Rayne said aside from the flexibility , scalability and transparency of networks that SDN delivers to CIOs , it is increasingly important for enabling greater mobility and remote working , coupled with enterprisegrade security at lower infrastructure costs over the medium term .
he said . “ Flexibility , mobility , visibility and agility are no longer just industry buzzwords and organisations across the continent are starting to see these as tangible benefits of SDN .”
Snell noted that mobile phone penetration across Africa is currently patchy , particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where the average mobile Internet connectivity sits below 25 percent . “ Yet , there are some countries where accessibility and mobile penetration is higher , notably Kenya ( 83 %) and Nigeria where mobile broadband penetration is expected to rise to 55 % by 2025 . In South Africa , smartphone penetration sits at more than 80 %,” he said . “ South Africa currently leads the sub-Saharan continent in terms of 4G penetration ( 18 %), with Nigeria only expected to reach that number in 4 years ’ time in 2025 , although planning to roll out a 5G network this year .”
He said the access to broadband Internet access at high speeds is probably the greatest barrier for successful SDN networks in Africa now .
With SDN use cases increasing across the continent , it ’ s only a matter of time before Africa sees enterprisewide adoption and success in SDN .
“ A consequence of the pandemic and rapid move to remote work has meant organisations are looking for more scalable , cost effective and reliable ways to enable their employees to have VPN-like access to their networks and SDN meets this need . We are seeing a growing trend towards leveraging the agility of SDN to create temporary or pop up sites that can be set up quickly and moved as and when needed ,”
Snell said picture a manufacturing company that employs cognitive video of the shop floor . “ SDN allows operators to see a product defect and act quickly – such as shutting down an assembly line . The elastic environment includes automation that reacts to environmental changes and makes decisions , with learning capabilities that change the application or fix whatever is broken , all in near-real time . p
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