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Rethinking the Telco Industry
By Marcus Hacke, Founder & Managing Director, ngena
How an international alliance of telecommunication providers solves a key challenge of corporate customers today: i.e., building global corporate networks that are faster to deploy, cheaper, and more secure than any other network technology used by industry protagonists so far.
Currently, multinational enterprises are facing a huge range of challenges such as globalisation, digitisation, and new IT solutions like the cloud or IoT services are calling for new, innovative networking solutions. According to the market analysts from Gartner, around 80 percent of employees and customers today work in branch offices. And a survey done by researchers from Populus shows that even 41 percent of SMEs do business in countries outside their own, not taking into account the large enterprise segment, in which probably 100 percent would say they are running a global business. Competition today is coming both from around the world and from around the corner. And the need for communication with sites and workforces worldwide is more in demand than ever before.
As a result, and to better react to the many market challenges described above, companies need to be more agile and flexible when setting up their global network infrastructure.
Paving the Way for a truly Globalised Economy
To resolve the rising demand for agile and flexible networks, multiple leading telecommunication providers have joined forces to established ngena—the Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance. ngena connects the regional networks of its alliance partners to one Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) and uses end-to-end automated services to provide hybrid Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for enterprise customers. Founded by Deutsche Telekom, CenturyLink, Reliance Jio, and SK Telekom in early 2016, the alliance has now grown to include approx. 25 telecom partners such as A1, Altice with SFR and Portugal Telecom, British Telecom, China Unicom Global, Expereo, KPN, MTN, Neutrona, PCCW Global, PLDT, Retelit, Starhub, Sunrise, Telia, Telus, VEON, and Viettel, plus technology partners Cisco, Comarch, and Equinix.
The first time we saw a customer’s network going live like this and without a touch of a hand was an almost magical moment
Revamping the Network
But which corporate challenge did the alliance actually solve? Traditional wide area networks (WANs) are time-consuming to set up and also expensive. This is where ngena deployed a potent and adaptable approach known as Software-Defined Networking (SDN), which uses a series of data networking protocols, tools, interfaces, and controls to enable more intelligent, programmable, and flexible networking.
Interestingly, SD-WAN, which is an SDN deployed over a WAN, is quick, easily-configurable, and automatic. It can be managed using a provider’s centralised cloud-based and adaptable software platforms. Be it rapid network provisioning, agile adaptability of network capabilities, or even global network updates and security management, it can all be deployed with SD-WANs.
“Our idea is to deploy global wide area networks, and our business model is built on a sharing economy approach. While all our partners are leading telecommunication providers in their local countries and regions, ngena turns the networks of the alliance partners into one global SDN giving all partners the capability to offer innovative global network services to their business customers,” explains Marcus Hacke, Founder and Managing Director of ngena.
Pillars of Success
“When we set up our first customer project, it was absolutely fascinating to see that the innovative fully automated SD-WAN platform we were rolling out was doing exactly what we had planned,” recalls Marcus. ngena uses a layered service orchestration to achieve end-to-end automation. In this way, an entire network of any customer can be configured and deployed in a zero-touch provisioning model, which means without any manual work.
For this sweet success, the team toiled for days and nights to develop and implement a completely automated global network platform. “If you do something really new and build something that has never been done before, you sometimes underestimate the complexity and challenges,” he says. Be it taking longer time than expected or changing from one technology to another for high-quality service, ngena always believed that it could do better, faster, and more successfully. And that is what drives the company forward.
“No other company before ngena has ever started such an endeavour, and our partners and we are fully convinced to be successful with this new approach,” proudly notes the founder. Hence, this is the direction that ngena is heading in. The company is constantly improving its systems with the latest technology and making its services even more attractive and reliable. And of course, ngena is adding new services to its platform to help enterprises cope with their current and future connectivity and communication challenges.
“I believe that a bright future lies ahead of ngena because the customer networks ngena is currently building are proving to solve many problems of the globalisation and digitalisation companies are facing today,” he adds.
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