Liquid Telecom upgrades network with 10-times the capacity

Liquid Telecom has unveiled significant upgrades to its core network, including a tenfold increase in capacity.

Its new software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) platform, which is based on Cisco Meraki, will also allow its customers to increase and reduce their Internet speeds in near real-time.

Liquid Telecom’s network modernisation project is the largest the company has undertaken in over a decade. The network refresh included replacing ageing infrastructure across its core and aggregation networks.

“The replacement of our core network has not only catered to legacy performance issues but has made Liquid Telecom’s network one of the most technologically advanced, modern and reliable networks in South Africa and across the African continent,” said Reshaad Sha, the CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa.

“It has also addressed one of the core needs of local enterprises around network capacity.”

Sha declined to state how much Liquid Telecom invested in the network refresh, explaining that he had to defer answering the question until the announcement of Liquid Telecom’s financial results.

Asked how much capacity Liquid Telecom had in its core after the network upgrade, Sha said that before the upgrade they saw a “high water mark” of 90% network utilisation.

It is a bad thing to have such high levels of capacity consumption on a network, as it limits the ability of the network to grow or absorb sudden surges in traffic.

After the upgrade, Liquid Telecom’s capacity utilisation is in the single-digit percentages. There is also room for Liquid Telecom to light up even more capacity on its fibre network should it need to.

Working on fully automated bandwidth provisioning

Currently, the dynamic bandwidth scaling services offered by Liquid Telecom’s SD-WAN platform are not yet fully automated.

Liquid Telecom’s SD-WAN clients can still request on-demand changes to the amount of bandwidth at their disposal – it just requires some human intervention.

Willie Oosthuizen, the head of strategy at Liquid Telecom, said that their ultimate goal is a “zero-touch” billing platform.

“We’re not there yet,” Oosthuizen said.

Liquid Telecom’s network and systems are capable of supporting completely automated dynamic bandwidth provisioning, but its commercial and operational systems still need to catch up.

Oosthuizen said that the operational implementation always follows the technical one.

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Liquid Telecom upgrades network with 10-times the capacity