Major DFA network upgrades

Maziv-owned Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has announced two infrastructure upgrades to improve network stability in dense areas, accelerate the delivery of new services, and future-proof its network for scale and sustainable growth.

The projects will build on a R400-million fibre network expansion announced in August 2023.

This project saw 800 Dry Underground Distribution Cabinets (DUDC) deployed in areas across South Africa with high network density.

The two new initiatives will help boost the DUDC project’s efficacy.

Maziv chief technology officer Andreas Uys said they would significantly enhance the reliability and speed of service delivery for our customers, starting in the Gauteng region.

“This is the densest portion of our network, and our goal is to bridge over existing customers to the new infrastructure as quickly as possible,” Uys said.

The first upgrade will be a “yellow cable” project, aimed at reducing the number of access points that service teams use to perform maintenance and install new connections.

“From a technical perspective, we are rebuilding the backhaul infrastructure from each DUDC unit to the closest aggregation node, as well as between core aggregation nodes,” said Uys.

“With the expanded capacity and ease of deploying new services directly to a DUDC unit, it will be faster and more cost-effective to build.”

The second “grey cable” project will separate DFA’s infrastructure from client infrastructure, boosting DFA’s capacity to increase bandwidth speeds and provide new managed services more swiftly.

“It will also provide increased redundancy and route diversity, which offers affordable protection to customers to prevent network isolation or losing network and internet connectivity,” DFA explained.

Andreas Uys, Maziv chief technology officer

Maziv chief operating officer Dewald Booysen explained that DFA’s 2023 projects primarily focused on bringing stability back to its network in the wake of vandalism and third-party damage that caused numerous outages.

“These initiatives were largely successful but were a temporary measure in preparation for these major upgrades planned for 2024,” Booysen said.

He said several DUDCs were already live in the Gauteng South region and that DFA planned to roll out complete DUDC coverage in 13 precincts within the region by the end of September 2024.

“This is an aggressive target and will be dependent on several things going according to plan,” Booysen said.

“We are also planning as much as we can for issues outside of our control, like vandalism, which diverts time and critical resources away from projects like this.”

Booysen assured customers would receive constant communication regarding the progress of the rollout of both the yellow and grey cable projects.

“Our goal is to be completely transparent and provide customers with tangible data showing the impact of these upgrades,” he said.

“They will be able to benchmark this progress against our stated targets for national network performance.”

Booysen added that DFA expected to be able to show customers the impact in upgraded areas.

“We want to be able to show tangible improvement in service delivery and service assurance per precinct, which customers can monitor as the rollout is completed,” he said.

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Major DFA network upgrades