Main One plans capacity boost

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West African optic fibre cable company Main One will deploy Cisco's Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP-NGN) solution for its planned capacity increase and IPv6 support in the region.

The 7 000km fibre-optic cable, unveiled in July last year, runs from Portugal to Nigeria and Ghana, and also branches out to Morocco, the Canary Islands, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

The cable currently offers capacity of 1.92Tbps, but Main One says the Cisco solution offers more than 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system.

Main One explains that the capacity is vital, as Internet capacity demands across the region are expected to boom in the coming months.

The annual Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast, 2009-2014, projects that consumer broadband usage and global IP-NGN traffic will continue to climb significantly due to the new forms and expanded usage of interactive media, and the explosion of video content across multiple devices.

IP traffic in the Middle East and Africa will reach one exabyte per month by 2014, at a rate of 45%. Monthly Internet traffic in the Middle East and Africa will generate 182 million DVDs' worth of traffic, or 727 petabytes per month. Business IP traffic will also grow fastest in the Middle East and Africa.

The company explains that the upgrade will provide various services enabled by IP technology, such as virtual private networks, voice over IP, IPTV and advanced collaboration technologies.

Main One has also moved to provide customers with smaller cost increments for the purchasing of bandwidth on its network. The upgrade is also necessary, as the continent prepares for the next generation of IP addresses: IPv6.

IPv6 planning

Early last month, the regional Internet registry (RIR) for Africa, AfriNIC, announced that IPv4 addresses had run out, after it had allocated the last two free batches of IPv4 addresses to the RIR for Asia Pacific APNIC.

AfriNIC CEO Adiel Akplogan explained that the remaining five batches of addresses, containing about 16 million unique addresses each, will now be distributed among the five RIRs, as per global policy. However, he warned that this is likely to be exhausted within the next two years.

At the time, Akplogan warned that it is now more important than ever for organisations around the world to begin planning for the next generation of IP addresses, IPv6.

But he noted that the switchover is not only about router and networking equipment, it also affects software and security mechanisms and policies in each organisation that is connected.

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