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Juniper Networks targets SSA as IP demands challenge telcos

Juniper Networks is aggressively expanding its footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, with a new office opening in Kenya and one to follow in Nigeria later this year.

Adrian Pickering, VP for Juniper Middle East and Africa, says the high performance network solutions and security firm sees increasing demand for its high-end solutions in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among telecommunications companies.

"In talks with customers across the region, we have discovered that telecoms firms are challenged in meeting the massively growing demand for mobile broadband services on networks originally intended for voice traffic! Operators across the region are being driven to offer higher speed mobile broadband to meet market demand, with data traffic growing at 67% year-on-year. The broadband explosion means they must evolve rapidly and re-architect their networks to carry mostly IP traffic now. Customers in the region are turning to Juniper to help them scale quickly and effectively, while still ensuring that networks are highly secure."

Security is a critical component in the network architecture, he notes, as malicious attacks have become a global industry run by organised crime. "Telcos must ensure their networks are secure because they need to deliver 24/7/365 service levels to subscribers. In the same way as a bank or retailer could be compromised through an attack starting in a branch office, if an operator is attacked through a remote site, the entire mobile broadband network could be severely compromised if it is not effectively secured. So it is extremely important that these networks are protected."

While telecommunications companies are expected to be Juniper Networks' primary market across sub-Saharan Africa, Pickering says large enterprises and government ministries are also upgrading their networks so they can become more efficient and provide enhanced service levels to their respective customers, all of which presents additional opportunities for Juniper and its partners.

To date, Juniper Networks' footprint in sub-Saharan Africa has largely been in South Africa, with a presence in sub-Saharan Africa through partners and distributors. However, the company is now building a stronger East and West African presence to meet growing demand for its solutions. A new Nairobi office is in the process of opening, with an office in Lagos planned for late 2015. The company will use these new hubs to springboard into high development regions and is also looking to countries such as Angola for future growth.

Juniper Networks is also represented in sub-Saharan Africa through its partnerships with distributors such as SecureData and Westcon, and global alliance partners such as NEC/XON, which are already active in the region. 

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