CMC Networks transforms Bowmans’ MPLS Network to SD-WAN

The leading African law firm’s WAN upgrade connects its office branches in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia with higher efficiency and performance.

CMC Networks has been selected by Bowmans to transform its legacy Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network to a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN). Bowmans is one of the Big Five law firms in South Africa, with seven offices across Africa in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. CMC Networks created an end-to-end solution to enable flexible and seamless connectivity between the different African markets in which Bowmans operates.

CMC Networks implemented the SD-WAN for Bowmans using a mixture of its IP Premier Direct Internet Access (DIA) service and a third-party broadband Internet service. The solution delivered a hybrid network consisting of a fully meshed Juniper Session Smart Router (SSR) SD-WAN with high availability nodes at each branch location, interconnected with Bowmans’ existing MPLS. This will facilitate the long-term migration from MPLS to SD-WAN, enabling branches to be migrated in a phased approach to increase cost-efficiency, network performance, and customer experiences across markets.

“Legacy MPLS networks can be very rigid and unable to keep up with the demands of today’s flexible and cloud-first business landscape. Enterprises in Africa and beyond need to adopt new networking models like SD-WAN to move at the speed of today’s market,” said Marisa Trisolino, CEO at CMC Networks. “It’s great to be working with Bowmans to add additional flexibility to its network. The entire team at CMC have extensive experience across all the African markets Bowmans operates in, which has helped us to build a bespoke solution built on expert knowledge.”

CMC’s IP Premier was configured as the primary connectivity service, with the third-party broadband used as a backup or failover service. CMC also deployed an additional node in cold-standby mode at each SD-WAN branch to reduce the risk of operational downtime for Bowmans. A high availability node was deployed in one of CMC’s Johannesburg data centres to facilitate interconnectivity with Bowmans’ existing MPLS network. An additional virtual appliance was then deployed in Microsoft Azure to connect the network to Bowmans’ workloads running in Azure South Africa North. To provide an additional level of redundancy to Azure, CMC deployed a MSFT ExpressRoute from the node in its data centre.

“Bowmans is continually looking at new growth opportunities across the continent, and we needed our network to match our pace of business,” said Ken Davidson, Head of Information Technology at Bowmans. “The team at CMC Networks understood our specific requirements, assessed our current network, and developed a plan that worked alongside our growth roadmap. The entire process has been seamless from start to finish, and we look forward to making the full move from MPLS to SD-WAN with an expert team by our side.”

CMC is also providing Bowmans with rack space in its data centre to host its security equipment such as firewalls, VPN aggregators and DMZ switches. The network is delivered as a fully managed service from CMC Networks, with a full suite of service management services including a dedicated service manager, SLA reporting, trend analysis and extensive consulting. CMC Networks has the largest pan-African network servicing 51 out of 54 countries in Africa and 12 countries in the Middle East, plus regional hubs in key interconnect locations across Europe, UK, the Americas and Asia Pacific.

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