Optace Networks Showcases Cambium Networks’ Solutions at the Kenyan Internet Service Providers Meet and Greet.

On September 9, 2023, the Kenyan Internet Service Providers forum -comprising FISPs and WISPs- held a Meet and Greet event at Fish Eagle Inn, Naivasha. The event was organized and chaired by Martin Kanyora, and attended by over 30 heads of home-grown Internet Service Providers, who met to discuss the state and future of the industry. This is the 10th of such events held by the stakeholders in the last 10 years.  Optace Networks, a Nairobi-based distributor of networking equipment and value-added services and solutions, is thrilled to announce its participation during the Meet and Greet where we engaged stakeholders and showcased some innovative portfolio of networking solutions by Cambium Networks. Here are the key highlights of the showcase: 
  1. Hard Lock, an anti-theft security feature on Cambium Networks’ ePMP portfolio that enables network operators to retain the currently configured passwords even after a factory default procedure is executed. With this feature, network operators can fully own and secure their equipment, effectively ending the demand for stolen network devices. Learn more about it here: https://optacenetworks.com/hardlock 
  2. Quality of Experience (QoE), a Cambium Networks solution that enables network operators to offer their customers a range of price points and service levels, enabling them to optimize the usage of network resources, with the goal of reducing churn through improved customer satisfaction, while also saving money with fewer support calls. 
  3. Cambium Networks’ future-proof Fiber solutions (XGS-PON alongside GPON), that simplify the deployment, management, and pricing of carrier-grade multi-gigabit symmetrical FTTx technology. 
Another key highlight at the Meet and Greet was RefHub, a sustainability initiative by Optace Networks that enables network operators to manage the networking devices and equipment lifecycle. RefHub adopts the Circular Economy system in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible to extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. This is guided by 3 key pillars: Recover. Repurpose. Reduce. Learn more about RefHub here: https://refhub.co.ke/ “Truly, we can attest that we’ve seen the ISPs grow by leaps and bounds over the last 10 or so years we have known them and worked together, from one-person outfits to the profitable, growing companies they now are.” Said Morris Muthui, Director at Optace Networks. “Business connections have turned into friendships and there is no doubt in their importance to the Kenyan economy as they grow to provide better internet connections to individuals, households, and businesses. Despite this, large swathes of the region still remain undeveloped for connectivity. Theirs, and our ethos tie in perfectly with Cambium Networks' mission to connect the unconnected. We look forward to the sector's growth in the years to come." The event was key in projecting the future of the industry providing valuable insight and opportunity for growth and, most importantly, innovation. Suffice it to say that the future of Kenya’s ISPs looks great and focused.
About Optace Networks Optace Networks is a Kenyan-based distributor of wired and wireless networking products and solutions and value-added services:  Our networking solutions include routing, switching, security, wireless broadband, Wi-Fi, ethernet, fiber, and racks & cabinets, with products from reputable brands such as MikroTik, Cambium Networks, RF Elements, Ubiquiti, Netgate, Cisco, and Teltonika. The products serve broader industries in telecommunications, data centers, real estate, manufacturing, education, healthcare, energy, and banking. Additionally, Optace Networks offers value-added services such as surveys, installations & after-sales support as part of a satisfactory customer experience. Find out more at optacenetworks.com  About Cambium Networks Cambium Networks is a leading global provider of multi-gigabit Wi-Fi, broadband, and fiber infrastructure for business, residential, and municipal applications, enabling service providers, enterprises, industrial organizations, and governments to deliver exceptional digital experiences and device connectivity with compelling economics.  View our Cambium portfolio here

Embrace Network Management Solutions to Achieve Operational Efficiency

Networks serve as the backbone of businesses - connecting people, applications, and devices - globally. And with network management solutions you get a robust operational efficiency of these networks. This is paramount to ensure seamless operations and deliver exceptional user experiences by streamlining operations, eliminating inefficiencies, and improving overall productivity. Achieving operational efficiency, therefore, is essential for businesses to remain competitive, deliver value to customers, and maintain profitability. For Managed Services Providers, the key to operational efficiency is Network Management Solutions that offer insights, automation, and control to streamline operations and optimize network performance. These solutions encompass a range of tools, platforms, and technologies designed to monitor, analyze, configure, and optimize network devices and resources.

Choosing the Right Solution

Selecting the appropriate network management solution requires a strategic approach through careful consideration of various factors, including:
  • Integration: Look for solutions that integrate seamlessly with existing technologies to ensure a cohesive network management ecosystem.
  • Scalability: The solution should be capable of scaling to accommodate the organization's current and future network growth.
  • Ease of Use: An intuitive user interface with user-friendly features simplifies the adoption process and shrinks the learning curve.
  • Customization: The solution should also allow customization to align with specific organizational needs and workflows.
  • Security: Strong security features are essential to safeguard sensitive network data and prevent unauthorized access.

What’s available for you to choose?

With the increasingly changing digital landscape, increased use of IoT, and enterprise demands of network management, this is the right time to update or upgrade your network management solution. At Optace Networks, we are keen to provide you with network infrastructure solutions that include network management features to help ISPs and MSPs achieve operational efficiency. (re)Discover some of the most popular ones by vendor:
  1. cnMaestro by Cambium Networks
  2.  UniFi and UISP by Ubiquiti Networks
  3.  The Dude by MikroTik
  4.  Cisco DNA Center by Cisco
cnMaestro by Cambium Networks - Overview These network management solutions may be vendor-specific and limited to their respective ecosystems. But the overall goal is to offer a range of capabilities that empower organizations to enhance operational efficiency, improve user experiences, and adapt to the dynamic demands of the IoT landscape. By leveraging these solutions, businesses can optimize network performance, minimize downtime, and stay ahead of potential disruptions - ultimately driving their success. Benefits of Network Management Solutions Network management solutions play a vital role in enhancing operational efficiency by providing MSPs with the ability to achieve the following:

Proactively Monitor and Troubleshoot

Network management solutions offer real-time monitoring capabilities that provide deep insights into the health and performance of network devices, applications, and services. They detect anomalies, diagnose issues, and enable IT teams to address potential disruptions before they impact users proactively.

Gain Visibility and Central Control

Administrators gain a holistic view of their network infrastructure through a unified dashboard, regardless of its complexity. This centralized visibility simplifies network management, enabling administrators to make informed decisions and streamline tasks across distributed environments.

Efficiently Configure and Deploy

Network management solutions facilitate automated configuration management, ensuring consistent device settings. This saves time and reduces the risk of misconfigurations that could lead to downtime or security vulnerabilities.

Optimize Performance

By analyzing network traffic and performance metrics, these solutions identify bottlenecks and areas of improvement. Organizations can optimize bandwidth allocation, adjust routing, and fine-tune network settings for optimal performance.

Plan for Capacity and Scalability

With historical data and trend analysis, network management solutions aid in capacity planning. Organizations can forecast network growth, allocate resources appropriately, and avoid unexpected capacity limitations.

Enhance Security

 Many network management solutions offer security monitoring and threat detection capabilities. Administrators can identify suspicious activities, enforce security policies, and respond to potential threats promptly.

Automate and Streamline Workflows

Automation features enable routine tasks to be executed automatically, freeing IT personnel to focus on strategic initiatives. This results in increased operational efficiency and reduced human error.

How to Choose a Network Management Solution

The below infographic details the factors an enterprise should consider when choosing its network management solution:

Match your Network Systems and Infrastructure with Growing Demands for Connectivity

The growing demand for connectivity has been driven by the increasing use of IoT devices; the connected smart devices that communicate seamlessly over the internet. These devices are transforming how we live and work, and their dependence on strong connectivity is driving the demand for better and more reliable connectivity solutions. To meet these growing demands, companies must choose from a variety of connectivity options with different bandwidth, range, cost, reliability, and network-management features. Aligning network systems with the growing demands for connectivity, therefore, must involve a strategic approach that encompasses various technological, operational, and scalability considerations. This is crucial to ensure seamless and efficient communication.  Here are some ways to match your network systems with increasing connectivity demands:
  1. Investing in High-Performance Networking Equipment
  2. Deploying Scalable Infrastructure
  3. Incorporating Network Monitoring and Analytics
  4. Adopting Converged Network Infrastructure
  5. Building Supplier and Vendor Partnerships
Investing in High-Performance Networking Equipment High-performance networking equipment refers to hardware components designed to deliver superior data transmission speeds, low latency, and efficient network management. These devices are essential for organizations that require fast and reliable connectivity to accommodate the growing demands of modern applications, data-intensive tasks, and increasing numbers of connected devices. Some examples of high-performance networking equipment would be: Deploying Scalable Infrastructure Deploying scalable network infrastructure involves building a foundation that can accommodate growing demands for connectivity, data transfer, and user requirements. A strategic approach would be capacity planning for high-speed connectivity by assessing your network's current and future needs, estimating the required bandwidth, and ensuring that your infrastructure can support the demands of high-speed data transmission.  Consider some examples of scalable infrastructure:
  • A 25G/40G/100G/400G Fiber Optic network that can easily accommodate increased demand for data transmission, higher bandwidth requirements, and expanding connectivity needs. Fiber optics provide the capacity for rapid and reliable data transfer, making them an excellent choice for scalable network growth.
  • Implementing Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to dynamically allocate and manage network resources, allowing you to scale and optimize your network without manual configuration changes. SDN has gained significant attention and adoption, particularly in large-scale networks, data centers and cloud computing environments. It offers the potential to transform how networks are designed, deployed, and managed, leading to increased agility, scalability, and cost savings.
Incorporating Network Monitoring and Analytics Network monitoring and analytics are essential components of modern network management, providing insights into network performance, security, and user behavior. Network monitoring involves the continuous surveillance of network components, devices, and traffic to detect and respond to anomalies, performance issues, and security threats. It helps ensure that your network operates smoothly and efficiently. Network analytics involves the collection, processing, and analysis of data generated by the network to derive actionable insights. It goes beyond real-time monitoring and helps you make data-driven decisions to optimize your network's performance. By combining network monitoring and analytics, you can proactively address issues, optimize performance, and make informed decisions to ensure your network's reliability, security, and scalability. Adopting Converged Network Infrastructure A converged network infrastructure would be an ideal solution for an integrated approach to organizations looking to streamline their network operations by combining multiple types of traffic, such as data, voice, and video, onto a single, unified network. This convergence eliminates the need for separate networks for different types of communication and optimizes resource utilization  Converged network infrastructure offers various benefits such as:
  • Reduced complexity - Managing a single, unified network is simpler than managing multiple separate networks, reducing the complexity of network operations.
  • Improved efficiency - A converged infrastructure can lead to improved network efficiency, as resources are used more effectively by allowing different types of traffic to share network resources and thus, redundancies are minimized.
  • Enhanced scalability – Converged networks are designed to scale easily as the organization's communication needs grow, accommodating new devices, users, and applications without major overhauls.
Building Supplier and Vendor Partnerships Building strong supplier and vendor partnerships is crucial when procuring network equipment. These partnerships can lead to more favorable terms, reliable support, and access to cutting-edge technology. With Optace Networks, you are perfectly plugged to match your network systems and infrastructure with growing demands for connectivity. We are not just transactional; we are about establishing a collaborative relationship with you, becoming a valuable extension of your team, and supporting your network infrastructure's growth and success.

Wi-Fi 6, The New Frontier for Wi-Fi Connectivity Infrastructure

Upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 is a strategic move that aligns your network systems and infrastructure with the surging demands for connectivity. Its higher data rates and capacity, improved performance in crowded environments, and energy efficiency all contribute to shaping the future of connectivity across various domains. A Glimpse into the Future of Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, introduces several enhancements that result in higher data rates and better overall network capacity compared to its predecessors like Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). These improvements are designed to meet the increasing demand for faster and more reliable wireless connectivity. One of the most compelling features of Wi-Fi 6 is its ability to handle a higher density of devices simultaneously. As the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem expands and businesses integrate more smart devices, traditional networks can struggle to accommodate the load. Wi-Fi 6 combats this challenge through its improved multi-user capabilities, enabling seamless connections for numerous devices without compromising speed or stability. Speed and Efficiency Crowded environments, such as stadiums, conference centres, airports, and urban areas, often have a high density of devices trying to connect to the same network. Compared to AC Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 introduces several features that improve performance and efficiency in such scenarios:
  •  OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access), to reduce contention and help mitigate the "traffic jam" effect that can occur when many devices try to communicate at the same time.
  • BSS Colouring, to help differentiate between different networks operating on the same channel. This reduces interference and allows devices to better distinguish between signals, leading to improved efficiency.
  •   8x8 MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output), allowing Wi-Fi 6 access points to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This is particularly useful in environments with multiple devices, as it reduces latency and enables better utilisation of the wireless medium.
Overall, Wi-Fi 6's improvements in speed and efficiency make it better equipped to handle the increasing demands of modern applications and the growing number of connected devices. While the theoretical maximum speeds vary based on factors such as spatial streams and channel width, Wi-Fi 6 provides a significant performance boost compared to its predecessors, making it an attractive choice for homes, businesses, and public spaces. Enhanced Security Wi-Fi 6's security improvements are beneficial for the increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected to wireless networks. Stronger encryption and protection mechanisms help secure the communication between IoT devices and the network. These security improvements make it easier to segment large networks, creating isolated segments for different types of devices or users, and thus limiting the potential attack surface.  With support for WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3), Wi-Fi 6 introduces the latest security protocol for Wi-Fi networks. WPA3 improves upon the security features of WPA2 by providing stronger encryption, protection against brute-force attacks, and improved security for open networks. Another key improvement in WPA3 for WiFi6 is a key exchange method, Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a replacement for Pre-Shared Key (PSK). SAE provides better security against offline dictionary attacks, utilising a stronger password-based key exchange protocol to establish secure connections.  These security improvements in Wi-Fi 6 collectively contribute to creating a more secure wireless networking environment, helping to protect against a wide range of potential threats and vulnerabilities. Transform your Connectivity by Transitioning to Wi-Fi 6 In a world where connectivity underpins productivity, innovation, and communication, aligning your network systems and infrastructure with the escalating demands for speed, reliability, and security is a strategic imperative. Wi-Fi 6 emerges as the solution that checks all these boxes, offering unparalleled performance, enhanced efficiency, and robust security features. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, making the switch from AC Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi 6 is not just an upgrade – it's a proactive step towards future-proofing your network and ensuring that your connectivity remains as cutting-edge as the technology it supports.  So, if you're ready to embrace the next era of wireless networking, Optace Networks stands ready to usher you into Wi-Fi 6, a realm of unparalleled connectivity.

Safeguarding the Digital Realm: The Nexus of Cybersecurity and Network Systems

Digital technology has become an integral part of our lives; and ensuring the security of our cyber landscape is paramount. Cybersecurity and network systems play a vital role in safeguarding sensitive information, personal data, and critical infrastructures from malicious actors and cyber threats.  In this article, we explore:
  1. The importance of cyber resilience
  2. The evolving challenges in network security and
  3. The strategies employed to protect our digital assets.

Understanding Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity encompasses a set of practices, technologies, and processes designed to defend computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorised access, data breaches, and cyberattacks. Its significance lies in preserving the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital information. With the ever-increasing volume of data and the rise of sophisticated cyber threats, cybersecurity has become a crucial aspect of our modern society.

The Role of Network Systems

Network systems form the backbone of the digital infrastructure, facilitating data transmission and communication between devices and servers. The seamless operation of networks is essential for businesses, governments, and individuals to exchange information and conduct online activities. However, the interconnectedness of network systems also introduces vulnerabilities, making them prime targets for cyber attackers seeking to exploit weak links and gain unauthorised access to valuable data.

Challenges in Network Security

As technology advances, so do cyber threats. Hackers and cybercriminals are continually devising new techniques to breach network defences and compromise sensitive data. Some of the prominent challenges in network security include:
  1. Phishing and Social Engineering: Cyber attackers often use deceptive tactics like phishing emails, social engineering, and baiting to trick individuals into revealing confidential information or clicking on malicious links.
  2. Malware and Ransomware: Malicious software, such as viruses, Trojans, and ransomware, can infect network systems, leading to data theft, system disruptions, and extortion.
  3. DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks overwhelm network resources with an excessive amount of traffic, causing services to become unavailable and disrupting normal operations.
  4. Insider Threats: Insiders with malicious intent or inadequate security practices can compromise network systems from within an organisation, making it vital to implement robust access controls and monitoring mechanisms.

Strategies for Cybersecurity and Network Defense

To counter the evolving cyber threats, organisations and individuals need to adopt comprehensive cybersecurity strategies and network defence measures:
  1. Strong Authentication: Implementing multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for unauthorised individuals to access sensitive accounts and systems.
  2. Regular Updates and Patching: Keeping software, operating systems, and applications up-to-date ensures that known vulnerabilities are patched and minimises the risk of exploitation.
  3. Network Monitoring: Employing real-time monitoring tools helps identify suspicious activities and potential security breaches, allowing for timely responses to mitigate the damage.
  4. Data Encryption: Encrypting data both during transmission and storage adds an extra level of protection against unauthorised access, even if attackers manage to intercept the data.
  5. Employee Training and Awareness: Educating employees about cybersecurity best practices and potential threats can significantly reduce the risk of successful social engineering attacks.
  6. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans: Developing robust disaster recovery plans ensures that organisations can recover quickly from cyber incidents and resume operations with minimal disruption.

In Conclusion

The increasing reliance on digital technology and network systems calls for a proactive approach to cybersecurity. Safeguarding our cyber landscape requires constant vigilance, continuous improvement of defence mechanisms, and collaboration between various stakeholders. By prioritising cybersecurity and network systems, we can build a resilient digital ecosystem that protects our sensitive data, ensures business continuity, and fosters trust in the dig
image of IT technician operating a tool

Build Better Connectivity for Business and Enterprise: Fostering Networking Engineering and Business Growth

In today's digital age, connectivity is the backbone of business operations and overall enterprise success. Whether it's sharing information, collaborating with teams, or reaching out to customers, businesses rely heavily on robust and reliable networking infrastructure. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, organisations must prioritise building better connectivity to facilitate seamless communication, enhance productivity, and drive business growth. In this article, you’ll learn the role of networking engineering in:  1. Establishing strong and secure network infrastructure 2. Enhancing data security 3. Helping organisations adapt to technological advancements 4. Optimising internal operations of organisations and 5. What to consider when building better connectivity for business and enterprise 1. Role of Networking Engineering in Establishing Strong and Secure Network Infrastructure Networking engineering plays a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining a strong and secure network infrastructure. It encompasses the design, implementation, and optimization of networks, ensuring they meet the evolving needs of businesses. By focusing on networking engineering, organisations can unlock a wide range of benefits that contribute to their growth and success. Reliable connectivity serves as the foundation for effective communication within and outside an organisation. A well-designed network allows teams to connect seamlessly, irrespective of their location, and collaborate effortlessly. This fosters teamwork, enhances productivity, and accelerates decision-making processes.  Additionally, robust connectivity ensures uninterrupted access to critical business applications and data, minimising downtime and maximising operational efficiency. 2. Role of Networking Engineering in Enhancing Data Security Networking engineering also plays a vital role in enhancing data security. In an era where cyber threats are pervasive, organisations must prioritise network security to safeguard sensitive information. Networking engineers employ various techniques, such as firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems, to protect data from unauthorised access and cyberattacks. By building a secure network infrastructure, businesses can establish trust with their customers and partners, thereby fostering long-term relationships and supporting business growth. 3. Role of Networking Engineering in Helping Organisations Adapt to Technological Advancements Networking engineering enables organisations to adapt to technological advancements and industry trends. The ever-evolving landscape of technology demands a network infrastructure that can support emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI). Networking engineers ensure that networks are designed and optimised to accommodate these technologies, enabling businesses to harness their full potential. Embracing these innovations not only improves operational efficiency but also opens doors to new business opportunities and revenue streams. 4. Role of Networking Engineering in Optimising Internal Operations of Organisations Building better connectivity also extends beyond the internal operations of an organisation. In today's globalised economy, businesses rely on seamless connectivity with customers, suppliers, and partners worldwide. Networking engineering facilitates the establishment of reliable and high-speed connections, enabling businesses to reach a wider audience and expand their market reach. This connectivity empowers organisations to provide exceptional customer experiences, deliver products and services efficiently, and build strong, collaborative relationships with partners. What to consider when building better connectivity for business and enterprise To build better connectivity for business and enterprise, organisations should consider investing in: 1. Networking engineering talent 2. Robust infrastructure 3. Cutting-edge technologies Networking engineers possess the expertise to design scalable networks that can accommodate future growth and emerging technologies. They can assess business requirements, evaluate network performance, and implement solutions that align with organisational goals. In addition, organisations should focus on deploying reliable and secure networking equipment, such as routers, switches, and firewalls, to ensure the stability and integrity of their network infrastructure. Regular monitoring and maintenance of the network are essential to identify and resolve issues promptly, ensuring optimal performance. Furthermore, organisations should stay informed about industry trends and technological advancements to adapt their network infrastructure accordingly. Embracing software-defined networking (SDN), network virtualization, and automation can simplify network management, enhance agility, and improve scalability. In conclusion Building better connectivity for business and enterprise is crucial in today's interconnected world. Networking engineering plays a pivotal role in establishing robust and secure network infrastructure that fosters communication, collaboration, and productivity. By investing in networking engineering talent, infrastructure, and cutting-edge technologies, organisations can unlock numerous benefits, including enhanced data security, adaptability to emerging technologies, improved customer experiences, and expanded market reach. Embracing networking engineering is a strategic step toward business growth and success in the digital era.