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Australia’s Macquarie Telecom debuts SD-LAN service

The software-defined local area networking service will make it easier for enterprises to manage Wi-Fi networks and regulate the density of people at a given location

Macquarie Telecom is investing A$3.9m in a software-defined local area networking (SD-LAN) service that will make it easier for enterprises to manage corporate Wi-Fi networks.

SD-LAN is an application-driven architecture that decouples hardware and software in Wi-Fi networks, making them easier to operate, integrate with other network components and scale. It builds on the principles of software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).

The service comes on the back of increased demand from Macquarie’s customers for enhanced Wi-Fi automation and intelligence, driven largely by increased network activity. The company is investing in personnel, operations, and research and development over the next five years to build out the service.

Macquarie Telecom said it has successfully trialled the SD-LAN service with a leading Australian tyre and auto repairs company and an ASX-listed dental company, with both organisations now signed up for a wider roll-out.

With the threat of abrupt Covid-19 restrictions still affecting Australia, the service can be used to help offices, restaurants, airports and other industries keep count of the amount of people in a premise or particular zone, helping to ensure compliance with government or company policies.

“The SD-LAN service uses anonymised location analytics to regulate the density of people in a given floorplan, triggering an automatic alert when that number is reached and a new Bluetooth or Wi-Fi device enters the premises,” said Luke Clifton, group executive of Macquarie Telecom.

“The application of this technology is incredible for office managers balancing a hybrid workforce, restaurants and hospitality venues with limits on numbers, and airports once they return to increased levels of travellers. Limits can be set, adjusted, and fed to operational teams in minutes.”

Built on Juniper Networks’ Mist Platform, the SD-LAN service uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify all the data points in a network, create a baseline for what ‘the norm’ looks like, and constantly assess and correct anomalies to maximise performance.

Macquarie also offers an SD-WAN service, which can integrate with Mist via VMware-owned network analytics company Nyansa.

“We are investing in technologies and partnerships that enable Australian businesses to adapt to a new and fast-changing norm,” said Clifton.

“SD-LAN is a customer-first architecture that will help companies automate and stay at the forefront of technology they need. The service will be fully managed and supported by our dedicated customer support team here in Australia.”

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