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The disadvantage of the many opportunities that come with digital is additional pressure on traditional network infrastructure. The good news is that Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) technology is emerging as a networking approach that can help many industries, including mining, rise to the challenge presented by the need to transform operations. Apart from easing the strain on existing networks, there are other important financial and operational benefits that SD-WAN enables.
By using SD-WAN, mines in outlying areas can access high-quality, reliable connectivity across all remote sites, even in rural areas where it would otherwise be very difficult to connect. A primary advantage of SD-WAN is that it helps reduce project-related costs where it is too expensive to deploy fibre or install carrier-grade multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connections on a temporary location. It reduces the expenses associated with replacing switches and related hardware across numerous branches. For those onsite, time-bound operations that are characteristic of the min-ing industry, SD-WAN offers an almost instant solution that can connect to wireless mediums such as LTE/4G and has a near zero-touch configuration. Furthermore, SD-WAN enables greater efficiencies through managing bandwidth avail-ability, usage, traffic routing and the prioritisation of business-critical protocols.
With the growing number of automated devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) within mining, the safety benefits of SD-WAN are indispensable. These include utilising sensors to monitor temperatures and gas emissions underground, minimising the chances of a lapse in connectivity that could lead to preventable fatalities and revenue loss. The central management of devices with SD-WAN is one of the major attractions when applied to the mining industry. Mining operations bring together a multitude of contractors and sub-contractors. SD-WAN allows their devices to be securely linked to the core network so that multiple contractors can securely integrate into a back-end system on the same architecture, saving time and improving overall efficiency.
Besides the benefit of it being cost-effective, Vodacom Business’ SD-WAN provides organisations managing multiple datacentres, critical branch operations, or private and public cloud environments, with enhanced application performance, improved network visibility, while being scalable and configurable. As an ambassador for change, Vodacom Business is helping drive digital transformation across Africa, making emerging technologies both available and accessible to various industries, equipping them with the necessary tools to compete in the global marketplace. Ensuring technology is used to change lives and transform industries, Vodacom Business is assisting the mining industry by investing in secure, next-generation networks that will catapult their mines into the digital world.