Sufian Dweik, Regional Manager of Middle East and North Africa
The number of Internet users in the Middle East since 2000 has grown by more than 2,100 percent and today more than 72 million people, or 34 percent of the population, are regularly online with an increasing number relying on the Internet for their livelihoods. However, new research from Brocade shows that there is real cause for concern among Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the region, with 71 percent of home workers reporting noticeable reduction in service performance during work hours (compared to non-work hours), thereby significantly hindering their business efficiency.
It may be therefore no surprise that only a mere 13 percent of respondents reported “complete satisfaction” with their current ISP.
With almost a quarter of employees working from home on a daily basis, lack of network performance is fast becoming a concern for businesses looking to empower a flexible workforce. As corporations steadily continue to migrate their business processes to the Internet, dependence on an uninterrupted Internet connection is proving to be a growing concern. More than 70 percent of the respondents gauged the business impact of Internet downtime to be either high or severe. Being able to provide a consistent and reliable service that can handle the additional capacity and bandwidth during such high-demand periods poses a huge challenge to service providers.
Providing his insights into the results of the survey, Sufian Dweik, Regional Manager of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Brocade said, “The option of working remotely means that an increasing number of corporate Internet users require faster connections in their homes. Almost 90 percent of respondents have subscribed to an unlimited download plan and, given that over half of the respondents estimate their average monthly usage to be more than three gigabytes, there is huge pressure on service provider networks to deliver.”
The survey, polling 521 respondents from a wide range of businesses across the region, found that 35 percent, most of whom were middle-management employees, stated that they worked from home at least once a month with a further 21 percent working from home on a daily basis.
Other research findings included:
More than 35 percent of participants reported a moderate increase in Internet usage over the past year, which they attributed to increased use of smartphones, Web 2.0 and multimedia content as well as the deployment of more business applications on Internet platforms.
Two-thirds of participants cited lower cost as the main reason behind their intentions to change their service provider.
Half stated higher reliability as their motivation behind any future change in provider.
Leading ISPs in the region have realized that a strong network backbone is a business critical asset and have begun optimizing their networks to increase bandwidth capacity and efficiency – but it seems that they still need to do more, while maintaining an attractive pricing plan for users.
Dweik commented, “The high charges for Internet services in the region can be attributed to the high operational costs that ISPs face. The fluctuating nature of broadband access means that ISPs often end up investing heavily to ensure that networks match the demand during peak windows.”
Brocade networking solutions for service providers are designed for the most demanding performance, scalability, capacity, and reliability requirements. This includes carrier-class solutions capable of providing virtually unlimited bandwidth and capacity while supporting non-stop operations. For companies looking to satisfy the needs of the mobile worker, with rising demand for mobile broadband services due to the ever-increasing proliferation of smart mobile communications devices, operators are seeing a sharp increase in bandwidth requirements. Brocade offers a mobile backhaul solution to keep pace with this demand by helping operators migrate to new packet backhaul networks that offer increased capacity at lower cost, while providing the necessary service, reliability, and quality of experience.
In this type of always-on business environment, the Brocade portfolio of high-performance, scalable, cloud-optimized networking solutions offers service providers and businesses the confidence to meet the demands of modern consumers. These solutions deliver on the Brocade One strategy, which is designed to help organizations deliver information and applications anywhere at any time. In addition, this strategy can help organizations reduce both complexity and costs while extending their data center assets and services to mobile users around the world.
“Our Effortless Network campaign highlights how modern networks need to extend across physical boundaries and deliver a highly reliable user experience wherever data is accessed, and from whatever device. With the recently launched BrocadeNetwork Subscription, we are now offering of an innovative, subscription-based acquisition option for network infrastructure that allows organizations to align network capacity with fluctuating business demands. Therefore it’s important that service providers ensure they don’t miss this opportunity to prosper,” concluded Dweik.