The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has awarded internet service and network specialists, eNetworks, a Datacentrix company, with a tender to provide secondary fibre infrastructure, creating a multi-link software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) for the organisation.

SANBS is a non-profit organisation that provides human blood for transfusion across eight provinces in South Africa.

According to Senior Manager responsible for IT Infrastructure at the SANBS, Edwin Kadi, the organisation is committed to the use of technology to improve patient outcomes and donor care, and to drive down the cost of operations by finding innovative ways to improve efficiency.

“With these objectives in mind, it became critical to implement an alternative secondary solution to our existing WAN infrastructure,” said Kadi.

“The availability of the wide area network could literally become a matter of life and death. We have 188 sites, located throughout Southern Africa, of which 67 are critical for operational sustainability. Although uptime is of course vital from a business continuity perspective, a lack of WAN connectivity for SANBS has a serious impact on the release of blood within hospitals, for instance, which could have severe repercussions on patient wellbeing,” continued Kadi.

Kadi also noted that WAN downtime further affects the processing and testing of blood at SANBS processing centres and laboratories.

“We responded to the SANBS tender with their requirement for implementing an alternate fibre WAN, completely separate from the current WAN infrastructure. This dual connectivity will allow for better response times and high availability at critical sites,” said Senior Consultant for WAN and ISP services at eNetworks, Frederik van Staden.

At this stage, 55 of the 67 SANBS critical sites have been provided with the alternative fibre connectivity. The rollout will be completed by mid-September 2018.

“Although the project has not yet been completed, we can already see that the new fibre infrastructure is delivering improved performance; more than doubling capacity at our critical sites, halving response times and allowing for improved availability,” said Kadi.

“The added redundancy will also ensure that we do not have to resort to manual processing, which comes with the risk of incorrectly captured information. Our experience with eNetworks during this WAN rollout has been a good one, and we’ve been very happy with the services that the company has provided,” concluded Kadi.

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