Case study: Limelight Networks taps Workonline for IP transit in Africa


When expanding its content delivery network onto the African continent, Limelight turned to Workonline for local insight and quality IP transit.

Challenge

As exciting as any new growth opportunity is for a business, there is naturally a steep learning curve when venturing into new territory. Top global content delivery network (CDN), Limelight Networks, was convinced by the potential of providing content services to a rapidly growing pan-African audience, but knew it needed to understand the market and the technology landscape first. This would allow it to get the best local insight, meet the right people and ultimately strike up valuable partnerships with local service providers to successfully deploy and offer the highest quality connectivity service for its customers bringing content to the African market.

Solution

The team at Limelight had already met the Workonline Communications team at various Internet industry events around the world, so when the CDN started planning its first point of presence (POP) on the African continent, it made sense to tap into Workonline's on-the-ground knowledge and experience. The previous introductions "made it easy to strike up a personal relationship and reach out to them early on in our Johannesburg POP planning process, and gain valuable insight into the South African Internet ecosystem", said Jonny Martin, Director of Network Strategy and Interconnection at Limelight.

Ultimately, as well as this vital industry insight, Workonline also provided Limelight with a diverse and flexible IP transit solution that provides the essential, reliable connectivity between the rest of the Limelight global network and the new POP, located in one of Teraco's vendor-neutral data centres, also housing NAPAfrica, Africa's largest Internet exchange.

"This service we designed with Workonline allowed us to reduce the risk associated with entering a new market," said Martin. Workonline's robust wholesale connectivity gives Limelight the low latency needed to deliver content services consistency, plus provides an immediate backup in case of outages elsewhere in the ecosystem.

Launched in the first half of 2018, the new POP allows Limelight to offer a wide range of content services in sub-Saharan Africa. The service has seen growing interest from across the region and includes content delivery, storage, Web acceleration and security services targeted to a number of vertical markets. The CDN's global customers include the BBC, Marvel, Napster, Nintendo and NTT DOCOMO.

Working with Workonline

In addition to Workonline's market insight and its network's pan-African reach and quality of service, Workonline's attention to customer service was important to Limelight. "Workonline is easy to deal with and was both willing and able to tailor a solution to our technical and commercial needs," said Martin. "Services were delivered accurately and on time, and Workonline has been quick to assist us and work through any issues as they arise.

"Workonline continues to be an ardent supporter of the South African Internet ecosystem, and this extends to the many international operators that are expanding into the market," concludes Martin.

What's next?

Thanks to the success of Limelight's first POP on the African continent, the CDN plans to establish a base of local referral and resale partners across the region. It is also planning a second POP in Nigeria to bring content even closer to its customers.

"The more content which is brought closer to African Internet users, the better. Content being closer to the user has a positive impact on the cost of Internet access, and the quality of service. The entire continent benefits from regional interconnections developing, which in turn is often spurred by operators wanting to reach content present at major African Internet hubs," said Edward Lawrence, Director of Business Development at Workonline.