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Things to Consider Before Choosing an IP VPN Service Provider

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You want secure networks for your organization. Currently, you’re using VPNs. But you’ve been told that IP VPNs are an even better option, as they offer extra protection against security risks.

Now you’re wondering whether you should transit to IP VPN or stick with what you currently use. Maybe you don’t know much about the new option, and you’re not conversant with your existing solution either. What’s the superior alternative? What should you go with?

This article is a guide to answering these questions.

Let’s begin by explaining some of the terms involved.

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a number that is given to every device that connects to the internet. It’s like a ‘name’ or means of identification for each device; no two devices bear the same number.

Besides identifying the device (and, by extension, its user), it also indicates the location of the user and their device. For instance, you can tell what country a person is in through their IP address.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network setup that lets its users connect to their organizations’ internal network remotely via the public internet. It makes it possible for employees to access their company’s shared files from locations outside its physical offices.

An IP VPN functions in a similar way to a regular VPN. But there’s at least one difference: IP VPN connects to internal networks via private gateways, rather than the public internet.

How IP VPN Works

IP VPN utilizes something called Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to allow the user to get to their organization’s intranet while avoiding the public internet.

The MPLS sorts the bits of data passing through the World Wide Web into appropriate groups—video, voice, or images for instance. It also speeds up the transmission of these data to their destination.

Why Choose an IP VPN Instead of a VPN?

An IP VPN can help you expand your bandwidth and increase uptimes for your applications. It’s not as susceptible to DoS (Denial of Service) attacks as a regular VPN. Because it functions away from the public internet, it’s not vulnerable to many of the threats that come through the broader web.

What to Consider Before Choosing an IP VPN Provider

Many firms offer IP VPN as a product. But they won’t all give you the same quality of service. That’s why you need to know what to look out for when prospecting for a service provider in this area.

Here are some things you should consider.

  1. Security

This is one reason why you want to get an IP VPN in the first place, so you should be sure that your vendor’s offering will guarantee it. If you find that the details related to this are too technical, you should ask your IT team to look at what’s being offered. They may spot defective aspects of the product, or give it an all-clear, depending on the results of their assessment.

  1. Speed

Your IP VPN should give you the advantage of a higher speed connection, compared to the public internet. Several factors will affect the speed of your network, including some localized to your organization or location. But it may be a function of the quality that a vendor can provide. So you should consider the reputation of various vendors in this area before deciding which one you will go with.

  1. User Friendliness

Can you use the service without much help? Or is it so complex that you require a technician to help you with it?

Your IP VPN should give you good user experience. The fact that it’s somewhat advanced technology isn’t an excuse for complexity. If you can’t navigate it yourself after a few tries, it’s probably not worth your while.

  1. Access

This service lets you connect all your business locations to your organization’s internal files and other resources. A high-grade IP VPN should enable you to achieve quick access to your business’s intranet regardless of where you are.

  1. Price

It’s important to compare prices too, where you can. Look for an IP VPN provider that gives the best balance of price and quality that matches your needs. On one hand, unusually low prices may indicate less than optimal product quality. But there may be a less expensive option than the pricey IP VPN services that are just as effective.

  1. Support

What happens if you run into some difficulty while using an IP VPN? Is the service provider always available to take on your requests for help?

Support is an important part of any IT vendor’s package. They should have resources that cover the issues you are most likely to encounter while using their service. You should also be able to speak with their agents when this is the more helpful thing to do.

Should You Choose a VPN or IP VPN?

You can settle with a regular VPN if:

  • You are a small business with little need for the sort of expanded bandwidth that IP VPN gives.
  • You don’t have a lot of staff working remotely.
  • There’s no significant IT security threat.

Consider using an IP VPN if you meet these criteria:

  • You are a medium or large scale business that has to deal with a lot of traffic on your networks.
  • A lot of your employees work remotely.
  • There’s a potential but significant IT security threat to your organization.

Final Words

There’s a lot that Virtual Private Networks can do for your company. With IP VPNs you can achieve even more. Whether it’s securing your banking details or raising the efficiency of your VoIP systems, this technology can make your operations much easier and more secure.

When you weigh up your options for an IP VPN service provider, you’ll certainly prefer one that’s been around for a while. You will also want them to know the peculiarities of the environment you work in.

That’s what you get with Layer3. For over 14 years, we have helped organizations in the public and private sectors with IT solutions they need to function optimally. We bring this experience to bear in our delivery of IP VPN services. Our team can deploy one that suits your specific needs, and provide expert management and support along with it.

If you would like to find out more about our access solutions, you can contact us here.


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HMD Brings Significant Step Change to its Smartphone Category

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HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced two new additions to its entry-level smartphone family, the Nokia 3.4 and Nokia 2.4, a new accessories range and HMD Connect Pro offering enterprises a secure and transparent global data roaming service.

The diverse range of launches further solidifies the company’s transformation into a holistic mobile device and service provider.

Florian Seiche, Chief Executive Officer, HMD Global said: “Without doubt, this has been an eventful year for everyone, and our hearts go out to those that have been impacted by the circumstances of 2020. For us, it’s truly been a transformational year, and we’ve adapted to the changing times.

“I am extremely excited to broaden our value-add services for enterprise with the introduction of HMD Connect Pro, offering unprecedented levels of flexibility and security. The Nokia 3.4 and Nokia 2.4 are important new updates to our core value smartphone range. I am very proud to see the truly future-proof 5G experience of our Nokia 8.3 5G reaching the hands of consumers starting from today, and excited for our partnership with No Time To Die – proving a Nokia phone really is the only gadget you’ll ever need.”

Introducing the latest additions to the Nokia smartphone family

The new Nokia 2.4 comes with AI imaging, two days’ worth of battery life and a large HD+ screen. For those looking for more, the Nokia 3.4 offers an advanced triple camera with ultra-wide lens, a serious performance upgrade and more screen real estate thanks to the punch-hole screen.

Holding true to always delivering maximum innovation at great value, the two new smartphones are entry-level marvels, offering great value experiences. With modern features and stunning design in a more accessible, Android-powered future-proof package, these phones are perfect for those seeking out affordable, long-lasting purchases.

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer and Vice President of North America, HMD Global: “It’s no secret that consumers around the world have become more mindful about their spending and are opting for less expensive, more long-lasting products from brands they know and trust. It’s therefore more crucial than ever that our products stand the test of time – and our commitment to delivering reliable and trustworthy Nokia phones remains unswerving.

“That’s why we’re broadening our entry-level smartphone family with the new Nokia 3.4 and Nokia 2.4, offering reliable software and hardware that Nokia phone fans have come to know and love, fresh experiences and premium design that you can be proud of – at prices that are accessible.

“Always inspired by our Finnish roots, with these latest additions we’re introducing a fresh colour palette to the portfolio through new earthy tones with dazzling finishes, taking our design another step closer to home.”

Nokia 2.4

The next generation Nokia 2 brings modern essentials like advanced AI imaging giving you dedicated Night mode and Portrait Editor that lets you art direct your world with its custom shapes and blurred backgrounds – even after you’ve taken your shot; a convenient fingerprint sensor and AI face unlock, offering effortless access and added security, in a durable design that’s not only built to look good but also to last.

Watch, learn and create on the large 6.5” HD+ screen and, thanks to its two-day battery life1, you’re free to enjoy your favourite apps and games for longer. Plus, the Nokia 2.4 comes with our Android promise, giving you three years of monthly security updates and two years of OS updates, meaning it’s ready for Android 11 and 12.

Nokia 3.4

The new Nokia 3.4 offers a serious performance upgrade thanks to the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 460 Mobile Platform giving you more power to get the best out of your phone.

Take your creativity to the next level with a large 6.39” HD+ screen with a punch-hole front camera and a mighty triple rear camera with an ultra-wide lens and AI imaging. The Nokia 3.4 comes with Android 10 OS and the Nokia smartphone Android promise, receiving years of security and software upgrades.

All of this powered by the signature two-day battery life and wrapped up in a premium timeless design that comes in three new vibrant, living colours, inspired by Nordic nature, delivering style with durability that’s true to its Finnish roots.

Nokia 8.3 5G goes on sale globally

Today also marks the global sales start of the highly anticipated Nokia 8.3 5G. Showcasing the commitment to security, speed and innovation by meeting the demands of the world’s toughest customers – MI6 agents – the Nokia 8.3 5G is the smartphone of choice by the newest 00 agent in the upcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die, premiering this November.

Featuring a powerful PureView quad-camera with ZEISS optics giving you immersive movie-like shots with ZEISS Cinema effects and OZO audio, the Nokia 8.3 5G is the ideal smartphone for those who want to elevate their creativity.

Designed to support multiple and evolving 5G network deployments, the Nokia 8.3 5G condenses more than 40 different RF components into a single module, making it not only a global device but also a future-proof smartphone which is ready for the next step in 5G.

The Nokia 8.3 5G begins to go on sale globally from today starting at a global average price of 599 EUR. Additionally, all Nokia 8.3 5G owners will receive a free 6-month trial of Google One. Capture and edit on the go with faster upload speeds and an additional 100GB of online storage across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos – an all-in-one membership that can be shared with up to five additional people.

Lashana Lynch, who plays 00 agent Nomi in No Time To Die, said: “The world we live in now means we all have the ultimate gadget in our pockets and it’s amazing what smartphones can do nowadays. It’s exciting to be unveiling this new smartphone to celebrate the release of No Time To Die in November, and the Nokia 8.3 5G is proof that Bond gadgets are always ahead of the game.”

Introducing a range of new accessories: inspired by nature, packaged to protect it

Also launching is a range of new Nokia-branded audio accessories featuring the Nokia Earbuds Lite, and a brand-new Nokia Portable Wireless Speaker with integrated microphone – the first in the portfolio – and new protective cases. The new accessories are all wrapped up in sustainable packaging made from 100% recyclable paper, taking the company one step closer towards reducing the environmental impact of its business and products.

Alexander Lambeek, Global Head of Accessories, HMD Global:  “Our commitment to delivering premium experiences at accessible price points extends beyond phones. Today we’re bringing the same quality you would expect from a Nokia phone to our new range of accessories.

“We are proud to introduce an entire mobile open ecosystem of companion products bringing exceptional functionality in a familiar design that our fans know and love, all wrapped up in eco-friendly packaging. We always listen to what our customers are after and take feedback as key component in product development.

“The new accessory range has been no exception to this – people are exercising outdoors more than before, so we made sure to make our earbuds waterproof; they have also become more mindful of what they’re buying, in terms of both cost and sustainability, so we made sure to keep the prices accessible and packaged everything in 100% recyclable paper.“

Nokia Power Earbuds Lite

The new Nokia Power Earbuds Lite let you take your favourite songs with you wherever you go offering 35h of play time and comfortable design with intuitive touch control giving you easy navigation whether it’s taking calls or skipping tracks.

The IPX7 certification will make them waterproof up to 1m for 30 minutes, meaning you can break a sweat in the gym or run in the rain worry-free, whilst the 6mm graphene speaker drivers give you clear-cut sound.

The original Nokia Power Earbuds are being refreshed with two new colours – Polar Night, inspired by the Nokia 8.3 5G, and a fresh new colour – Mint.

Nokia Portable Wireless Speaker

The Nokia Portable Wireless Speaker is designed to be truly portable and will give you up to 4h of play time, while the integrated microphone will make group calls on the go easier than ever. You can also pair two speakers for high quality stereo audio output. Just like all our audio devices, it comes with universal Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility, so you can connect to all your devices, whatever the brand.

Protection and support for your Nokia smartphone

The new accessory range also includes:

  • Nokia Clear Case – for your Nokia 2.4, Nokia 3.4 and Nokia 8.3 5G – offering increased impact protection and enhanced handling via easy-grip material whilst the seamless ultra-slim lightweight design allows you to showcase your phone’s beautiful design.
  • Nokia Entertainment Flip Cover for Nokia 3.4 with vegan leather delivers a functional solution for those who want more from their phone case – overall protection, screen cover, card storage and a foldable entertainment stand.

HMD Connect Pro: a secure and transparent global roaming SIM solution for enterprises

In a move that further diversifies the company’s services offering, HMD Global today announces HMD Connect Pro. Offering an easier way to stay connected across the globe, HMD Connect Pro offers an easier way for businesses to keep their smartphones and other devices connected across the globe in a secure and transparent way.

The service offers centralised SIM management, giving total control and fraud prevention, with securely routed real-time usage information, live diagnostics and troubleshooting.

With over 600 networks across 160 countries, HMD Connect Pro provides full flexibility, transparent and extremely competitive billing and a simple yet robust SIM management console at rates that match your usage needs regardless of how many countries your business operates in.


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4G Advancement in Ethiopia: A Milestone in the Country’s Telecom Landscape

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By Abiye Yeshitila

Ethiopia is on the verge of massive digital transformation, as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, which is being led by consumers who, today, have access to more devices and are more connected than ever.

The ICT market in Ethiopia is constantly evolving, and telecommunication providers have to offer products and services that meet their customers’ demand for high speed data connectivity.

The first months of 2020 saw the spread of a novel coronavirus around the globe. Subsequent behavioral changes due to lockdown restrictions caused measurable changes in the usage of both fixed and mobile networks.

In Ethiopia, access to mobile communication has expanded rapidly. Proliferation of smartphones and tablets have increased data traffic exponentially, driven by the rise of video content. Explosion of mobile broadband is set to create new demand and an upsurge in household consumption of mobile internet is expected to provide continued impetus to the sector.

Enabling broadband connectivity for all is a basic human right and we know that for every 1000 new broadband connections, 80 new jobs are created (Ericsson and Arthur D. Little). A 10% increase in mobile broadband adoption secures 0.6-2.8% GDP growth (Ericsson and Imperial College) and a doubling of average achieved broadband speed generates an additional 0.3% GDP growth (Ericsson, Arthur D. Little, Chalmers University).

To keep up with increasing demand for data capacity, service providers need a fast solution. They are playing a key role in enhancing networks and paving the way for next generation of mobile connectivity.

Faced with limited spectrum assets and a need to provide the best user-quality network, many service providers have launched 4G LTE networks. LTE simplified the network and increased spectral efficiency significantly while driving down costs. It is the first mobile system that is designed for mobile broadband from the start. Some of the use cases it has enabled include:

  • Enhanced local-area access through network densification
  • Machine-type communications, providing efficient connections for non-human centric such as burglar alarms, power meters etc.
  • Device-to-device communications, where direct communication between wireless devices is enabled in a peer-to-peer mode

Consumer devices dominate for 4G. Despite strong initial hope for laptops as a driving device, it was the app-enabled smart phone that became the killer device. Mobile phones have moved from a communication-centric device to a multi-purpose smart personal companion. Smartphones will continue to see growth and more data-centric offerings are forecast to enter the market.

The latest mobility data shows that LTE accounted for around 11% of subscriptions in 2019 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to increase, reaching 72% percent of mobile subscriptions by 2025. LTE share will reach around 30% by the end of the forecast period, and LTE subscriptions are set to triple, increasing from 90 million in 2019 to 270 million in 2025.

Championing current demand, 4G brings major improvements in terms of coverage and capacity, offering download and upload speeds many times greater than those achievable with earlier technologies. In addition, support for Machine-Type Communications (MTC) and Internet of Things (IoT) in cellular networks is being drastically improved with the launch of 4G LTE.

Ericsson’s services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the telecom industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve the user experience and capture new opportunities. We have done business in Ethiopia for a long time – since the sales of telephone receivers commenced in 1894.

Ericsson is devoted to support the development of Ethiopia’s telecom industry, leveraging our global expertise and technology leadership. We are working together with service providers in Ethiopia to ensure rewarding new user experiences for Ethiopian consumers in the new connectivity era as part of our mission to empower Africa’s technology-enabled economies and keep #AfricaInMotion.

What consumers want

Consumers have gone through a massive digital evolution in a short span of time and people today are staying online longer than ever before.

Our go-to technology devices have progressed from PCs to smartphones and communication has grown from voice to video and social networking services. Today, people are prone to behavior that involves reduced human interaction, with the advent of technological options such as e-shopping, e-selfcare and e-billing, to name a few.

The new consumer of today demands a seamless online experience across all the fronts whether it is a smartphone, a tablet, or other devices.

The 4G network in Ethiopia’s capital offers mobile users with faster data speeds, high-quality video conferencing and faster response times when using mobile applications or accessing the internet. It also helped service providers meet demand for mobile data, which is rising every year as customers move to adopt data-hungry smartphones, mobile modems and tablets. Hence, there are plans to expand LTE across the country.

A steady upsurge in numbers for smartphone subscriptions and mobile traffic is the norm in the mobile sector. LTE for mobile and fiber optics for fixed connections are becoming widespread and this has led to the introduction of innovative connectivity bundles for voice and data. Demand and usage of digital services like OTT video, smart home, financial services, e-health, e-education is also on the rise.

It has been stated that the mobile industry in Ethiopia is a key contributor to the country’s economy and enables new economic activity in other sectors. As wireless connectivity enables business to be done on the go, it allows information and services to be access anywhere, and will create new services and industries.

Abiye Yeshitila is Account Manager at Ericsson Ethiopia


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Aptive Capital Dangles $10,000 Equity-Investment in Three African Startups

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Aptive Capital, a US-based Venture Capital (VC), has announced its investment in three early-stage businesses in Africa; Nigeria, and Uganda.

Earlier in June 2020, the Africa-focused investment company opened up applications to invest $10,000 equity capital into eligible and high potential startups based in Africa, from its $1 million portfolio fund.

The application, which ran for a month, had over 500 entries from high growth companies with very impressive founders across Africa.

After thorough phases of scrutiny and submission reviews by investment professionals, three startups were selected for the early-stage funding.

Speaking on the investment, Dr Ben Peter, managing partner at Aptive Capital said, “We had lots of entries from impressive founders across Africa who showed so much enthusiasm and had amazing solutions.

“We’ve settled for these three, not because they are the best, but because we believe their visions as impact-led companies directly align with our goals to promote measurable and innovative social causes in Africa.

“Our team has kick started support for these energetic companies who believe the solutions they are proffering will solve the continent’s most daunting problems. This is what Aptive Capital is committed to doing.”

According to the organisation, the criteria which determine the selection include; early-stage business, evidence of impact, founding team, uniqueness of the solution, traction, leverage of technology, further projections and validity of the startup industry.

While applications rolled in from sectors such as Digital Storytelling, eLearning, Access to market, Digital payments, Supply Chain management, agriculture, Logistic, eCommerce, Gamification, Big data, Cybersecurity, Crowdsourcing, and eLiteracy, the selected companies include:

Skyfire Digital – Digital marketing agency supporting MSMEs in Africa and the US market to achieve their business ROI objectives as well as scale through various online channels.

Mimi Money – Bitcoin payment solution using crypto to transform payment in Uganda.

Emmnoch Farms – Fish farm solution providing end-to-end along the fishery value chain and connecting rural farmers and bridging the nutrition gap through fish farming.

From the pool, barely 100 startups made it to the second stage which involved due diligence and further documentation.

The next round was a one-on-one Zoom pitch, that saw 10 selected startups make it to the finals. At the final stage, only these three startups were able to successfully gain investment interest from Aptive Capital.

According to Peter, “Our selection process was quite intense and we’re glad that these ones not only saw it through but also emerged victorious in the end because of their belief in their solution as well as a very lucid business model.”

In the next couple of months, Aptive Capital will, in addition to the $10,000 funding, offer technical support, mentorship, coaching to intensify the social impact of its portfolio companies.  Aptive says its next call for investment rounds will open before end of the year.

 

 


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