Networking with First Distribution

First Distribution's Networking Stack

First Distribution’s Cape Town head office, the venue for the IT distributor’s Networking Workshop, was the scene of…well, networking, as business executives from some of the company’s leading networking vendors met with each other and prospective business partners, as well as presented on some of their product offerings.

After a brief introduction by First Distribution’s networking business unit manager Grant van Sittert explaining First Distribution’s Networking solution stack (see image right) and describing how the company is signing vendors to cover all aspects of networking at the various levels, Ruckus Wireless got the event under way with their presentation.

Ruckus Wireless

Ruckus Wireless is a rapidly growing company focussing on the mid-sector wireless market and enterprises which are smaller than big global corporates yet larger than the private individual. Apparently achieving high levels of growth currently, the company took home Tom’s Hardware award for the Best Performing Wireless System in 2011. The company’s products and systems eliminate commonly encountered wireless problems such as erratic and undependable signal and interference in the radiospace with advanced tech solutions such as dynamic one-to-many antenna arrays, best path selection algorithms and beamforming focussed signals. In addition, Ruckus’ high transfer speeds minimise the time spent on the channel, thus also minimising the chance of radio interference.

A mock-up of Ruckus' attenae array

The Ruckus executive also introduced their patented Smartcast technology. In their own words ‘when SmartCast detects a wireless client subscribing to a multicast streaming application, such as IPTV or a VOIP call, it directs the associated multicast packets to each subscriber, using the optimum data rate and signal path. To ensure peak performance, all packets are queued/de-queued by specialized schedulers, optimized for the corresponding traffic type, the delay/jitter tolerance and bandwidth requirements of the traffic, and the changing characteristics of each station on the WLAN.’



TE Connectivity

Formerly known as ADC Krone, TE Connectivity maintains a local presence in Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape, and First Distribution is the only national distributor for the company. TE Connectivity places priority on adopting international standards in providing physical connectivity in a total end-to-end solution. Citing the recent massive growth in datacentres, the TE representative stated that TE’s data centre solution is based around agility, efficiency and availability. TE’s complete solution consists of products, support and partners and incorporates their proven track record, dedicated service and support, and channel and warranty programmes.


First Distribution is the sole national distributor of Modrac in South Africa, a company which has gained a reputation for quality in manufacturing server racks. The Modrac range consists of the Modrac, Netrac, Smartrac, Powerac and Envirorac enclosures. The company doesn’t only manufacture racks, but also makes Power Distribution Units (PDUs), wallboxes, IP rated enclosures, patching frames and a wide range of accessories. Two major problems associated with data centres these days relate to overheating and excessive power consumption. In this regard, Modrac manufactures containment solutions including hot & cold aisle containment barrier plates.


TrippLite had a brief presentation outlining what the company was responsible for doing. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems, Power Distribution Units (PDU), rack systems and cooling, cabling and network management tools are all part of the TrippLite product portfolio. The emphasis lay on how TrippLite can provide the product solutions for an entire rack.


Cyberoam is one of the up-and-coming brands occupying the space in the UTM (Unified Threat Management) level of First Distribution’s network stack. With sales, distribution channels and customers across more than 110 countries, the organisation can no longer be considered to be a small tech startup. Having signed with First Distribution in November 2011, the company has various products although the focus during the presentation was on UTM.

Cyberoam features ‘Layer 8 Technology’ which treats user identity as the 8th layer or the “human layer” in the network protocol stack. This allows administrators to uniquely identify users, control Internet activity of these users in the network, and enable policy-setting and reporting by username, rather than by IP address. Cyberoam showed off a dizzying array of products including Anti-Malware, Anti-Spam, Virus Outbreak Detection, iView (on appliance logging and reporting of Google Search results), Multi-Link management, Active-Active Gateway Load Balancing, Web & Content Filtering, Application Visibility & Control, Instant Messenger controls for Yahoo, MSN and Windows messenger and Best-of-Breed Bandwidth Management.

Cyberoam also have a live demo site available ( which enables users to run through the various features for both the Cyberoam UTM and Cyberoam Central Console products. As well as the basic appliances, Cyberoam also offers subscriptions and upgrades (which can be bundled) as well as training and certification courses.



The afternoon’s session ended with a presentation by the large Chinese corporation. A leader in patent submissions, Huawei’s products are known for their excellent pricing, vast range and interoperability. Listing the company’s product range would take up too much space, but the presentation did touch upon their IP Product Portfolio including routers, switches, transmission & microwave, and optical & wireless access. As a relatively new partner, First Distribution initially started distributing Huawei’s switches and routers but have geared up to include Huawei servers and storage now as well, and is continually adding products and solutions as the relationship grows. Due to the sheer size of Huawei’s product range, and the flexibility and in-house expertise of First Distribution, the ability to tailor-make a solution depending on enterprise requirements is always an option as well.

 – report by Tristan Penver