The number of implementations of SD-WAN is growing by leaps and bounds. According to Gartner, spending on SD-WAN products will rise from the $129 million spent in 2016 to $1.24 billion in 2020. It is really only recently that it has crossed over into a widely accepted solution for WAN management, especially in the small and medium sized business market. We are getting a lot of questions about so I thought I would provide a non technical overview of what it is and why you might want it.
Before we get too far into the benefits, let’s define SD-WAN. Software-Defined WAN is a technology that distributes network traffic across traffic between the main office, branch/home offices and data center sites. It uses networking concepts that have been used to manage Datacenter Traffic to automatically determine the most effective way to route the traffic across Wide Area Networks.
The main goal of SD-WAN technology is to deliver a secure reliable WAN connection with as much software-based technology as possible. This can be used to deliver basic WAN connectivity, or it can be used for premium business services such as VPN, WAN optimization, and applications delivery control.
I see four benefits to why a customer might want to implement SD WAN
- Lower cost for more bandwidth – If you have an MPLS implementation, you know that you are locked into a single provider for all of your endpoints that have top speed limits. On the other hand, SD-WAN is provider agnostic. It allows for multiple cheaper broadband connections of whatever type is available. The multiple conenctions can be blended to provide higher bandwidth.
- Provide backup internet connection in the event the primary internet circuit does down – The World’s Busiest Airport, Hartsfield Jackson, had a major power outage effecting thousands of people during the busiest travel time of the year. The first thing that I thought of was where was their backup power? Didn’t they have emergency generators and power coming from two sources.
By implementing an SD WAN solution – this would provide an alternative pathway to keep their internet service working in the event of an outage. However, it is important to note that you should consider two diverse carrier or telecom provider pathways. Best practices for reliable uptime state that there should be at least 2 separate internet connections from different providers over separate pathways.
- Reduce costs by adding a backup disaster option – Not all that long ago, true QoS (Quality of service) for Voice over Internet telephone service, Telecom providers would recommend using a Managed Network to Network circuit called MPLS to connect your VoIP voice services. However, with the internet getting better and latency being reduced, many carriers are now OK with almost true QoS by using SD-WAN. By using two internet service providers plugged into an SD-WAN device, the voice and data packets are carried over the carrier with the least latency. Kind of like driving down the interstate highway using switching lanes to the least congested lane. By canceling out the managed circuit from a VoIP provider, you could potentially offset the cost of a second internet circuit and implement SD-WAN while still providing QoS.
- Peace of mind – Most of us would be OK if we lost our phone service for a while, but not so happy about losing an internet connection. I remember not so long ago, it was worth it to pay the $20.00 a month at a Starbucks to use their internet service. The same with airports and hotels. Luckily, those days are gone but our need to be on a good internet is greater than ever. A redundant internet connection is a core benefit for SD-WAN and removes the uncertainty of the impact of a single provider’s internet service going out.
Although a newer technology, SD-WAN has been living up to its billing as a tool that can provide greater business capabilities at a lower cost. Reviewing how SD-WAN benefits can support your business is worth your time.
Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.
John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.