SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) is the new buzzword in telecom. But what exactly, in simple terms, is it?
One of the leading companies defines it this way:
“a transformational approach to simplify branch office networking and assure optimal application performance… the underlying principle of which is to abstract the network hardware and transport characteristics from the applications that use the network.”
Is that helpful? Does that help you understand what is is and how it might “transform” your business?
Let’s look at it in simpler terms.
Networking is the packaging together of data into bundles (packets) and transporting those packets across a network. The networks we use most of the time are the Internet and the private networks within our homes or businesses.
The data that comprise applications input and output, emails, files, images, websites, and YouTube cat videos, are moving on these networks all the time. Data is then like cargo loaded in the back of a truck being driven between two points. And the trucks are rolling 24/7.
For businesses that need to move a lot of data between multiple locations create and manage their own Wide Area Networks (data connections between offices). Deploying a WAN for your enterprise is like sending trucks onto the highways between cities.
The cheapest and most freely available network to move your data is the Internet – which would be like using the public interstate highway system to transport your cargo by truck. But, like the freeway system, the Internet is rife with congestion and subject to disruption based on all kinds of forces out of your own control. Construction, accidents, bad information on routes, can all delay, disrupt, and even derail your data. This causes unreliability in knowing when your cargo is going to land on the other side of your wide area network (or insecurity that your data will arrive intact and unmolested). In data terms, this unreliability expresses itself as jitter, packet loss and down time.
Traditionally, the way around this problem has been for enterprises to build their own highway system using costly private carrier circuits (T-1’s, DS3’s, fiber and wireless direct links). Imagine paying to build roads only you can drive your trucks on! Sweet and complete control over your haulage but nightmarishly expensive.
For a hybrid solution, companies might instead invest in access to toll roads (like a carrier service called MPLS). Still expensive but at least it offers a level of reliability to the movement of cargo.
But what if you could use those inexpensive public networks but get the level of reliability that only comes with private networks?
SD-WAN could be the answer. It manages the routing of your traffic across multiple links as a software layer of service (independent of the physical network layer), always looks for the most-efficient link to route data, and can be ready at a moment’s notice to drive around problems.
So, SD-WAN is like GPS with auto traffic routing. Instead of expensive private connections (highways), you install two Internet connections (multiple freeway on-ramps) at each location on your Wide Area Network. The SD-WAN service then manages your data traffic to make sure that your cargo travels along the most efficient path (as well as allowing you to set rules to determine which data, which applications you share across a network, get priority when there is conflict or congestion).
With SD-WAN, The chances of disruption are greatly minimized. You practically eliminate packet delays and jitter. And, you can cut WAN costs to nothing more than the price of Internet connections and the service itself.
If you want to learn more or explore the options to deploy SD-WAN on your data network, contact me (use the form to the right of this article).
Steve Medcroft is the author of The Telecom Manager’s Survival Guide and a Senior Telecom Analyst at City Communications in Phoenix Arizona. City Communications procures and delivers best-in-class telephony and wide-area networking technology for businesses nationwide.
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It is really important that you have uninterrupted connections to the cloud and your customers. Get rid of interruptions and disruptions – within your company or with other important audiences. You should check this out.
How the SD Wan ‘Slam Dunk’ works.SD Wan automatically routes traffic across multiple connections and re-routes the traffic as conditions change so you have the best possible connection. Your network will utilize the best possible paths based on routing requirements and security needs in a way that increases efficiency and lowers costs.
When you only have one connection coming into your business or location – no back up – there is obviously only one point of success or failure for your network. You have to have SD Wan to get the fluid ‘magic’ that happens with this great technology. Even if you have more than one connection.
With SD Wan you can bond together up to four different connections to ensure that your business stays connected, up and running. It keeps your speed the best that it can be. Managing the WAN traditionally has been one of the most expensive and rigid aspects of running an enterprise network. It’s a slam dunk now by making use of programmable network devices. It can be modified remotely and through dynamic best-path routing. Both of which improve cost and agility.
Get a FREE 30-day Try & Buy.What you do is important enough to need SD Wan, so you should get a FREE consult and 30-day FREE Try and Buy.
First, click here to get more info. Then connect with a City Communications professional consultant. After you click through a simple technology audit, then you’ll have all the options and answers.
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Do you need two Internet connections to benefit from SD-WAN?
When installing VeloCloud’s Software-Defined Wider-Area Networking (SD-WAN), the standard practice is that there be at least two data connections at a customer site. The VeloCloud Edge appliance that VeloCloud that provide their subscription service actively monitors data links in real time, detects problems, and can apply self-healing algorithms to correct and mitigate latency, packet loss, and jitter. VeloCloud assures also us that the service works best when there is at least one alternate route to route data away from a corrupted link.So we always recommend two data connections to support a VeloCloud SD-WAN installation, but early we also wondered; could the service help a customer who had only one Internet connection? We got our chance to answer that question when one of our City Hosted customers (who is stuck in a neighborhood with only one ISP) began experiencing voice-quality problems.
Depending on cloud applications when internet access is limitedThe Scottsdale Airpark (a business park in Scotsdale, Arizona near the City offices) is a notoriously poor location when it comes to choice of Internet providers. Your choices are Cox, Cox, and Cox (unless you want to go back to dial-up or bring in some low bit-rate 4G hotspot or satellite rig). Don’t misunderstand me, Cox is a perfectly fine ISP (please don’t cut my house off from high-speed Internet, I am still not finished with Project Runway, season ten), but their network model is built on shared service loops. Meaning that when you connect to Cox’s data network, you are running across a neighborhood wiring loop that you share with everyone else in the neighborhood.
In Scottsdale Airpark in particular (which is extremely dense with businesses), the demand for high-speed Internet has outpaced Cox’s plans for expansion. It is common for customers to experience congestion and degradation during peak usage times.
Our City Hosted phone system depends on stable Internet connectivity to run. When there is latency, jitter, or packet loss on the Internet connection, the phone service can experience delays, one-way audio, or dropped calls. We’re a phone-service provider for goodness sakes. The oversubscription of Internet access in the Airpark was creating this problem for our customer. Adding a second Internet connection was not an option. So we tried SD-WAN on a single link to see if it could help with the problem.
Bringing SD-WAN into the City product portfolioIn case you need a primer, we started offering Velocloud SD-WAN two years ago. Velocloud is the world’s leading SD-WAN provider. Their SD-WAN is a service that, when deployed at the edges of a customer’s Wide-Area Network (WAN), provides management of Wide-Area Network traffic. It does this by monitoring all data connections on the WAN, remediating (correcting) problems (like jitter, delay and packet loss), and optimizing traffic based on business policies determined by the customer.
The service is designed to work using two or more Internet (or private data) links connected to each branch. Having an alternate path to route traffic when one link is experiencing degradation is a cornerstone of the technology. The promise of the service is that for customers who buy into business-critical cloud-delivered services (hosted phone systems, CRM, Point of Sale systems), SD-WAN allows them to use inexpensive and quick-to-source broadband Internet instead of private networks or carrier-proprietary MPLS service.
We tested VeloCloud first on ourselves. We use our own City Hosted phone system. 18-months ago, we would experience the kind of intermittent voice and service quality issues that at the least embarrassed us, at the worst cost us time and money and lost opportunity. At the time, we ran the business on a Century Link DSL (100Mb up and 20 Mb down). We were using a SimpleWAN appliance to optimize our data traffic as best we could, but still had problems. We installed a second Internet connection (a 5mb up and 800k down Cox cable link) and installed the SD-WAN. It went in with their default data optimization profile and the results still amaze me to this day.
In 18-months, we have not had a single complaint about voice quality from either an employee or someone calling into our office. With an active call running across the DSL, we were able to physically unplug the Century Link service and the SD-WAN appliance moved the call to the other link (the call does not drop). And not only does it not drop, it is barely interrupted when the handoff takes place. The VeloCloud Edge device gives us rich reporting and monitoring data about the status of our Internet connections. The reporting proved to us that each link experiences multiple minor failures (packet, jitter, latency, even going completely out of service) weekly. But the SD-WAN is able to deliver 100% up-time and clean connectivity with no disruption. Like I said, amazing.
Throwing VeloCloud at the Scottsdale Airpark problemOur Airpark customer with City Hosted phone issues and only one Internet connection really put the VeloCloud SD-WAN to the test. We had a single, buggy link that was absolutely messing up our beautiful phone service and pissing off our customer. So we installed the SD-WAN appliance and again, we accepted the box’s default parameters (which are optimized for voice). Then we waited.
Oh, it worked (in case there was any suspense in what the punchline of this story would be). Call quality issues dropped to negligible. We were able to see in the Velocloud’s reporting exactly when the Cox link degraded to sub-optimal performance and exactly what the box did to correct for it. And we could see that it raised the Internet connections MOS score by about 20% (enough to stave off the nastiest call-dropping errors). In all, we saved a customer and protected them from whatever consequences there would be to their business by having crappy phone calls.
If you want to learn more about this experience, or about SD-WAN in general, we feel like we have a real-world handle on the technology. If you’re a dealer or an agent for City, contact your Channel Manager. If you’re customer or someone experience this problem who just wants to learn more about SD-WAN, call our sales line or email me directly and I’ll connect you with someone who can help.
Hear about the Top 10 things Steve Medcroft picked up at VeloCloud’s 3-day SD-WAN training and best-practices session in San Jose, California. Here are high-level bullet points, but be sure to watch the video to get the rest of the story.
Read more about the conference VeloCloud website.
Before you had a website, putting customers on hold was a great way to get them to hang up and go away. Today, a slow-loading website – or bad connection – has the same affect. Website abandonment – getting the ‘Clic-Off’ – is the inexcusable, completely fixable unintelligent loss of business. Time for SD Wan.
Here’s a scary fact: 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.*
Speed matters. Speed you can count on matters more.That’s why SD Wan from City Communications has turned into one of the most important tools for a business that needs to be connected, up and running 100% of the time.
SD Wan automatically routes traffic across multiple connections. It re-routes the traffic as conditions change so you have the best possible connection. Your network will utilize the best possible paths based on routing requirements and security needs. This happens in a way that increases efficiency and lowers costs.
You should not be expecting your business to live on only one connection. You have to have SD Wan to get the backup, predictability, accessibility – and business – that is possible with this great technology.
Even if you have more than one connection going into your business, with SD Wan you can bond together up to four different connections to ensure that your business stays connected, up and running. It keeps your speed the best that it can be. It lowers your costs, improves security, network agility and performance.
Get a FREE SD Wan 30-day Try & Buy.What you do is important enough to utilize SD Wan. So, you should get a FREE consult and 30-day FREE Try and Buy. First, click here to get more info. Then connect with a City Communications professional consultant. After you click through a simple technology audit, then you’ll have all the options and answers.
Avoid the Clic-Off. Every second counts.
*How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line.
Windstream just announced their top partners for 2016 and City Communications was ranked number two for 2016. City has consistently been a top partner of Windstream in large part to growing business within the UCaaS/CCaas, MPLS, and Contact Center segments. City also completed a number of large implementations with key customers such as Direct Energy, Empereon, and Preferred Homecare to round out the year.
City has worked closely with Windstream on a number of their initiatives such as UCaaS, CCaaS, SD WAN, MPLS, and fiber to bring complete voice and data solutions to businesses of all sizes across the country.
Part of the success is due to the fact that City believes offering their customers choices from a number of different carriers and allowing the customer to make the best choice for his or her business. To set up a free, no-cost consultation, click here.