Top Telecom Trends: SD-WAN
Managed wide area network (WAN) services are not new, but managed software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services are just getting started. How will this affect businesses? How can you use this to your advantage?
SD-WAN has become a pretty hot item recently. More and more businesses have discovered that the old way of doing things just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Although it may not be the cure for all evils in wide-area networking, or a perfect fit for some situations, it’s still pretty cool. Software-defined WAN is the next generation of WAN — simplified and much more cost-effective.
A large number of enterprises are in the early stages of implementing SD-WAN technology. However, there are currently only about 1 percent that actually use it across the board. Within the next few years this is expected to increase by nearly three fold: Almost half of all companies will deploy SD-WAN as the norm rather than the exception.
That’s quite a dramatic uptick. The reasons behind this are:
- Insertion for piloting is simple.
- The market is rapidly evolving.
- The scalability easily allows for vendor expansion and contraction.
- Concepts like encryption, overlay networks, subscription-based pricing and path control are neatly packaged in a new integrated fashion, making the entire system more streamlined, cost effective and logical.
But most importantly, it fills a great need that allows companies to do more with less. The old WAN technology just can’t keep up with the increasing number of applications and services sucking up bandwidth like there’s no tomorrow.
All major telecom carriers will deploy SD-WAN, if they haven’t started already. Sprint and AT&T have recently announced they will be using the VeloCloud platform for their SD-WAN solutions in 2017. Verizon has already started using the Cisco IWAN and the SD-WAN from Viptela, and CenturyLink employs the Versa SD-WAN. It is plain to see that SD-WAN and network virtualization are the strategic paths that major telcos are following.
More Than Just a Fad
Some people thought SD-WAN was just a fad or a hyped-up version of the same old IPsec. It has been proven that SD-WAN is very real and is here to stay and grow. It may include elements like IPsec and network optimization, but it is capable of doing so much more, in a much more cost-effective way.
SD-WAN runs all or in part as an overlay on the internet. In late 2013, the internet was largely revamped with fiber optics, allowing more and faster bandwidth to flow through the wire. This wave of fiber network expansion, wireless access, DAS and Wi-Fi have enhanced and boosted bandwidth and performance, and thereby paved the way for SD-WAN solutions.
What’s Next for SD-WAN?
First, business agility requirements, cost reductions and infrastructure savings will keep pumping SD-WAN advancement. Deployment of SD-WAN will replace existing MPLS revenues, and telcos will launch or add services like Smart City, IoT and unified communications over the hybrid network.
Second, telecom and IT solutions will be driven and managed more in the cloud. SD-WAN will provide clients with a direct link to headquarters or branch offices and the IT workload will sit securely in the cloud, allowing access from anywhere.
Finally, the SD-WAN sector will experience consolidations and partnerships with other technologies or software solutions to continually increase, improve and expand services.
by Omar Rezec