If you are looking for a technology overview for SD-WAN, look no further. Learning how SD-WAN helps organizations glean better quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) from the cloud solutions they depend on is the first step to understanding the technology. By sorting and shaping the traffic that comes over a company's network, SD-WAN technology can significantly optimize the bandwidth their critical solutions use.
In fact, Vonage offers its own take on SD-WAN for UCaaS — and what's more, it's a recognized leader in this area of communications technology. SmartWAN is the latest addition to Vonage's suite of tools and services that can help make your business communications more efficient and resolve network performance issues in the era of cloud-everything.
Balancing Bandwidth Needs
Companies are seeing the benefits of cloud-based business solutions, and they're moving more and more services to the cloud. This increased traffic can certainly affect QoS. Digging deeper, this issue is further compounded by the fact that most business networks don't have the means to recognize, let alone prioritize, the many types of traffic they carry. In other words, there's a difference between video conference traffic and Netflix traffic, but your network reacts to them the exact same way.
Two-way traffic — traffic from solutions that must continually upload and download in real time to provide their communications services — is another concern. Though VoIP and video conference communications tools are surprisingly efficient, they still benefit from preferential treatment. Additionally, putting them on a network that's already taxed by other cloud services can sometimes lead to brownouts and other quality-related issues, impacting quality and clarity of communications when your employees call colleagues, customers, and others.
Technology Overview for SD-WAN
So what is SD-WAN, what is SmartWAN, and how do these tools help businesses address all the above-mentioned challenges of cloud adoption? This time, the elevator pitch comes down to a single word: prioritization. By continually re-analyzing and re-allocating prioritization, SmartWAN constantly puts your communication traffic in proper order, ensuring real-time, two-way traffic and other high-priority data gets treatment reflective of its importance.
That said, the technology has the potential to do more than hold the velvet rope for your traffic, despite that feature being useful on its own. It can route data through multiple modes of connectivity — a combination of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and public broadband, for instance — giving companies with more than one data connection even more inroads to quality communication. If a considerable traffic spike or even an outage takes one option down, it simply moves communication traffic over to the next-best option.
Given SD-WAN's powerful advantages for businesses that are increasingly adopting cloud services and using their network connections for more mission-critical business operations, it's probably no surprise that the market for SD-WAN is booming. According to Gartner, spending on SD-WAN technology is expected to reach $1.24 billion by 2020.
Optimizing Performance with SD-WAN Technology
A company doesn't need multiple connections or a complex network environment to enjoy the benefits of SmartWAN. For some companies, quite the opposite is true: Its ability to optimize and route traffic can allow organizations to move to smaller, less expensive broadband packages, realizing increased cost savings with every branch or satellite they deploy SD-WAN to.
Then there's the idea of administrative simplicity. For companies utilizing an existing suite of one vendor's products (or those interested in switching), choosing a provider that offers an SD-WAN product such as SmartWAN helps you check yet another major business need off the list, all with the assistance of a single provider. Considering many VoIP tools can be deployed anywhere high-speed internet is available, this single-vendor approach to communications can be far preferable to dealing with a tangled weave of regional telecommunications providers.
Throw in the simplicity of dealing with a single provider for a number of your most important services, and it's easy to see why SmartWAN is an increasing presence in businesses nationwide.
SD-WAN's Benefits for Branch Offices
Companies that have branch offices will definitely want to take a look at SD-WAN technologies like SmartWAN. That handy capability we were just talking about, in which this technology can bundle together multiple internet connections so that a business has a little built-in resilience should one of those links suddenly go down, turns out to be useful for managing everyday communications for companies with multiple offices, too.
Companies that have small regional offices often outfit them with low-cost broadband connections, typically upgrading them later on when needed. It can be tricky for the main office to manage all of these wide area network (WAN) connections from afar, which is why SD-WAN can be vital in these kinds of situations. Businesses can manage all of their WAN connections for all of their offices using SD-WAN, remotely changing configurations on demand without having to hire and schedule an on-site technician to manually do the work.
So if a business decides to set up videoconferencing at all of its branch offices, for example, it will need to configure QoS at each of those locations in order to make sure video traffic gets the velvet rope treatment required for high-quality performance. Depending on the situation, the company might need to bring in more bandwidth to get the job done. SD-WAN makes it possible to set everything up remotely using cost-effective bandwidth, streamlining administration while guaranteeing better service.
Your Ticket to Better Cloud Communication
As more and more processes move to the cloud, a tool that optimizes bandwidth — despite the business's increasing reliance on traffic-generating solutions — has tremendous value. Throw in the simplicity of dealing with a single provider for a number of your most important services, and it's easy to see why SmartWAN is an increasing presence in businesses nationwide. If bandwidth is an issue at your office(s) or soon will be, give it a look and see what it can do for you.
This content was updated on August 30, 2018.