Unless we are disconnected from the world of telecommunications in the last two years, we have most likely heard the mention of the term SD-WAN more and more frequently. The truth is that SD-WAN has become the new center of attention for all actors in the world of telecommunications, in a very similar way to what happened a few years ago with cloud services. In that case, it should not surprise us, when the most important analysts in the market, such as Gartner, IDC, and many others, predicted that by 2020, companies will spend more than USD 6,000 million on SD-WAN technology worldwide The best of all is that you are here to stay for a long time, it is just beginning. For this reason, today we call it “New Kid On The Block (NKOTB)”.
Let’s start by asking ourselves the following question: What is SD-WAN? Do not be surprised if the answers vary significantly from one to another, and we may receive a different response for each source we consult (this is the technology, changing, so nobody has the last word). For us, in Convergia, this same question was the beginning of a long, but very satisfying journey that has been going on for more than two years, during which we have had the opportunity to extensively investigate the technology, the different concepts, suppliers, and even the very different forecasts about the SD-WAN solution.
Convergia, as a service provider (ISP), has found that it is easier to start by defining that it is not the SD-WAN solution to handle a clearer concept. Which are:
- It is not a means of transmitting information
- It is not a new communications protocol
- It has been misnamed by some providers as the “MPLS Killer”
SD-WAN is the response to the new demands of organizations towards their communications networks. We can also say that it is the convergence of at least a dozen different technologies, many of which have been present in the telecommunications industry for several decades now. The crucial difference is that now all these technologies applied together represent a substantial advance in terms of reliability, information security, flexibility, agility, speed of implementation and most importantly a cost reduction of up to 90% versus traditional solutions such as MPLS But what technologies are we talking about? For technologies such as data compression, strong encryption, protocol acceleration, temporary storage (“caching”), load balancing, redirection in case of failure, VPN and link aggregation (“link aggregation” or also known as “bonding” ); all of them available for many years ago. That is why when we manage to integrate all of them into a single coherent solution, easy to implement and administer, we incorporate the selected dynamic routing capability, always the best possible route between two points in the network (think a second in WAZE), self-configuration ( which reduces human intervention), and most importantly, we add a central intelligence (which in SD-WAN language we will call “Orchestrator”), thus achieving a new way to connect geographically dispersed locations in a safe, fast, flexible, efficient and at a much lower cost than expected, all this is defined in a single SD-WAN word.
SD-WAN networks offer us a new approach to connectivity, reducing operational costs and improving the use of communication resources between our headquarters in an intelligent, effective, simple and safe way. The SD-WAN solution was born due to the need of companies to extend the coverage of their services in different locations and locations; and, to achieve it efficiently, they need an agile network with the capacity to support a greater number of connected people. Now, in terms of cost reduction, this will mean that adopting SD-WAN could be reason enough to explain the explosive growth of this technology. However, if we analyze in greater depth, we will find that SD-WAN could not have arrived at a better time and that it is being very useful for the companies that are applying it due to the various benefits that it provides us. But, do you know what additional benefits apart from reducing operational costs, provides SD-WAN to companies? Here we will mention some of these:
- Facilitates processes: with SD-WAN it is easier to reach different devices, whether they are close in person or connected from the cloud. The IT team may be solely responsible for automating and globally implementing the network to more efficiently manage its administration.
- Improves the user experience: this solution can provide considerable bandwidth simply and economically, with better optimal and safe performance. This also makes it easier for users to use cloud applications.
- Easy installation in offices or offices: the installation of office equipment in SD-WAN networks can be performed automatically or through pre-configured devices that do not require the services of field engineers. Therefore, this system eliminates the traditional installation mechanism through a command line.
- Protects important data: no matter how much you have a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery plan, having the SD-WAN solution will lead to the ability to safely and advanced preserve the important data your company has.
With the explosion of cloud services, IoT, and even the beginning of the integration between OT (Operations Technology) and IT, the need to have constant, uninterrupted, secure, high capacity, reliable communication that can no longer connect hundreds, if not tens of thousands of devices, have made the SD-WAN solution the default option of any modern telecommunications design. Therefore, if we add to this the ability to deploy complex solutions worldwide in weeks instead of months, and the ability to install, configure and manage the entire solution with very little human intervention, then it becomes clear why the solution SD-WAN is now the new heart of telecommunications.
CEO of Convergia Peru. Industrial Engineer with more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications, technology and corporate communication industry. It has two MBAs, one studied at the San Ignacio de Loyola University (Peru) and the other at Manchester Business School (England). He is an expert in corporate restructuring of telecommunications and technology companies, especially in emerging markets; He is also an active consultant on issues of digital transformation and strategic planning.