Understanding SD-WAN and Edgewater’s Solution for the SMBMike Evanisko
Software-defined wide area network solutions, commonly referred to as SD-WAN, are exploding. Enterprises began expressing specific concerns and needs for networking, which could only be met by this technology. In turn, SD-WAN growth has been monumental and sources predict that SD-WAN infrastructure and service revenue will reach over $8 billion in sales by the year 2021. As businesses begin to deploy 3rd platform technologies to achieve digital transformation and public cloud-based SaaS continually increases, we will see SD-WAN rise steadily. With that said, it is imperative to understand what SD-WAN is and what SD-WAN solution is best for the SMB versus the enterprise.
What is SD-WAN?
Simply put, SD-WAN is a technology that was specifically designed to improve network performance of small to large enterprises. Traditional enterprise WAN had many pain points associated with it, including data throughput, cost structure, resiliency, and application performance. WAN is used to connect different networks to a central network. Before, WAN connections relied on technology that required special hardware. What SD-WAN does is that it moves network control into the cloud and relies instead on a software approach. It provides enterprises with a flexible, open, cloud-based technology versus needing expensive WAN technology, hardware, and fixed circuits. SD-WAN technology is generally applied over large geographical areas
SD-WAN has also been able to replace or augment multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), which was the standard technology for secure corporate WANs. MPLS has a handful of negatives attached to it, including the requirement for expensive dedicated access circuits, long implementation timelines, and route inflexibility for off-net traffic. Because of its associated downfalls, many have searched for an alternative solution.
SD-WAN addresses these pitfalls by utilizing Software Defined Networking (SDN). SDN separates the control plane, which manages where data goes, and the data plane, which is the actual payload. It does so by using a cloud-based controller for management. General purpose access circuits can then create secure WANs and costs can be driven down. Also, by using commodity access, there is faster turn-up of new sites, greater performance in corporate data routing, and better resiliency and uptime.
A Solution for the SMB
The SMB is generally not the typical consumer of MPLS because they usually only have one location or a few sites. But, these customers still value performance of their applications and resiliency and want to make sure they’re always up-and-running. Enter Edgewater Networks’ approach to SD-WAN, which was designed specifically for the needs of the SMB. Edgewater’s solution focuses on four core components: application-specific priority, multi-link performance, stateful SIP transfer, and survivability.
- Application Priority: It is important to ensure that your critical data traffic is being prioritized over less important routine traffic. This has caused a reoccurring issue for businesses. A network sees less critical traffic in the same way as more important traffic, leading to congestion issues. Edgewater’s SD-WAN solution provides application-specific priority, allowing businesses the ability to segregate critical traffic over routine. In turn, this creates a better customer experience.
- Multi-link Performance: One common router feature at the edge, referred to by Edgewater as WAN Link Redundancy (WLR), is the ability to move traffic from one link to the next in a failure condition. WLR moves all traffic from the primary WAN link to a secondary when there is an outage. It will then be moved back once the outage is restored. Multi-link performance improves upon WLR. Instead of just moving traffic during an outage, multi-link performance moves traffic based on degradation (i.e. reduced WAN link performance that impacts critical business applications). The SP can determine what gets moved and under what conditions. Once applications requiring prioritization are determined, routing decisions can then be made. Using both latency and hop count measurements, the EdgeMarc will evaluate link quality, rerouting traffic if degradation and/or link failure is determined. When multi-link performance is combined with application-specific routing, the SP can completely control the applications that have priority, determining how they should behave in various levels of WAN degradation or outage.
- Stateful SIP Transfer (SST): SST is a combination of application routing priorities (SIP) and multi-link performance to manage SIP voice sessions across multiple WAN connections. SST has a multitude of capabilities, including: the ability to move SIP sessions from one WAN connection to the other (if degradation or outage occurs), the ability to move individual or all SIP sessions based upon the level of degradation in degraded conditions, SIP sessions stay active during transfer between WAN sessions, and continued monitoring of WAN links and SIP sessions being moved to primary connections if conditions warrant (the session would stay active)
- Survivability: While not an SD-WAN specific feature, survivability increases resiliency and business continuity functionality to the SD-WAN solution. Survivability includes failover functionality to analog trunks, as well as limited PBX functions in outages (station-to-station dialing, hold, transfer, park, and conference).
Benefits of Edgewater’s SD-WAN Solution
Edgewater’s SD-WAN solution targets the SMB specifically, so it addresses a different set of customers’ needs. This makes Edgewater’s approach quite different in regard to routing and pricing. For a typical SD-WAN solution, routing decisions are made by a cloud-based decision engine; however, with the Edgewater SD-WAN solution, all routing decisions are made at the device (EdgeMarc) level. Pricing is also different. Typical SD-WAN solutions leverage cost savings that are associated with MPLS displacement. The Edgewater solution has been aggressively priced, though, to fit an SMB budget.
There are many customer benefits to choosing the Edgewater SD-WAN solution. End customers will experience:
- Better voice quality
- Higher overall quality & resiliency
- Better application performance
Service Providers will also see a handful of benefits on their end, including:
- Fewer customer issues
- Greater CSAT
- Ability to upsell resulting in higher revenue
- A user portal that provides better insights to the customer on network performance
Trade Up to SD-WAN Program
If you possess a legacy Edgewater intelligent edge or other qualifying SBC, it is time to transition to an SD-WAN capable device. With Edgewater’s Trade Up to SD-WAN Program, it is easy to receive a new device. Simply sign up for Cloud2Edge by calling 855-715-8505, then head over to 888VoIP to purchase one of Edgewater Networks’ SD-WAN capable devices. You will then receive a great rebate for trading in your old device. For more details on the program, which only lasts for the remainder of 2018, contact an 888VoIP representative at 888-864-7786 or [email protected]