Making Layer Seven Dance: SD-WAN with UCaaS
MNJ Technologies discuss the growing importance of SD-WAN for enterprise in 2019
Like every perfect user experience, communications technology ought to be functionally invisible, a hygiene factor which transmits the message with zero friction and intrusion into the process itself.
In the real world however we’ve all been painfully reminded of the complex layers of tech enabling our online conversation, as it periodically demands our attention through dropped calls, glitchy video, sputtering streaming or that big attachment which never got sent. However much the available bandwidth increases, the demand on it accelerates alongside – and managing that traffic intelligently becomes continually more essential.
A Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to manage any combination of data transit services to securely connect users to applications via a centralised control function. The resulting user experience is greatly enhanced, by making better use of the existing applications, as well as reducing costs.
We spoke with Ben Niernberg, Senior Vice President, Sales & Services at MNJ Technologies, about the growing importance of SD-WAN for enterprise in 2019:
“Quality of service is transformed when the overall reliability of the path your data is travelling on is controlled end to end, and traffic is allowed to travel down the path which is fastest and best suited to handle that type of information. SD-WAN creates an active environment to allow data to be rerouted in real-time, to create a significantly better user experience.
“It also allows you to leverage your spend better, whether that’s a reduction in cost or creating an active active environment, where before was maybe a single circuit that was active and one that was inactive and not being used”
“So it allows you to either leverage your spend better or in some cases, save overall cost as well”.
That’s why it makes sense that SD-WAN is a decision you would implement at the same time as switching to unified communications as a service, as part of an overall UC transition – perhaps by moving to hybrid cloud facilities or AWS and Azure, and when reviewing cost and reliability factors alongside one another.
As Niernberg said, “The reason it fits so well with unified communications as a service is when you’re moving your phone system from on-prem to the cloud…you’re moving your voice traffic to the cloud, and the ability for that traffic to flow and be controlled creates the user experience. It makes the most sense to put an SD-WAN in at the same time, because now you’re giving diverse apps for your voice packets travel on, and if for some reason one of those paths goes down, it automatically gets rerouted.”
But it’s not just about voice, and at an IT dept level, the workflows and priorities for the service are highly user-configurable, down to the application and the individual:
“If you want to prioritise the CEO’s traffic over anyone else’s, you can do that. If there’s specific applications that need to be governed you make it happen – video conferencing, all of these things can be provisioned and prioritised to make sure that your objectives are met, which are the most important things that need to be there. The provisioning is critical, because everybody’s needs are unique.
“I always tell customers, SD-WAN allows you to take control of your WAN back – it takes control of your wide area network back out of the hands of the big telcos, so it’s 100% under your control”
With ever more options for granular traffic workflow through 5G and other innovations, the deployment of SD-WAN alongside UCaaS will offer organisations increased flexibility and responsiveness to fluctuating demand, and quality of service issues dictated by legacy infrastructure. And we’ll surely trend ever closer to that completely invisible user-experience that the 21st century enterprise demands.