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Vonage is expanding its software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) solution to small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers.
Sanjay Srinivasan, Vonage chief architect, tells Channel Partners that the Smart WAN offering ensures quality of service (QoS) issues for the rest of the company’s cloud-based solutions. Technology from VeloCloud Networks powers the offering.
“Our SD-WAN solution is focused around solving the quality of experience problem for our core services, which is voice over IP, UCaaS services, all forms of team collaboration, video conferencing — all the normal suspects in the collaboration space,” he says.
The cloud communications provider launched SmartWAN in 2015, but is just now bringing it to its cloud PBX platform. Srinivasan says the company originally targeted large enterprises because they seemed to have a more pressing need for the service and were more open to technological change.
“With this announcement, we are making our SD-WAN service to SMBs as well, ” he says. “That’s a big thing, because whether the customer is large or small, the need to have high quality really doesn’t go away. And some of the larger retailers — their individual locations act like small locations anyway.”
Srinivasan recently wrote that SD-WAN and UCaaS make a perfect marriage for a modern business environment. He noted that while network delay isn’t the end of the world for written communication like email, all kinds of problems arise when companies suffer latency on audio or video calls. Unified communications have evolved, and we have to ask if their networks have too.
Srinivasan says most SD-WAN vendors initially proposed the technology to help businesses connect employees in distributed locations access VPNs. Businesses historically used private MPLS networks to deliver quality VoIP.
That approach has changed.
“Three to four years ago, we saw a transformation in the network space and also what the customers were buying,” Srinivasan says. “The customers not only moved their UCaaS to the cloud, but they moved all of their IT to the cloud. CRM systems, email, data, storage, backup — all that went to the cloud.”
Cloud migration led to an increased need for constant internet connectivity and a demand for more bandwidth. While a company can get more bandwidth with MPLS, Srinivasan says customers may find that route too expensive.
Elka Popova, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, says that businesses see reliability as one of their top-two requirements for selecting cloud services.
“SD-WAN technologies are enabling innovative cloud communications providers such as Vonage to deliver better quality of service and reliability to their customers. Extending SD-WAN to over-the-top cloud communications deployments allows Vonage to deliver compelling service performance benefits to SMBs, branch offices and other business sites that choose more cost-effective public broadband connections versus dedicated private lines,” Popova says.
Vonage says that 40 percent of its customer deployments include SmartWAN. The solution works for customers using private MPLS or a hybrid model of MPLS and public broadband.
Vonage partners can sell SmartWAN. Srinivasan says they will be able to reach new customers now.
“Many of our partners have already been selling it to the larger customer segment,” he says. “So what this means for them is the ability to sell it down-market as well.”
Vonage began in the residential market but has developed a profitable business unit. CEO Alan Masarek spoke at last year’s Telarus Partner Summit about how business has become the company’s “dominant segment.”
Check out the 2018 channel forecast from Vonage’s channel chief, Bob Crissman.