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Spectrum Enterprise Unveils SD-WAN Service

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Spectrum Enterprise just took its software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) solution live.

The Charter Communications-owned unit launched a managed SD-WAN service available nationally. Spectrum delivers the service through a software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) platform, as does rival cable provider Comcast Business.

The company prides itself on “stitching together” SD-WAN and Ethernet networks.

“Our new managed SD-WAN service delivers on our promise of choice and flexibility by enabling enterprises to grow and evolve their networks via our next-generation SDN/NFV platform,” said Greg King, Spectrum Enterprise’s senior vice president of product, marketing and strategy. “Not only does this platform allow clients to securely integrate existing network sites and SD-WAN sites, it also enables us to rapidly deploy new capabilities for additional use cases and future network solutions.”

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The platform is attached to Spectrum’s national fiber network and utilizes several technology partners. Nuage Networks provides SD-WAN, Cisco offers services orchestration, Fortinet for virtual security and Netcracker provides VNF management.

Spectrum manages the solution from design to monitoring and support and offers Fortinet’s virtual security service for customers who would like to ensure safe internet access.

We wrote in January that Spectrum had completed a proof of concept and would launch the official product soon. Comcast had already entered the market in 2017, partnering with Versa Networks.

C3 Technology Advisors president Matthew Toth characterized the announcement as foreseeable, yet surprising.

Matthew Toth

C3’s Matthew Toth

“It’s about time Spectrum came up with an SDN platform,” said Toth, whom businesses have consulted about SD-WAN implementations. “Their strategy is similar to Comcast’s in that they’re looking to provide a white box and then let the customer decide which functionality to load into it. As with Comcast’s product, functions available today are quite limited. It’s surprising that the SD-WAN platform is Nuage, as Nokia isn’t a huge player in the SD-WAN space.”

The company used a field trial to test the product on customers and learn from their feedback. The government in Addison, Texas, used Spectrum’s SD-WAN to connect its public-safety office to its Ethernet network and potentially add new offices to the network.

“We are excited by the availability of a WAN solution that lets us choose an Ethernet service or an SD-WAN with Ethernet-stitching capability to build and migrate to next-gen services at our own pace,” said Hamid Khaleghipour, who serves as Addison’s interim deputy city manager and executive director of business performance and innovation.


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