By Sanjay Srinivasan, PhD, Chief Technology Architect, Vonage
In the grand scheme of technology, SD-WAN isn’t new. Originally designed to help set up and manage VPNs over broadband at various locations, the technology has been around for about seven years. That’s a long time, considering all the advances that have occurred over that period.
When you apply SD-WAN technology to UCaaS, however, things get a little more modern.
More and more businesses are moving their most critical communication tools to the cloud; however, that transition does not change non-negotiable needs for efficient bandwidth use and excellent quality of service (QoS). In the past few years, my company, Vonage, and a handful of other carriers and suppliers have helped our partners meet these customer needs by integrating SD-WAN technology with unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platforms. That mix brings numerous benefits, including better voice and video call quality, more deployment options, more efficient bandwidth use and (as a result) lower costs.
Technological and business advancements make SD-WAN a natural partner for UCaaS, but making that case to customers can be tricky. Here’s a rundown of some technical and business considerations for partners.
It can extend the life of private circuit sales. While video conferencing and VoIP solve many problems for companies that don’t want the cost and complexity of a PBX, it’s no secret some customers have adequate bandwidth to handle them, and others don’t. If you’ve ever gotten irate calls because VoIP calls frequently jitter, garble, or completely drop out, you’ve seen what can happen when a company is in the latter camp. Much of this disparity comes from the way network communication tools work. When you send an email or visit a website, some network delay is OK and most often imperceptible. On the phone or video screen, though, latency can lead to all sorts of trouble. This is why network communication solutions are called “real-time” communications.
Some customers will do fine with all-internet SD-WANs; however, businesses that rely on consistently great call quality, such as highly regulated orgs, need special attention. This isn’t to say the average VoIP or video conference is unreliable, by any means. But if even a single garbled call can lead to significant losses, or there are reliability concerns such as, “If I’m on VoIP and my internet connection goes down, what happens?” that customer needs to carefully consider its options. In some cases, they need to budget for private circuit data connections such as MPLS. Though costlier per-location and more technically demanding, private connections have historically provided the best way to enjoy top-notch VoIP call quality. You make a call from your VoIP line, and the SD-WAN solutions automatically prioritize the traffic.
SD-WAN + UCaaS can be a cloud onramp. For customers without stringent QoS requirements, SD-WAN for UCaaS represents a perfect path into cloud communications. It allows businesses on broadband connections and others without a need or budget for MPLS to get the best possible performance. Say a customer has several locations; they’ve probably already …