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SD-WAN: Understanding the Competitive Landscape

Posted April 1, 2017

The SD-WAN market is predicted to grow by 90% each year for the next 5 years to $6 Billion. There hasn’t been a market opportunity as big as SD-WAN since the Hosted Voice market exploded.

What’s Driving Growth

Simple Steps Toward Unified Communications Etiquette

Eighty percent of businesses are using at least 3 critical cloud based applications to run their business today, and now more than ever they can’t afford business disruption. As businesses increase this reliance on the cloud, they are turning to SD-WAN technology to maximize application performance and eliminate downtime for maximum productivity. SD-WAN is a great replacement for MPLS, as customers aren’t locked into a single carrier across their locations, and it’s more flexible and much easier to deploy and manage at the branch level.

As carriers continue to introduce cheaper and faster broadband services while expanding their coverage, customers want to take advantage. However, higher speeds don’t always equate to reliability. Those cheaper technologies, like cable, don’t come with strong SLAs. Unreliability leads to brown outs, which impacts real-time application performance, like voice and video. Even as more broadband options become available, there are still customers that want technologies and speeds they can’t afford or can’t get at their location.

Enter SD-WAN services with Bandwidth Aggregation and Real-time Application Failover support. Customers can purchase multiple, lower-cost circuits, combine them into one big pipe, and route calls and other priority traffic over the cleanest WAN connection to ensure optimal performance.

Other SD-WAN features to look for are Forward Error Correction, the ability to remediate against packet loss or latency on a single line, as well as Dynamic Path Selection, which selects traffic path per packet based on loss, latency and jitter.

While all of this means a ton of opportunity, there are many flavors of SD-WAN to choose from.

Understanding the Competitive Landscape

SD-WAN services are not created equal. There are many service providers to choose from. Here are some key things to consider:

Underlying technologies:
VeloCloud, Cisco Meraki, Silverpeak…the list goes on. The technologies vary greatly, and some are more comprehensive than others. Having multiple technology options will ensure you don’t put your customers in a one-size-fits-all box, under deliver, or price yourself out of opportunities.
Provider Requirements:
Service providers vary in how they deliver the same technology. For example, one provider may only sell SD-WAN bundled with their access or another service such as VoIP and UCaaS. Another provider, on the other hand, may offer SD-WAN services over-the-top or with a provided circuit, or combination of both. Some providers also impose site minimums, such as 5 sites, while others don’t. Many single-site businesses are well suited for SD-WAN, so look for a provider that doesn’t take you out of an opportunity.
Real SLAs:
SLAs very across providers. Look for a 100% uptime SLA, and ensure it has teeth with real and substantial service credits behind it.
Expert Support:
Look for a provider that offers a fully managed service that includes full-solution design engineering, dedicated project management, and white glove support from a team of in-house experts.

MegaPath Can Help

While most providers offer one flavor of SD-WAN, MegaPath offers multiple technology options to meet the varying needs of your clientele. We offer SD-WAN over the top, or with MegaPath circuits, or a combination of both. When combined with a MegaPath T1 or Ethernet circuit, MegaPath will guarantee uptime to unmatched levels, backed with material SLA credits. Learn more about MegaPath RED.


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