How SD-WAN Is Going to Change Office Connectivity Forever
Whether you work in an urban metropolis or a small rural community, you’ve probably experienced downtime with your network connection at one time or another. It seems to happen at the worst time too, taking you offline right when you need it most to keep your business running smoothly. Many of us have come to expect the occasional downtime. It’s become an accepted reality when using the internet for business. But connectivity problems are a nuisance that can now be prevented.
What’s wrong with my current connection?
Carrier network services for wide area networks (WAN) have not kept up with modern capacity needs. They’re also inflexible – unable to accommodate fluctuations in bandwidth demand. Too often, service levels deteriorate because the existing infrastructure can’t handle the excess demand.
If your business is geographically dispersed, you face even greater challenges. Carriers don’t always accommodate organizations with numerous small offices. These businesses are forced to sign up with multiple carriers to handle connectivity at their various locations. This leads to higher-than-necessary expenses and overly complicated billing.
And if your business operates in rural areas, connectivity is an even bigger problem. You’ll find it extremely difficult to receive consistent and reliable service. And as more and more companies increase their bandwidth demands on existing carrier models, the quality of service will continue to fall over time.
In short, the traditional WAN connectivity model is broken.
What is SD-WAN, and how can it help?
With SD-WAN (short for software-defined wide area network), you benefit from intelligent software that helps you manage your networks more efficiently. It’s an ideal solution for connecting voice and business communications across multiple locations and offices. All of your company’s communications, including point of sale (POS), payment processing, and more, can be managed simultaneously and efficiently over the same network with SD-WAN.
SD-WAN offers greater flexibility with the robustness of tried-and-true multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). It uses a mix of public Internet and private connections to ensure a consistent service level. This feature makes SD-WAN ideal for growing companies that can’t accurately forecast their demand over the next several years. With a traditional connection model, you need to invest in infrastructure now to handle future demand. With SD-WAN, you can increase and reduce your bandwidth capacity as needed.
The best part is that setting up SD-WAN is easy. A simple system modification and software installation is all that’s required to connect your offices via SD-WAN.
The real power of SD-WAN
Imagine managing your entire wide area network across multiple business locations using a single interface. The power of SD-WAN is in the simplicity of system management. If you currently manage a number of offices across several locations and you need to increase bandwidth at one particular location for a new teleconferencing system, for example, all you need to do is login to your dashboard and reallocate your bandwidth accordingly. With traditional carrier network services, you’d have to get an IT professional to perform a physical adjustment onsite. But that’s not all.
SD-WAN offers a number of benefits over traditional connections:
- Lower-cost bandwidth options
- Reliable 99.9% uptime
- Capital and operating (IT labor) cost savings
If it seems like a no-brainer, it is. So why aren’t most companies already using SD-WAN?
While the individual components of SD-WAN aren’t new, the way that they’re compiled is. SD-WAN is a relatively new service offering, and many companies don’t know about its benefits.
The beauty of SD-WAN is how it dynamically shares network bandwidth from point to point. When you combine the simplicity of a software dashboard with a responsive wide area network that covers several locations, you get a flexible, reliable, and efficient system ideal for any growing business.
Now is the time to think about implementing SD-WAN
With more and more mobile devices used by customers and employees alike, traditional connections will struggle to supply a consistent user experience. Your customer service, sales, and overall company productivity could be negatively impacted.
But it’s not just mobile phones that are increasing bandwidth demand. Internet of things (IoT) sensors and devices are already popular in homes and businesses. And all of these devices consume extra bandwidth.
There’s also an opportunity to benefit from the cloud for storage and software as a service (SaaS) to further streamline your operations. These cloud-based activities require more bandwidth, but they can help companies with multiple offices easily share data and software without having to install on-premise data servers at each location.
While we’re confident that most companies should be moving toward SD-WAN, at least gradually, there are a number of things you need to consider before making the switch. You should ensure that your provider has a solution for each of the points below.
- Full autonomy and manageability – so you don’t have to always rely on IT pros to make small changes
- A simple dashboard for system-wide modifications
- High-end security – crucial if you’re sharing data over your WAN
- A very high quality of service (QoS) level
- The experience to orchestrate a seamless transition
Many SD-WAN carriers are relatively new to the industry. Do your homework to make sure that your provider has the right experience to help you manage the transition and to show you how to administer your SD-WAN once it’s is set up.
Look for an experienced telecommunications company like BullsEye Telecom, which has a proven track record as a leading managed service provider. We know how important connectivity is for the modern business. It’s the backbone of every customer interaction, so it’s critical that it’s there when you need it. Choose a solution that leverages the latest technology, helps you manage capacity requirements, and offers flexibility as you grow and your needs change.