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The SD-WAN Train is leaving the Station!

Over 15 years advising on telecoms and technology for many of Ireland’s top enterprises, I have seen many technology shifts along the way, from the explosion of broadband availability, SIP replacing analog, data center shifts to more recent trends such as mass cloud adoption, Artificial Intelligence and large scale adoption of SD-WAN networks in the Irish market.

For those of us immersed in the telecoms market we have seen SD-WAN for some time now, at a conference in the US in July 2018, our Viatel team were surprised to hear “Bleeding Edge” and SD-WAN in the same sentence. Afterall we had already adopted and successfully deployed this technology across several Irish clients in the previous 12 months.

I reached out to an old CEO contact of mine in the retail space and asked if he wanted a coffee to discuss how SD-WAN could really help him on streamlining network operations, lower costs, increase visibility and drive efficiencies on his network – his reply “Hey Damien, Love to catch up for a coffee, however what on earth is SD-WAN?”

So lets address the questions: WHAT ON EARTH IS SD-WAN?,

SD-WAN stands for Software Defined Wide Area Network, this technology marries the best of Software Defined networking and Wide Area Network allowing clients to connect securely and scale a private network across remote offices, stores or sites on a national and international level. Typical deployments are from 3 sites to 300 sites (some of the largest globally have been over a thousand). SD-WAN networks allow your business to leverage the very best connectivity services available (broadband, LTE, 4G, MPLS) to securely connect user applications.

The beauty of SD-WAN is the centralised control functions which allow for simple, and secure shaping of traffic across your WAN whilst improving application performance, improving end user experience, improving productivity whilst driving down TCO (total cost of ownership).

The visibility that it provides, right down to the application level, allows companies to make data-driven decisions and allows IT to focus on key strategic business initiatives, rather than wasting time in the technical weeds troubleshooting and investigating.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of SD-WAN is that it is not just a WAN solution, it also provides advanced security – right at the edges of your network. The SD-WAN solution allows you to consolidate your networking and firewalling, providing you with peace of mind and deep visibility of the security events in your network. 

Sushhhh! It’s a secret!

At Viatel we see this technology as very disruptive in the WAN market, It’s the electric car of its age. As disruptors in this space we love it! Any technology that delivers our clients efficiencies, improved experience whilst driving costs down will in turn help our “Challenger” mission.

On the other hand, legacy “Diesel engines” Telcos “eir, Vodafone, BT, Three” are not exactly beating customers’ door down with this story of “efficiency, better experience, lower costs” they rather leave clients on expensive legacy technology and “Sweat the assets” for as long as possible, a dangerous strategy as the disruptor model moves to adoption status.

7 Key Points to deploying SD-WAN:

  1. Legacy Branch routers will be replaced with SD-WAN appliances

  2. Built for the cloud – you can control individual cloud-based apps across the network

  3. Build your SD-WAN over existing connectivity infrastructure

  4. Full SLAs and 24*7 Services wraps apply to SD-WAN

  5. Add new sites to the WAN within hours (legacy networks take months).

  6. SD-WAN will drive cost efficiencies for your business

  7. Ability to provide a secure WAN connection to tele / mobile workers, remote or pop-up locations

In summary, With the business benefits outligned previously I expect to see the market drive further to SD-WAN in 2019, pioneers of the technology like Viatel will continue to spearhead this technology shift on our mission to disrupt and challenge the status que legacy telcos as they milk the last drops from clients on cash cow MPLS and older WAN technology.

Eventually I expect legacy providers will evolve to embrace this technology shift, pushed by market shift or pulled by clients demanding latest technologies however at that stage it just might be too late with the SD-WAN technology train quickly leaving the station be sure not to be left on the platform!

To learn more on SD-WAN visit


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