SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a new technology that enables a network to be controlled by software instead of hardware. Historically networks were architected primarily with hardware intelligence and costly onsite deployments for each location. With the arrival of SD-WAN businesses can now connect to remote locations without the need for proprietary hardware or MPLS circuits from carriers. SD-WAN simplifies the management and operation of a WAN by separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism.
This popular new technology has even matured to a point that it enables enterprise customers to decouple the last mile provider from the core network, enabling them to select the very best network for each location, leading to massive economic improvements, as well as advancements in performance, flexibility, and control. It is easy to see how SD-WAN is rapidly becoming the leading choice among businesses worldwide, in fact, it is predicted to reach $8 billion by 2021.
There are options for enterprises looking for a combination of private network dedicated access, and internet, but service providers, especially existing MPLS providers, need to recognize this shift is upon us. They must begin adopting new capabilities that optimize strategies to improve their fit if they want to remain active and capitalize on this growing trend. Location Intelligence and key knowledge of the competitive landscape will be an integral component for providers to deliver last-mile connections quickly and efficiently. Integration of OTT services such as firewall, unified communications, or other offerings that can be stratified over their existing networks, will not only attract clients who want SD-WAN benefits but also create new categories for themselves in this every emerging market.
With each new trend there lies challenges and opportunities; service providers are best served to embrace the new streams of revenue this trend offers, while also improving their customer experience and creating new virtualized products that SD-WAN offers.