Like most business-focused technologies on the market, SD-WAN for UCaaS isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. If your organization can benefit from its implementation, however, it has a lot to offer. By prioritizing, shaping, and switching network traffic, the solution optimizes the bandwidth used by modern digital communication and data networking solutions, while simultaneously giving end users better quality of service for their digital voice and video calls.
With businesses moving an ever-growing number of processes to cloud-based services, these core aspects of the technology can turn into numerous reciprocal benefits. For instance, if you want to disengage from a costly MPLS package or integrate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) despite being stuck with a substandard broadband connection, SD-WAN for UCaaS could be your new best friend.
And that's just the elevator pitch. At a deeper level, the technology's built to thrive in several common business-tech situations, making it highly useful for a broad sample of cloud-era organizations. Whether you're intrigued by this up-and-coming communication technology or you suspect your needs might match its benefits, here are four ways businesses are using the technology to great effect:
1. When Existing Broadband is a Barrier to Better Communication Quality
Before we delve into the extra SD-WAN benefits, however, it bears repeating that communication quality is still the main benefit of this technology — and its core competency. The beauty's all in its approach. By making smart use of a "dumb" pipe (that is, optimizing traffic to meet the demands of real-time communications), the technology improves quality of service without simply throwing more bandwidth at cloud-based communications. A company experiencing jitter and other signs of poor bandwidth prioritization could see a noticeable uptick in digital voice and video quality, all over their current connection.
This isn't to say a company's call quality needs to be disruptively bad for more efficient communication bandwidth to make a difference. Companies that need elevated uptime and experience from their digital communications tend to really need them. The legal firm that routes calls through a specialized billing app can't afford infrequent brownouts any more than a busy call center can bear the occasional outage. If that sounds like you — or if you've avoided moving your communications to the cloud for fear of bandwidth getting in the way — it's worth a look on these grounds alone.
2. To Ensure Consistent Communication Across a Distributed Organization
Many distributed organizations work across a variety of broadband providers and solutions. Because they come from different providers, these solutions offer varying levels of uptime, speed, and quality — and for companies that rely on IP-based communications products such as voice and video calling, this inconsistency can cause major concern. Besides pressing needs such as quality, basic administrative tasks can be a challenge when communications are carried over a variety of networks and network types.
SD-WAN for UCaaS takes a diverse approach to this multifaceted concern. Since it's cloud-based, administrative staff can carry out critical tasks that touch every location from the same centralized post. Applying a universal policy across a variety of network types requires none of the individual-level fiddling and configuration. By the same token, the above-mentioned traffic prioritization and shaping — along with automated network switching, where necessary — ensure communication data takes the best possible path at all times. For instance, the staffer streaming a TV show on his lunch break will receive less priority than a working employee's voice call or video chat. These considerations make the technology a compelling choice for distributed organizations, however far that distribution may reach.
3. When Employing Wireless Connectivity as a Backup or Failover Option
Businesses have placed an increasing amount of faith (and thus a growing number of apps, processes, and workflows) in cloud-based services. Unsurprisingly, the same businesses have invested in secondary and even tertiary wireless internet connections, all in the name of ensuring constant access to their cloud-based assets.
While this focus on failover is a great thing for many cloud-based services, an office full of people calling, video conferencing, and performing other communication over an emergency LTE connection is simply asking for trouble. So what's a business to do when it's forced to move to a wireless backup? The same shaping and prioritizing that make SD-WAN for UCaaS so strong over wired networks work just the same over wireless — and if the connections are running concurrently, the service can utilize them all, creating even more paths to better call quality.
4. If Fiber, Private Circuit, and Other High-End Connectivity Options are Costly or Unobtainable
Of course, wireless isn't only deployed as a second- or third-best choice in business settings. For rural workplaces and other regions where high-end connectivity isn't available, it may be the only option. A lack of true wired connectivity can represent a significant roadblock, slowing workflows and even forcing the business to choose suboptimal technology solutions. The same idea applies where quality wired connectivity comes at too high a premium for the business to purchase, or where metered usage restricts how much data can be used due to cost concerns.
It goes without saying that this technology can shape traffic over wireless bandwidth whether that bandwidth is a primary option or a fallback. This alone gives it value for business that have deployed VoIP or other digital communications over wireless. For example, the company that could set its clock by the dip in quality it suffers during high network usage could enjoy consistent clarity upon implementing the technology.
Then there are the businesses that have been unable to move to cloud communications due to their connectivity woes, or those that fear their metered usage prices would skyrocket upon moving their communications to the cloud. While every company's specific details will naturally differ, SD-WAN for UCaaS makes cloud communication worth a second look at minimum. The efficiencies it introduces can make a drastic difference in terms of bandwidth used and usage dollars spent, opening the door to a new world of communication without again throwing more bandwidth at the problem.
Whatever the situation is for your company, make no mistake: These are four areas where this high-potential technology can make a marked difference. If bandwidth woes have kept you from moving to the cloud, or your existing service doesn't match expanding need, give it a look and see what it can do for you.
Interested in this technology? You can learn more with Vonage Business.