All too often, the process of choosing and deploying new business technologies is fraught with decision fatigue. Throw in critical factors such as ROI and performance, and you'll find yourself with an uncommonly dense set of possible solutions to choose from. How do you determine which tools will work best for your company, its workers, and its finances?
Ultimately, this is what makes SD-WAN products appealing for organizations using unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solutions: They represent a win-win no matter what challenges the business seeks to overcome. This SD-WAN deployment guide is designed to help organizations understand software-defined wide area network technology, its strengths, and situations where it can offer both financial and operational efficiency.
SD-WAN Deployment Guide: The Problem Statement
For many businesses, UCaaS platforms are pathways to elevated communication and lifelines to the outside world. By bridging various communication methods and implementing them within tools that had no prior communicative capacity, an organization makes talking and working together easier than ever. If you want to know whether that consultant in Phoenix is available, checking her presence through an integrated platform is easier than calling her desk, then trying to reach her mobile phone, then emailing her, and so on.
It's not just voice, chat, and email that can be rolled into a UCaaS solution. In a collaborative environment, the ability to quickly video chat, share desktops, and work on a shared whiteboard is a baseline need. Because of this, all features a UCaaS platform offers are necessarily provided through the cloud, over a data connection.
Considering these factors, two distinct needs can arise for a company using cloud-based UCaaS services:
- Smarter Data Handling: For companies reliant on public internet, concerns over dumb pipe are ever-present. The connection can't differentiate between the types of data it carries. Depending on the organization's usage, this can create situations where bandwidth-hungry communications features have to compete with other, less important traffic. While UCaaS platforms are extremely reliable, a lack of available bandwidth and high congestion can sometimes create fidelity issues.
- Less Bandwidth Expense: Other organizations use MPLS or other private solutions to meet their data needs. Although these connectivity methods offer better data classification and more control, they're also more expensive than public data connections. As a tool with an inherently high need for bandwidth, a UCaaS solution may ultimately cost more than an MPLS-using organization expects in terms of data costs.
Of course, these are just high-level takes on some normal business situations. Companies in rural locations may find the limited local connectivity options too restricting for video and VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) . Others may hold off on UCaaS because other solutions already consume the lion's share of the bandwidth. The point is, there are a lot of needs among UCaaS customers — and among those who wish they had UCaaS.
It's easy to see how any company with a desire to save bandwidth, reduce spending, and improve UCaaS QoS could benefit from SD-WAN's optimization capabilities.
Now it's time for the heart of your SD-WAN deployment guide: a discussion of how SD-WAN solutions can help address your organization's bandwidth concerns. Companies have flocked to SD-WAN because it allows them to reap many of the benefits MPLS offers over a public internet connection — better stability and insight into traffic, all at the reduced cost a public connection offers.
But that's not where the benefits end. Organizations can take advantage of SD-WAN's superior traffic-shaping-and-classification capability to make more efficient use of their bandwidth, a benefit that can turn into elevated communication quality and considerable month-over-month savings.
Take the company that worried its public bandwidth might fail when it comes to handling sequence-sensitive communication data. SD-WAN products can identify and give preferential treatment to that data no matter what the connection type, further ensuring call quality is met, even during peak hours. It can even route the data over multiple data connections simultaneously, choosing the best possible path in real time.
Meanwhile, MPLS customers can realize the benefits of SD-WAN in numerous ways. A company deploying SD-WAN might decide to get off the private circuit completely, since SD-WAN makes UCaaS communications suitably reliable over a public connection. This can result in a hefty monthly savings. SD-WAN can also use MPLS and public broadband connections in concert, resulting in QoS and reliability above what MPLS offers alone — perfect for companies that must keep their connections for privacy or operational reasons.
Companies that need to stay on MPLS but still wish to harness UCaaS products could use SD-WAN to lower their monthly usage packages. Because the technology makes two-way data less bandwidth-intensive, the organization gets better service when less bandwidth is used, resulting in efficiencies that reach from interoffice communication to end-of-month MPLS billing. Multiplying these savings by multiple locations can save money, all with no loss in call or video quality — and often creating a marked increase.
It's easy to see how any company with a desire to save bandwidth, reduce spending, and improve UCaaS QoS could benefit from SD-WAN's optimization capabilities. Companies without QoS woes can also use the technology to improve bandwidth usage and monthly data spending. Others with little tolerance for service disruption can benefit from SD-WAN's ability to create better performance with less pipe.
No matter what situation you choose to deploy SD-WAN products in, it's clear the technology features prominently in the future. With companies flocking to its operational efficiencies, it's only a matter of time until the up-and-coming technology becomes the standard among all sorts of offices — which is yet another reason to realize its benefits now.
Do you have more questions about the power of SD-WAN? Let Vonage Business guide you.