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SD-WAN and Unified Communications

A perfect match

The market for Unified Communications (UC) solutions is forecast to exceed $186 billion by 2026. That’s no surprise as UC has had a major impact on business efficiency and success, improving workforce productivity, streamlining enterprise communication and providing an effective environment for collaboration.

UC solutions give employees the opportunity to use the most appropriate communication channel for the job — voice, instant message, chat, video, text or email. And, they can access any channel from desktop or mobile devices without changing devices.

However, quality can be an issue, particularly with voice where call clarity can make or break the success of a UC deployment. That’s where the network plays a key role and many businesses have found that traditional WAN technologies are just not up to the job.

Overcome Legacy WAN Limitations

The good news is that Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) technologies are proving to overcome the limitations of legacy systems with commentators describing the combination of Unified Communications and SD-WAN as a ‘marriage made in heaven.’

Powerful software implements policies automate network configuration and routing to ensure the best path for different types of traffic. Every application has the right bandwidth and Quality of Service for optimum performance giving the network the performance and agility to handle any type of traffic and prioritize critical applications like voice — an ideal platform for UC deployments.

Compare that with traditional WAN technologies like leased MPLS circuits or dedicated VPNs for branch communications. They’re expensive, inflexible and difficult to manage. And, overprovisioning for scale, reliability and availability adds further costs.

With SD-WAN, automated deployment, scaling on demand, centralized control, secure access to the cloud and simplified configuration make provisioning faster and easier. For multi-site business, SD-WAN can transform branch provisioning giving all sites consistent access to the services they need, regardless of local infrastructure.

Not All SD-WANs are Equal

However, it’s important to recognize that not all SD-WANs are equal, so it’s essential to verify that any vendor’s marketing claims can be substantiated.

Take call quality as an example. Vendors may claim that SD-WAN will improve call quality. While it’s true that SD-WAN provides Quality of Service and prioritizes traffic such as voice, there may be underlying problems if the SD-WAN deployment depends on the public Internet. Problems on the Internet can negate any benefits provided by SD-WAN.

BroadConnect believes that private Internet solutions can overcome this problem, providing end-to-end connectivity to ensure the consistent speed, performance and reliability for secure high-quality, crystal clear voice calls. SD-WAN can also adjust routing dynamically to take account of traffic levels or network congestion. The result is fast, reliable access to UC applications and services and a better experience for your users.

Traffic prioritization is another potential issue. As commentators point out, voice and UC are not the only real-time traffic on the network. So, where does traffic prioritization start and finish? BroadConnect believes that careful network engineering is essential, working with clients to identify the most critical applications and developing policies that will optimize UC transport.

Service level agreements are also important. Vendors must be able to control service quality throughout their networks. That makes networks with carrier-grade quality and redundancy, multiple data centers, geographic redundancy and sophisticated monitoring tools essential to keep businesses connected and meet the stringent service level agreements required for UC solutions.

Lower Costs, Simpler Network Administration

The right SD-WAN solution can take UC performance to the next level. It can also reduce costs and simplify network administration.

SD-WANs protect the investment in network infrastructure. They are vendor-neutral, so they can work with any network protocol, including MPLS and VPN, as well as existing Internet services. There’s no need to over-provision a network or deploy local branch infrastructure, while centralized management reduces administration and support costs.

Virtualized cloud-based network resources scale easily and reduce infrastructure complexity. SD-WAN’s centralized orchestrator automates complex network functions to support dynamic configuration, simpler visibility and monitoring of all network activity, and real-time reporting. It enables fast, one-touch deployment of new branch sites and services, improving productivity and reducing costs.

Find out more

BroadConnect, Canada’s leading alternative solutions provider, delivers high-performance SD-WAN solutions across Canada. If you want to find out how BroadConnect SD-WAN can transform your networks and your UC solutions, call us now to speak to an expert – 1-877-228-6616.

Jason Ali

Jason Ali

Marketing Director

Jason Stephen Ali is a seasoned Marketing professional, I hold the ultimate responsibility for my organisation’s Marketing activities and also oversee the development and delivery of a fully integrated marketing strategy for the business. Developed the BCT marketing strategy by studying economic indicators; tracking changes in supply and demand, identifying customers and their current and future needs and monitoring our competition.

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