SD-WAN Providers Highlight One Size Doesn't Fit All

February 20, 2020

By Bill Yates, Communications Correspondent

On the final day of the SD-WAN Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Feb. 14, a group of SD-WAN veterans held a roundtable discussion focusing on the early phases of deployment and inquiry for those curious about the transformational technology. The session was chaired by Moe Nagle (Moderator), managing editor and SD-WAN conference chair at TMCnet.

One of Nagle’s first duties was establishing the size of the firm’s targeted by each of the four panelists. Two of the participants focus on large enterprises, while one panelist sells SD-WAN services to smaller companies.

The fourth panelist, Frank Puranik, product director at iTrinegy (News - Alert), pushes software testing services for companies migrating to the cloud. As a result, he offered a unique perspective on how customers are approaching this period digital disruption.

Bernard Breton, chief executive officer at Adaptiv Networks (News - Alert), caters to smaller customers such as retail outlets. He says pizza shop owners “don’t want the complexity,” he says. “They want simplicity.”

Dependency on low-wage, low-skilled workers necessitates simplicity, he says. They just need help answering the phones. Breton evaluates his potential clients based upon two main factors:

  1. Number of sites;
  2. Complexity of the project.

“On most installations, the complexity is not very high,” he says. But when you run into a customer with legacy systems that need rewiring, the game changes.

Brian O'Connor, director of solutions engineering at Granite Telecommunications (News - Alert), markets to larger companies. His clients typically have hundreds of outlets.

O’Connor often recommends a tiered-approach to tying in multiple outlets. It’s all about the benjamins. “Higher revenue stores get higher bandwidth, maybe a different WAN set-up,” he says.

Larger customers require proof-of-concept presentations, while smaller firms are usually ready to roll, O’Connor says.

Dr. Ritesh Mukherjee, vice president of product management at 128 Technology (News - Alert), deals with large enterprises that connect to thousands of sites. Standardizing the experience throughout the organization is a key desire. And it has to be easy to use.

“If a client has 10,000 stores, they need everything in cookie-cutter form,” Mukherjee says. His company offers clients the ability to customize the data-view they get from their command center. Watching 10,000 routers as the data flashes on the screen is impractical, he says. Instead, they can order up the overall statistics and go from there.

Nagle asked about 5G, and whether it affects SD-WAN decision making.

“We tell our clients don’t make any decisions based on 5G today,” O’Connor says. He expects tower bottlenecks to prevail, among other issues.

Puranik noted that his clients are reporting that 5G systems currently operate at about half the claimed efficiency rate. “We don’t even have 4G everywhere yet,” he says.

“Do you have a use case for using high-mobility bandwidth?” Breton asks. “Few companies really need it.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]