Smarter Cloud Communications Networking Driving Better Business Outcomes: Beyond SD-WAN to the Intelligent Enterprise Edge

October 28, 2021

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent

There is no debate that SD-WANs are one of the fastest-growing network solutions for businesses, from small and medium companies with multiple locations, to large global banks, retailers, and other massive enterprises with highly distributed locations.

The benefits are clear: higher capacity bandwidth, sensible centralized management, greater network visibility, support of multiple protocols and applications, and of course – dramatic cost savings compared to legacy solutions, including MPLS.

SD-WANs are also more flexible, with changes that can be made using software and policy settings and the ability to scale up and down depending on seasonal factors or other dynamics.

Leaders in SD-WAN, including Juniper, however, are not sitting on their laurels; they are constantly evolving and improving their approaches and technologies. For example, Juniper is offering “tunnel-free” SD-WAN solutions, in large part to support the explosion of remote workers driven initially by the global pandemic but now becoming a fundamental part of nearly every organization’s options.

Traditionally, VPN solutions are based on IPsec or SSL tunneling. These technologies are complex and difficult to scale. Juniper says their “Session Smart SD-WAN” creates a service-centric fabric that delivers agility, security, and a quality remote user experience.

In parallel, interest in SASE approaches is skyrocketing, with benefits including security at the edge of the network, better network performance, and by extension, improved user experience, the ability to create fine-tuned services while simplifying, overall, network administration.

Bottom line, the demand for highly distributed and secure network solutions that can deliver the quality, reliability, and agility that is needed to support remote workforces while at the same time supporting headquarters and branch offices and making every experience predictable and high quality is clear.

We caught up with Indrajit Ghosh, founder and CEO of ConnX, a New Jersey-based cloud communication services provider bringing the next generation of networking and applications to enterprises – with a twist.

Ghosh has developed the Maestro platform, which integrates “best of” technologies and unifies them on a single platform, with a single pane of glass, making life easier for the company’s managed services team and for the customers they serve.

In addition to Juniper’s tunnel-free SD-WAN capabilities, Maestro’s network and service orchestration portal is a “one-stop-shop” for ordering, tracking, and reporting of integrated communications services including Unified Communications (News - Alert), Cloud Contact Center, UCTM and Robocall Prevention, ConnX Collaboration, SIP Trunking as a Service, and their latest innovation, AI-WAN as a Service.

“We tackled the traditional problems of complexity, siloed applications, disparate vendors and software platforms, difficulties in provisioning, troubleshooting and managing converged networks by bringing whatever our clients need to be able to stay connected and be productive by giving them a simple, intuitive interface,” Ghosh explained. “We clearly need to support not just Work from Home, but Work from Everywhere, bringing the quality and reliability employees are used to experiencing in the office to the very edge of the network without having to worry about poor audio or video quality, dropped calls including those initiated by the company or their customers, and compliance risks. We’ve taken the time and invested in development that completely closes the gap, so team members can access corporate resources and do their jobs from everywhere.”

Ghosh has been a pioneer in digital transformation since the dawn of Voice over IP and its impact on telephone systems and data networking at the turn of the century.

“We never stop innovating and improving because that is what our customers have come to expect from us,” Ghosh said. As an integrator and implementer of solutions on behalf of Tier One network operators, including AT&T (News - Alert), ConnX has become known for embracing the new and bringing the very best of what’s new to their customers, including their active role in maturing Google’s (News - Alert) WebRTC protocol into the Unified Communications as a service, cloud Contact Center as a service, and Communications Platform as a service for embedded real-time voice, video and messaging “over the top.”

“Supporting Work from Everywhere doesn’t need to be as painful or risky as it has been,” Ghosh said. “We certainly learned a lot of lessons and were pushed to our limits in 2020, but despite the challenges, we were able to implement a national, highest quality, super-secure private network supporting over 80,000 people in thousands of locations and in employee’s homes for a top U.S. retailer. When the stores were closed, their customers still needed their products, and with this simplified and more secure solution, cloud-native and designed to create the ‘enterprise edge’ experience everywhere, their business grew during a downturn. Why? Because they were serving their customers more effectively, and they were making it easier for their teams to connect.”

Speaking of teams, ConnX is also improving the Microsoft Teams experience with a partner, Ribbon Communications (News - Alert), the first company to offer Direct Routing for teams, making the entire experience easier and the quality more predictable and clearer, making the fastest-growing collaboration platform even better.

“A unified solution provides centralized control, simplified deployment of context-aware networks, intelligent service routing, fine-grained micro-segmentation, and infused security based on a zero-trust model, but what is really special about it is how well the applications run,” Ghosh said. “If you’re applications are not working, in a world where businesses are relying on the cloud not just for traditional purposes but for real-time communications, your business is not working.”

The result of all this integration and unification, Ghosh said, “is a context-aware network that redefines boundaries. In fact, it eliminates boundaries and securely connects from edge-to-edge, edge-to-cloud, from everywhere – with service excellence.”

“I think most of us would concur that our Universe has changed over the last 12 months, and there is no going back,” Ghosh summarized. “We live in a very unpredictable world that makes it very difficult for organizations to protect their current business and navigate carefully to manage the change to be competitive in the future. In the last year, networks have gone from office-centric with a predictable, protectable perimeter to a highly distributed network that exists outside the perimeter: It has been a complete inversion of the network perimeter. The great majority of organizations do not expect workers to ever return to the office. We are already in the new normal, and with the right connectivity, applications, and compliance, the new normal is looking very good.”

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Luke Bellos

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