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When are we going to talk about that SD-WAN Thing?

By May 3, 2018 Broadband

Software Defined WAN or SD-WAN for short, uses software and cloud-based technologies to simplify the delivery of WAN service to branch offices.

It makes sense, with new and aggressive traffic types in multi-site enterprise customers it is something to worry especially with remote users (either branch offices or remote teleworkers). A good example would be for those who use video which would be the most significant application by use type. Other use cases today would be access to any Saas / Cloud-based applications such as Salesforce, Office 365, Lync and off-premise storage.

The argument is that traditional MPLS networks either cannot manage the traffic flows with the required granularity or if they do, they would do so at a more substantial cost.

We cannot address every provider, but we can talk about our service. In the case of a Frontier MPLS vs. Frontier Direct Internet, we eliminate the charge that would differentiate between each service type. It means an ADSL, VDSL, Cable or 1000 Mbps Fibre service would effectively cost the same as either an Internet pipe or a private access MPLS link. We also manage the primary and secondary failover link and the related programming and management of the “included” devices that come with your wide area network connection.

What does Frontier do differently?

We offer MPLS and traditional Internet services. MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching, and without getting too technical, it is just a neat way to build and operate a network that connects your office locations or facilities

Ok, let’s get a bit technical. The best way to summarize MPLS is to call it a “Layer 2.5 networking protocol”.

In the traditional OSI model:

Layer 2 covers protocols like Ethernet and SONET, which can carry IP packets, but only over simple LANs or point-to-point WANs.

Layer 3 covers Internet-wide addressing and routing using IP protocols.

MPLS sits between these traditional layers, providing additional features for the transport of data across the network.

There are benefits to MPLS which include things like rock-solid security, excellent performance, fully meshed connections between sites. Ultimately with performance & reliability are essential people choose MPLS.

When do SDWAN appliances make sense?

If you want to avoid the traditional expense of MPLS and purchase a mixed bag of links that are unmanaged, then the SD-WAN story is perfect. It adds a layer of application performance tools and cloud management to help administer the multi-site, multi-vendor, multi-link environment. These boxes are not inexpensive, but they do a good job. They typically cost between $ 4,000 – $ 20,000 each and you would require one per location.

It is not to say that SD-WAN is valueless. It has value. We would caution that in Frontier’s case a general statement that suggests that “MPLS is more money” would, in fact, be not valid.

Figure - Frontier Networks
Frontier Networks Inc.

Frontier Networks Inc. is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and provides Broadband Internet or MPLS, Voice lines or Cloud PBX (a replacement to old phone systems) and Physical Security to Retail and Multi Site customers who demand world-wide coverage from a ‘new’ network. “We like to do traditional things in a non-traditional way”.  Frontier has built a network that connects to other networks. Think of them like a large ‘backbone’ of interconnected networks. They connect to every phone company, cable company, wireless and hydro/utelco in Canada and the US through a series of well-connected Points of Presence (POPs). Simply put ‘we don’t suck’.

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