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Communications In the Cloud Blog

How SD-WAN Improves Unified Communications

February 12, 2018

With the growing number of business apps eating through bandwidth at an unprecedented rate, protecting vital UC (Unified Communications) tools can easily turn into a hefty challenge for most network administrators. SD-WAN offers a simple, elegant solution that provides reliable network resources for all business-essential applications while ensuring that your voice and video communications are as stable as ever.

As the mobile workforce is growing quickly, well-connected 21st century businesses are learning how to bridge the gaps between their dispersed locations and staff with unified communication and collaboration tools. Applications with voice, video chat and screen sharing capabilities enable remote teams to interact as if they shared a conference room, significantly increasing their productivity and the company’s efficiency.

But as the market for business applications is growing, so is the need to feed such software with ever increasing amounts of bandwidth, with voice and video leading the pack. Minuscule delays in packet delivery are unnoticeable in most applications, including online databases, CRMs or chat programs, but the quality of a call or video conference can be severely impacted even by a millisecond of delay. Unified communications are notoriously sensitive to network speed and reliability issues like latency, jitter or delays, requiring a continuous stream of bandwidth to perform well and provide employees with the positive user experience they expect.

Large corporations have long relied on MPLS connections and private networks to support their UC systems, but due to their high cost, complicated, time-consuming installation process and lack of unified management capabilities, many companies are wary to install them. SD-WAN offers a better alternative.

SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) technology provides a powerful yet simple solution for designing, deploying and managing heterogeneous networks that support the constantly growing bandwidth needs of UC systems. SD-WAN connects any mix of access technologies, including MPLS, Internet VPN and public internet, and provides enterprise-grade voice and video quality without the hassle and high cost of deploying a private connection.

1. SD-WAN Ensures Exceptional Performance for UC Applications

Whether organizations rely on an on-premise phone system, a cloud phone system or business collaboration tools, connectivity is crucial for continuous, quality performance. With its application awareness and policy-based routing capabilities, SD-WAN can ensure sufficient resources for these technologies. It continuously monitors network conditions, including latency, jitter, packet loss and, with a few vendors, even MOS (Mean Opinion Scores) of user ratings. SD-WAN routes traffic based on these network conditions, sending highly sensitive workflows over the strongest connection of an organization at any given moment. While rerouting, the SD-WAN uses its seamless failover capabilities to prevent any interruptions in application sessions that could impact end-user experience. In addition, it runs main and backup connections in an active/active mode instead of an active/backup mode to provide a multifold increase in bandwidth when all lines are fully functional.

2. SD-WAN Ensures Easy, Flexible Management

Managing a network infrastructure to fit the needs of sensitive voice and video applications used to be a difficult process requiring ongoing attention. SD-WAN is an intelligent software that monitors network conditions and adapts to the needs of your UC applications, ensuring the best network access and bandwidth for critical systems during periods of network congestion. The software enables administrators to easily set routing policies at the headquarters based on their organization’s unique needs and mass deploy them to any number of locations across the WAN with just one click.

3. SD-WAN Supports Branch Office Communications

While an organization’s branch office access to UC is critical to their business, remote locations are often stuck with poor connections that fail to provide sufficient reliability or bandwidth for effective collaboration. With its zero-touch-provisioning capabilities, SD-WAN provides a simple, cost-effective solution to enable rapid deployment of network connectivity to branch offices. It can be layered on top of any connection, allowing companies to keep their existing infrastructure, reducing costs and speeding up the installation process. With its centralized management pane, SD-WAN also enables network administrators to easily set and change individual routing policies across their entire network to support branch UC applications critical to their organization’s mission.

The benefits of SD-WAN for VoIP, video, and collaboration tools are numerous. As unified communications and business applications continue to demand a constantly increasing amount of bandwidth, SD-WAN offers a simple solution to network administrators by aggregating bandwidth from multiple connections and prioritizing traffic based its sensitivity to network conditions. With its centralized management pane, SD-WAN enables admins to set and deploy routing policies at any number of locations with just a click of a button, ensuring excellent user experience and efficient collaboration for all employees. And the best part? You can do it all from the comfort of your office.

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