How SD-WAN Helps CSPs Avoid a “Race to the Bottom” with Declining WAN Prices

In recent years, CSPs in Europe have seen their revenue growth either stagnate or shrink markedly as standard connectivity costs begin to bottom out, with experts anticipating a similar trend to follow for CSPs stateside by 2018. As a result, connectivity providers are looking to protect both their market share and customer relationships by exploring value-added services they can sell on top of standard connectivity, particularly to enterprise and SMB customers.

Traditionally, the main way for CSPs to successfully grow these relationships was through partnerships to increase MPLS connectivity at branch sites across a business’ WAN. In the more recent past, however, these offerings have expanded to include a bevy of services that have been made a reality thanks to SD-WAN.

SD-WAN allows CSPs to rebuild and grow their enterprise relationships

The reason SD-WAN holds so much promise for CSPs and enterprise customers is that this technology connects all of the branch offices across an enterprise network, regardless of different connectivity types underlying these connections, or the providers supplying it. This bodes well for CSPs providing SD-WAN in a few important tactical scenarios.

For starters, SD-WAN requires the installation of new hardware at each branch office, allowing CSPs to build features into their branch-office upgrades that go beyond software-defined management to grow connectivity offerings. These can include additional security features and firewalls, for example, which build upon the capabilities of the older hardware, while providing greater built-in bandwidth or capacity to upsell clients that are looking to grow.

The CSP who installs the SD-WAN also has visibility into how connections supplied by competing providers may be weak or underperforming, giving them insight that they can share with the enterprise customer to help improve functionality. In many ways, this expands the CSP’s role into an advisory one, and opens the door for the carrier installing an SD-WAN overlay to analyze opportunities that they could leverage to not only offer new services, but even usurp competing CSPs who provide connectivity over different areas of the WAN.

For instance, a CSP may be able to leverage analytics from their SD-WAN overhaul to make the case for a business to dump a competing carrier operating their connectivity at one branch office, opening the door for the CSP providing the SD-WAN to upsell their connectivity instead. The CSP can even add value simply by alerting the enterprise customer to chronic capacity issues that may be attributed to something as simple as a Netflix-addicted security guard using the WAN and hurting the performance of a business-critical applications sharing this network connection.

This visibility makes the CSP more of an analytical partner to the enterprise customer and not just the relatively nameless provider of connectivity. This is especially important as new technologies that are reliant on network connectivity become prevalent across industries, giving CSPs a valuable card to play in discussing new SLAs.

The next evolution of SD-WAN: Application-Aware SD-WAN

By monitoring, tuning and reducing human intervention, Application-Aware SD-WAN automates the most complex traffic matrices across highly spread and distant branches, private data centers and cloud providers.

Application-Aware SD-WAN’s self-learning and self-optimizing capabilities guarantee the best application performance and help CSPs to help transform their customers’ environments in a number of ways, including:

  • Delivering IT transformation and simplifying SD-WAN deployments by leveraging secure direct Internet and browsing without additional security devices, thus reducing the cost per Mbps by a factor of two to four.
  • Guaranteeing business application performance in every circumstance, maximizing user productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Decreasing the number of calls to the service desk by automatically removing most application performance brownouts before users feel the pain.
  • Securing the deployment of new applications and increasing their adoption rate without deploying complex and costly additional resources.
  • Providing IT operation teams with precise information about application traffic and performance, turning them from techno-centric stakeholders to business-centric contributors.
  • Helping CPSs become more competitive by reducing bandwidth requirements by two to three and delaying the need for bandwidth upgrades by up to three years without impacting the end-user quality of experience.

Read more about how SD-WAN is opening the doors for a number of different providers, as well as the many features of our SD-WAN suite of services.