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SD-WAN and 5G: The use case for Mobile QoE

Zabrina Doerck
Sep. 25 2020

The emergence of 5G connectivity brings a new generation of wireless capabilities and promises of a renaissance for business applications. As one might expect, there is much hype. However, if the reality is even close to expectations, these new applications will create an unprecedented demand for optimized connectivity and on-demand bandwidth. In order to take full advantage of the new opportunities 5G offers without staggering under the weight of exponentially growing workloads or facing a complicated network redesign, enterprises and managed service providers will need strategies and solutions that simplify network management, uphold business policies, and ensure a quality user experience over all WAN connections, including 5G. 

Let’s take a look at what this could mean for your business.

5G changes the connectivity paradigm

In the past, mobile transports were primarily used as backup solutions, or for supporting non-critical applications. However, 5G changes the game, with data speeds comparable with fiber optic connections, but with low latency, and delivered wirelessly. 5G delivers fast data speeds, fast time to market, cloud connectivity and lower costs. 

While 5G enables the agility and speed needed for businesses to roll out new innovations quickly, cellular transport even in the best of circumstances can still raise a question mark when it comes to QoS and QoE. To truly live up to expectations, 5G must be able to deliver comparable consistency and quality experience to MPLS and direct internet access (DIA). The right SD-WAN solution can facilitate this by combining application visibility and control with bandwidth optimization capabilities, and automated security functions that ensure 5G links perform and are protected like other transport types. Also of importance is the need for a flexible SD-WAN deployment that preserves the agility that 5G can bring to the business. 

SD-WAN application-awareness strengthens 5G QoE

The adoption of 5G and mobile edge computing will create even greater application performance demands from users expecting reliable and immediately responsive applications. 

Just as SD-WAN enables enterprises to direct specific types of network traffic to run over either MPLS versus broadband, it will also help businesses leverage the transport-specific advantages of 5G for applications that require higher speeds and low latency to deliver the high availability and universal accessibility that users expect. SD-WAN automation and overlay management is critical for enabling reliable and high-performing applications, no matter what WAN transports are deployed.

SD-WAN and 5G network slicing 

Additionally, businesses can also take advantage of 5G network slicing. With 5G network slicing, network resources are divided into “slices,” and each slice receives a unique set of optimized resources. 5G multiplexes virtual, independent logical networks on the same physical network. Each slice represents an isolated end-to-end network customized to meet application requirements.

An intelligent SD-WAN solution enables optimal network performance and user quality of experience, by steering traffic at the application session-level to the appropriate path based on business priority, business policy, WAN circuit characteristics, and changing network conditions. When traffic is steered to a 5G network, applications can be isolated to a particular slice that follows policies designed for specific business requirements. 

The ideal SD-WAN solution to support emerging types of transport, like 5G, must be transport-agnostic and able to support DSL, DIA, and MPLS connections, as well as mobile cellular and WiFi, including LTE, 4G and 5G. While each transport has its own advantages and limitations, a strong SD-WAN solution will manage applications across all transports, aggregating them into virtual bandwidth. Such an approach takes advantage of the positive attributes of each transport type, while circumventing their limitations. This will also ensure application performance and security across the entire SD-WAN-managed fabric.

Adopting and adapting your hybrid WAN for 5G

While SD-WAN is a critical tool for managing hybrid networks and enabling businesses to take advantage of 5G and other network transport types, evolving the business WAN to a hybrid state has its own challenges and considerations.

Although many solutions on the market are able to deliver some degree of QoS/QoE for alternative transport types, in most cases they require that the business “rip and replace” existing network infrastructure and consequently/subsequently they must then re-architect the network. Obviously such a project is time-consuming, complex, costly and disruptive. It also presents a threat to business operations and introduces many incremental risks overall. Additionally problematic is that such deployments can take 10-24 months on average, during which time the business sees no return on its investment and is not able to gain the benefits of the hybrid WAN. 

Infovista addresses this challenge in our Ipanema SD-WAN solution through transparent hybrid WAN capability, which introduces a device into the network that is functionally “invisible” to other network elements, delivering complete orchestration and application visibility and control over all types of transport in the hybrid WAN, without the typical hardware replacement required. This enables a swift time to market with deployment and ROI in as little as two months. It also helps the business avoid and prevent the inherent risks and business disruption of your typical network upgrade project.

Transparent Hybrid SD-WAN

Ipanema SD-WAN’s unique hybrid WAN transparency leverages existing network infrastructure, allowing gradual expansion and diversification as needed over time. Our application-centric management guarantees a quality user experience over all transports, with deep granularity to align application performance with business policies. 

Prioritizing applications - from mission-critical to low-level non-critical, and assigning them with quality scores - Ipanema SD-WAN matches applications with the proper resources. This associates business requirements with application performance, guaranteeing all applications meet defined performance thresholds according to business priorities, regardless of the WAN transport.

Infovista is a 5G and SD-WAN leader and innovator

Infovista understands that optimizing network deployments requires significant network planning and testing. Infovista’s Ipanema SD-WAN solution delivers unprecedented application performance regardless of transport type, and our comprehensive 5G portfolio includes integrated software solutions for planning, designing, testing and optimizing 5G network rollouts. Together, Infovista’s 5G and SD-WAN expertise and technology innovations provide organizations with simplified provisioning and management of diverse WAN circuits to support their business initiatives.


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