What Are the Key Differences Between SD WAN and Network Edge Orchestration?
Author: Tim Dentry, Edgewater Networks
SMBs looking to stay ahead of the communication game share one particular priority in common: making the switch to a VoIP services. The numbers speak for themselves: Edgewater Networks anticipates that the annual global market for IT communications could exceed $25 billion by 2018.
As firms move towards the future, however, they face a big question: how should they go about determining the right network setup to best control costs, maximize uptime and deliver a comprehensive customer experience in the VoIP era? The MPLS model being cost-prohibitive for many SMBs, firms will make a choice between two other more cost effective networking approaches: SD WAN or Network Edge Orchestration.
The Skinny on SD WAN
SD WAN and Network Edge Orchestration solutions are both able to aggregate network connections and ensure uptime through the use of standby services that react to WAN disruptions in an instant. Given their similarities, decision-makers may wonder how these two models are different.
A Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD WAN) bundles a wide range of internet connections across a variety of media (fiber, 4G, cellular data, etc.), and runs a range of lower-bandwidth network tools that won’t overload the capabilities of those services. By bundling multiple network links, firms are protected if the primary connection fails.
SD WAN cannot promise quite the same quality of service as MPLS–the current standard for huge companies utilizing huge bandwidth–but remains a decent choice for SMBs due to massively lower costs, installation times, and manpower requirements. Here’s the thing: while SD WAN confers certain advantages, Network Edge Orchestration has benefits in terms of a holistic approach that covers voice calls, information security, and the cloud.
Life on the Edge
Network Edge Orchestration uses intelligent edge solutions to monitor networks in real-time, forwarding relevant information to a centralized Service Control Center in the cloud. Since network professionals are able to manipulate a full range of parameters from a single dashboard, streamlining all relevant device configurations doesn’t require endless micromanagement.
Network Edge Orchestration differs from SD WAN in a number of key respects, beginning with:
- Prioritized telephony. Small and medium businesses still tend to do business over the phone, as opposed to the internet. Intelligent Edge solutions can prioritize voice packets, making for clearer and more reliable dialing.
- Smarter voice security. Fraudulent dialing and eavesdropping can be huge problems for IP phone users. Through intelligent whitelisting of trusted users, Network Edge Orchestration boasts a VoIP security advantage that SD WAN cannot match.
- Just buy it. Deploying Network Edge Orchestration is a one-time cost, while SD WAN requires a monthly subscription.
- Cloud-enabled. Network Edge Orchestration setups can be entirely administered through the cloud, easing installation and requiring no on-site administration.
Making the Leap
SMBs have an important—and difficult—choice to make. So, what are the types of companies out there that best fit each approach?
SD WAN’s aggregation of internet connections will be attractive in geographic markets in which a broader number of reliable ISPs are available. Given that most ISP markets are have just one or two service providers, this is a key consideration—a bundle of connections doesn’t present a service advantage if there isn’t very much to bundle. If the market is indeed satisfactory, SD WAN will also appeal to those networks running a significant number of applications: intelligent metering, similar to that of MPLS, permits a large number of apps to run without overburdening the network. Each app’s bandwidth usage is adjusted in real-time.
If voice security is a critical, make-or-break priority, the Network Edge Orchestration is the better fit for SMBs. It enables the more comprehensive set of “voice-aware” monitoring tools to ensure voice quality and protect against eavesdropping and DDoS threats. Additionally, by taking better advantage of a company’s existing network architecture, Network Edge Orchestration won’t introduce unnecessary tools and functions into the picture, or the costs that come with them. Thus, Network Edge Orchestration is a lower OpEx choice, and is the right one for firms making the big leap. For more information about these solutions, take a look at Edgewater’s whitepaper, “SD WAN is Not an Intelligent Edge.”