As SD-WAN matures the relative strengths and opportunities for telcos and vendors are becoming clearer. Where should telcos focus, and how will that affect their choice of SD-WAN platform?
SD-WAN has been made in North America…
65% of the North American operators featured in our Telco Cloud Tracker had deployed SD-WAN by the end of 2020
By contrast, 49% Asia-Pacific-based telcos had launched SD-WAN in their region by the same time and 44% European telcos were offering SD-WAN within Europe
As this market matures operators that are new to the market, or seeking to expand their services internationally, should choose an SD-WAN platform that will enable them to differentiate in their local markets or play to the telcos strengths.
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Challenges for telcos considering introducing SD-WAN
- Lack of relevant skills or experience: telcos worry about risks of ‘outsourcing’ a significant part of their WAN services, operations and infrastructure to SD-WAN vendor; and about integration with BSS / OSS etc.
- Leading SD-WAN vendors collaborate closely with telcos to facilitate integration of their platforms with telcos’ networks and services
- SD-WAN platforms provide management interfaces that are easy for non-technical staff to operate, and offer visibility into application workflows and network KPIs
- How to differentiate SD-WAN service: how to offer USPs for the local market and differentiate from competitors
- Ensure you choose an SD-WAN platform that suits the key needs of your customer base (see competitive analysis in next section)
- Differentiation can also be achieved through the services telcos and vendors offer around SD-WAN products, e.g. good local market and language support
- Absence of appropriate infrastructure, facilities and networks: e.g. lack of fixed broadband networks; insufficient SD-WAN platform support for LTE / 5G
- Many SD-WAN platforms offer LTE and 5G connectivity mainly as a back-up to IP-MPLS and fixed broadband. But many telcos, especially in emerging markets, serve enterprise sites through FWA. How well do platforms support this?
- Many SD-WAN platforms rely on redundant connectivity to cloud-based hubs: are these always available for telcos serving remote areas?
- Risk of cannibalising enterprise revenues and compromising ROI from existing products and assets: e.g. IP-MPLS; IP-VPN; dedicated Internet; etc.
- Telcos can offer different classes of SD-WAN at different price points, inc. overlay-only services to clients that want them
- SD-WAN now seen as a value-add to IP-MPLS, for which a premium can be charged: can be integrated with telcos’ managed services offerings
How to assess the different SD-WAN platforms?
Source: STL Partners
The rest of this report includes a competitive analysis of key SD-WAN platform players and how they can enable telcos’ to meet enterprise customer needs and future proof their SD-WAN investments.
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- What are the challenges to introducing SD-WAN
- Assessing different SD-WAN platforms
- Versa Networks
- Palo Alto
- Silver Peak
- A framework for selecting and implementing SD-WAN platforms