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EarthLink Jumps on SD-WAN Trend

Add EarthLink to the list of CSPs that are charging down the SD-WAN route. Similar to other CSPs that launched SD-WAN, EarthLink is aiming to help business customers optimize their networks and improve customer experience.

Available today in the US and Canada, EarthLink's SD-WAN service targets medium to large businesses. The biggest uptake so far has been from businesses with an average of five branch offices, but EarthLink is also seeing customers on the lower end as well, according to Mike Frane, senior director of product management for EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK).

As part of the launch, EarthLink rolled out its SD-WAN Concierge service as a way to help business customers create and deploy their services, including routing and security policies based on analytics and other business requirements. "The SD-WAN technology's great. It does dynamic path selection, application visibility and control, creates private tunnels over the Internet or over a MPLS private network and it stitches all the sites together," he said.

"Where EarthLink is differentiating itself is in supporting the customer with the Concierge program," added Frane. "We've understood for a very long time that access is the sticking point in a lot of networks so we look at all the options the customer has available and help them decide on the best possible solution. The SD-WAN solution really makes the Internet more fit-for-purpose for a business."

EarthLink is using gear from VeloCloud Networks Inc. to deliver the services after a two-year R&D and testing process that included multiple vendors and used the Open Networking Group's Top Ten requirements for testing SD-WAN, said Frane. (See EarthLink Launches New SD-WAN Service Offering.)

The reasoning behind EarthLink's decision to go with VeloCloud was because of the technology itself. "We felt that the way they implemented the technology and performed the functions was industry leading and it was in line with the way we thought those functions should be implemented," said Frane. "We also liked their roadmap -- how far they were able to come in the time up to the evaluation and where they are looking for the next 18-24 months."

In addition, EarthLink liked the customer experience "wrapper" that it was able to put around the portal that its customers can use to manage their SD-WAN services. "VeloCloud has a good portal but we are taking what VeloCloud has and making it even better and in order to do that, we needed to have a strong set of APIs and programming interfaces," noted Frane.

"SD-WAN is a technology but we understand that at the end of the day, we want to provide our customers with more than just technology," he said. "We want to provide them with a solution that helps them run their business and deliver great customer experience to their end users."

In addition to EarthLink, MetTel has also announced it is using VeloCloud's platform to deliver SD-WAN solutions to business customers. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is using the platform to establish SLAs over secure VPN connections between Europe and its Silicon Valley Innovation Center.

— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading

kbannan 10/4/2016 | 9:47:13 PM
How does it compare? I'm curious how this service compares to the others like it. It would be great to see a chart that details that! I know, from this brochure, that at least one other carrier is doing something similar with services and offerings. It's a bitly /2btn1sr 

--Karen Bannan for IDG and AT&

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