Consolidated Communications Goes Cross-Country With SD-WAN
Illinois-based operator Consolidated Communications is taking SD-WAN cross-country with supplier partner VeloCloud -- now part of VMWare -- deploying the new service to customers in its 24-state market.
Doug Abolt, vice president of commercial product management at Consolidated Communications Inc. , says the service provider launched the new SD-WAN service to meet the demand of enterprise customers who are quickly migrating their business applications to the cloud. Most of Consolidated's enterprise customers -- predominantly in the financial, healthcare, hospitality, government and education verticals -- are currently using MPLS or switched Ethernet, says Abolt. (See Consolidated Communications Starts SD-WAN Service.)
"SD-WAN is not a circuit type but it does improve the ability to turn sites up quickly and -- even for a small site such as a branch office that doesn't require fiber-based service -- they can have consistent, reliable performance for that small business site," says Abolt. As cloud adoption moves down-market to smaller businesses, SD-WAN offers greater flexibility for cloud service access, he adds.
Abolt says customers will have the option to choose from three SD-WAN service packages: basic, advanced or premium. The premium service includes managed service setup, enhanced network visibility, options for multiple backup services, and access to dedicated service experts at Consolidated's VIP customer care center.
In a recent interview with Light Reading, Ovum Chief Analyst of Enterprise Services Mike Sapien explains that as SD-WAN services mature, operators are providing a wider range of SD-WAN package offerings and are "looking for other options -- for other customers, a feature that's more complex, or even customers that want something more simple... looking for a lightweight version of this that's cheaper."
Consolidated selected VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)'s VeloCloud SD-WAN service due to its high scoring on technical requirements and "the ease of turning up new locations," says Abolt. He adds that VeloCloud's management system also provides customers with more network visibility "to see what's going on in their network and make adjustments."
Consolidated Communications is the eighth-largest fiber-based service provider in the US with 36,000 fiber route miles and 4,000 employees and operates both as an ILEC and CLEC, says Abolt. Last July, the operator doubled in size with the acquisition of FairPoint Communications in an all-stock transaction valued at about $1.3 billion.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading