Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Most Innovative SD-WAN Service

With SD-WAN deployments launching at a breakneck pace in 2017, it's no surprise there were quite a few submissions for the SD-WAN service category for the Leading Lights awards. Service providers are increasingly providing SD-WAN as a managed service both to enterprise customers and small to midsized businesses seeking improved security, network visibility and management of their WAN as more business applications migrate to the cloud.

The title of "Most Innovative SD-WAN Service" is awarded to the company that has launched the most innovative SD-WAN service for enterprise and/or small or midsized corporate users during the past year.

The seven finalists for this category are: Aryaka Networks, AT&T, Comcast Business, GTT Communications, Interoute, Telus and Windstream Enterprise.

The winners of all 24 Leading Lights awards and the three Women in Comms awards, as well as the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced at the illustrious Leading Lights dinner/party, which will be held during the evening of Monday, May 14, at the Brazos Hall in Austin, Texas, following a day of pre-BCE workshops. Then, the morning after the awards party, the doors open to this year's Big Communications Event (BCE) at the Austin Convention Center.

To find out which companies were shortlisted across all of this year's Leading Lights categories, please check out Leading Lights 2018: The Finalists and Congrats to 2018's WiC Leading Lights Finalists.

Now a look at the finalists for Most Innovative SD-WAN Service:

Aryaka Networks – SmartACCESS
In June 2017, Aryaka launched SmartACCESS, a clientless SD-WAN for remote access in an effort to meet the needs of enterprises with a global, mobile workforce. Aryaka aims to improve remote workers' ability to achieve reliable connections to on-premises and cloud-based applications. The clientless SD-WAN technology also uses intelligent DNS-based routing to redirect mobile and remote employees to the closest, best-performing POP.

Aryaka delivers SD-WAN on a global, private network with 28 PoPs, and has over 600 enterprise customers in 63 countries. In addition, Aryaka has received funding from Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP), as part of a Series D round. Several service providers have partnered with Aryaka including KDDI Corp., SK Broadband, Internet Binat and others.

AT&T – AT&T SD-WAN Network Based
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Network-Based SD-WAN service, which was previously only available in the US, expanded globally in February 2018 to over 150 countries and territories. The SD-WAN service can be deployed as a VNF on the FlexWare platform, which is AT&T's universal CPE platform. In addition, FlexWare supports other virtual network functions (VNFs) such as advanced security.

Customers can continue to use a dual broadband, IPSec connection or MPLS, for example, in conjunction with the SD-WAN service.

The SD-WAN platform also integrates with AT&T NetBond for Cloud, which migrates workloads between clouds without having to manually set up two separate direct connections between clouds.

Learn how to tackle the challenge of wide-scale SD-WAN rollouts at the fifth annual Big Communications Event in Austin, May 14-16. The event is free for communications service providers!

Comcast Business – Comcast Business SD-WAN powered by ActiveCore
Comcast Business emerged as the first cable company to deploy SD-WAN after beginning beta testing of its "carrier-grade" SD-WAN service for mid-market and enterprise customers in May 2017. Comcast partnered with Versa Networks on the service which includes features such as IP-VPN, application-aware routing and a stateful network firewall.

In addition, Comcast has paired the SD-WAN service with its new gigabit Internet services for business customers. SD-WAN customers can also use a self-service portal and mobile app for application control, network visibility and management.

In September, Comcast revealed its ActiveCore software-defined networking platform including orchestration capabilities and support for multiple virtual network functions (VNFs), the first of which is its own SD-WAN service. Unlike telcos providing SD-WAN, Comcast doesn't have to worry about cannibalizing its own services due to its lack of a legacy base of MPLS products and customers.

GTT Communications – GTT's SD-WAN service
Similar to Comcast, GTT Communications Inc. differs from incumbent telcos in that it doesn't have a large base of MPLS clients, and also announced its managed SD-WAN service in the spring of 2017.

GTT has partnered with VeloCloud -- now part of VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) -- to provide customers with improved application visibility and performance, and policy-based routing capabilities in the SD-WAN platform. The operator has deployed 12 cloud gateways in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific for global reach, colocating each gateway with a MPLS PoP for direct access to GTT's Tier 1 global IP backbone. GTT also provides a direct connection to cloud service providers through Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX)'s Cloud Exchange.

With the recent acquisition of Global Capacity, GTT extended its market reach with access to 2,000 last-mile access providers. Global Capacity also partnered with VeloCloud Networks Inc. , which made for a smoother transition of SD-WAN services.

Next page: Interoute, Telus, Windstream Enterprise

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