Service providers and SD-WAN suppliers are looking to emerging technologies like 5G as a way to differentiate their SD-WAN platforms and address growing interest from new markets.
The SD-WAN market is experiencing rapid growth -- in Q4 18, the SD-WAN market "grew 26% from the previous quarter to reach $359 million," according to IHS Markit.
Ahead of Mobile World Congress, Verizon and AT&T said they planned to update their SD-WAN offerings with 5G. Orange Business Services' EVP of Global Solutions Didier Duriez
Operators have also set their sights down market as more SMBs take interest in SD-WAN, providing different service options such as basic packages, "white glove" service, and the ability to make real-time service changes via customer portals. In response to customer demand, service providers are also considering collaborating with additional vendors to deliver more SD-WAN service options. Orange Business Services is considering supplementing its current SD-WAN offering from Cisco Viptela and Riverbed by partnering with an additional SD-WAN vendor; Duriez said the operator is currently considering about five SD-WAN suppliers.
With all the momentum in the SD-WAN market, it's no surprise that the Leading Lights award for the "Most Innovative SD-WAN Service" category received quite a few entries. 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 four finalists for this category are: AT&T, Colt Technology Services, GTT and Teridion.
The winners of all 23 Leading Lights awards, as well as the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced at the famous Leading Lights dinner/party, which will be held during the evening of Monday, May 6, at the Pinnacle Club in Denver, Colo., following a day of pre-Big 5G Event workshops. Then, the morning after the awards party, the doors open to this year's Big 5G Event at the Colorado Convention Center.
To find out which companies were shortlisted across all of this year's Leading Lights categories, please check out Leading Lights 2019: The Finalists.
Now a look at the finalists for Most Innovative SD-WAN Service:
AT&T – AT&T SD-WAN NOW
Earlier this month, AT&T announced its new SD-WAN NOW service, which the operator says was built specifically for SMB customers. AT&T says the service uses software with application-based routing, is competitively priced, delivers improved security and network visibility, and provides connectivity to their customers' critical and cloud applications.
AT&T claims it has simplified the process for SMBs to utilize SD-WAN, and also provides professional installation and technical support. In addition, customers have access to monitoring capabilities and network visibility via an online portal.
Colt Technology Services – Global Colt SD-WAN
Colt Technology Services says it was the first service provider to deliver a "managed SD-WAN service overlay across Europe, based on SDN/NFV technologies." Colt's SD-WAN platform utilizes MPLS and Internet on its Colt IQ Network. In 2017, Colt announced a three-year growth plan to invest €500m ($560m) in the Colt IQ Network.
By expanding its network, Colt says its customers will now have access to new SD-WAN features deployed in uCPEs including application-based traffic steering, an interactive customer portal where customers can make real-time service changes, virtual static and dynamic routing, and NFV-enabled firewall services. Customers can also choose from different network access types for their SD-WAN service including "delivery over Colt's owned fiber network, third-party Internet and 3G/4G radio access at remote sites, with customers being able to prioritize traffic using advanced routing techniques." Colt provides customers with multiple security options in addition to built-in IPSec tunnels such as stateful Firewall on Internet and MPLS WAN links, and security VNFs from major security suppliers.
GTT – GTT SD-WAN (with uCPE)
GTT has expanded its SD-WAN service with the new GTT SD-WAN (with uCPE) which provides features including firewall, SD-WAN, WAN-optimization, throughput and more as multiple VNFS on one device to reduce power and space requirements for customers deploying the service. GTT says its uCPE can support any VNF, deliver lower latency and improve application performance, and utilizes GTT's 600+ PoPs and over 3,000 network partnerships for last mile access.
"GTT's network and communications services enable us to accelerate and support the integration of our internal operations across Europe," says GTT customer David Casas from Europac Group. "SD-WAN adds flexibility and allows us to optimize our network to support our cloud-based applications, which is a fundamental aspect of the company's digital strategy."
Teridion – Teridion for Enterprise
Teridion for Enterprise is startup Teridion's approach to delivering a "turnkey cloud WAN service" that addresses performance issues in the "middle mile" transport which customers can experience when using public Internet for SD-WAN. Teridion delivers its SD-WAN service via a partnership with over 25 public cloud providers – granting Teridion access to over 400 PoPs.
Foundational to the Teridion for Enterprise service is Teridion Curated Routing which the company says "makes the Internet perform like private WAN links," and uses deep-learning capabilities to generate a performance map of the Internet globally, and deploy virtual routers to the public cloud in order to use the fastest route for traffic. Teridion claims its service can improve throughput up to 20x. Teridion for Enterprise is a complimentary addition to customers' existing SD-WAN service and a "snap-in integration to existing SD-WAN deployments from all major vendors including Cisco Meraki, Citrix and Silver Peak, as well as supporting legacy branch office gateways."
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading