Masergy unveils broadband performance feature for last-mile access

For businesses with champagne taste on a beer budget, Masergy is working to bring the performance of private Ethernet circuits to public broadband connections with its new Masergy Performance Edge.

"Today broadband is being used ubiquitously" in home and business sites, says Ajay Pandya, director of Product Management for Masergy. "We are seeing this over the last year a lot. We used to sell 60-70% of our sites with one of the links as broadband. Now it's in the 90's."

Broadband can be up to 70% cheaper than private access networks, says Pandya, but it's still a "best effort" technology that doesn't always provide reliable performance for applications such as voice and video conferencing.

"If I'm a contact center person or a power-user executive delivering my quarterly announcement to analysts, I don't want the connection to be any less than excellent," says Pandya. He adds that Masergy aims to also address the quality of last-mile connections with Performance Edge.

The patent-pending Performance Edge is aimed at assisting home workers, SD-WAN, SASE and MPLS customers in improving their broadband performance by reducing packet loss. The feature can be added on to Masergy's SD-WAN and SASE services, but there is an additional cost to utilize Performance Edge. In addition, it's currently centrally managed, so customers need to request it directly from Masergy to turn the service on.

Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research, says Performance Edge could be useful in delivering the "performance of private IT with broadband" for remote workers, retail and small branch locations. Kerravala says Masergy is "using a multitude of different optimization techniques to make that broadband connection work better" with tools such as WAN optimization, compression and forward-error correction.

"SD-WAN does a good job of load balancing across two connections, but there are a number of situations where you only have your broadband connection available … Masergy also has their MPLS backbone, so it's the combination of two that gives you the end-to-end performance. Performance Edge optimizes the last mile, and Masergy has always been good at the middle mile," says Kerravala.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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